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NFWF and NOAA Announce Vessel Strike Avoidance Fund 2024

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has announced the release of the 2024 Request for Proposals (RFP) under a new program, the Vessel Strike Avoidance Fund. NFWF has established the Vessel Strike Avoidance Fund as a catalyst to foster promising detection and communication technologies from development to implementation. 

This program will award up to $6 million in grants to projects that support the development and implementation of technologies that provide mariners with tools to more effectively avoid collisions with endangered North Atlantic right whales, benefiting vessel operators and the species.

The deployment of existing, in development, or future technologies and innovations can aid right whale and other marine species conservation and address collisions, including by helping vessel captains, boaters, and other mariners avoid harmful interactions with whales and other marine life. 

“This funding that will support innovation and technology development to help mariners more safely navigate waters and avoid interactions with large whales and other marine life while still maintaining their livelihoods is significant,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “This new funding builds upon over a decade of partnership with fishing and coastal communities to develop innovative technical solutions to conservation issues including reducing bycatch and collecting timely and more accurate fisheries data.”

“NOAA Fisheries is proud to partner with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to support grants to develop innovative technologies to reduce vessel strikes to North Atlantic right whales,” said Janet Coit, Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries. “This effort is part of the agency’s plans to conserve and recover this species with $82 million in funding from the Inflation Reduction Act, and contributes to NOAA Fisheries’ North Atlantic Right Whale Road to Recovery.”

Pre-proposals for the Vessel Strike Avoidance Fund are due Tuesday, June 25, 2024, and the full RFP can be found here. An applicant webinar will be held Thursday, May 30, 2024, at 3:00 pm ET. 

The right whale is an endangered species; vessel strikes threaten their continued health and ability to recover, and they are one of two causes of the ongoing Unusual Mortality Event impacting the species since 2017. The whales’ habitat and migration routes are dynamic but overlap with major ports, shipping lanes and areas of heavy recreational use along the Atlantic coastline. Right whales are at risk of being struck by vessels, and these vessel strikes are often fatal for the whale. 
Funding for the Vessel Strike Avoidance Fund 2024 RFP is provided by NOAA through the Inflation Reduction Act. 

Additional information about the fund can be found here.

For more information on NOAA Fisheries’ efforts to conserve and recover the species, please see NOAA Fisheries’ North Atlantic Right Whale Road to Recovery, and this webpage about North Atlantic right whale recovery under the Inflation Reduction Act.

About the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) works with the public and private sectors to sustain, restore and enhance the nation’s fish, wildlife, plants and habitats for current and future generations. Chartered by Congress in 1984, NFWF has grown to become the nation’s largest conservation foundation. Since its founding, NFWF has supported more than 6,800 grantee organizations and funded more than 22,100 projects that have generated a total conservation impact of more than $10 billion. NFWF is an equal opportunity provider. Learn more at nfwf.org.

About NOAA 
Climate, weather, and water affect all life on our ocean planet. NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict our changing environment, from the deep sea to outer space, and to manage and conserve America’s coastal and marine resources. 

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