High-priority areas for Fiscal Year 2018 projects include:
- Developing innovative and effective technologies; gear modifications; avoidance programs and techniques; and/or improved fishing practices in commercial and recreational fisheries and aquaculture to reduce bycatch impacts.
- Improving understanding and reduction of post-release and other indirect mortality, including barotrauma, predation, and unaccounted mortality in commercial and recreational fisheries and aquaculture. This includes target and non-target species of fish or protected species. Proposals addressing this priority may be projects that specifically test descending devices or identify high-priority release and discard mortality needs and provide baseline information for important discarded species (in particular, but not limited to red snapper, Atlantic cod, striped marlin, etc.).
- Developing techniques to reduce interactions between fishing gears and corals, sponges, and other structure-forming invertebrates. Proposals that specifically reduce impacts to essential fish habitats, deep-sea coral sites, and endangered tropical corals.
- Conducting comprehensive international bycatch analyses or research that will inform conservation engineering in U.S. commercial, recreational, and aquaculture fisheries.
Pre-proposals are due by January 31 with full applications due by March 30, 2018.