NOAA’s Sea Grant program announced USD 2 million in support of US lobster

Published on
September 7, 2020

NOAA Sea Grant has announced a grant of USD 2 million (EUR 1.68 million) to support the Sea Grant American Lobster Initiative.

The grant is intended, according to a release from NOAA, to “address scientific and stakeholder needs associated with this important fishery.” The nine research projects earning funding are focused gaps in scientific knowledge about how the American lobster is being impacted by environmental changes.

Four of the nine grants will be focused on research conducted by Maine-based organizations, according to a News Center Maine reported.

U.S. Senator Susin Collins (R-Maine) announced the funding initiative on 3 September.

“This critical federal funding will build on their efforts to support the health of Maine’s lobster fishery and help ensure its continued success,” she said.

The research, according to the NOAA release, has four main priorities it will address: Increasing the understanding of “life history parameters” such as growth, maturity, and species interactions; Studying larval ecology and early biology; Studying spatial distribution and migration; and performing socio-ecological investigations to “inform future management decisions.”

The nine research projects span topics from the early life and history of American lobsters along the coast to bait alternative development for the New England lobster fishery. Grant recipients include the University of Maine; Atlantic Offshore Lobstermen’s Association; University of Massachusetts, Amherst; University of Rhode Island; Gulf of Maine Research Institute; the Maine Department of Marine Resources; and the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game.

“The Sea Grant College Program helps our region conduct important research that supports our lobstermen, fishermen, and coastal communities. That’s why I fight each year to boost funding for this program in government funding legislation and why I’m so glad to see these federal dollars invested in New England where they’ll be put to such good use,” Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) said in a statement announcing the grants.

The American lobster industry is one of the most valuable fisheries on the U.S. East Coast, bringing in an estimated USD 626.7 million (EUR 529 million) in 2019.

“Lobstermen in New Hampshire and across New England face increasing challenges from changing environmental conditions, and I’ll keep working to provide needed resources to ensure we protect and sustain this vital industry for the long-term,” Shaheen said.

Photo courtesy of Jesica Waller/Maine Department of Marine Resources

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