Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s

Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council

2016-2017 Collaborative Fisheries Research Program










Deadline For applications February 12, 2016, 6:00 p.m. eastern standard time


proposal application period is closed


Point of Contact:     Andrew Loftus

ASMFC/MAFMC Collaborative Research Funding Coordinator



Mid-Atlantic Collaborative Fisheries Research

LAST UPDATED January 20, 2016


The following is a summary of questions received and responses regarding the Request for Proposals issued by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission for the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council 2016-2017 Collaborative Fisheries Research Program.


Posted chronologically – most recent first.


Q. What is the mechanism for making project awards – contracts or grants?

A. Awards will be a contract between the successful applicant and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission for specified deliverables of research results.


Q. Is there a disadvantage to organizations from outside the Mid-Atlantic region submitting a proposal even though the project fits under the priorities and involves constituents from the Mid-Atlantic?

A. Proposals will be judged on the definable outcomes that are proposed to meet the objectives of one of the seven listed priorities, with special consideration given to proposals involving constituents in the Mid-Atlantic region. There is no inherent advantage or disadvantage to project applicants from outside of the region who submit sound proposals meeting the conditions outlined in the RFP.


Q. Is there a predetermined distribution of funds between priorities?

A. There is no predetermined distribution of funds between priorities. Funding will be distributed to maximize the achievement of the objectives across priorities and is highly dependent on the quality and number of proposals received. More than one project may be funded under each priority.


Q. How will funding decisions be made?

A. Proposals will be reviewed for technical merit by staff of the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council.  All proposals will then be forwarded to the MAFMC Collaborative Research Committee for final decisions based on the criteria outline in the RFP.


Q: In Priority 1, what does “Projects which investigate calibration of an industry vessel relative to the NEFSC trawl survey will be prioritized” mean?

A: This statement is intended to emphasize that projects which can draw a quantitative comparison to the catch, and composition of the catch, of commercially applied trawl gear to data collected through the Northeast Fisheries Science Center trawl surveys are likely to receive a better ranking than projects that do not. Such a comparison would make fishery dependent data collected through commercial trawl fisheries more applicable and complimentary to data collected through existing research trawl surveys.


Q. Priority 1: Would a project that utilized a gear not currently used by U.S. commercial vessels to compare to NEFSC trawl data be eligible?

A. Not likely. The intent of this priority is to use industry vessels to investigate the efficiency of the NEFSC survey gear and identify biases or inaccuracies in survey data,  provide correction factors to improve the usability of the data, and prioritize projects that could draw direct comparisons to commercial trawl gear (calibration) so that data from commercial vessels in the fishery could be better utilized in the stock assessments to supplement the NEFSC survey


Q. Is there a cap on the amount of indirect costs that can be applied?

A. There is a 25% cap on the percentage of funds that can be allocated to cover indirect costs, sometimes referred to as Facilities and Administrative costs. Indirect costs must be listed as a separate line item in the budget. Applicants are encouraged to keep indirect costs to a minimum.


Q. Are special permits necessary for conducting research?
What if the proposed research project requires collecting fish out-of-season, fishing in restricted areas, or using gear not currently approved for the fishery?

A. Researchers participating in this program must obtain the appropriate vessel documentation consistent with experimental fishing regulations at 50 CFR 600.745 and 50 CFR 648.12. Vessels conducting certain types of research activities that require relief from fishery regulations may be required to obtain an Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) or other permit. If an exemption from Federal regulations is proposed, a list of the specific regulations to be exempted and a brief justification for each regulation to be exempted must be included in the proposal. Should an applicant submit a request for an EFP to NMFS, the completed application should be received by NMFS at least 60 days before the requested start date of the proposed research. EFP application guidance is available from the Sustainable Fisheries Division, Greater Atlantic Regional Office and in the Research Documentation Guidance document, available at:


      Application for funding can be made while the permit process is being completed, but no funds will be disbursed until evidence of such permit is provided. All landings made under these permits, for sale or research, must be reported per the instructions provided by NMFS. It is the responsibility of the project sponsor/principal investigator to be aware of the need for any permits and obtain them through appropriate channels!


Q. Are ASMFC Commissioners and MAFMC Council Members prevented from submitting proposals?

A. ASMFC Commissioners can submit proposals; Individual MAFMC Council Members cannot since the deliberative body making the recommendations for funding is a committee of the Council. This restriction was put in place to reduce real or perceived conflicts of interest. However, all organizations, even if they employ Commissioners or Council Members (except federal organizations), are eligible to submit proposals. State agencies, NGO’s, universities, and private companies for which ASMFC Commissioners or MAFMC Council Members work can apply for funding as well as others(consult RFP).


Q. Although federal agencies or federal employees are not eligible for funding, can they still be part of a funded project?

A. Federal employees/entities may participate in research projects but may not receive any funds provided under this program. Since the program funding originates with federal dollars no dollars can then flow back to the federal government for salaries or federal expenses. It would be perfectly legitimate for federal entities to partner with an eligible entity (university, NGO, etc.) with grant funds supporting that entity and federal employees contributing labor, additional expenses, etc. Federal support should be identified in the proposal as “in kind” or “outside funding support.”


Q. Regarding priority #5 (Determine mesh selectivity for summer flounder and/or black sea bass), does this refer to fishery trawls, research trawls, or fishery traps (for black sea bass)?

A. The intent of priority #5 is to focus on selectivity of commercial trawl gear. While the committee may give consideration to a well-developed proposal that addresses black sea bass trap configurations, priority will be given to projects which focus on commercial trawl gear.


Q. Do I have to report my data?

A. All projects should expect to report results within 45 days of the conclusion of the project. Presentation (in-person or remote) to the MAFMC should be expected. Successful projects that are designed to generate data that will ultimately be merged with other governmental databases will be required to submit the data in electronic form in accordance with protocols of the Atlantic Coastal Cooperative Statistics Program (ACCSP) and/or other appropriate database formats.


Q: You haven’t included a species or fishery for which additional research is needed. Will you consider proposals for items other than those listed in the RFP?

A. No. The MAFMC Collaborative Research Committee has evaluated and prioritized research needs for the 2016-2017 funding cycle, resulting in the priorities listed in the RFP. Projects falling outside of the scope of these priorities will not be considered. However, we encourage you to raise the need for additional research through the appropriate MAFMC species committee for possible inclusion in future RFP’s.