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Phase II IUCRC at Virginia Institute of Marine Science: Center for Science Center for Marine Fisheries (SCeMFiS)


The Science Center for Marine Fisheries (SCeMFiS) uses academic and commercial finfish and shellfish fisheries resources to address scientific problems limiting sustainable fisheries. SCeMFiS reflects both a continuing expansion of industry-supported research in an era of increased science rigor in management, and the importance of synergistic collaboration between academics, industry, and regulatory agencies in complex management decisions. Phase II will focus research efforts on: (1) precautionary management that maintains quotas below sustainable levels, thereby limiting economic value and jobs, (2) the influence of climate change on sustainable management and long-range planning, (3) resolution of multiple use conflicts (both spatial and over multi-decadal time frames) between fisheries and energy production, and (4) ecosystem management with a focus on forage fish and ecosystem trophic structure. SCeMFiS will develop essential biological data on fish stocks; improve models of sampling design, population dynamics, and fishery performance; evaluate trends in stock structure and their relation to genetics, physiology and sexual dimorphism; and improve approaches to fishing to reduce discards through gear innovation and modifications in fleet deployment. SCeMFiS offers the coalescence of capabilities from a range of oceanographic and marine biological disciplines that is essential to meet the challenges faced by fisheries management. <br/><br/>SCeMFiS provides a mechanism by which a diverse group of fishing companies and organizations can develop a coherent, problem-solving research plan advantaged by access to a wealth of academic resources. Phase 2 will continue to build on this effort. SCeMFiS partners gain ownership of the products developed, and become full partners in assessment and regulatory actions supporting sustainable management. SCeMFiS provides a mechanism by which industry can publicly demonstrate their support for the goal of sustainable seafood. In Phase 2 we will expand efforts to leverage additional research support emphasizing the integrated efforts of the two sites to achieve industry-wide research goals, stabilize precautionary management actions that would otherwise drive quota reductions, reflect management actions that are responsive to climate change driven variations in fish production and accessibility, with all actions in compliance with federal mandates under the Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. These goals will be achieved in an environment that promotes graduate education, enables rapid response to emerging data needs, and provides a combined fishery and economics approach to address societal needs.<br/><br/>This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Roger Mann
College of William and Mary
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