NOAA Fisheries’ Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program (BREP) supports the development of technological solutions and changes in fishing practices designed to minimize bycatch. The mission of the BREP is to develop technological solutions and investigate changes in fishing practices designed to minimize bycatch of fish (including sponges, deep–sea corals, and shallow (tropical) corals) and protected species (including marine mammals, sturgeon, seabirds, and sea turtles) as well as minimize bycatch injury and mortality (including post-release injury and mortality).
BREP is now accepting project proposals for your ideas to reduce bycatch in our nation’s marine fisheries. Approximately $2.5 million is available to fishermen, academics, and other interested groups for projects that offer practical engineering and technological solutions to reduce bycatch. Pre-proposals are due by April 16 with full applications due by May 28, 2015.
This year, BREP is seeking proposals that address one or more of these focus areas:
- Technological Innovation – Developing effective technologies, gear modifications, and improved fishing practices in recreational and commercial fisheries to reduce bycatch impacts.
- Release or Discard Mortality – Understanding and reducing post-release mortality in recreational and commercial fisheries.
- Fishing Gear and Corals – Understanding the amount and severity of interactions, and ways to reduce harmful interactions, between fishing gears and corals, sponges, and other structure-forming invertebrates.
- International Best Practices – Informing conservation engineering in U.S. fisheries through analyses or research of international bycatch practices.
Past BREP-funded projects have:
- Supported development of a new circle hook that reduced bluefin tuna bycatch by 56 percent.
- Tested the use of strategically placed LED lights on trawl nets. This simple, but creative solution reduced bycatch of Columbia River smelt in the pink shrimp trawl fishery by 90 percent.
Pre-proposals should be submitted by 5:00 pm EDT on Thursday, April 16, with full proposals due by May 28, 2015.