The Council reviewed a discussion paper on the Council’s Economic Data Report (EDR) programs, addressing the requirements, use, and estimated cost of these reporting requirements on submitters in order for the Council to determine if revisions to the EDRs are needed. In response to the discussion paper, the Council initiated both an FMP amendment and further staff recommendations on potential EDR revisions.
The Council has established four EDRs, including:
- The Bering Sea/ Aleutian Islands Crab EDR, implemented in 2005;
- The Non-AFA Trawl Catcher/Processor EDR implemented in 2007 for Amendment 80, and in 2015 for CPs operating in the Gulf of Alaska groundfish fisheries;
- The Bering Sea Chinook salmon bycatch management program EDR for participants in the BS pollock fishery, implemented in 2012; and
- Gulf of Alaska Trawl EDR for groundfish trawl catcher vessels and processors taking deliveries from these vessels, implemented in 2015.
The Council initiated an analysis to consider several specific regulatory and Fishery Management Plan changes to make data verification requirements and confidential data protections for EDR data consistent with those that apply to other confidential fisheries data. These include:
- removing requirements for third party data verification audits,
- revising requirements for data aggregation, and
- removing the requirement for blind formatting procedure (note that individual data and personally identifiable information will continue to remain confidential when released to the public, and all public release of EDR data will continue to be in aggregated to at least three or more entities).
- In addition, this analysis will consider revising or removing the GOA trawl EDRs (not including the original Amendment 80 EDR).
NMFS has some discretion in the use of third-party data verification audits; thus, while the analysis is under development, NMFS intends to seek to reduce the cost and burden as much as possible.
A second suite of proposed revisions to the EDRs (including the GOA trawl EDRs) will be addressed through a separate process. Recommended revisions include:
- Evaluating the utility of the EDR data against the Council’s previously stated needs and objectives for these data collections.
- Considering any EDR data that may be duplicative to other data collected
- Creating more consistency across EDRs to increase the utility of the data, and
- Considering tradeoffs between aggregation of elements to reduce reporting burden and the effects of loss of detail from that aggregation
The objectives of these revisions are to reduce the EDR program cost and reporting burden by eliminating duplicative data elements and streamlining reporting requirements where possible, and to increase the practical utility and analytical usability of these data. These revisions should consider the benefits and costs of more standardized EDRs and should address the SSC’s comments from the April 2019 meeting to the extent practicable.
For this second suite of EDR issues in particular, the Council directed staff to consult the Council’s Social Science Planning Team (SSPT), submitters, and data users of the various EDR programs in developing these recommendations. More specifically, the Council requested its SSPT consider the EDR discussion paper and revision topics and provide recommendations to the to the Council at its June 2019 meeting. The Council is interested in which aspects of the review of the current EDRs are within the scope and capability of the SSPT to undertake. The Council requests the SSPT develop a plan for conducting this review. This plan should include opportunities for public input during the review, the work products that would be needed from staff to conduct the review, and a projected timeline for the review.
Staff contact is Sarah Marrinan.