The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) will award grants that catalyze the voluntary implementation of electronic technologies (ET) for fisheries catch, effort, and/or compliance monitoring, and improvements to fishery information systems in U.S. fisheries.
The Electronic Monitoring and Reporting (EMR) Grant Program will advance the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) sustainable fisheries goals to partner with fishermen and other stakeholders, state agencies, and Fishery Information Networks to systematically integrate technology into fisheries data collection and observations as well as streamline data management and use for fisheries management.
Specifically, the EMR Grant Program will solicit proposals that develop and implement promising ET that improve the timeliness and quality of fisheries data; expand access and availability of data; increase knowledge of fisheries for management, industry and science purposes; improve regional data management systems and data interoperability; and empower fishermen and other citizens to become more actively involved in the data collection process.
Examples of ET include any electronic tool used to support fisheries monitoring both onshore and at sea, including electronic reporting (e.g., e-logbooks, tablets, and other input devices), electronic monitoring (e.g., electronic cameras and gear sensors on-board fishing vessels), and vessel monitoring systems or electronic tools to improve data processing, management, or access.
- E-technology in fishery data collection: Projects addressing this priority will implement EMR strategies for the support of fisheries conservation and management, including:
- Support the implementation of voluntary, cost-shared electronic monitoring and reporting efforts, fishery data system developments, and software developments to improve the consistency, interoperability, quality, and usability of information to support sustainable fisheries management and conservation of marine resources;
- Expand technology or data modernization efforts to the regional-scale or cross regional scale, such as fleet-wide and/or sector-scale solutions that have broad footprints in terms of the number of individuals they impact. Competitive proposals will demonstrate close coordination with relevant federal or state fishery management agencies;
- Transfer benefits of fisheries electronic technologies to fisheries, regions, or stakeholder groups that have not yet benefitted or engaged with electronic technologies and data modernization;
- Strengthen ET implementation and catalyze the adoption of electronic monitoring and reporting programs and fishery information system improvements consistent with the NOAA Fisheries regional ET priorities, or data collection programs identified by Regional Fishery Management Councils.
- Modernize data management systems: Projects addressing this priority will modernize data management systems in order to reduce costs and improve consistency, interoperability, quality, and/or usability of information collected using e-technology. Applicants should coordinate closely on data management with NOAA Fisheries and/or regional Fishery Information Networks, as appropriate.
- Eligible activities include:
- Improve capacity to ensure that electronically collected data are:
- communicated and processed efficiently;
- meeting appropriate standards for chain of custody, confidentiality, and archiving;
- meeting rigorous standards needed for inclusion in stock assessments, catch accounting, and management (and provide at a minimum, trip level catch or discards at least by species and number); and
- accessible from a variety of authorized applications.
- Improve capacity to ensure that electronically collected data are:
- Explore or advance innovative data storage solutions (including cloud storage) to address questions of storage costs, access, and security across multiple data contributors and users including fishermen, managers, scientists, and other stakeholders.
- Develop processes and technology to reduce the cost of fisheries data collection and review (e.g., automated catch accounting and video analysis) as well as storage of large volumes of data (e.g., open-source software that minimizes the data to be stored, enables data access and interoperability, increases the speed of video review, and/or increases file compression).
- Convene stakeholders across a region or multiple regions or otherwise propose an approach to develop a data modernization vision. Example areas of focus could be establishing ET data and performance standards, developing a roadmap with timelines to advance data modernization, regional or fishery data visioning plans, and/or exploring non-federal funding models for fisheries data collection.
- Test solutions to data availability challenges in areas with limited broadband access, such as rural communities and remote fishing grounds.
- Communicate ET and data modernization advancements and lessons learned across fisheries and across regions through sharing of best practices and technical documentation.
- Projects should seek to use one of the two following approaches when addressing the priorities listed:
- Implement proven innovations at-scale – Competitive proposals will scale-up proven data modernization or ET innovations that are positioned to impact a significant portion of the fleet and/or multiple fishing communities. When applicable, such proposals will focus on the diffusion, adoption, and application of innovative strategies.
- Develop or pilot innovative ideas – Competitive proposals will develop, test, and/or pilot innovative solutions and approaches to known fisheries and data management challenges. Innovations from all U.S. fisheries will be considered.
- Community Impact and Engagement: Projects that incorporate outreach to communities, foster community engagement, and pursue collaborative management leading to measurable conservation benefits are encouraged. When possible, projects should be developed through community input and co-design processes ensuring traditional knowledge elevation. Additionally, projects should engage community-level partners (e.g., fishing associations, municipalities, NGOs, community organizations, community leaders) to help design, implement, and maintain projects to secure maximum benefits for fishing communities, maintenance, and sustainability post-grant award.
- The EMR Grant Program will award approximately $3.8 million in grants for the 2023 funding cycle.
- The majority of awards under this program will fall in the range of $200,000 to $500,000, although upper or lower limits to award size are not specified. Matching contributions from non-federal sources (both cash and in-kind) must equal or exceed a 1:1 ratio (100% of the requested amount).
- The Electronic Monitoring and Reporting Grant Program is a national program and will consider proposals from all U.S. state and federal fisheries, including commercial, recreational, or for-hire sectors. Fisheries operating outside the U.S. are ineligible for funding under this opportunity.
- Fisheries nationwide are eligible to receive funding to support electronic monitoring and reporting efforts, including data management system modernization. NFWF’s priority fisheries include the Gulf of Mexico reef fish fishery, the New England groundfish fishery, the West Coast groundfish fishery, and the Alaska halibut and groundfish fisheries, but other fisheries are fully eligible and have a strong history of receiving funding
- Eligible applicants include non-profit 501(c) organizations, state government agencies, local governments, municipal governments, Tribal Governments and Organizations, educational institutions, commercial (for-profit) organizations, and international organizations.
- For-profit applicants: please note that this is a request for grant proposals, not a procurement of goods and services.
- Ineligible applicants include U.S. Federal government agencies, including Regional Fisheries Management Councils and unincorporated individuals.
For more information, visit National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF).