NOAA -- Highly Migratory Species Research Initiative

Funding Agency:
Department of Commerce

: Atlantic highly migratory species (HMS), which include tunas, billfish, and sharks, are important to both the ecological health of ocean ecosystems and to commercial and recreational fisheries. However, knowledge gaps in the life history, biology, and population status of many of these species limit understanding and the collective ability to sustainably manage these species. HMS and the coastal communities that rely on the health of these stocks could greatly benefit from improved information, upon which science-based management and conservation can be based.

Many stakeholder groups, including federal and state agencies, commercial and recreational fishing industries, the broader seafood industry, academic researchers, and consumers, have important interests and perspectives that can inform efforts to better understand and manage HMS populations.

As part of the FY 2019 Appropriations Bill for NOAA, Congress directed Sea Grant to spend up to $2 million to initiate an HMS research initiative focused on HMS species in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, including the interactions between yellow-fin tuna and oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. This direction, and priorities identified in the 2014 Atlantic HMS ManagementBased Research Needs and Priorities document developed by NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service in collaboration with HMS stakeholders, was used to identify priorities for this initiative that will support research to address critical gaps in knowledge about HMS in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean regions.

The National Sea Grant Office anticipates awarding up to five projects totaling up to $2 million in FY 2019. Awarded projects must have a maximum duration of two years. 

Deadline: June 19, 2019

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

Proposals should address one or more of the following priorities: 1. Examining the impact of offshore oil platforms and other Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) on the biology and behavior of HMS, such as yellowfin tuna; 2. Providing post-release mortality estimates for HMS in commercial and/or recreational fisheries; 3. Improving HMS stock structure and life history (e.g., age, growth, reproduction) information; 4. Providing life stage distribution and habitat utilization of HMS; and/or 5. Examining the efficacy of existing or new bycatch reduction techniques for HMS.

Eligibility Requirements

The following entities are eligible and encouraged to participate in this funding opportunity: any individual; any public or private corporation, partnership, or other association or entity (including any Sea Grant College, Sea Grant Institute or other institution); or any State, political subdivision of a State, Tribal government or agency or officer thereof. We encourage cooperative applicant teams that integrate diverse sectors, including industry, academia, and other groups, as appropriate and encourage the integration of extension and/or communications professionals who will help ensure that research results are conveyed and applied by stakeholders. 

Funding Type



Women and minorities encouraged


Environmental & Life Sciences

External Deadline

June 19, 2019