Back to News & Events
2010 Fishery Resource Grants Usher Coastal Innovations, Benefits
Katie Mosher, 919/515-9069, firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted Tuesday, June 1, 2010. UPDATED June 2, 2010 with links and images.
|(CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE)
Since its creation in the mid-1990s, the N.C. Fishery Resource Grant Program (FRG) has sparked research and innovations benefiting all who enjoy or earn a living from North Carolina's precious coastal resources. This year, 18 new awards will enable important research along our coast, from testing N.C. seafood for mercury to studying destructive oyster parasites.
Funded by the N.C. General Assembly, the FRG program is administered by North Carolina Sea Grant. Although appropriated at $1 million annually for most of its history, the program has received several cuts over the past few years, being reduced to $600,000 in 2009. In various state budget proposals for 2010-2011, the FRG program has been slated for cuts ranging from half to all of its current funding.
"FRG has proven to be an effective way for stakeholders associated with our coastal fisheries to enhance that resource — economically and environmentally — through demonstrating or testing their good ideas," says Michael Voiland, executive director of North Carolina Sea Grant.
"Were the FRG program to go unfunded, it would be a discouraging day for enlightened fisheries development in this state."
For the 2010 round of FRG awards, the selection committee chose a variety of proposals for funding. They include:
Comparing Circle Hook and J-Hook Performance in the Yellowfin Tuna Bluewater Troll Fishery
Dale Britt, charter captain in Morehead City
Your typical fishhook is shaped like a "J" — but this hook shape can hook fish deep in the gut if the bait is completely swallowed, harming gamefish intended for catch-and-release. Circle hooks are shaped more like a "G" and can prevent gut hooking while ensuring hook-ups and landings. Britt's team will study circle hooks to improve the long-term health of the sportsfishing industry and gamefish populations.
|Could North Carolina waters support a viable octopus fishery? (Image credit: William Harrigan/NOAA)
Gear Modifications for Fishing Octopus on Live-Bottom and Adjacent Flat-Bottom Habitats in Onslow Bay, N.C.
Charles Renda Jr., commercial fisherman in Beaufort
Mediterranean and Asian cuisines often feature octopus, which is an undeveloped fishery here in North Carolina. Renda and Paul Rudershausen of North Carolina State University are testing fishing gear to specifically harvest octopus and determine basic information on octopus population size, laying the lines for a potentially new industry.
Delineation of Essential Shark Habitat in North Carolina Coastal Waters
David Beresoff, commercial fisherman in Bolivia
Teresa Thorpe, independent researcher in Wilmington
Sharks inspire our imaginations and sense of wonder, and many species utilize North Carolina waters as nursery habitat. But where are these baby sharks living? Thorpe and Beresoff will sample up and down our coastline to resolve this curious question and gather data for state fishery managers.
Updating Size- and Age-At-Maturity Schedules for Southern Flounder Through Examination of Reproductive Tissue and Otolith Microchemistry
Troy Outland, commercial fisherman in Manteo
Fred Scharf, University of North Carolina at Wilmington
Cecil Simons, commercial fisherman in Atlantic
J. Christopher Taylor, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration
Jeff Wolfe, commercial fisherman and charter captain in Wilmington
Have you ever wondered how size-limit regulations are determined for fish such as flounder? It's partly based on knowing the ideal size a fish species is at when it is of reproductive age. Understanding how big North Carolina flounder must be to reproduce and spawn will help the future management of southern flounder stocks, and ensure appropriate size limits for regulations.
An Assessment of Mercury in Economically Important Fishes Commonly Landed Off the Coast of North Carolina
D. Derek Aday, North Carolina State University
Chris Conklin, Blue Ocean Market
Doctors say eating fish brings a suite of health benefits, but some consumers are worried about mercury pollution in seafood. Blue Ocean Market in Morehead City will work with N.C. State to test mercury levels in common offshore species such as mahi mahi, king mackerel, wahoo, vermillion snapper, red grouper and triggerfish to increase understanding of this sensitive issue.
Is North Carolina Seafood Safe: Mercury and PCB Levels in North Carolina Seafood
Mark Hooper, Hooper Family Seafood
Dell Newman, Newman Seafood
Willy Phillips, Full Circle Crab Company
Dan Rittschof, Amy Freitag and Josh Stoll, Duke University
North Carolina boasts a delicious variety of shellfish as well, but they may also be potentially exposed to human pollutants like mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB). This team will determine mercury and PCB levels in soft-shell and basket blue crabs, pink shrimp, white shrimp, oysters and hard clams, as well as inshore fish species spot and striped mullet.
|An FRG project will design safe processing methods for raw oysters. (Image credit: Scott Taylor)
Validation of a Post-Harvest Process To Reduce Vibrio vulnificus in Oysters
LeeAnn Jaykus, North Carolina State University
Jim Swartzenberg, J&B AquaFood
Vibrio is a bacteria that can be found on raw oysters and can cause painful sickness if consumed. Researchers are always seeking new ways to treat harvest oysters for Vibrio while maintaining the freshness and taste of the product. This team will test a heat-shock process to kill the bacteria and fine-tune the technique for consideration by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Validation of Microwave Cooking Instructions for Not-Ready-To-Eat Seafood
David Green and K.P. Sandeep, North Carolina State University
Ronnie Wrenn, Fresher-Than-Fresh
Many city folks are on the go, forgoing the luxury of a slow-cooked meal for microwaved rations. But how do you microwave frozen, uncooked seafood so that it's safe to eat? Creating safe cooking instructions for microwaving seafood could help open new doors and product lines for our state's seafood packagers and processors.
