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Fisheries Innovative Fund

Education & academia

US - Fisheries managers, fishermen, nonprofit organizations and others with a stake in America's fisheries now have new resources to put their innovative ideas into action. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced the Fisheries Innovation Fund, a public-private partnership that will help those involved in catch share programs design and implement the practices.

"The Fisheries Innovation Fund is looking for smart, novel ideas about how to use catch shares to bolster fishing communities while maintaining sustainable fisheries," explained NFWF Executive Director Jeff Trandahl in announcing the fund. "We want applicants who can draw from their on-the-ground knowledge and propose creative approaches to making catch shares work best for their communities."

Catch share systems dedicate a secure share of fish to an individual fisherman or to a fishing community. Studies show that when catch shares are added to the fisheries management mix, environmental stewardship and economic performance increases substantially. With new catch share programs already under development by regional fishery managers, the Fund's resources will help meet demand for good design and implementation.

In 2010, the Fund plans to award $2.2 million to up to 30 projects around the country. The grants are expected to range from $50,000 to $200,000. Projects will continue for up to two years and funds will be allocated based on the merits of each proposal.

"When properly designed, catch shares have proven to be an effective way to meet annual catch limits, reduce the negative biological and economic impacts of the race for fish, and eliminate overfishing while creating safer, more profitable fisheries," added Trandahl. "We hope the Fund will draw out more innovative ideas."

"NOAA is pleased to work with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to support the Fisheries Innovation Fund," said Eric Schwaab, assistant administrator for NOAA's Fisheries Service. "This will provide local fishermen and fishing communities additional resources to develop catch share programs that will help rebuild fisheries and sustain vibrant working waterfronts."

Grant dollars to support the Fund are made possible through a partnership with NOAA and additional support from the Walton Family Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Potential applicants can learn more by logging on to