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Mid-Atlantic 2013 Research Set-Aside Awards and 2014 Opportunity

NOAA Fisheries today announced that two projects have been approved this year under the Mid-Atlantic Research Set-Aside Program and that applications are now being accepted for the 2014 program through May 6, 2013 on or before 5 pm EDT.   To read more about how to submit a proposal for 2014 please click here.  

   Photo credit:  Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries

Photo credit: Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries

2013 Funded Projects

The Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) has been selected to continue its near shore trawl survey (NEAMAP) in 2013.   NEAMAP surveys important commercial and recreational fish species to enhance stock assessments and management programs.  Specifically, commercial fishing vessels will be helping to collect information on the late juvenile and adult stages of  finfish species including summer flounder, scup, black sea bass, butterfish, bluefish and several invertebrate species such as longfin squid. The survey encompasses near shore waters and areas of the Mid-Atlantic Bight (inshore of the 10fm contour), Block Island Sound, and Rhode Island Sound. The principal investigators for this project are: Christopher Bonzek and Robert Latour. The following quantities of fish and invertebrate species are permitted to be landed and sold to cover the cost of the research: 554,412 lbs of summer flounder; 958,950 lbs of scup; 51,900 lbs of black sea bass; 72,000 lbs of  Longfin squid and 621,840 lbs of bluefish. It is expected that the sale of these species will provide the $1,120,000 needed to support this project.

The second project is an industry-based survey to collect information on black sea bass using a ventless trap (a trap that has no escape holes so fish are unable to get out). This project is a continuation of a 2012 study by Cockeast Fisheries Inc.  It is designed to collect information on black sea bass from four different hard bottom sites in southern New England and Mid-Atlantic waters. Unvented black sea bass pots will be fished on each site for five months running from June through October in NE, and April through August in the Mid-Atlantic. To cover the project costs ($230,801)  the following species can be landed and sold: 35,388 lbs of summer flounder; 60,000 lbs of black sea bass; 602,000 lbs of Loligo squid and 93,990 lbs of bluefish.  The principal investigators for this project are: Laura Skrobe, Captain Charles Borden, Najih Lazar,  and Dr. Steven Cadrin.

Research Set-Aside programs are unique to federal fisheries in the northeast. Although NOAA Fisheries' Northeast Cooperative Research Program manages them, no federal funds are provided to support the research. Instead, funding is provided annually by the sale of Set-Aside allocations for quota managed or days-at-sea (DAS) managed fisheries.

Landings that pay for RSA research are allocated by the New England and Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Councils (NEFMC and MAFMC, respectively). This can be a fixed poundage or a percentage of the annual quota or a number of the year's total allowed fishing days. Money generated by the sale of the awarded RSA quota funds the proposed research, and compensation is provided for vessels harvesting the quota in the form of direct fish sales in the commercial fishing industry or in the form of additional fishing opportunities in the for-hire and charter recreational fishing industry. While using set-aside days or quota, vessels are often allowed to do so in more opportune ways than the general fleet, for example, with exemptions from trip limits, some seasonal closures, or other restrictions that would otherwise apply.

Current RSAs include programs for Atlantic sea scallops, Atlantic herring, monkfish, and mid-Atlantic multi species which includes Atlantic mackerel, black sea bass, bluefish, butterfish, longfin and shortfin squid, scup, summer flounder, and tilefish.

RSA projects are selected through a competitive grants process, with priorities established through the councils. 

From 2000 through 2011, roughly $67.7 million worth of RSA allocations provided support for 119 research projects valued at approximately $19 million, and an estimated $47 million in RSA harvesting vessel compensation.