What We Do
Commercial fishermen 
  • Fisheries Innovation Fund

    According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), commercial and recreational fisheries had combined sales impacts of over $208 billion in the United States in 2015. However, some U.S. fisheries are struggling, both biologically and economically. As of 2017, NOAA reported that 35 stocks are categorized as overfished and 30 are categorized as subject to overfishing.

    The Fisheries Innovation Fund releases two requests for proposals (RFPs) each year to work towards sustainable fisheries in the United States: a Fisheries Innovation Fund RFP and an Electronic Monitoring and Reporting Grant Program RFP.

    Fisheries Innovation Fund RFP

    NFWF launched the Fisheries Innovation Fund in 2010 to foster innovation in fisheries and seafood production in order to sustain livelihoods, working waterfronts and sustainable access to fisheries while rebuilding fish stocks. The fund supports the participation of fishermen and their communities in securing sustainable fisheries in the United States.

    Fisheries Innovation Fund funding priorities include bycatch reduction, recreational fisheries and offshore aquaculture including activities to build community capacity and encourage sustainable use practices. Most projects have originated locally to address needs, challenges and opportunities at the community level. 

    Electronic Monitoring and Reporting RFP

    The Electronic Monitoring and Reporting Grant Program was launched in 2015. The program seeks to advance NOAA’s sustainable fisheries goals to partner with fishermen, stakeholders, state agencies and Fishery Information Networks to systematically integrate technology into fisheries data collection and observations, and streamline data management and use for fisheries management. The program aims to improve the quality, quantity, and timeliness of fisheries-dependent data. Projects awarded under this opportunity catalyze the implementation of electronic technologies for catch and compliance monitoring, and improvements to fishery information systems. 

    To date, the Fisheries Innovation Fund has awarded grants totaling over $20.3 million to 127 projects across 26 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. These awards have been matched by over $22.5 million dollars from the grantees, for a total conservation impact of $42.8 million. 

    Major funding for the Fisheries Innovation Fund is provided by NOAA, the Walton Family Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Kingfisher Foundation. Mitigation funds received through NFWF's Recovered Oil Fund for Wildlife have also contributed to the program, with grantee organizations and additional public and private funders providing matching funds.


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