September 23, 2014  

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Science Center for Marine Fisheries Funds Nine Research Programs for 2014

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The Industry Advisory Board of the Science Center for Marine Fisheries (SCeMFiS) met on April 30-May 1 at The University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL) to implement the research program for 2014.

Southern Miss is the lead academic institution in SCeMFiS with the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences as the partner institution. The Board continued four projects and initiated a total of five new projects at the meeting.
 

GCRL/Center Director Dr. Eric Powell noted, “SCeMFiS is developing a comprehensive research portfolio addressing the major challenges in fisheries management including stock assessment, data collection technology, and sustainability metrics. The 2014 research portfolio includes significant projects in each of these areas.”
 

Among these initiatives is the establishment of three national research teams. One of these teams, the Independent Advisory Team for marine mammal assessments, enters its second year.

A second team, the SCeMFiS stock assessment team, will focus on research to support the scup (Stenotomus chrysops) benchmark assessment scheduled to occur in the spring of 2015. Scup is one of the most important commercial/recreational fish in the Mid-Atlantic region and has been a challenging species for assessment scientists for many years.

The third team will focus on the methodology for improving biological reference points and their proxies and will focus initially on ocean quahogs (Arctica islandica).
 

In addition to these teams, SCeMFiS will fund:

  1. additional work on the development of morphometric relationships to permit estimates of surfclam and ocean quahog length from broken clams to support federal survey requirements,
  2. the fabrication of a survey dredge with selectivity characteristics that will increase the capture of small surfclams and ocean quahogs to improve recruitment indices, (3) research on the recruitment history of ocean quahogs,
  3. the examination of the influence of sample density in generating survey artifacts in survey designs
  4. a management strategy evaluation for surfclams to determine the potential of increasing productivity of the stock during a time of climate change, and
  5. the development of a sex-specific fisheries model for summer flounder (Paralichthys dentatus).

The Science Center for Marine Fisheries is sponsored by the Industry & University Cooperative Research Program (I/UCRC) of the National Science Foundation. The I/UCRC program is established to bring participants from industry, government, and other organizations in need of science-based solutions into contact with academic scientists capable of providing that expertise under an organizational structure that permits participant retention of the science agenda in exchange for participant financial support.

SCeMFiS utilizes academic and fisheries resources to address urgent scientific problems limiting sustainable fisheries.

 “A unique aspect of the SCeMFiS research is the level of cooperation and collaboration between industry and academic partners,” said Dr. Roger Mann, Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) site director. “Research expertise is focused on subjects critical to sustainability of fisheries stocks and the industry and economy that they support.”
 

The Industry Advisory Board will review each of these projects at its next meeting that will be held in October at the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences. Learn more about SCeMFiS at www.SCeMFiS.org.