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2019 Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program Awards

October 21, 2019

More than $2.3 million will go to partners to support innovative bycatch reduction research projects.

Coastal Colors

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 is catch that fishermen do not want, cannot sell, or are not allowed to keep. 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.

Examples of past 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.

2019 Recipients Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program

International Seafood Sustainability Foundation: $140,020

  • Project: Acoustic discrimination to avoid purse seine catches of undersized Yellowfin tuna.

University of Missouri: $195,000

  • Project: Quantifying and reducing post-release mortality of shortfin mako sharks (Isurus oxyrinchus) captured as bycatch in the Atlantic coast pelagic long-line fisheries.

Natural Resources Consultants, Inc.: $100,874

  • Project: Testing gear modifications to avoid bycatch in Bering Sea Pacific cod and halibut pot fisheries.

Gulf of Maine Research Institute: $127,329

  • Project: Improving the selectivity of the ultra-low opening trawl (ULOT) to reduce bycatch of Atlantic cod.

Maine Department of Marine Resources: $198,018

  • Project: Assessing the feasibility of Time Tension Line Cutter use in fixed gear fisheries to reduce entanglement risk for the endangered North Atlantic right whale.

Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries: $176,572

  • Project: Bycatch reduction of red hake in the Southern New England silver hake trawl fishery.

Cornell University: $75,169

  • Project: Advancing bycatch reduction technology in New England small mesh multispecies fisheries-outreach and technology transfer of the large mesh belly panel.

FishNext Research: $199,679

  • Project: Reducing bycatch using real-time video and active release in Alaskan pollock and Pacific whiting fisheries.

Sea Mammal Education Learning Technology Society: $225,000

  • Project: Developing and testing innovative ropeless lobster fishing gear to reduce bycatch of North Atlantic right whales.

Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission: $165,000

  • Project: Development and testing of a rockfish bycatch reduction device for the Pacific hake fishery: A collaborative study between fishing industry and gear researchers.

Hawaiian Fresh Seafood: $98,392

  • Project: Improving post-hooking survival of marine turtles and sharks: designing and testing a cost effective linecutter prototype for use in the Hawaii longline fishery.

Coastal Monitoring Associates: $119,746

  • Project: Low-cost timed release for ropeless traps in the U.S. West Coast dungeness crab and spiny lobster fisheries where humpback, grey, and blue whale entanglement is a threat.

New England Aquarium: $125,000

  • Project: Whale release ropes as a large whale bycatch mitigation option in the lobster fishery.

Eric Gilman LLC: $98,900

  • Project: Demonstration of practicality and safety of alternative branchline weighting designs that reduce seabird catch risk in the Hawaii pelagic longline deep-set fishery.

University of Mississippi: $125,250

  • Project: Shark bycatch reduction in tuna/swordfish fisheries: the potential for using ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene leaders to encourage shark “bite-offs” in the Gulf of Mexico.

Wild Fish Conservancy: $171,050

  • Project: Evaluation of an experimental commercial pound net for stock-selective harvest and ecological monitoring of endangered Chinook salmon in the lower Columbia River, Oregon.

Read the 2019 grantees' abstracts

Understanding Bycatch

Fishing operations sometimes result in “bycatch” of non-target species. Learn how NOAA Fisheries is working with partners to reduce bycatch.

Shark in green net on boat

Last updated by Office of Sustainable Fisheries on May 06, 2020