ECONorthwest--alongside DHM Research, Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) staff, and several other experts--have begun work on a study of the economic importance of wildlife to Alaska. The analysis will include market transactions--like the value of expenditures on hunting, trapping, recreation and tourism, research and management--and the value of non-market goods of services--e.g., ecosystem services and wildlife's contributions to Alaskans' quality of life.
Anne Sutton, a wildlife viewing coordinator from ADF&G, told the Dutch Harbor Fisherman "we're hoping to get a good sense of what the economic benefit is to the state." As she notes, ADF&G needed a more comprehensive analysis because, while the U.S. Department of Fish and Game puts out a similar study, "their numbers don't always reflect what we're seeing on the ground."
What's the advantage of using ECONorthwest over the national survey? "We can get a lot more detail," Sutton says. "When they're making policy decision that affect the department, it's important to know just how it will affect the economy. We don't base our decisions purely on economic figures, but it is certainly an important consideration."