News 2024: SMAST faculty receive $4.9 million through sea scallop research program

News 2024: SMAST faculty receive $4.9 million through sea scallop research program
SMAST faculty receive $4.9 million through sea scallop research program

Scallop research set-aside programs support research while promoting collaboration between scientists and fishermen


Faculty at the UMass Dartmouth School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) have received a combined total of $4,898,059 in this year's NOAA Fisheries Atlantic Sea Scallop Research Set-Aside (RSA) Program.  

Through the Scallop RSA Program, the New England Fishery Management Council “sets aside” scallop poundage to generate funds for scallop research projects. RSA awards provide funding for research and compensation for fishing industry partners who harvest the scallops. These programs support research that informs fishery management decisions, and foster collaboration between the fishing industry and scientific community, leading to more informed and effective management of scallop resources.  

Research projects are selected by NOAA on a competitive basis. For the 2024-2025 Scallop RSA Program, 3 of the 14 selected projects belong to SMAST researchers.  

Commonwealth Professor Changsheng Chen is the principal investigator on a 2-year project titled, "Assessing Cumulative Impact of Offshore Wind Energy Development on Sea Scallop Laval Transport and Settlement in Southern New England Waters." The project aims to further evaluate the cumulative impacts of wind turbine generators on scallop larval dispersion, transport, and recruitment.    

Assistant Research Professor Adam J. Delargy and SMAST Dean Kevin D.E. Stokesbury are the principal investigators on a project titled "Intensive drop camera surveys of sea scallops in two key areas of Georges Bank," which consists of drop camera surveys in two Nantucket Lightship SAMS zones and part of the Northern Edge Habitat Area of Particular Concern. Results will be used to estimate scallop biomass in support of the scallop harvest specification process.   

Stokesbury is also the lead investigator on a seasonal video-trawl survey to assess the population size of yellowtail flounder and windowpane flounder on eastern Georges Bank.  

Over the last two decades, research performed by Stokesbury and SMAST scientists has proven crucial to the revival of the scallop fishing industry in the SouthCoast. To learn more about the RSA programs, visit the NOAA Fisheries website.