Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 498
Title: A Quantitative Model for Ranking and Selecting Communities Most Involved in Commercial Fisheries
Author: J. A. Sepez, K. C. Norman, R. Felthoven
Publication Year: 2007
Journal: National Association for the Practice of Anthropology Bulletin
Issue: 28
Pages: 43-57
Keywords: Fishing communities, Quantitative modeling, Data envelopment analysis, North Pacific and West Coast fisheries
Abstract: This article proposes a quantitative model for ranking commercial fisheries involvement by communities and describes our experience applying this model to North Pacific and West Coast fisheries. Analysis of recent fishing community profiling projects shows there have been four basic approaches to selecting a manageable number of communities, including focusing on major ports, aggregated regions, representative examples, and the top of a ranked list. Data envelopment analysis (DEA) is presented as a non-parametric, multi-dimensional modeling method appropriate for evaluating and ranking fishing communities based on an array of quantitative indicators of fisheries involvement. The results of applying this model to communities involved in West Coast and North Pacific fisheries are summarized. Nineteen indicators of fisheries dependence and 92 indicators of fisheries engagement were modeled yielding ranked lists of 1564 and 1760 U.S. communities respectively. Comparison of the DEA methods top-ranked communities in Alaska to those selected by an indicators-based threshold-trigger model for Alaska showed 71 percent overlap of selected communities. The strengths and weaknesses of the DEA modeling approach are discussed. DEA modeling is not a substitute for ethnographic analysis of communities based on field work, but it does present an enticing way to consider which communities might be selected for fieldwork or profiling, or as fishing communities, based on quantitative indicators.