Funding is available for projects designed to reduce bycatch across all U.S. fisheries.
Over the past decade, NOAA Fisheries has funded about 140 new programs through its Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program (BREP). For fiscal year 2022, $2.4 million will be made available to up to 15 projects with awards ranging from $50,000 to $200,000 each to begin next August 1 at the earliest.
Funding priorities include researching new technology, encouraging the adoption of technologies shown to work, reducing mortality of released species, avoiding habitat interactions and conducting international research.
Applicants include U.S. citizens, commercial groups, colleges, municipal or state governments, tribal governments, nonprofits and foreign organizations.
For 2021, the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission got funding to test modified circle hooks to reduce yelloweye rockfish bycatch in the halibut longline fishery, and to improve a communication network for squid fishermen that reduced bycatch of butterfish by over 65%.
The Pacific Commission also tested LED lights on West Coast shrimp trawlers and cut eulachon bycatch by 91%; the lights also showed 86% of captured Chinook how to exit trawl nets.
East coast lobster fishermen are using NOAA funds to deploy ropeless lobster trap retrieval systems to protect whales. The Pacific Halibut Commission got funds to test ways to keep whales from pirating fish from longlines.
NOAA Fisheries is accepting pre-proposals for bycatch projects through January 20. Full proposals are due by April 4.