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Funding Innovative Research and Partnerships to Reduce Bycatch

Modified trawl sweep which allows for the escape of yellowtail flounder and juvenile cod through the rectangular escape openings in the northeast groundfish trawl fishery. The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth is testing a similar sweep design through BREP. 

West coast fishermen meet with conservation engineering 
scientists at the Foulweather Trawl net loft in Oregon to discuss designs for bycatch reduction devices in the groundfish fishery.

2012 Grant Recipients

Florida Keys Community College
GeoEye Imagery Collection Systems Inc.
Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation
Gulf of Maine Research Institute
New England Aquarium Corporation
Oregon State University
Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission
Pfleger Institute of Environmental Research
Queen’s University
Texas A&M University
University of California, San Diego
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

August 29, 2012

Bycatch occurs when fishing operations result in discard of fish or interactions with marine mammals, seabirds, and sea turtles. Bycatch of various species—whether fish, marine mammals, or turtles—can have significant biological, economic, and social impacts on our nation’s fisheries. Reducing bycatch can help fishermen increase their fishing opportunities and efficiency and can also increase catch rates for target species.

NOAA Fisheries’ Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program provides funds to increase collaborative research and develop innovative approaches and strategies that reduce bycatch, seabird interactions, bycatch mortality, and post-release mortality of non-target species and protected species in federally managed fisheries. Under the program, NOAA Fisheries—working side-by-side with fishermen on their boats—develops solutions to some of the top bycatch challenges facing U.S. fisheries. 

14 Grants Awarded to Research Innovative Ways to Reduce Bycatch

In 2012, NOAA Fisheries awarded 14 grants totaling nearly $2.5 million to external organizations. The newly-awarded projects address a variety of species, including right whales, humpback whales, fin whales, Pacific billfish, Chinook salmon, Dungeness crab, Atlantic sharks, Atlantic herring, yellowtail flounder, Atlantic cod, sperm whales, false killer whales, Pacific swordfish, Pacific rockfish, Southeastern shrimp, and Atlantic bluefin tuna. As part of their research, several grant recipients will use partnerships with commercial fishermen and industry to enhance collaboration. For example:

Find more program accomplishments in the annual report to Congress. Some past projects have included:

Useful Links

National Bycatch Program
Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program
2012 BREP Grant Awards 
National Bycatch Report
National Cooperative Research Program



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