The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has awarded $534,660 to SMAST for research to benefit the sea scallop fishery, $373,922 to support “Broadscale Video Survey of Georges Bank Scallop Open Areas” (Prof. Kevin Stokesbury, PI), and $160,738 to fund “Scallop Fishery Bycatch Avoidance System 2015” (Dr. Catherine O’Keefe, PI).
The awards are granted through NOAA’s Sea Scallop Research Set-Aside (RSA) Program, which reserves a portion of the scallop catch to fund research to advance the health and sustainability of the fishery.
In combination with a multi-year RSA grant awarded last year, the funds for Stokesbury’s group underwrite an industry-based video survey of the entire Georges Bank sea scallop resource area. The Bycatch Avoidance Program will use its award to administer a fleet communication network that alerts vessels to “hotspots,” where high yellowtail bycatch is occurring, thus helping ensure that the fishery does not exceed its yellowtail bycatch limit. SMAST will also conduct a comprehensive review of the bycatch avoidance network to evaluate program performance.