New Hampshire Sea Grant (NHSG) will support six research projects during 2018-19 that focus on sustainable fisheries and aquaculture topics within healthy coastal ecosystems that are of local and regional importance. The projects were chosen after a rigorous application process and will be awarded federal funding for the next two years.
The research will be led by scientists from the University of New Hampshire, Dartmouth College, N.H. Fish and Game, and the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve. The project topics include:
- Characterizing the genetic stock structure of striped bass to improve marine culture and inform fishery management
- Evaluating growth and sustainable harvesting practices for Jonah crabs in New England waters
- Reducing risk and enhancing benefits of fish consumption: Understanding species, size and age relationships for mercury, arsenic, selenium and omega-3 fatty acid concentrations in Gulf of Maine fisheries species
- Improving the economic sustainability of Northeast aquaculture using a wastes-to-resources approach via integrated farming models
- DNA methods to monitor invasive species and biodiversity in estuarine systems
- Examining the role of viruses on successful invasion by a hypervirulent pathogenic Vibrio parahaemolyticus strain and the subsequent impact on native populations
The decision to request research proposals that focus around a particular theme each funding cycle — in this case, sustainable fisheries and aquaculture within healthy coastal ecosystems — was made by NHSG based on input from NHSG’s Policy Advisory Committee, a group of community members, stakeholders and organizational and industry leaders, that provides advice and oversight for all aspects of the management and operations of NHSG.
"Focusing on a theme is designed to create greater momentum and impact in a particular area by generating opportunities for scientists, their students, NHSG staff, and partner organizations to work together on related projects,” explained Erik Chapman, Director for NHSG. “Subsequent funding cycles will focus on slightly different themes, all of which will align with NHSG’s mission to promote the wise use, conservation, and sustainable development of marine and coastal resources in the state, the region, and beyond,” he added.
Through a separate, ongoing mechanism, NHSG will also fund a few small development projects on a variety of topics that will allow researchers to conduct preliminary studies that will lead to major marine-related research efforts in the future.
Each coastal and Great Lakes state, along with Puerto Rico and Guam, has a Sea Grant program. In N.H., that program is based at UNH. Federal funding comes from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is part of the Department of Commerce, and it must be matched 1:2 by non-federal funds.