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    Classification of Coastal Communities Reporting Commercial Fish Landings in the U.S. Northeast Region: Developing and Testing a Methodology

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    The National Marine Fisheries Service is required by law to conduct social impact assessments of communities impacted by fishery management plans. To facilitate this process, we developed a technique for grouping communities based on common sociocultural attributes. Multivariate data reduction techniques (e.g. principal component analyses, cluster analyses) were used to classify Northeast U.S. fishing communities based on census and fisheries data. The comparisons indicate that the clusters represent real groupings that can be verified with the profiles. We then selected communities representative of different values on these multivariate dimensions for in-depth analysis. The derived clusters are then compared based on more detailed data from fishing community profiles. Ground-truthing (e.g. visiting the communities and collecting primary information) a sample of communities from three clusters (two overlapping geographically) indicates that the more remote techniques are sufficient for typing the communities for further in-depth analyses. The in-depth analyses provide additional important information which we contend is representative of all communities within the cluster
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