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New Program Manager to Lead Economic and Social Science Research in Alaska

February 08, 2024

The Alaska Fisheries Science Center continues to emphasize the importance of economic and sociocultural data in fisheries management by hiring Abigail Harley to lead the program.

Scientist with child in a safety vest on a boat Abigail Harley and her son on a boat.

The Alaska Fisheries Science Center is pleased to announce that Abigail Harley is our new lead for the Economic and Social Sciences Research program. Fisheries management is not just about how many fish are in the ocean. People and culture are part of the equation, too. This program provides vital economic, anthropological, and sociological information to fisheries managers to create a more holistic approach to fisheries management.

Examples of our research in Alaska include developing models for assessing the effects of changing markets, environmental conditions, and how fisheries management strategies affect fisheries and fishing communities. This group collaborates with stakeholders, managers, and scientists to develop and implement research products targeted toward informing the public, NOAA staff, and fisheries managers.

Harley carries years of experience along the West Coast and with NOAA. She grew up in San Diego and moved north to attend UC Santa Cruz for college. She kept migrating north to earn a Masters in Economics at the University of Washington. In Seattle, she started collecting and analyzing economic data from commercial fisheries, while working as a contractor for the Northwest Fisheries Science Center.

Dog with child on tiled ground

In 2015, Harley joined the NOAA West Coast Regional Office as an economist, helping to analyze and develop fisheries management policy and regulations, primarily through the Pacific Fisheries Management Council. Her recent work has focused on equity and environmental justice and offshore wind. She recently graduated from the NOAA Leadership Competencies Development Program, during which she had the opportunity to work across NOAA with the Office of Legislative Affairs, Office of Policy, and the Office of Response and Restoration.

Abigail loves to experience new things such as international travel, new takeout spots, unusual wines, and exploring the outdoors with her gigantic Bernese Mountain dog, Olaf. She and her husband are still learning how to adapt adventurous pursuits to include their 4-year-old and 11-month-old sons, while minimizing the tears of all involved.

Last updated by Alaska Fisheries Science Center on February 09, 2024