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2017-2018 scallop quota RSA projects awarded

GLOUCESTER, MA – This year’s sea scallop fisheries research program (announced in March) will fund an estimated $15.32 million in projects – from 1.27 million pounds of sea scallop research set-aside (RSA) quota based on $12 per pound.

NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) awarded RSA quota to 17 projects for the 2017-2018 fishing year.  No federal funds are used for the research.  Instead, funding comes from the harvest of RSA quota under special exemption permits issued by NOAA Fisheries.

The program is administered by NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the NEFSC with the New England Fishery Management Council.

Using a two-tier review process, NMFS recommends projects based on technical merit and responsiveness to the New England council research priorities that are set each year.

Of the 17 projects, six will conduct scallop surveys, six will study bycatch reduction, and five will investigate recruitment, predators, and other factors affecting yield.

Fifteen organizations and over 30 researchers will participate in the projects.

This year’s scallop surveys, in addition to last year’s three awards, will provide extensive scallop biomass data to inform the upcoming 2018 scallop stock assessment and management decisions by the New England council.

Returning to the RSA program this year is the second year of high resolution drop-camera array surveys of Closed Area I, Closed Area II, and the Elephant Trunk Area, performed by Kevin Stokesbury of UMass Dartmouth’s School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST).

Last year’s omission of his work from the program caused consternation by the industry on the lack of…

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