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Final Atlantic HMS Management-Based Research Needs and Priorities

November 20, 2014

What is it?

The Atlantic HMS Management-Based Research Needs and Priorities document was developed by the Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Management Division of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) to communicate key research needs that directly support Atlantic HMS management. Atlantic HMS are defined as bluefin, bigeye, albacore, yellowfin, and skipjack tunas, swordfish, billfish (blue marlin, white marlin, roundscale spearfish, longbill spearfish, and sailfish), and sharks.  The document contains a list of near- and long-term research needs and priorities that can be used by individuals and groups interested in Atlantic HMS to identify key research needs, improve management, reduce duplication, prioritize limited funding, and form a potential basis for future funding.  The priorities range from biological/ecological needs to socio-economic needs.

This Atlantic HMS Management-Based Research Needs and Priorities document is one of several efforts to highlight key research needs for HMS.  One early effort, the HMS Research Plan, was developed by NOAA Fisheries scientists across HMS disciplines to identify specific research needs based upon known data gaps.  This document complements the HMS Research Plan currently in draft and, although of different purpose, some aspects of the HMS Research Plan were included in this document.  Other efforts are also underway in the Agency to identify key research needs relevant to Atlantic HMS management, such as the National Recreational Action Agenda and Regional Plans and the National Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program.

While some of the priorities were derived from stock assessment reviews, other priorities were identified while developing and proposing management measures.  Many of the research priorities address key data gaps and/or ways to reduce fishing mortality and/or bycatch to more effectively manage HMS fisheries, either directly or by improving stock assessments.  Because these needs were identified by fishery managers, these research priorities may not correspond directly with the research priorities and needs identified by the scientists throughout NOAA Fisheries.

At this time, specific funding for the priorities outlined in this document has not been identified.   However, the Agency is currently undergoing a strategic review of both management and science planning processes and resource allocations.  This document will inform the strategic review of management planning and resource allocations.  Additionally, there are several Requests for Proposals (RFPs) that support different types of competitively awarded funds for research.  Some of these RFPs include funds for the Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program, Cooperative Research Program, and Saltonstall-Kennedy Grant Program.  More information on these RFPs is available on the NOAA Fisheries website (  This priorities document may be used by interested scientists who are applying for these or other funds as a way to highlight the need for the research.

Click here to view the document.

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