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2017 Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program Awards

August 29, 2017

NOAA Fisheries has awarded more than $2.3 million to partners around the country to support innovative bycatch reduction research projects through its Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program.


NOAA Fisheries has awarded more than $2.3 million to partners around the country to support innovative bycatch reduction research projects through its Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program. Bycatch of various species—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.

Working side-by-side with fishermen on their boats, NOAA Fisheries has developed solutions to some of the top bycatch challenges facing our nation's fisheries.

Ongoing regional projects include:

  • Development of radio and satellite smart buoys to help fishermen avoid bycatch hot spots.

  • Understanding sea turtle entanglement in vertical lines.

  • Evaluating the use of elevated sweeps on a West Coast groundfish bottom trawl to reduce contact with the seafloor and the corals living there.

2017 Award Recipients

The newly-awarded projects support bycatch reduction research around the country and address a variety of species, including Pacific rockfish, shrimp, haddock, herring, lobster, sharks, sea turtles, and other marine mammals.

Pfleger Institute of Environmental Research

Project: Developing radio and satellite smart buoys to reduce bycatch.


Gettysburg College

Project: Developing and testing a multi-sensory bycatch reduction strategy to reduce sea turtle bycatch in gillnet and pound net fisheries.


University of Hawaii

Project(s): 1) Assessing the efficacy of current and potential conservation and management measures for reducing mortality in a threatened shark species.

2) Habitat use, movement behavior, and residency of oceanic whitetip sharks, Carcharhinus longimanus found in association with fish aggregating devices in Hawaii: Identifying strategies to reduce mortality of a threatened species.


Coonamessett Farm Foundation

Project(s): 1) Testing Selectivity and Raised Webbing Gillnets on Target and Non-Target Species in the Northeast Haddock Fishery.

2) Improving the Understanding of Sea Turtle Entanglement in Vertical Lines.

3) A Modified Foot Sweep for Bycatch Reduction in the Limited Access Scallop Fishery.


Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission

Project(s): 1) Minimizing seafloor and benthic macroinvertebrate impacts: An evaluation of elevated sweeps on a west coast groundfish bottom trawl.

2) Measuring the overall effectiveness of LED lights to reduce eulachon and darkblotched rockfish bycatch in the ocean shrimp trawl fishery.


Massachusetts Marine Fisheries Institute

Project: Developing and testing a pelagic species distribution model to forecast river herring bycatch hot spots.


University of Mississippi

Project: Application of a new bycatch reduction device for use in the U.S. shrimp industry.


Wild Fish Conservancy

Project: Evaluation of pound nets as stock-selective fishing tools in the lower Columbia River Basin.


Duke University

Project: Developing rules to reduce the targeting and bycatch of toothed whales, dolphins, and porpoises in pelagic longline fisheries.


Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Project: Evaluation of alternative fishing technology and strategies to increase yield in the Florida spiny lobster fishery.


New England Aquarium

Project: Closing data gaps on discard mortality and tactical capture and handling practices to reduce mortality in the Gulf of Maine recreational groundfish fishery.


Oregon State University

Project: Uncovering blind spots: Novel methods to assess fine-scale seabird-fisheries overlap to prioritize conservation management.


Marine Resources Research Institute, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources

Project: Post-release mortality of adult red drum caught by recreational anglers.


University of New England

Project: Determining the discard mortality rate and "best capture and handing" methods for Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) captured in the Gulf of Maine lobster industry.


Learn more about the 2017 grantees and their projects. Download File