Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: New York
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Sethi SA, Riggs W, Knapp G. (2014) Metrics to monitor the status of Alaskan fishing communities: a state-of-the-State retrospective 1980-2010. Ocean and Coastal Management 88:21-30. DOI:


We outline a suite of 11 quantitative metrics which provide information on the economic and demographic status of fishing communities, presenting data from 324 Alaskan communities over 1980–2010. These metrics provide an initial data set for descriptive analyses of fishing community status and for exploratory analyses to identify hypotheses for subsequent in-depth study of the socioecological dynamics of Alaskan fishing communities. Metrics were derived by collating information from publicly available databases and include information on fishing portfolios, fishing revenues, fishermen demographics, and fleet characteristics. As demonstration of the community metrics, we examine metric trends in detail for three communities (Kodiak, Sitka, and Togiak), and provide state-wide temporal and spatial assessments to characterize historical dynamics of Alaska's fishing communities. Statewide assessments show synchrony in the dynamics of some metrics, such as increasing population, declining permit ownership, and improving per-fishermen gross revenues, but show considerable variation amongst communities for other metrics, such as the diversification of communities' fishing portfolios and investments into fleets. Spatial distributions of metrics suggest the western and northern parts of Alaska have experienced greater declines in metrics associated with commercial fisheries importance and performance relative to the southern and eastern regions.