March 3, 2000 -- Fish Agencies Seek Research Partners 2000/03/03 Agencies Seek Research Partners

Program Seeks to Promote

Understanding Between

Fishermen and Scientists

Teri Frady
Ph: (508) 495-2239
George Liles
PH: (508) 495-2378
Patricia Fiorelli
PH: (978) 465-0492


NMFS Northeast Region

N         E         W         S

Gloucester, Mass., --NOAA Fisheries and the New England Fishery Management Council are looking for people with commercial fishing, scientific, and technical skills to create research projects. The agencies are encouraging projects that will promote understanding and information exchange among scientists, managers, and fishermen, and improve information used to manage groundfish in the northeast. The deadline for initial submissions is April 10, 2000.

"Everyone benefits from this program," said Pat Kurkul, Northeast Regional Administrator for NOAA Fisheries. "We can get more information for evaluating both the condition of stocks and the effectiveness of fishing rules while compensating fishermen for the expertise they bring to understanding the situations we are managing," she says.

In recent meetings, the Research Steering Committee convened by the New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC) identified four areas of top interest for cooperative research projects, funded for the first time by Congress this year.

"These priorities reflect the consensus recommendations of the steering committee, which is a group of fishermen, scientists, and managers who understand the human as well as ecological costs of management," said Tom Hill, Chairman of the NEFMC in making today's announcement. "I am particularly pleased that this process emphasizes not only a search for good ideas, but also provides technical assistance to develop full proposals," he said.

Cooperative research project proposals must be related to conservation efforts or management measures affecting the fishery for cod, haddock, flounders and other groundfish species. The priority areas of interest are: (1) status and biology of groundfish stocks, (2) improving fishery management practices, (3) habitat research, and (4) social and economic information about the fishery. The projects will be developed by fishermen and scientists working together as co-leaders.

To encourage research ideas from everyone, including those not experienced with the proposal process, NOAA Fisheries and the NEFMC are soliciting "concept papers" instead of full proposals at this stage. A concept paper can be quite short and should explain simply the objectives and benefits of the proposed project.

The NEFMC research steering committee will review all submissions and recommend to NOAA Fisheries those that merit development of a detailed proposal and budget. For complex ideas, the agencies can also establish a task force to help with developing the proposal. Full proposals based on accepted concepts will be due in June. Full proposals will be reviewed for their technical merit as well as for their value in fostering cooperation.

For more information, contact: Nick Anderson, 978-281-9383 or at

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