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With the goal of rebuilding depleted stocks and sustainably managing the nation’s fisheries, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Fisheries Innovation Fund fosters new approaches to making catch-shares work for fishermen.
Eric Schwaab, NOAA’s Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, expressed his support for the diversity of the projects selected. He also noted that U.S. fishermen have been responsible for some of the most progressive innovations in fisheries management and science.
“The number of projects exploring new technologies and methods to help refine, improve, and expand existing programs is testament to the entrepreneurial spirit of our nation’s fishermen and their commitment to sustainable fisheries,” said Schwaab.
Catch-share management systems dedicate a specific area or percentage of a fishery’s total allowable catch to individuals, communities or associations. Studies have shown that they can help restore the economic and ecological health of overfished fisheries. In addition to helping achieve sustainability of fish populations, catch-share managed fisheries reduce the accidental bycatch of marine fish and wildlife.
“Helping fishermen take the lead in creating more sustainable fisheries and protecting their jobs is one of the most important conservation investments we can make at this time,” said Jeff Trandahl, NFWF’s executive director. “The Fisheries Innovation Fund supports new ideas, new technologies and new management strategies that are tailored to meet the needs of each region’s marine ecosystem and the coastal communities that rely on them.”
Seventeen of the 18 grants announced today, which represent more than $2.25 million in funding, come from NFWF’s Fisheries Innovation Fund, which is supported by NOAA, the Walton Family Foundation, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. An additional project in the Gulf of Mexico is supported by a $200,000 grant from NFWF’s Recovered Oil Fund for Wildlife. Most awards will be matched by additional contributions by the grantees.
The 2011 Fisheries Innovation Fund grants, listed by region, are:
Maryland Commercial Watermen-led Catch-shares Design Effort
Grantee: Maryland Watermen's Association
Fisheries Innovation Fund Award: $100,000; Matching Funds: $115,000; Total Project: $215,000
This project will extend and enhance the current effort by Maryland’s commercial fishing industry and its partners to design a catch-share program for Maryland’s blue crab fishery.
Tracking Catch in a New England Groundfish Sector
Grantee: Sustainable Harvest Sector
Fisheries Innovation Fund Award: $30,000; Matching Funds: $30,000; Total Project: $60,000
This project will develop and implement a harvest and quota trading system in the New England groundfish fishery for fishing year 2011.
A Sustainable Fishing Community Model: CCFT & Loan Fund
Grantee: Cape Cod Commercial Hook Fishermen's Association
Fisheries Innovation Fund Award: $185,000; Matching Funds: $237,083; Total Project: $422,083
This project will launch a Cape Cod Fisheries Loan Fund to empower fishermen to invest in their own quota and develop a fisheries management data hub, a comprehensive source of models, tools, and data.
Rhode Island Party and Charter Boat Association Fluke Sector
Grantee: Rhode Island Party and Charter Boat Association
Fisheries Innovation Fund Award: $86,200; Total Project: $86,200
The project will design an operational catch-share for charter and party boat captains that will debut as a pilot in 2012.
Catch Share New Entry System: Permit Bank and Sector Synergy
Grantee: Penobscot East Resource Center
Fisheries Innovation Fund Award: $185,000; Matching Funds: $110,000; Total Project: $295,000
Partners will develop a process to allow new entrants into the Northeast groundfish fishery through a permit network, business planning, and conservation or geographic permit covenants.
Simple Communication System for Sector Vessels and Managers
Grantee: Tri State Fishing Sector
Fisheries Innovation Fund Award: $68,500; Matching Funds: $68,500; Total Project: $137,000
This project will improve accountability of quota usage by simplifying data entry and reporting for the multi-species fishery with a software program for active fishing vessels.
Designing a River Herring Catch-share for the East Coast
Grantee: University of New Hampshire
Fisheries Innovation Fund Award: $142,700; Matching Funds: $1,500; Total Project: $144,200
The project will gather existing scientific information to design a river herring catch-share, the first anadromous fish catch-share in the U.S.
