NOAA Awards Flounder Grant to NFI, Rutgers
NOAA Fisheries Service has awarded a $110,500 grant to the National Fisheries Institute Scientific Monitoring Committee, in partnership with Rutgers University. The money will be used to study summer flounder to determine the percentage that die when discarded from trawl fisheries in the Mid-Atlantic region.
The discard mortality rate, which varies with length, age, reproductive states and predation, will be determined by combining observations on a commercial trawler in the Mid-Atlantic Bight with tagging, tracking and scuba diver assessment of discarded summer flounder.
The study will be conducted as part of the inshore fishery in August or September to capture fish as they are beginning to move out of estuaries and begin fall offshore migration. The grant allows an allowable catch of 81,192 pounds of flounder and 11,790 pounds of black sea bass to be harvested by NFI-SMC fishing vessels.
Each fishing year, the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council may set aside up to 3 percent of the total allowable landings in certain fisheries under the research set-aside program, which provides a way to fund research and compensate vessel owners through the sale of fish harvested under the research quota.
The grant is one of three awarded under the program by NOAA through its cooperative research program.