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 Fisheries Innovation Fund 2013 Request for Proposals


The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) will award grants to foster innovation and support effective participation of fishermen and fishing communities in the implementation of sustainable fisheries in the US.  We anticipate awarding $1 million through this solicitation.

Successful proposals will develop innovative approaches to:

a.      Build capacity of fishing communities to improve their sustainability

b.     Promote full utilization of Annual Catch Limits and minimize bycatch of overfished and endangered species

c.      Improve the quality, quantity and timeliness of fisheries-dependent data used for science, management and fishermen’s business purposes

The Fisheries Innovation Fund was created through a partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), with additional support from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation.


The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that preserves and restores our nation’s native wildlife species and habitats. Created by Congress in 1984, NFWF establishes partnerships to invest public conservation dollars matched with private funds in the most pressing environmental needs. NFWF has a long and successful history of working with NOAA to establish public-private partnerships to support the agency’s conservation priorities.

Sustainable Fisheries are one of NOAA’s top priorities. The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act of 2006 (Magnuson Act) included provisions to help rebuild overfished stocks; sustain fishermen, communities and vibrant working waterfronts; and promote safety, fishery conservation and management, and social and economic benefits. The Fisheries Innovation Fund is a public-private partnership that seeks to support fishermen and communities as they work to meet the sustainable fisheries goals of the Magnuson Act.

This is the fourth funding opportunity of the Fisheries Innovation Fund, and will consider applications from all US fisheries, commercial or recreational, looking to foster innovation as they strive to achieve sustainability.


Proposals submitted to the Fisheries Innovation Fund should address one of the following:

1.  Innovations in Capacity Building:

a.       Projects to assist and promote the participation of fishing communities in the establishment of Regional Fishing Associations (as defined by the Magnuson Act), community trusts, community supported fishing associations, or permit banks to help retain access to fisheries resources by fishermen in local communities.

b.      The development and submission of community sustainability plans, as well as development of business plans that support the financial viability of communities.

c.       Creation of fishery conservation networks—organizing vehicles for sharing information among fishermen, fishing communities, scientists and others.

d.      Development of viable processes to promote inter-generational fishery access, and entry level access into the fishery.


2.  Innovative Bycatch Reduction Initiatives:

a.       Projects such as gear modification, bycatch hotspot mapping, risk pooling or improved fishing practices that will lead to reduced impacts on non-target species and habitats and may enhance the opportunity for fishermen to fully access Annual Catch Limits.


3.  Innovations in Monitoring and Evaluation:

a.       Projects that improve monitoring and evaluation of fisheries that lack data including, but not limited to: innovative enhancements in observer coverage, tools to assist in gathering data, implementation of electronic monitoring on vessels, or the development and application of socio-economic and biological performance measures to establish baselines and track change over time.

b.      Improving the traceability of fish in the supply chain so new markets can be explored


4.  Innovations in Recreational Fisheries:

a.       Projects to improve monitoring and evaluation that  are consistent with the priorities of, and that complement research projects of, the NOAA Fisheries Marine Recreational Improvement Program (http://www.countmyfish.noaa.gov/index.html) including, but not limited to: innovative dockside surveying methods, development/implementation of electronic applications and data collection tools, and other mechanisms to assist in gathering data.

b.      Other innovations to address current needs as identified by the recreational sector through the NOAA Fisheries Recreational Fishing Action Agendas, (http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/stories/2011/12/recfish.html) including but not limited to: studies that quantify recreational release mortality rates and the effects of conservation-based methods to reduce release mortality through improved catching, handling and release techniques.


All persons, organizations, and agencies (excluding employees of the U.S. Federal Government) working on projects to ensure sustainable U.S. fisheries.

Applications for funding for land or easement acquisition, facility construction, political advocacy, lobbying, or litigation will not be considered.

Grant Size

The majority of awards under this program will fall in the range of $50,000 to $200,000. However, upper or lower limits to award size are not specified.

Matching Contributions

Matching contributions (both cash and in-kind) are preferred but not required. However, applicants are encouraged to seek out matching funds because these grant proposals may be more competitive. Applicants will be prompted to include information on other sources of funding for the project in the application section entitled “Matching Contributions.”

Grant Period

Projects may run for up to two years.

