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Supporting Innovative Approaches to Reduce Bycatch

A Message from Eileen Sobeck, Head of NOAA Fisheries
December 9, 2014
The Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission has been successful in reducing Chinook salmon bycatch in the Pacific hake fishery by using illumination to attract salmon toward escape areas in midwater trawl nets. Credit: Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission.
More Information

Grant Awards Support Research and Innovation in Bycatch Reduction
Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program (BREP)
2013 Report to Congress
National Bycatch Program


Ensuring the sustainability of our ocean resources is a job too big for any one agency or organization. It requires the collective efforts of citizens, industry, and governments working together. When it comes to solving tough challenges such as bycatch and discard mortality, we realize the greatest gains when we take full advantage of the wealth of talent and skill we each bring to the table. 

In particular, I am regularly impressed with the ingenuity and resourcefulness of our nation’s fishermen.  That’s why I’m pleased we are continuing our practice of seeding technological innovation in federal fisheries. This month, we’re highlighting $2.4 million in partner grants recently awarded to states, academia, and industry to partner with fishermen efforts to reduce bycatch of non-target fishes and protected species.

These 22 grants provided through our Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program, or BREP, will fund research and development of innovative approaches and strategies for reducing bycatch, seabird interactions, bycatch mortality, and post-release mortality in federally-managed fisheries across the country.

Past research funded through BREP has been highly successful in finding ways to reduce a wide range of bycatch. For example, earlier cooperative, innovative research has:

Of course, technology and innovation grants to partners are just a few components of NOAA Fisheries overall approach to addressing bycatch and promoting sustainability. In the coming months, you will hear more about our comprehensive approach to reducing bycatch, improving release mortality, and fostering innovation. Until then, take a moment to review this year’s grantees and reflect on our past accomplishments.


Eileen Sobeck
Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries