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Grant Awards Support Research and Innovation in Bycatch Reduction

With 2013 BREP funding, researchers from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth tested this modified trawl to reduce yellowtail flounder and juvenile cod bycatch in the Georges Bank large mesh groundfish fishery. Photo credit: University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

Related Links

National Bycatch Program
Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program (BREP)
2014 BREP Grant Awards (PDF)
National Bycatch Report
National Cooperative Research Program


As part of its BREP-funded research, researchers from the New England Aquarium test how using different colored ropes help right whales avoid entanglement with fishing gear. Photo credit: New England Aquarium.

December 9, 2014

In September 2014, NOAA Fisheries awarded 22 grants totaling more than $2.4 million as part of its Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program. Bycatch of various species—whether fish, marine mammals, or turtles—can have significant biological, economic, and social impacts. Preventing and reducing bycatch is a shared goal of fisheries managers, the fishing industry, and the environmental community.

Researchers awarded funding in 2013 are conducting research that has:

2014 Grant Recipients

The newly-awarded projects support bycatch reduction research around the country and address a variety of species, including flounders, Chinook salmon, red snapper, Jonah crabs, coastal sharks, skates, sea turtles, whales, and other marine mammals. A list of grant recipients by region is listed below. For more details on each project, explore the project abstracts.


The Regents of the University of California, San Diego
Project title: Using combined video, acoustic, and accelerometer measurements to determine the conceptual viability of a “smart” hook for reducing bycatch of shark, turtle, skates, and marine mammals in pelagic and dermersal longline fisheries

Greater Atlantic

Cornell University Cooperative Extension Marine Program
Project title: Bycatch Avoidance Communication Network Expansion
Marine Biological Laboratory
Project title: Avoiding bycatch and entanglement of turtles and whales with innovative sub-tidal and offshore aquaculture gear
University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth
Project title: Avoiding overfished flounders with innovative semi-pelagic trawling on Georges Bank
University of Rhode Island
Project title: Reducing the bycatch of sublegal Jonah crabs in the lobster fishery

Pacific Islands

Cascadia Research Collective
Project title: False killer whales and long-line fishery interactions: Assessing movements of satellite-tagged individuals in relation to longline fishing activity and facilitating studies of interactions with gear

Southeast and Caribbean

Environmental Trawling Solutions, Inc.
Project title: Bycatch reduction with lessened bottom impact through the Wing Trawling System; comparison to otter trawl doors
Florida Keys Community College
Project title: Performance of a long lasting shark repellent bait for bycatch reduction during commercial pelagic longline fishing
Gulf and South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation
Project title: Increasing compliance and effective enforcement of turtle excluder devices and bycatch reduction devices in the Southeast Shrimp Fishery - A NOAA Fisheries/Industry Workshop
Texas A&M University
Project title: Techniques for minimizing discard mortality of Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper and validating survival with acoustic telemetry
Vast Array Corporation
Project title: Pilot project to test prototype devices to reduce leader line length on pelagic longline bycatch

West Coast

FishNext Research
Project title: Exploring off-bottom trawling and other approaches to avoid interactions with structure-forming invertebrates during Pacific Ocean perch fishing on the Bering Sea slope
Makah Tribe
Project title: Testing the use of traditional fishing knowledge of the Makah Tribe to reduce bycatch in recreational halibut fisheries
Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission
Project title: Continued research on the use of artificial illumination to enhance Chinook salmon escapement out a bycatch reduction device in a Pacific hake midwater trawl
Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission
Project title: Examining the effectiveness of T90 codends to reduce bycatch in a multispecies bottom trawl fishery
Stanford University; University of California, Santa Cruz; The Nature Conservancy; Marine Conservation Initiative; San Diego State University
Project title: EcoCatch: Real-Time Fisheries Management for Ecological and Economic Sustainability
University of California, Santa Cruz
Project title: Changing fishing practices through outreach to decrease post release mortality of protected species in the central California recreational rockfish fishery

Atlantic Highly Migratory Species

MOTE Marine Laboratory
Project title: Reducing post-release mortality from commercial fisheries bycatch in large coastal sharks