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Science Center for Marine Fisheries Approves $100,000 in Research Grants for 2021

Thursday, 04 March 2021 05:05 PM

Science Center for Marine Fisheries

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS / ACCESSWIRE / March 4, 2021 / The Science Center for Marine Fisheries (SCEMFIS) has approved 4 new research projects, with $100,000 in funding, to start 2021. Approved at the Center's annual winter meeting, the new projects will focus on improving data collection and scientific surveys in important finfish and shellfish fisheries.

These projects include efforts to improve how menhaden are tagged and tracked; analyzing the age and length composition of the chub mackerel population; improving clam dredge performance; and improving collection methods for surf clams and quahogs. All projects were approved by the SCEMFIS Industry Advisory Board (IAB), which is comprised of the Center's industry partners in the finfish and shellfish fisheries.

SCEMFIS is a member of the National Science Foundation's Industry-University Cooperative Research Centers (IUCRC) program, a federal initiative to bring together academic researchers and industry members to fund projects improving our understanding of economically important issues.

The following projects were approved at the winter meeting:

  • Understanding the utility of archived tag-recapture data for evaluation of movement and mortality estimation - As a changing climate forces species to shift geographical ranges, tracking population data and location has become increasingly important. The project, by Dr. Robert Leaf (University of Southern Mississippi), will directly address "high" priority needs listed in the menhaden stock assessment. ($19,874 in funding)
  • Characterization of the length and age composition of the Atlantic Chub Mackerel fishery in the mid-Atlantic for 2021 - In a collaboration with SeaFreeze Ltd. and Lund's Fisheries Inc., this study, lead by Dr. Robert Leaf, will characterize the age and length composition of Atlantic chub mackerel in the commercial fishery for the 2021 season. The project addresses the assessment's need to provide "adequate scientific information" for the Atlantic chub mackerel stock. ($14,035 in funding)
  • Development of Improved Clam Dredge System using Theory, CFD, and Experiment - This study, by Dr. Eric Powell (University of Southern Mississippi), will research potential improvements to the current clam dredge system, a system which has not been updated in decades. Dr. Powell plans to work with the Center for Water and the Environment at the University of Texas, Austin, in order to improve the efficiency of dredge systems, increasing catch rates, reducing fuel consumption, and reducing engine emissions. ($65,634 in funding)
  • Design of a dredge for collection of juvenile Surf clams and Ocean quahogs - This study, lead by Dr. Eric Powell, will support shellfish research by improving collection methods for surf clams and ocean quahogs. The project will design a cost-effective dredge to sample juvenile ocean quahogs and surf clams for research and data collection. Improving juvenile clam sampling will provide a more accurate estimate of population size, frequency, and recruitment for surf clams and quahogs. ($7,590 in funding)

SCEMFIS utilizes academic and fisheries resources to address urgent scientific problems limiting sustainable fisheries. SCEMFIS develops methods, analytical and survey tools, datasets, and analytical approaches to improve sustainability of fisheries and reduce uncertainty in biomass estimates. SCEMFIS university partners, University of Southern Mississippi (lead institution), and Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary, are the academic sites. Collaborating scientists who provide specific expertise in finfish, shellfish, and marine mammal research, come from a wide range of academic institutions, including Old Dominion University, Rutgers University, University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, University of Maryland, and University of Rhode Island.

The need for the diverse services that SCEMFIS can provide to industry continues to grow, which has prompted a steady increase in the number of fishing industry partners. These services include immediate access to science expertise for stock assessment issues, rapid response to research
priorities, and representation on stock assessment working groups. Targeted research leads to improvements in data collection, survey design, analytical tools, assessment models, and other needs to reduce uncertainty in-stock status and improve reference point goals.

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SOURCE: Science Center for Marine Fisheries

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