Review of Project Years

 The Deepwater Horizon Oceanic Fish Restoration Project​ was launched as a pilot in 2017. Launching the project as a pilot allowed continued engagement with vessel owners, fish dealers and other stakeholders so that NFWF and NOAA could make adjustments and enhancements for the full rollout of the project in 2018. 

PARTICIPATION

Both years, of the approximately 35 eligible vessel owners in the Gulf, about half applied for the pilot project. Of those interested in participating, the vast majority were from Louisiana. The remainder were from Florida. All applications were considered.

In the 2017 project year, seven vessel owners from Louisiana participated in a four-month pelagic longline repose from March 1 through June 30.  Participants fished using greenstick gear for a collective total of 280 sea-days. 

Louisiana fishing gear


In the 2018 project year, seven vessel owners from Louisiana and three vessel owners from Florida participated in a six-month pelagic longline repose from January 1 through June 30. Participants fished using greenstick, buoy and deep drop rod and reel gear for a collective total of almost 500 sea-days. 

OUTCOMES

Data show clear bycatch benefits: the amount of bycatch species caught using alternative gear was minimal, and many of those that were caught were released alive.

All the participants to date have provided positive feedback about the project:

“I found it very rewarding to be a part of the research and experiment with the new gear, as well as to be a part of something that could help restore fish in the Gulf,” one 2017 participant said.

According to one 2018 participant: “I am very invested in helping make alternative gear more effective for future generations of fishermen.”

NFWF and NOAA are excited about the future of this project based on the successful outcomes of both the 2017 and 2018 project years.

 

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