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January 27, 2016
Contact: Shelley Dawicki

Portside Sampling, Genetic Research Focus of 2016-2018 Atlantic Herring Research Set-Aside Awards

The Northeast Fisheries Science Center, in coordination with the New England Fishery Management Council, announces that two research projects have been selected for support through the 2016-2018 Atlantic Herring Research Set-Aside (RSA) Program.

Current research priorities for the program include reducing river herring bycatch in the Atlantic herring fishery, developing port side sampling in the fishery to better characterize catch, exploring ways to passively monitor net performance for a variety of purposes, and investigating video monitoring to document fishing and catch processing.

The University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST), in collaboration with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, has been awarded research set aside quota to continue their successful river herring portside sampling and avoidance program, which was supported  with funding from the 2014-2015 Atlantic Herring RSA program.  Through this award, the research team will 1) portside sample 50% of mid-water trawl trips landed in Massachusetts; 2) continue the river herring avoidance program with the Atlantic herring mid-water trawl fleet; 3) attempt to advance the avoidance program through the utilization of river herring and Atlantic herring habitat forecasts; and 4) complete an evaluation of the river herring avoidance program.

The Cornell Cooperative Extension Program has also been awarded set-aside quota to conduct preliminary genetic analyses to determine if there are genetic differences between Atlantic herring stocks or spawning aggregations. If differences exist, the researchers propose to investigate whether the genetic differences can be used to determine the degree of mixing between the Gulf of Maine/Georges Bank and Scotian Shelf Atlantic herring resources.

These two projects have been awarded the entire 2016-2018 Atlantic herring RSA quota, which will support these projects through 2018. No Federal funds are provided for research under this program. Rather, proceeds generated from the sale of RSA quota will be used to fund research activities and/or harvest set-aside quota.

The awards are based on technical merit, responsiveness of the proposed projects to Council research priorities, and support from subject matter experts who are actively involved in the management of Atlantic herring.  Projects funded under the Atlantic herring RSA Program must enhance the knowledge of Atlantic herring fishery resources or contribute to information Council’s use to make management decisions.

For more information about these awards and the Atlantic Herring RSA Program, please contact Ryan Silva (ryan.silva@noaa.gov, 978-281-9326), or Cheryl Corbett (cheryl.corbett@noaa.gov, 508-495-2070).

To learn more about work funded through the Atlantic Herring RSA program, or through the NEFSC Northeast Cooperative Research Program, use our searchable project list.

2016-2018 Atlantic Herring Research Set Aside Projects

Project Organization Principal Investigators * Set-Aside Award
Sustaining, improving, and evaluating portside sampling and river herring incidental catch reduction methods in the Atlantic herring mid-water trawl fishery University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, School for Marine Science & Technology (SMAST); Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) David Bethoney (SMAST); Bradley Schondelmeier and William S. Hoffman (DMF) Area 1A: 909 mt

Area 3: 1,227 mt

Approximate value:

Coastwide stock structure of Atlantic Herring using DNA analyses to determine the degree of mixing between stocks and spawning aggregations Cornell Cooperative Extension Program   Area 1B: 135 mt

Area 2: 873 mt

Approximate value:

*Values are approximate, and likely high due to the uncertainty of conditions needed to facilitate RSA harvests, which typically do not occur for all management areas in any given year.

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