NOAA devotes USD 16.8 million to research on Gulf of Mexico fisheries and environment
NOAA has awarded USD 16.8 million (EUR 15.9 million) in funding for 10 projects conducting collaborative research on Gulf of Mexico fisheries and the environment.
“The Gulf of Mexico is a vibrant ecosystem with diverse and productive habitats,” NOAA National Ocean Service Director Nicole LeBoeuf said. “These awards represent NOAA’s commitment to providing the best available science to the natural resource managers who make important decisions about how to balance rapidly changing economic, environmental, and social pressures in the region.”
Selected via a competitive process, the projects are part of NOAA’s RESTORE Science Program, with funding provided through the RESTORE Act. A total of 32 organizations are set to participate across the 10 projects, which span a variety of different topics, including coastal bird management, improving oil spill responses, and conserving sea grass.
“To make an informed decision, research findings and products have to meet the information needs of natural resource managers,” NOAA RESTORE Science Program Director Julien Lartigue said. “We are funding project teams where the foundation for applied science has already been built through a year or more of planning. We are excited to see these teams of managers and researchers put those plans into action.”
Two of the projects specifically target stock assessments for Gulf of Mexico fisheries.
The first project will study red tide and reef fish modeling, updating the ecosystem model “of the West Florida Shelf to account for red tide mortality when assessing Gulf of Mexico reef fish.” Researchers will use satellites and other new approaches to map red tides, and the work will be incorporated into stock assessments and management recommendations from 2024 through 2028. NOAA awarded the University of Florida USD 1.8 million (EUR 1.7 million) for the projects.
The second project will build a next-generation fishery forecasting capacity. The team will develop new model diagnostics and assessment methods that address limitations in the current stock assessment process, according to NOAA Fisheries. The agency awarded Vaughan Analytics USD 1.2 million (EUR 1.1 million) for the project.
Photo courtesy of NOAA Fisheries