Raising Consumer Awareness and Interest in North Carolina Seafood
Brunswick Catch partners
Cathy Dobbins, UNC-TV
William Small, N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Documentary filmmakers will turn their cameras towards the coast as they focus on the progress of our state's "local catch" movement. Seafood marketing programs like Carteret Catch, Brunswick Catch, Ocracoke Fresh and Outer Banks Catch could be featured in this half-hour film profiling coastal fishing communities and their products.
A GIS Assessment of NCDMF Oyster Enhancement from 1981 to 2009
Eugene Ballance, commercial fisherman in Ocracoke
The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries has planted shell and rock material in state waters since the 1980s to improve wild oyster growth. But are these plantings doing the trick to create new oyster colonies? Ballance and fellow waterman Barry Cullens of Elizabeth City will use side-scan sonar to look into the depths and see whether past plantings have resulted in live oyster beds.
|Brunswick County commercial fishermen will be featured in a UNC-TV documentary. (Image credit: Brunswick catch)
Identification of River Herring Spawning and Juvenile Habitat in Albemarle Sound Inferred from Otolith Microchemistry
Willy Phillips, Full Circle Crab, Inc.
Roger Rulifson, East Carolina University
River herring is a historic state fishery, but dwindling numbers have mandated harvest moratoriums in recent years. Rulifson and Phillips want to know what habitats the existing herring are using for spawning and rearing, so herring restoration efforts can be improved. A team of commercial fishermen will help collect the fish for chemical analysis that will reveal the locations of their watery births.
Can Spawning Habitat Be Characterized and Prioritized on the Presence of Early Life Stages of River Herring?
Anthony Overton, East Carolina University
Terry Pratt, commercial fisherman in Merry Hill
You might figure out where the herring are spawning, but you still need to learn what makes those spawning grounds so special. Overton and Pratt will travel the Chowan River — a productive spawning ground for river herring — to measure the health and abundance of herring eggs and young, and to record the habitat and water conditions there. With that information, managers can identify which environmental factors help baby herring thrive.
Quantifying Boring Sponge Abundance and Biomass in North Carolina Oyster Reefs
David Gaskill, commercial fisherman in Morehead City
Niels Lindquist, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Institute of Marine Sciences
The boring sponge is a common species that literally drills into and weakens oyster shells, reducing oyster sale value to half-shell markets and hampering the growth of young oysters and restored oyster reefs. These researchers want to know where in Pamlico Sound these boring sponges are most abundant, so that growers and managers can minimize or avoid production in those areas.
Bycatch Volume Reduction Through Turtle Excluder Device (TED) Reduced Grid Spacing
John Broome, commercial fisherman in Wilmington
We all love the taste of North Carolina shrimp, and local fishermen are striving to bring us these delicious harvests without harming sensitive wildlife such as sea turtles. Broome and his study partners will modify TED technology in an effort to decrease bycatch, reduce labor costs and improve the success of each harvest.
Adopting European Trawl Doors to N.C. Shrimp Fishery in Pamlico Sound
Joseph Williams, commercial fisherman in Scranton
Lowering costs while maximizing performance is the key to any successful business, and the same holds true for commercial fishing. Trawl doors are like underwater kites that spread the net open when towed, and door improvements can cut water drag and save fuel. Williams will introduce a new door design to North Carolina waters, examine expected fuel savings and observe environmental impacts.
Efficient Water Oxygenation and Purification of Aquaculture
Keith Bolick, Bob King and George Moore, Clean Water Scientific
Despite their oxygen-producing benefits, algae can be quite a nuisance in commercial aquaculture farms. Industry researchers at Clean Water Scientific in Raleigh will test the use of ozone as a way to control algal blooms.
|Black sea bass have comparable taste and texture to more expensive grouper species, and are a prime candidate species for aquaculture in North Carolina. (Image credit: NOAA)
Pilot Commercial-Scale Testing of Promising Diets for Intensive Cultivation of Southern Flounder and Black Sea Bass in N.C. Using an Alternative Protein Source
Ted Davis, Aqua Plantations
Keith Hairr, Carolina Flounder
Shawn Longfellow, Blue Ocean Farms
Wade Watanabe and Md. Shah Alam, University of North Carolina at Wilmington
If you want to farm predatory fish like sea bass and flounder, can you feed them diets made from soybean and poultry? Feed made with fishmeal is costly and still relies on dwindling wild fish harvests — one of the original arguments for promoting aquaculture. Finding an equally efficient alternative could help fish growers.
Development of a Holding System for the Sale of Live Black Sea Bass
Tom Burgess, commercial fisherman in Sneads Ferry
Tom Losordo, North Carolina State University
Wild black sea bass also is an important North Carolina fishery. But fishermen sometimes struggle to make a profit. Wholesale deliveries of live fish to niche markets in the Northeast could be one solution to increase profit per pound. Losordo and Burgess will experiment with warehouse tanks that will hold live wild sea bass for potential customers between capture and transport.
Two additional proposals will receive awards pending regulatory decisions on the use of gill nets in southern flounder commercial fishery. Both proposals are testing commercial harvest gears for flounder.
For more information about the N.C. Fishery Resource Grant and its impacts on North Carolina communities and industries, visit online at www.ncseagrant.org/s/FRG.
North Carolina Sea Grant: Your link to research and resources for a healthier coast
For a list of all Sea Grant funded projects, leave fields blank and select search.
Specify part of a title, a researcher's name and/or select a category from the
from the dropdown menu.