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NOAA Awards Grant to World Wildlife Fund
June 9, 2009

NOAA’s Fisheries Service has awarded a $364,000 grant to the World Wildlife Fund in support of the 2009 Smart Gear Competition that awards prizes for innovative gear designs which reduce fisheries bycatch.

Bycatch occurs when fishermen catch unwanted fish species or wildlife along with their intended catch. Adaptations to fishing gear can reduce bycatch by allowing non-target species to escape from gear or avoid being captured. Fishermen who observe bycatch problems first-hand have developed some of the most effective methods to selectively target commercial species.

The two-year NOAA grant to WWF will support the competition, plus extensive testing to further develop the winning designs. Launched in 2004, the competition has received entries from fishermen, chemists, engineers and inventors in previous years, resulting in hundreds of proposals from dozens of countries.

WWF plans to award a total of four prizes for the most promising technological developments: one grand prize of $30,000; two runner-up prizes of $10,000; and one special East African regional prize of $7,500. The competition is accepting entries until June 30th.

For more information or to submit a gear design entry, visit the Smart Gear website.

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