Predicting the economic impacts of the 2017 West Coast salmon troll ocean fishery closure
The ocean salmon fishery on the US West Coast has faced periodic closures of varying extents in order to protect vulnerable runs. These closures can have serious consequences for fishers and fishing communities, and have necessitated the release of millions of dollars of federal disaster aid. The 2017 ocean Chinook troll fishery (the major salmon ocean fishery) is closed between southern Oregon and northern California to protect the Klamath River fall Chinook, which is forecast to return in low numbers. A model of vessel fishing choices was used in combination with an established input-output model to estimate the potential economic impact of this closure on fishers and fishing communities. The analysis predicts that this closure of the ocean fishery will result in a loss of $5.8–$8.9 million in income, $12.8–$19.6 million in sales, and 200–330 jobs. These estimates are only a partial estimate of the economic impacts of the 2017 salmon regulations, as they do not fully account for the effects of the limited season outside of the closed ocean area or the effects on other salmon fisheries (e.g. the gillnet and recreational fisheries). The impacts are not distributed evenly in space, with the largest relative losses occurring in the Coos Bay, Brookings, and Eureka regions. This information may be useful as policymakers consider mitigating economic losses in the fishery and associated communities. Early estimates of economic impacts of fishery closures may also enable quicker determination of the need and extent of disaster assistance and a more timely response.