Gulf of Mexico:
Electronic Fishery Monitoring for Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish
Grantee: The Ocean Conservancy
Fisheries Innovation Fund Award: $200,000; Matching Funds: $126,000; Total Project: $326,000
The project will evaluate electronic monitoring—closed circuit TVs, gear sensors, and a data storage system— as a viable data collection and fisheries accounting tool for management of the Gulf reef fishery.
Comprehensive Reef Fish and Headboat IFQ within the Gulf
Grantee: Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders' Alliance
Recovered Oil Fund for Wildlife Funds: $200,002; Matching Funds: $95,200; Total Project: $295,202
Nineteen species of Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish will be protected through the implementation of Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) systems for the remaining commercially caught reef fish and the establishment of a pilot IFQ for headboat operators (commercial operators who take paying customers on recreational fishing trips).
Prepare to Access Opportunities from Catch-Shares
Grantee: Port Orford Ocean Resource Team
Fisheries Innovation Fund Award: $75,000; Matching Funds: $10,000; Total Project: $85,000
The project will prepare the Port Orford, Oregon fishing community for catch-shares management by designing strategies to protect access to the traditional fishing sectors upon which the community depends.
Collective Tools for Bycatch Management
Grantee: Ilwaco Fishermen and Marketing Cooperative
Fisheries Innovation Fund Award: $100,000; Matching Funds: $210,000; Total Project: $310,000
Collective arrangements will be made in the Pacific coast trawl Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) fishery to manage accidental bycatch of depleted groundfish species.
Reducing Halibut BycatchThrough Gear Modifications
Grantee: Buccaneer Fishing
Fisheries Innovation Fund Award: $72,600; Matching Funds: $80,000; Total Project: $152,600
The applicant will conduct the first systematic evaluation of a halibut bycatch reduction device for the Pacific coast trawl fleet and make recommendations on its applicability.
San Francisco Long-Term Fishing Community Stabilization
Grantee: San Francisco Community Fishing Association
Fisheries Innovation Fund Award: $30,000; Matching Funds: $295,000; Total Project: $325,000
The project supports the further development of a community fishing association and will acquire an experimental fishing permit to participate in the groundfish catch-share program as a demonstration.
Electronic Monitoring for Alaskan Catch Share Fisheries
Grantee: Alaska Longline Fishermen's Association
Fisheries Innovation Fund Award: $220,000; Matching Funds: $161,000; Total Project: $381,000
This project will field-test electronic monitoring on small, community-based boats now participating in Alaska’s halibut/sablefish catch-share fisheries.
Alaska Catch Share Plan for the Guided Sport Sector
Grantee: Southeast Alaska Guides Organization
Fisheries Innovation Fund Award: $205,000; Matching Funds: $70,500; Total Project: $275,500
In cooperation with the Alaska Charter Association, this project will support design of a pooled catch-share program which entails building the sector’s capacity to acquire and manage commercial halibut quota to increase allocation for recreational anglers.
eCatch: Web-based Monitoring for Cooperative Fishing
Grantee: The Nature Conservancy
Fisheries Innovation Fund Award: $150,000; Total Project: $150,000
This project will enhance a tool (eCatch) that maps and monitors various aspects of collective fisheries data, to facilitate its use by other collective fishing arrangements.
Electronic Monitoring to Facilitate Affordable Catch-Shares
Grantee: Fishermen's Marketing Association
Fisheries Innovation Fund Award: $200,000; Matching Funds: $275,000; Total Project: $475,000
The project will test whether video can accurately determine species identification for fish that will not be retained (bycatch).
Community-based Fisheries Trust Network
Fisheries Innovation Fund Award: $200,000; Matching Funds: $304,877; Total Project: $504,877
The project supports the emergence of effective community fishing organizations and business plan development for members of this network on both the West and East coasts.
To learn more about NOAA’s Catch-Share efforts, please visit: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/domes_fish/catchshare/index.htm
Also, visit National Fish and Wildlife Foundation at http://www.nfwf.org