New Grants Available Through NFWF Fisheries Innovation Fund

Note: This is the second in a series of grants being made by the Fisheries Innovation Fund. The first set of awards included grants to the Fishermen's Marketing Association and Buccaneer Fisheries, here on the West Coast, for work in the areas of electronic monitoring and halibut excluder design and testing.

(Washington, D.C.) – Fisheries managers, fishermen, nonprofit organizations and others with a stake in America’s fisheries now have additional resources to put their innovative ideas into action. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced the second round of grants available from its Fisheries Innovation Fund, a public-private partnership to foster the design and implementation of new and ground-breaking ideas for sustainable fisheries practices.

“The Fisheries Innovation Fund supports communities across the country that are working to sustain one of our nation’s most important ocean resources,” said NFWF Executive Director and CEO Jeff Trandahl. “In just 12 months, the Fund has proven that new ideas and creative approaches to sustainability can have a positive impact on fisheries from coast to coast, and we are committed to assisting this process.”

According to Lynn Langford Walton of the Ilwaco Fishermen and Marketing Cooperative in Washington State, a 2010 grant recipient, “Support from the fund is allowing us to work more aggressively in the development of a program that is already helping us to access more target fish with fewer bycatch interactions. Though there is much still to do, this support is vital to our effort to establish a solid, replicable means of keeping our vessels and crews on the [fishing] grounds and working.”

NFWF’s Fisheries Innovation Fund, introduced in 2010, encourages the participation of fishermen and fishing communities in the implementation of sustainable fisheries in the U.S. It promotes the development of safer, more profitable fisheries that meet catch limits and eliminate overfishing. In its initial year, the Fund awarded nearly $2.25 million to 18 projects in the northeastern U.S., the Gulf of Mexico, the Pacific coast and Alaska.  In 2012, the Fund expects to award $1.1 to $2 million for 15 projects across the country. Details on the Request for Proposals are available at www.nfwf.org/fisheriesfund .

“These grants help unleash the expert knowledge and creativity of fishermen and communities,” said Eric Schwaab, assistant administrator for NOAA’s Fisheries Service. “The Fund is already supporting testing and evaluation of new ideas to build capacity in fishing communities and improve their sustainability, which is a win-win solution for stakeholders and managers.”

Rob Snyder of the Island Institute in Rockland, Maine, a 2010 grant recipient, says “Our project with Ecotrust supports a network of fishing community trusts across the country by providing new business, organizational management and planning tools that are essential to the economic viability of fishing communities in our current environment.”

The Fund is 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 www.nfwf.org/applicantinfo .

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) is a leader in the conservation and restoration of the nation’s native fish and wildlife species and habitats. Created by Congress in 1984, NFWF establishes partnerships that invest public conservation dollars matched with private funds to meet pressing environmental needs. NFWF has a long and successful history of working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to establish public-private partnerships to support the agency’s conservation priorities.