Cooperative Research Fosters Regional Partnerships
The future and sustainability of our region’s fisheries depends on collaboration. By cultivating meaningful partnerships to support effective research we can develop more efficient fishing gear, better data, and stronger markets.
The Northeast Fisheries Science Center’s Cooperative Research Branch wants to hear from the region’s fisheries stakeholders. Your input is key to creating a strategic, forward-thinking program that builds community and develops effective cooperative research projects.
2024 Northeast Cooperative Research Summit
The Northeast Fisheries Science Center’s Cooperative Research Branch is hosting the 2024 Northeast Cooperative Research Summit in Cape May, New Jersey, on February 5, 2024. Going forward, the Northeast Cooperative Research Summit will be held annually, with the location rotating between states.
This year we are soliciting presentations on new or recently completed cooperative research projects and will be hosting breakout discussions focused on the topics that stakeholders identified as the highest priority during the 2023 Northeast Cooperative Research Summits.
The 2024 summit will also include a research prioritization exercise and ample time for networking and conversation. Graduate students and other early career scientists who are engaged or interested in cooperative research are encouraged to attend.
This 1-day event will bring together scientists, managers, fishermen, and fishing industry representatives to:
- Share the approaches and results of new cooperative research projects or those that have recently been concluded
- Identify opportunities for expanding the contributions of the fishing industry to research
- Facilitate regional coordination of cooperative research
- Develop new partnerships between the fishing and science communities
- Identify priorities for near-term science and management challenges that can be addressed by cooperative research
- Presentations will focus on new or recently completed cooperative research projects. Abstracts must be submitted when registering.
- Questions and reflections from fishing industry members will be prioritized after each presentation
There will be four breakout sessions featuring panels of experts from the fishing and science communities to discuss:
- Applying data and results from cooperative research to stock assessments
- Working together to understand the impacts of changing climate on ecosystems and fisheries
- Assessing the impacts of offshore wind on fishing operations
- Finding pathways forward for cooperative fisheries surveys in the face of offshore wind energy development
If you would like to attend the 2024 Northeast Cooperative Research Summit, please complete the registration form by December 22, 2023. Space is limited, so early registration is encouraged.
If you are submitting an abstract for a presentation, you are required to include your abstract when you register. For questions regarding registration, please contact email@example.com
If you are currently participating in research that involves a collaboration between scientists and fishermen, please consider submitting an abstract for an oral presentation. Presentations on ongoing or recently completed cooperative research projects will be prioritized. Abstracts must be submitted at the time of registration using the online form. The deadline for registration and abstract submission is December 22, 2023.
Fees and Stipends
There is no fee to participate in this summit, but registration is required. The deadline for registration is December 22, 2023.
To encourage industry participation, a travel and participation stipend of $750 will be offered to the first 20 commercial fishermen who register.
Date and Venue
February 5, 2024
The Grand Hotel
1045 Beach Ave
Cape May, NJ 08204
2023 Northeast Cooperative Research Summits
In January and February 2023, the Northeast Fisheries Science Center's Cooperative Research Branch held two summits focused on cooperative fisheries research in the New England and Mid-Atlantic regions. Over 40 members from the commercial and recreational fishing industries attended alongside scientists and other stakeholders. The summits facilitated discussions on current research initiatives, industry-based surveys, offshore wind science, stock assessments, and conservation gear engineering. Additionally, a research prioritization exercise identified key areas for future study.
The top priorities for New England encompass research on the impacts of offshore wind, enhanced catch and effort data collection, and environmental drivers of resource species. In the Mid-Atlantic region, primary concerns involve the impact of offshore wind on fishing operations, species, habitats, and data collection. These collaborative summits proved crucial for establishing shared goals and fostering partnerships vital for sustainable fisheries management. The NEFSC’s Cooperative Research Branch plans to host these summits annually, alternating locations between New England and the Mid-Atlantic.
2021 Cooperative Research Virtual Workshops: Facing the Challenges of COVID-19
Data collection for ongoing research and monitoring was a challenge throughout 2020. Individuals and institutions worked to adapt techniques—and expectations—to a new set of physical restrictions combating the spread of COVID-19.
