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Economic and Social Science Research on the West Coast

Science to support sustainable U.S. West Coast fisheries

Commercial fishing boats at a harbor at Westport, Washington.jpg

We collect and analyze economic and socio-cultural data to support the conservation and management of West Coast marine resources. These data and analyses inform management decisions and amplify resource value. 

We carry out our work under mandates from the Magnuson-Stevens Act, Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and Executive Orders 12866 and 12898. 

To fulfill these mandates and contribute to a broader understanding of fisheries and marine resource issues, we analyze:

  • Net benefits to the nation
  • Distribution of benefits
  • Financial performance of participants
  • Safety
  • Economic impacts
  • Nonmarket ecosystem preferences services

Research Areas

Commercial Fishing

We conduct a wide range of commercial fisheries economic analyses and related activities. These efforts enable the assessment of the magnitude and distribution of the costs and benefits associated with fisheries management decisions. Our work directly supports the NOAA Fisheries stewardship goal of maximizing benefits to the Nation while ensuring the long-term sustainability of all living marine resources.

Recreational Fishing

We provide data, analysis, and expertise to enable benefit-cost analyses and economic impact estimates of recreational fishery regulations changes. Recreational fishing is an ecosystem good that is usually not traded in formal economic markets. For nonmarket goods (like recreational fishing), calculating the change in net economic benefits requires us to use techniques to estimate the demand for recreational fishing. Demand estimates are useful for cost-effectiveness or benefit-cost analyses that evaluate the relative economic efficiency of changes in fishery regulations, including bag limits and closures, as well as hatchery production.


Economic and human dimensions research are essential elements of managing natural resources in an ecosystem framework. Social science can help understand these relationships within marine ecosystems and the development of integrated models to support the conservation and management of marine and anadromous resources.



Dr. Leif Anderson


Dr. Yeuan Allen Chen
Dr. Lisa Pfeiffer
Erin Steiner


Kathryn Ann Connelly
Melissa Krigbaum 

Last updated by Northwest Fisheries Science Center on September 21, 2022