Northeast Cooperative Research Program
The Northeast Cooperative Research Program (NCRP) started in 1999, with the initial goal of formalizing and expanding collaborative research among the commercial fishing industry, marine science and fishery management communities in the Northeast. This goal has remained consistent as the program has matured into a substantial source of new technologies, data, and partnerships. These efforts have resulted in practical solutions for bycatch and reporting issues, and have helped aid in developing more selective and effective fishing strategies and management measures.
NCRP priorities are developed in conjunction with needs identified by the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Councils (NEFMC and MAFMC, respectively). Initial NCRP work focused on three core activities: industry-based surveys, study fleets, and Atlantic cod tagging. In 2008, a strategic planning process was conducted to identify major new or continuing initiatives that should be undertaken during the next 3-5 years. During the process, a series of public meetings were held to obtain comments on perceived research needs in the Northeast, and a Strategic Plan was developed to guide activities through 2014. A summary of the current strategic plan and more on how it was developed can be found here.
The NCRP is currently implementing the major recommendations from this plan which include: continued efforts on industry-based surveys and survey effectiveness; fishery dependent monitoring, including Study Fleets and enhanced biological sampling; and conservation engineering and GIS technology development for dynamic fleet management, with an emphasis on the transfer of these tools and technologies to the industry.
With major changes occurring in Northeast groundfish management in 2010, including the implementation of sector-based management and accountability measures for exceeding catch limits, the NCRP has conducted a mid-term review of the strategic plan to identify any new or emerging research priorities. An additional round of stakeholder meetings was held during the summer and fall of 2011, and the results from those meetings will help continue to shape the strategic plan in the coming years.
Current Research Focus
- Developing innovative fishery and resource monitoring tools, and pilot programs to test them
- Conducting specialized biological surveys of some fish stocks to address critical data gaps
- Establishing a comprehensive conservation engineering program to promote technological solutions to fishery problems
- Study Fleet
- Industry-Based Surveys