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 we've developed solutions to some of the top bycatch challenges facing our nation's fisheries.
Ongoing regional projects include:
- Creating a bycatch avoidance tool for cod in the Gulf of Maine recreational fishery.
- Use of LEDs to reduce Pacific halibut catch in groundfish trawls.
- A community tagging program aimed at reducing mortality to sharks found near fish aggregating devices in Hawaii.
2018 Recipients Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program
Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association
- Project: Adapting towed array hydrophones to reduce interactions between sperm whales and longline gear in Alaska.
- Project: Testing the applicability of sensory-based bycatch reduction technologies to reduce sea turtle bycatch in North Carolina coastal gillnet and pound net fisheries.
Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries
- Project: Creating a bycatch avoidance tool for cod in the Gulf of Maine recreational fishery.
Mote Marine Laboratory
- Project: Best fishing practices for the Gulf of Mexico reef fish fishery: developing bycatch reduction techniques through refined modeling of electronic monitoring data.
New England Aquarium
- Project: Implementation of emerging technology to estimate and mitigate the post-release mortality rate of prohibited sandbar sharks in a rapidly growing shore-based fishery.
- Project: Testing a ropeless fishing prototype for eliminating large whale entanglements in pot fishing gear.
- Project: Low-cost solutions to cetacean bycatch in gillnet fisheries.
Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission
- Project: Use of LEDs to reduce Pacific halibut catches before trawl entrainment.
- Project: Identifying the optimal level of artificial illumination necessary to achieve maximum chinook salmon escapement rates out a bycatch reduction device integrated into a Pacific hake mid-water trawl.
Pfleger Institute of Environmental Research
- Project: Documenting post-release survival and depth distribution of bigeye thresher sharks caught using Linked Buoy Gear.
South Carolina Wildlife Federation
- Project: Changing recreational fishing practices through outreach to decrease post-release mortality of South Atlantic deep water species.
University of Hawaii
- Project: A community tagging program aimed at reducing mortality to sharks found in association with fish aggregating devices in Hawaii.
- Project: Illuminating the shark bycatch post-release mortality black box.
Wild Fish Conservancy
- Project: Evaluation of Pound Nets for Stock-Selective Harvest in Lower Columbia River Spring Chinook, Summer Chinook and Shad Fisheries.