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Scientific Research & Research Set-Aside Programs

Exempted Fishing Permit
Letter of Acknowledgement
Scientific Research Permit

Scientific research on regulated fisheries may require special permits. Other scientific research may not require any fishery related permits, but may require approval by other divisions of NOAA Fisheries Service regarding marine mammals or endangered species. Most scientific researchers conducting a study that are inherently exempted from the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Management and Conservation Act prefer to request a Letter of Acknowledgement from the Agency for at-sea work. Scientific Research Permits are issued for studies that would be exempted from the Magnuson-Stevens Act, but are conducted by NOAA Fisheries Service personnel. To determine if research requires an exempted fishing permit (EFP), a Letter of Acknowledgement, or a Scientific Research Permit, we have developed a guidance document to help researchers understand the differences. Guidelines have also been developed to assist researchers and fishing industry partners in what exemptions may cause concern with regards to undermining fishing mortality or interactions with protected species.

The Research Set-Aside (RSA) program is utilized to encourage cooperative research between commercial fishing vessels and scientific researchers to further the understanding of our nation’s fisheries. Different fishery management plans implement this program differently. Most fisheries, like Summer flounder, Scup, Black sea bass, Tilefish, Spiny dogfish, Illex squid, Loligo squid, butterfish, Atlantic mackerel, and bluefish, set aside portions of the annual fishery-wide quota to research. Other fisheries, like Atlantic Sea Scallop and Monkfish, set aside days-at-sea from the annual pool of days for research. Researchers and commercial fishing vessels participating in RSA activities often require special exempted fishing permits (EFPs) or other authorizations for scientific research.

Important RSA Links