Application Guidelines

The following guidelines will be used by NFWF, and an advisory team of experts, to evaluate applications requesting support from the Fisheries Innovation Fund. Final decisions on awards will be made solely by NFWF.


All applicants are required to submit a pre-proposal for review. No supporting materials other than the Pre-proposal Narrative described below will be accepted during this phase of the review. Failure to follow the length and formatting guidelines will result in disqualification of the pre-proposal.

The pre-proposal narrative should provide the following information in a 3 page (maximum) narrative, single-spaced, 12-point type:

a.       Priority Addressed – List which of the four priorities will be addressed by your proposal (see “Priorities” above).

b.      Project Location – List all states, municipalities, coastlines and marine areas in which you will conduct all project activities (maps may be included and do not count against the 3 page narrative limit).

c.       Methods – Provide a description of the methods you will use.  Explain how your methods are suited to the project area and goals.

d.      Project Outcomes(s) – Describe the short-term outcomes/results anticipated to occur within the time span of the proposed project and the anticipated long-term utility of the project and its implications for future research, management, or conservation activities.

e.       Proposed Activities – Briefly describe your strategy (activities) for achieving project outcomes and where you are in their planning and implementation.

f.       Measure of Success – Discuss how you will measure progress and success against your proposed outcome(s) and briefly outline your monitoring plan to capture these results.

Full Proposal (by invitation only)

A limited number of pre-proposal applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal to elaborate on their work for a second stage of review. The following additional information will be required at that time:

Expanded Proposal Narrative – Full Proposal Only

Applicants will be asked to submit an expanded proposal narrative that provides all relevant detail on background, objectives, methodology, strategies, results, etc. The document should not exceed 6 pages in length, single-spaced with 12-point type.

Budget– Full Proposal Only

A budget form will be provided to help the applicant outline in sufficient detail the costs by general category, including salaries, travel, major equipment and supplies, publication costs, and sub-contracts.

Timeline – Full Proposal Only

For multi-year or multi-stage projects, include a timetable for completion of each phase as a means of gauging progress toward completion of the full proposed effort. Insert the timeline in the “uploads” section of the online application.

Short Biography, Project Team Qualifications – Full Proposal Only

Applications should also include a short biography of no more than one page each for key members of the proposal team. Key members are those individuals whose unique background and experience are essential to completion of the project. Insert biographies in the “uploads” section of the online application.

Maps, Letters of Support, and other Supporting Materials – Full Proposal Only

If the applicant is invited to submit a full proposal, additional supporting materials such as maps can be included in the “uploads” section of the submission. Applicants also can attach letters of support to their full proposal. These can be particularly relevant in cases of multi-jurisdictional, political, or institutional projects when the proposed work will rely on the data or actions of a third party. However, supplemental materials should be limited to information absolutely essential to understanding the significance, approach, and context of the proposed work. These may be inserted in the “uploads” section of the online application.

If relevant, applicants asked to submit full proposals will be required to provide proof of all necessary permits and clearances to comply with the U.S. National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, and any international permits (e.g., CITES) or relevant non-U.S. national, state, or local ordinances.

Application Process

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation uses an online grants system called Easygrants for the application process. Organizations interested in applying should submit a pre-proposal using the Easygrants system.

This funding opportunity will open on October 7, 2013. Applicants should visit http://www.nfwf.org/easygrants and register as a new user (unless you have previously applied to NFWF in the Easygrants system under a different funding opportunity) and then follow the instructions below.

1.      Under “Apply for a New Grant”, click the “Start a New Application” link. Select the Fisheries Innovation Fund 2014 funding opportunity.

2.      Follow the instructions to complete an eligibility quiz and, if deemed eligible, a pre-proposal.

Pre-proposals must be submitted via the Foundation's online system, in English, and received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on November 4, 2013 (no exceptions). Upon receipt and competitive evaluation of the pre-proposal, NFWF will invite successful applicants to submit a full proposal. Applicants will be notified by December 2, 2013, as to the status of their preliminary applications and whether they are invited to submit a full proposal. Full proposals must be submitted by January 17, 2014. Awards for this program are scheduled to be announced in April 2014.

For further information on the program or completing the application, please contact Mary Beth Charles (MaryBeth.Charles@nfwf.org or 202-595-2445); or Anthony Chatwin (Anthony.Chatwin@nfwf.org or 202-857-0166).


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