Commonwealth Professor of Fisheries Oceanography Kevin Stokesbury was recently awarded four grants totaling $1,462,427 for sea scallop research through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries Scallop Research Set-Aside (RSA) Program. Co-principal investigators from the School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) include post-doctoral research fellow Adam Delargy and research associate Amber Lisi.
In RSA programs, researchers apply for funding through a competitive federal grant process managed by NOAA Fisheries. No federal funds are provided to support the research; instead, funds are generated from the sale of sea scallops “set-aside” annually for this purpose. Selected researchers partner with the fishing industry to conduct research and to harvest their set-aside award.
All four of Stokesbury's most recent RSA projects build upon the image-based drop camera survey he created in collaboration with the scallop fishing industry in 1999. This non-invasive survey captures images of the sea floor, providing fishery resource managers, marine scientists and fishing communities with much-needed data on sea scallops and their habitat. Over the last two decades, Stokesbury's research has proven crucial to the revival of the scallop fishing industry.
"These latest RSA projects represent a continuation of ongoing work performed by more than 30 master's and PhD students here at SMAST, and in collaboration with scallop fisheries and resources managers," Stokesbury says. "The data we gather will allow us to better understand sea scallop resources and conditions in these areas and help set management regulations for the following year."
Long-Term Substrate, Benthic Community, and Scallop Population Dynamics of The Northern Edge Habitat Area of Particular Concern (HAPC) On Georges Bank (2-year grant). Research Budget: $323,535
Broad-Scale Drop Camera Survey of the Georges Bank Sea Scallop Resource (2-year grant). Research Budget: $636,791
Examining, tracking, and biologically sampling scallop aggregations in the Gulf of Maine (2-year grant). Research Budget: $408,180
How Often Do Small Scallop Aggregations Grow Into Fishable Beds and What are the Drivers? Research Budget: $93,921