Posted on November 7, 2017

Dear Interested Parties,

The National Marine Fisheries Service, in coordination with the New England and Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Councils, is soliciting proposals for the 2018-2019 Monkfish Research Set-Aside (RSA) Program. The application deadline is Thursday, December 21, 2017. Proposals may cover all or part of:

  • The 2018 fishing year, which runs May 1, 2018 through April 30, 2019; and/or
  • The 2019 fishing year, which runs May 1, 2019 through April 30, 2020.

Multi-year grants are allowed. The full funding opportunity announcement is available HERE.

HOW DOES THE PROGRAM WORK: The Monkfish RSA Program was established through Amendment 2 to the Monkfish Fishery Management Plan to address monkfish research priorities identified by the Councils. The New England Council adopted 2018-2019 research priorities at its June meeting in Portland, ME.

HOW IS THE RSA PROGRAM FUNDED: Each year, the Councils set aside 500 monkfish days-at-sea from the total number of days allocated to limited access monkfish vessels to address monkfish research priorities. Awards are made in allocated days-at-sea, not dollars, and no federal funding is provided to conduct the research. Proceeds generated from the harvest and sale of landings on the allocated days-at-sea are used to cover the cost of research activities, including vessel operating expenses, gear modifications, monitoring equipment costs, and compensation for researchers.

2018-2019 PRIORITIES: Projects funded under the Monkfish RSA Program must: (a) enhance understanding of the monkfish resource; or (b) contribute to monkfish fishery management decisions. For the current federal funding opportunity, priority will be given to proposals that address the New England Council’s list of 2018 and 2019 research priorities. The seven categories of priorities are equally ranked and cover:

  • Research on monkfish life history, focusing on: (a) age and growth; (b) longevity; (c) reproduction; and (d) natural mortality;
  • Studies related to: (a) stock structure and stock identification; and (b) implications for stock assessment and fisheries management;
  • Migration patterns focusing on: (a) short- and long-term movements with respect to management areas and off-shelf movements; and (b) habitat use;
  • Research concerning trophic interactions of monkfish with other species;
  • Cooperative research surveys to supplement current survey coverage;
  • Research concerning bycatch and discard mortality focusing on: (a) target species, including monkfish and groundfish; and (b) non-target species, including non-marketable monkfish or skates; and
  • Trawl and gillnet gear studies focusing on: (a) size and/or species selectivity; and (b) bycatch reduction, including reducing bycatch of and interactions with protected species.

REVIEW PROCESS: All submitted proposals will be evaluated by: (1) technical reviewers who will rank the applications based on relevance, technical/scientific merit, qualifications of the team members, project costs, and outreach/education strategies; and (2) a management panel comprised of Council members and monkfish fishery experts who will review and individually critique the scored proposals to enhance NMFS’s understanding of how they related to the Council’s research priorities.

RSA BACKGROUNDERS: Learn more at RSA and everything you ever wanted to know. Also visit cooperative research and Northeast Fisheries Science Center.

QUESTIONS: For more information about the 2018-2019 solicitation and the Monkfish RSA Program in general, contact Cheryl Corbett at (508) 495-2070, or Ryan Silva at (978) 281-9326,