Prior to AKFIN, the Pacific Fisheries Information Network (PacFIN) summarized and combined Alaska fishery data with that from other Pacific Coast state’s fisheries. This consolidated source provided important economic information on Alaska’s fisheries to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) and Pacific Fishery Management Council (PMFC). As fisheries management increased and the NPFMC (Council) initiated comprehensive rationalization planning (CRP), the demands for more detailed information became evident.
To respond to these needs, a group of economists met in the early 1990’s to devise an economics research and data plan for fishery management on the West Coast, recommending a fleet profile of all West Coast fishing vessels. However, issues arose with sharing confidential Alaska fisheries data between agencies, solidifying the problems with developing this consolidated database of Alaska and West Coast data.
The idea of a comprehensive database (CDB) of Alaska fisheries information originated with the NPFMC and was envisioned as a combination of historical Alaska fisheries data from the late 1970’s to present. The database was to be updated on a periodic basis and was not anticipated to serve as a ‘real-time’ source of information. PacFIN was identified as a logical and neutral location for the data repository and that the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC), through close coordination with the Council, would take over responsibility for development and would manage the database for the long-term.
Once this was decided, the Council contracted with the Advanced Technology Consulting Group (AdTech) consulting group to develop a model for a relational comprehensive database. However, due to the complexity of the data and the need to perform iterative queries of the database to prevent reporting of duplicate harvest data, it was determined that the best approach would be a “stored views” or “data warehousing” approach.
In 1996, the PSMFC submitted an application for federal assistance, through the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), to fund the Alaska Fisheries Information Network. The goal of the project was to improve the flow of necessary fishery information to the Council, NMFS, and the State of Alaska for coordinated management of marine fish in Alaska waters of the Pacific Ocean. This proposal included a detailed work plan and a budget for the original AKFIN Support Center (ASC) office in Juneau, along with a subcontract to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game for support tasks. In early 1997, a Project Manager was hired for the Juneau office and work began on the comprehensive database.