National Cooperative Research Program

Partnerships with the fishing industry, fishermen, and other stakeholders play a valuable role in helping NOAA Fisheries improve the evaluation of stock status and the management of fishery resources.

Cooperative research provides a means for commercial and recreational fishermen to become involved in the collection of fundamental fisheries information to support the development and evaluation of management options. In cooperative research, industry and other stakeholders can partner with NOAA Fisheries and university scientists, in all phases of the research program, including survey/statistical design, conducting of research, analysis of results, and communication of results. In FY2001, Congressional funding was provided to NOAA Fisheries to develop a national cooperative research program. These funds are administered by NOAA Fisheries Headquarters and are distributed to NOAA Fisheries regional cooperative research programs to assist in implementation of cooperative research projects.

What is Cooperative Research?

“Cooperative research” refers to the partnering of the fishing industry, fishermen, and other stakeholders with federal and university scientists to collect fundamental fisheries information. The information collected through well-designed and scientifically valid cooperative research programs helps improve the information base for single species, as well as multispecies and ecosystem assessment models.

In cooperative research, industry and other stakeholders partner with NOAA Fisheries and university scientists in all phases of the research program, including survey/statistical design, conducting of research, analysis of results, and communication of results.

Ultimately, this additional information improves our ability to evaluate stock status and manage fishery resources.

What are the Benefits?

Cooperative research programs benefit the fishing industry, individual fishermen, fisheries scientists, and managers in several ways:

  • Improving fishermen’s understanding of fisheries information.
  • Improving the credibility of fisheries information for use in fisheries management.
  • Increasing the precision and expanding the scope of fisheries resource surveys.
  • Providing supplemental information about fishing operations.
  • Using knowledge gained from fishermen to help design and implement research.
  • Building mutual understanding and respect among participants.
  • Collecting more and better data at lower cost.
  • Improving access to vessels and time at sea.

How Can I Learn More About Cooperative Research in My Region?

Check out the following resources:

In addition, several NOAA programs support cooperative research activities:

Last updated by Office of Science and Technology on May 10, 2019