To share with and learn from our partners, we organized two webinars in early 2021. They focused on how scientists and industry partners adapted projects and leveraged self-reported data collection strategies to continue conducting science during a global health crisis. The information exchange by scientists and industry partners revealed many common experiences and lessons learned.
Despite the new challenges that scientists and industry partners had to work through during the COVID-19 pandemic, the sentiment at both webinars was optimistic. Around 175 fisheries professionals fueled an engaging discussion that was well received. Attendees and presenters represented a resourceful and highly motivated community dedicated to conducting cooperative research that benefits all stakeholders.
The first webinar, titled “Cooperative Research Field Work in a Pandemic,” was held on February 25, 2021. It featured four projects that safely completed field work aboard commercial fishing vessels during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The second webinar in the series, titled “Filling the Gaps with Self-Reported Data,” was held on March 4, 2021. It featured four projects that engage fishermen in collecting catch, effort, biological, and environmental data to help fill spatial and temporal gaps.
Ten Takeaways from Each Webinar
Cooperative Research Field Work in a Pandemic
The presenters shared their approaches to adapting field work during COVID-19. All of these protocols kept research teams safe and healthy while they collected scientific information critical to managing the region’s fisheries.
They shared ten keys to conducting cooperative research field work during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Belief in the importance and value of the research
- Mutual trust in keeping each other healthy and safe at sea
- Thorough planning for each step in the field work process
- Consideration of each individual’s risk tolerance
- Smaller, “podded” field teams
- Infection prevention prior to sailing, including repeated testing, isolation, and symptom tracking
- Modifications to vessel staging and travel
- Expecting and adjusting to higher costs (and stress!)
- Having a Plan B in case someone gets sick, such as relying on industry partners and electronic technologies to collect data (some data is better than none)
- Teamwork, the heart of cooperative research
Filling the Gap with Self-Reported Data
The presenters shared their experiences with collecting and applying self-reported data during the COVID-19 pandemic, from using novel training and support tools to advanced analytics.
They shared ten insights into conducting cooperative research projects during the pandemic:
- Face-to-face interactions and relationships that cooperative research relies on are harder to maintain during a pandemic
- More regular and diverse communication mechanisms ensure that issues are being resolved and projects continue operating
- Thorough planning mitigates risk when interactions are necessary
- Delays in data delivery occurred, but timeliness improved as solutions were developed throughout the pandemic
- Relaxed deadlines and flexibility in compensation supported and showed our appreciation of industry partners collecting the self-reported data
- Researchers adapted to provide remote technical support services, such as phone and remote access to equipment/devices, and recorded training videos for new vessels
- Self-reported data remained remarkably stable, with levels of data collection and reporting similar to non-pandemic years, especially after the initial wave of the pandemic
- Shared value of the data is key to continued participation and data quality
- Self-reported data is valuable for science but also for fishermen as an opportunity to learn about the ocean that supports their businesses
- Even during a global health crisis, the industry is generous with their time, their fish, their data, and their partnerships.
The 2019 Engagement Sessions
In the fall of 2019, we hosted a series of stakeholder engagement sessions. They gathered fishermen and research partners together to discuss research ideas and priorities for future projects, and to share past research successes and lessons learned. One priority that emerged from these sessions was a need to facilitate regional coordination of cooperative research and the development of new partnerships.
Engagement Session Discussion Outline:
- The Cooperative Research Approach
- What are some examples of successful cooperative research?
- What makes a cooperative research project successful?
- What are some shortfalls associated with cooperative research?
- How can/should cooperative research be applied?
- Cooperative Research Priorities
- What are cooperative research needs and priorities in the near term?
- What are cooperative research needs and priorities in the long term?
- What types of partners should be engaged?
- What are the expected/desired outcomes?
Engagement Session Outcomes
After our engagement sessions, we summarized the results across sessions and compiled them into a report. The report analyzed stakeholder suggestions on approaches and research priorities. It also explains our plan to pilot annual stakeholder summits in the region to strengthen our ties with partners in cooperative research.
Get the full report here:
Cooperative Research in the Northeast Region: Stakeholder Priorities (PDF, 13 pages) - Download File