The goals of a research consortium funded by a $1.6 million award from NOAA Sea Grant are improving stock assessment, management and sustainability of highly migratory species such as tuna, swordfish and sharks. The consortium is led by Walt Golet, assistant professor in the School of Marine Sciences.
Funding to support the Pelagic Ecosystem Research Consortium was one of three competitive awards totaling $2 million awarded through the 2019 Sea Grant Highly Migratory Species Research Initiative.
The Pelagic Ecosystem Research Consortium will conduct several projects focused on bycatch reduction, increased understanding of life history, post-release mortality and other objectives for multiple species of highly migratory fish in the Northwest Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.
Co-principal investigators are David Kerstetter of Nova Southeastern University, Robert Hueter of Mote Marine Laboratory and Stephen Bullard of Auburn University.
Comprehensive information on the life history of highly migratory species is lacking, including data on age, growth, indices of abundance, reproduction, post-release and natural mortality, infectious disease, anthropogenic disturbance, habitat utilization/migratory behavior and stock structure.
Research by the consortium is expected to reduce uncertainty in stock assessment models and population status, and inform appropriate quotas to promote sustainability.