Posted on July 12, 2023


The New England Fishery Management Council (Council) is looking for an independent contractor to prepare a study about potentially establishing a coordinating body for New England groundfish research – in particular, cooperative research. This is a short-term, temporary contractor role. The application deadline is August 2, 2023.

THE IMPETUS: In January 2023, the Conservation Law Foundation and UMass-SMAST convened a workshop to bring together a diverse working group with broad representation from commercial and recreational fisheries, federal and state fisheries agencies, academia, and non-governmental organizations. The objectives for this workshop were to:

  • Identify research priorities and best practices in cooperative research;
  • Propose opportunities and implementation strategies for increasing and improving groundfish cooperative research and its application to assessment and management; and
  • Do so with the ultimate intent of improving the condition of the New England groundfish fishery.

WORKSHOP OUTCOME: The working group’s lead recommendation was to establish a regional coordinating body to identify and prioritize research needs for groundfish, ideally providing or securing funding, with a focus on answerable questions that meet assessment and management needs.

STATEMENT OF WORK: The contractor’s role for this project is to examine and scope out in greater detail the possible nature and responsibilities of such a coordinating body. The analysis should consider: (1) the current status and history of groundfish research in the region, including cooperative research; (2) previous regional and national reviews and strategic planning exercises; (3) financial, legal, regulatory, and other constraints; and (4) examples provided by approaches taken in other regions. The analysis should address the following list of questions and considerations:

1. What organization might lead and house this body?
2. What organizations/groups would need to buy in to the idea?
3. What would be the membership?
4. What would be the purview?
5. What would be the mechanism for input from scientists and fishermen in terms of which stock(s) and what data needs will have the most influence in improving assessments?
6. What would be the group’s activities to facilitate regional coordination cooperation, and communication? And,
7. What are the possible fundings sources, both for running the body and for funding the research questions identified?

The Contractor will research these questions and other topics that arise and then prepare a detailed report that describes the analyses and findings. Proposals should describe what groups will be consulted on the idea. The Contractor will be supervised by the Council’s executive director or a designed and present the results of a draft report to the Groundfish Committee in September or October 2023.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: A complete description of the project background, statement of work, desired experience and demonstrated skills for candidates, and application submission information can be found in the request for proposals.

TIME SENSITIVE: Work may commence as early as August 10 and is expected to run no later than November 1, 2023.