The purpose of this Request for Proposals is to assist the fishing industry in the collection of needed West Coast groundfish data, which serves to improve the information base for fisheries management while providing assistance to the industry. Additional scientific data, both in essential fish habitat and stock assessment, is needed for the effective management of the U.S. groundfish fisheries off the Washington, Oregon, and California coasts, pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Act (16 USC 1801-1883) and the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP). The Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (the Commission or PSMFC) wants to encourage and fund effective partnerships among commercial fishermen, researchers, and other stakeholders to become active participants in cooperative research and to further the knowledge base of West Coast groundfish.
Fishermen and scientists have recognized that the sum of their understanding of the fishery ecosystem is greater than their individual knowledge. The Commission and the NOAA Fisheries/ NMFS are interested in re-establishing trust and working relationships between industry and scientists. All parties would like to acquire better information on the fishery ecosystem and fish stocks. There is a desire to develop greater consensus about the criteria of effective research and viable data.
Cooperative fishery research will offer a new source of revenue to fishermen and diversify their financial base, which is important when fishing options are so tightly constrained on the West Coast. Scientists and fishermen will have the opportunity to draw on each other to answer tough questions and creatively devise research projects.