Competition for monkfish research support opened today in a program unique to Northeast fishery management. Projects selected through the competition are awarded fishing days rather than dollars, and use the proceeds from catch made using those days to fund their work.
This year’s priorities include monkfish life history, stock structure, migration patterns, interactions with other species, population surveys, bycatch, sources of catch mortality, and gear studies to reduce unwanted bycatch.
Monkfish are one of the highest valued finfish in the Northeast. This federal fishery is managed primarily by limiting the number of days and trips that the fleet can use to target this species. Under the monkfish management plan, 500 of the allowable days-at-sea are “set aside” annually by the councils and then awarded through this federal grant competition.
NOAA Fisheries and the New England and Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Councils have managed the Monkfish Research Set-Aside Program since 2006. Since then, 24 projects have been conducted under this program.
In addition to monkfish, there are active RSA programs for Atlantic sea scallop and Atlantic herring. RSA programs support applied research that responds to priorities established by the fishery management councils, and are designed to inform resource management decisions and improve stock assessments.