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Page 12. MAINE COASTAL NEWS October 2015

NOAA announces up to $10 million available to support fi sheries R&D projects


 Techniques for reducing by- catch and other adverse im- pacts

As part of its eff orts to build resilient

coastal communities and sustainable marine resources, today, NOAA announced the availability of approximately $10 million in competitive grants through the 2016 Salton- stall-Kennedy Grant Program. T e program addresses the needs of fi shing communities, and increases opportunities to keep work- ing waterfronts viable by funding fi sheries research and development projects. T rough this year’s program, emphasis

is being placed on rebuilding fi sh stocks, maintaining and restoring healthy ocean and coastal ecosystems, and promoting the economic vitality of fi shery working wa- terfront communities. T e program is also emphasizing community-based projects to help coastal communities retool fi shing fl eets, shore services, and port facilities into sustainable and innovative businesses. “The Saltonstall-Kennedy Program

helps fi shing communities across the coun- try keep their economies thriving by build- ing and maintaining sustainable fi sheries and practices,” said Eileen Sobeck, assistant NOAA administrator for fi sheries. “Funds from the program keep working waterfronts vibrant and help coastal communities with conservation and management measures. We hope to see proposals from across the nation and U.S. territories, each providing a unique approach to research and project development.” To be considered for funding, projects

should advance research in one of the fol- lowing focus areas:  Aquaculture  Fishery data collection

 Adapting to climate change and other long term ecosystem change

 Promotion, development, and marketing

 Socio-economic research  Science coming from within the U.S. territories

T e 2016 deadline for proposals is No-

vember 2, 2015. Information on eligibility and application requirements can be found at Additional application instructions are available on the NOAA Fisheries website. The Saltonstall-Kennedy Act estab-

lished a fund used by the Secretary of Commerce to provide grants or cooperative agreements for fi sheries research and devel- opment projects addressing aspects of U.S. fi sheries, including, but not limited to har- vesting, processing, marketing and associat- ed business infrastructures. T e objective of the Saltonstall-Kennedy Grant Program is to address the needs of the fi sheries and fi shing communities in optimizing economic bene- fi ts by building and maintaining sustainable fi sheries and practices. President Dwight Eisenhower signed

the Saltonstall-Kennedy Act into law in July 1954, which established the fund and its an- nual grants. Massachusetts senators Leverett Saltonstall and John F. Kennedy, the future president, authored the Act to promote and market domestic seafood.

NOAA awards more than $4.5 million to support species recovery

NOAA announced more than $4.5 mil-

lion in grants to states and tribes to support endangered or threatened species recovery eff orts. T e agency is also opening a call for 2016 proposals under this program. T e NOAA Fisheries Species Recovery

Grant Program’s 2015 funding supports fi ve new projects and the continuation of 14 multi-year projects. “All of these projects support one of

NOAA Fisheries’ core missions, to conserve, recover, and protect marine resources for future generations,” said Eileen Sobeck, NOAA Fisheries administrator. “T e agen- cy values the conservation eff orts of our partners and is pleased to support eff orts to restore species vital to our nation’s economy, environment, and heritage.” NOAA is funding Species Recovery

Grant projects in every region of the coun- try. Funded awards support management, research, and outreach eff orts designed to bring vulnerable species to a point where Endangered Species Act protections are no longer necessary. T is year’s awards include $817,302

for the fi ve new grants to four states (New Jersey, Hawaii, Maryland, and Florida) and one federally recognized tribe (Penobscot Indian Nation). Details for each award may be found at conservation/tribes.htm. Penobscot Indian Nation: Atlantic

Salmon Management and Outreach Project - $70,000 (2015 federal) T e $3.7 million remaining funds sup-

port 12 continuing state projects and two continuing tribal projects. Details for each award may be found at http://www.nmfs. htm

T e 2016 call for proposals is now open,

with a special focus on recovering NOAA Fisheries’Species in the Spotlight.Tribal applications are due by September 29.State applications are due by October 8.

