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September 12, 2017
Contact: Shelley Dawicki

Research Proposals Sought for 2018/2019 Sea Scallop Research Set Aside Program

Deadline for receipt of completed proposals is November 6, 2017

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries), in conjunction with the New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC), is seeking research proposals to utilize scallop research set aside (RSA) quota that has been set-aside by the council to fund scallop research endeavors through the 2018/2019 Scallop RSA Program.

Each year, 1.25 million pounds of scallops are “set aside” during the specification-setting process to carry out the program.  Awards are made in pounds, not dollars, and no federal funding is provided to conduct the research.  Proceeds generated from the sale of set-aside scallops are used to fund research activities and compensate vessels that participate in research activities and/or harvest set-aside quota. Projects funded under the Scallop RSA Program must enhance the knowledge of the scallop fishery resource or contribute to the body of information on which scallop management decisions are made.

Highest priority will be given to survey-related research. Scallop research proposals that investigate research priorities identified by the NEFMC include an intensive industry-based survey of each of the relevant scallop access areas that will provide estimates of total and exploitable biomass to be used for setting fishery catch limits under the rotational area management program; an intensive industry-based survey of areas of importance such as open areas with high scallop recruitment or closed areas that may open to fishing; and resource-wide industry-based surveys of scallops within Georges Bank and/or Mid-Atlantic resources areas, and within the Gulf of Maine.

High priority proposals will be those focused on scallop meat quality research, and bycatch research. Other research proposals with medium importance include investigation of turtle behavior and its potential impact the scallop fishery in the Mid-Atlantic and Georges Bank, and research on other scallop biology projects. Other areas of interest for proposals include research in dredging efficiency across habitats, times, areas, and gear designs to improve dredge survey estimate; habitat characterization research; evaluation of social and economic impacts and consequences of the area rotation program of the scallop fishery; and research to support the investigation of non-harvest mortality of scallops.

In addition, other areas of interest are resource surveys to expand and/or enhance survey coverage in areas that have the potential to be important resource areas, but which currently lack comprehensive survey coverage; research related to identifying the major sources of management uncertainty and measuring their potential effects on future projected landings; and research projects designed to either 1) examine whether chemicals, water quality, and other environmental stressors affect reproduction and growth of scallops (e.g., jet fuel, pesticides, ocean acidification, etc.); or 2) research to actively manage spat collection and seeding of sea scallops.

Complete proposals/applications must be received on or before 5 p.m. EDT on November 6, 2017. For further information, go to the 2018/2019 Sea Scallop Research Set Aside federal funding opportunity announcement.

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