Fishing boats in New Bedford, Massachusetts

NFWF Announces $4.1 Million in Awards from the Electronic Monitoring and Reporting Grant Program

Grants will support new and existing projects to modernize data management in U.S. fisheries

Fishing boats in New Bedford, Massachusetts

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nov. 16, 2020) –The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and NOAA today announced $4.1 million in grants to modernize fisheries data management systems and support the implementation of fisheries electronic monitoring and reporting projects in 14 states and Puerto Rico. The grants will generate $4.8 million in matching contributions for a total conservation impact of $8.9 million.

The grants were awarded through the Electronic Monitoring and Reporting Grant Program (EMR Grant Program), a partnership between NFWF, NOAA, the Walton Family Foundation and the Kingfisher Foundation. 

“The 16 projects announced today will drive innovation in fisheries monitoring, data collection and data management systems that are critical to sustainable fisheries management,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “These grants will enhance the timeliness and quality of data available in fisheries around the United States and will directly benefit the commercial and recreational fishers that rely on these resources.” 

The projects supported by the 16 grants announced today will initiate flexible electronic monitoring systems in small vessel fisheries, engage anglers and commercial fishers through outreach on electronic technologies, and support the large-scale implementation of electronic monitoring. Projects will enhance fisheries data collection efforts in federal and state fisheries in Alabama, Alaska, California, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia, and Washington, as well as Puerto Rico.

"The United States is recognized as a global leader in sustainable fisheries thanks to our fishermen, scientists, conservationists and many other partners, who work collaboratively to continuously expand and improve our understanding of the marine environment,” said NOAA Fisheries Assistant Administrator Chris Oliver. “Through NFWF, NOAA Fisheries is able to make this critical investment in the next generation of data, science and partnerships that will expand and improve fisheries data collection through electronic reporting and monitoring programs.” 

This year’s grants in the New England groundfish fishery and the Alaska pollock fishery will continue to expand implementation of electronic monitoring and reporting tools to improve data for fishermen and managers. Projects in New England, the Mid-Atlantic and on the West Coast will engage recreational and commercial fishermen to improve existing electronic technology tools.

Additional grants to pilot projects will evaluate electronic technologies for the first time in the Columbia River salmon fishery in Oregon and Washington, the Washington Dungeness crab fishery, and the for-hire Gulf of Mexico reef fish fishery in Alabama, Florida and Texas. Grants will also continue trials in the Maine scallop fishery and the small-scale highly migratory species fishery in Puerto Rico.

“Expanding the use of electronic monitoring and reporting is critical for modernizing the fishing industry and allowing fishermen and managers to respond to changing fisheries,” said Walton Family Foundation Senior Program Officer Teresa Ish. “Facing climate change, COVID and other uncertainties, we know that better data allows fishermen, NOAA and seafood businesses to make smarter and faster decisions and be more resilient to change. The projects supported by the EMR Grant Program are important to helping us learn how to do this effectively and affordably together.” 

The EMR Grant Program was established in 2015 to advance NOAA’s sustainable fisheries goals to partner with fishermen and other stakeholders, state agencies and Fishery Information Networks to integrate technology into fisheries data collection and observations. To date, the program has awarded more than $21.5 million to 71 projects in U.S. fisheries, and has generated a total conservation impact of $49.1 million through matching contributions. Congress appropriated $3.5 million to NOAA Fisheries for this program in 2020.

A complete list of the 2020 grants made through the EMR Grant Program is available here.    

About the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Chartered by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) protects and restores the nation’s fish, wildlife, plants and habitats. Working with federal, corporate and individual partners, NFWF has funded more than 5,000 organizations and generated a conservation impact of $6.1 billion. Learn more at

About the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 
NOAA's mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and our other social media channels.

About the Walton Family Foundation
The Walton Family Foundation is, at its core, a family-led foundation. Three generations of the descendants of our founders, Sam and Helen Walton, and their spouses, work together to lead the foundation and create access to opportunity for people and communities. We work in three areas: improving K-12 education, protecting rivers and oceans and the communities they support, and investing in our home region of Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta. In 2018, the foundation awarded more than $595 million in grants in support of these initiatives. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About the Kingfisher Foundation
The Kingfisher Foundation works to implement sound fishery management rules and methods that align long term economic prosperity for fishers with good stewardship and sustainable fishing. Themes include rebuilding fish populations, implementing secure access rights, harnessing technology innovations and modern information policies for cost effective data driven monitoring, management and accountability of commercial and recreational fisheries. The foundation supports NFWF’s Electronic Monitoring and Reporting Program, which aims to develop and implement electronic technology to improve the timeliness and quality of fisheries data, expand access and availability of data, and increase knowledge of fisheries management and science.


Rob Blumenthal, 202-857-0166,