Statement by

E.F. “Terry” Stockwell III New England Fishery Management Council Chairman

NOAA Town Hall Meeting, September 15, 2015

Providence Marriott Downtown, 1 Orms Street, Providence, Rhode Island As the Chairman of the New England

Fishery Management Council, I’m pleased to be here, to provide information to NOAA and the Administration about the Coun- cil’s activities, who we are and what we do, particularly with respect to protecting New England’s most fragile marine resources. T e Council has long recognized the

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unique characteristics of canyon and sea- mount habitats. While most of the fi shing managed by the Council is conducted on the continental shelf and not within the canyons --- and to the best of our knowledge, there are no active fi sheries on the seamounts --- we have and will continue to recognize the sensitivity of corals and other deep-sea animals to fi shing impacts. I will provide a brief history of the

New England Council’s actions, including those of our fi shery management partners, as NOAA and the Administration examine protection for the off shore canyons and seamounts in the New England region. Over a decade ago, the New England

and Mid-Atlantic Councils jointly took an important fi rst step toward minimizing the impacts of fi shing gear on sensitive marine habitats in New England by approving clo- sures for monkfi sh trawl and gillnet gear in large portions of Lydonia and Oceanogra- pher Canyons. A decade later, those pro- tections remain fi rmly in place while other expansions are under development.

In 2009, the shallower portions of

Oceanographer and Lydonia, as well as Veatch and Norfolk Canyons to the west and south, were closed to all mobile bot- tom-tending gears through the Mid-Atlantic Council’s Tilefish Fishery Management Plan. T e tilefi sh closures apply to ves- sels fi shing in New England Council and Mid-Atlantic Council managed fi sheries and focus on vulnerable areas between 100 and 300 meters deep. Meanwhile, during reauthorization of

the Magnuson Act in 2006, Congress grant- ed discretionary authority to the regional fi shery councils to include measures in their management plans that could protect deep- sea corals from damage caused by fi shing gear.

Council began intensive work on a program that

Beginning in 2010, the New England further recognized the sensitivity of

corals and other deep-sea animals to fi shing impacts. Although initially envisioned as part of

its Omnibus Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) Amendment, in 2012 the Council chose to temporarily set-aside the deep-sea coral initiative given the complexity of the EFH action. T e Council took fi nal action on the EFH Amendment this spring. T e EFH Amendment, if approved by NOAA Fisher- ies, will designate habitat areas of particular concern, otherwise known as HAPCs, in eight canyons and on two seamounts1

, in-

cluding some of the areas that are under con- sideration as National Marine Monuments. Briefl y, the HAPCs are subsets of des-

ignated essential fi sh habitat that provide an important ecological function, encompass rare habitat types, are sensitive to human stresses, and are located in areas with cur- rent development or the potential for future development. While the HAPC designations do not restrict fi shing activities, they are an indication of the Council’s intent to give these areas special consideration during the development of future fi shery management actions. T ese designations are also im- portant in the context of NOAA’s EFH con- sultation process, during which the agency uses HAPCs to focus their conservation recommendations for federally-permitted activities that could aff ect essential fi sh hab- itat.

In 2013, a landmark Memorandum of

Understanding (MOU) was signed by the Chairs of the South Atlantic, Mid-Atlantic, and New England Fishery Management Councils to coordinate the protection of deep sea corals off the east coast of the United States from Maine to eastern Florida. T e MOU serves as a framework for cooperation during the development and implementa- tion of measures to protect deep sea corals. It also includes strategies to promote eff ective coordination of deep sea coral conservation eff orts among the east coast councils. Starting next week, the Council will re-

sume active discussion of its Deep-Sea Coral Amendment. To date, the action identifi es possible coral zones overlapping each of the canyon and seamount HAPCs that are within the New England area of jurisdic- tion (Heezen-Alvin canyons and Bear and Retriever seamounts). In addition, the coral amendment identifi es fi ve other canyons and two additional seamounts as possible coral management zones2

. T e Council is

also evaluating a broad coral protection zone that extends from just beyond the shelf break to our exclusive economic zone boundary3


Various fi shing gear restrictions are being considered for the coral zones, such as re- strictions on bottom-tending gears. Substantial amounts of new data col- lected since 2013 will help the Council to

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