Research projects in New England and the Mid-Atlantic are expected to receive nearly $5.6 million in federal funding, according to an announcement made by NOAA Fisheries.
Under the Saltonstall-Kennedy Grant Program, which is administered by NOAA Fisheries, funding will be made available to provide financial assistance for research and development projects that benefit the U.S. fishing industry. Of these funds, $2.3 million would support projects to benefit the groundfish industry. Funding will be made available to projects following review by NOAA's Office of Acquisition and Grants, which is expected to be completed shortly.
"Today's announcement is great news for fishing communities in the Greater Atlantic Region," said John Bullard, administrator, NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office. "Many impressive proposals were submitted for these grants and the funds will support a wide-range of projects to help fishermen and the fishing industry. I'm pleased that so many of the selected projects were from partnerships of fishermen and scientists from this region."
Of the proposals received nationally for this competition, more than half were submitted by fishermen and scientists from New England and the Mid-Atlantic. Ultimately 40 projects were selected from across the country and 21 of those were from the Northeast. New England and the Mid-Atlantic projects are expected to receive over half of the available Fiscal Year 2013 Saltonstall-Kennedy grant program funds.
Available funds will support projects in aquaculture, conservation engineering, ecosystem studies, fisheries socioeconomics and identifying ways to help fishermen better achieve their annual quotas of fish so they can be more profitable. Recommended projects are from Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island,
Virginia, and Washington D.C. Areas of focus include:
• reducing fisheries bycatch in the lobster, monkfish and striped bass fisheries;
• ecosystem investigations involving Bluefin tuna, blue crabs, cod, lobster, mackerel, and striped bass;
• understanding the socio-economic issues impacting groundfish fishermen; and,
• projects that increase utilization of fishery resources (e.g., redfish and dogfish).
The Saltonstall-kennedy Act of 1954 established a fund used by the Secretary of Commerce to provide grants or cooperative agreements for fisheries research and development projects addressing aspects of U.S. fisheries, including, but not limited to harvesting, processing, marketing and associated business infrastructures. The objectives of the Saltonstall-Kennedy Grant Program is to address the needs of fisheries and fishing communities by building and maintaining sustainable fisheries, dealing with the impacts of conservation and management measures, and increasing other opportunities to use existing infrastructure to keep working waterfronts viable.