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Requests for Proposals - Archived

(NOAA's Undersea Research Center for Hawai‘i and the Western Pacific)



The Hawai'i Undersea Research Laboratory (HURL) operates under a grant to the University of Hawai'i from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). HURL is one of the six National Undersea Research Centers that comprise NOAA's National Undersea Research Program (NURP).

Proposals for fisheries and related benthic habitats research using HURL's assets in the Hawaiian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) are sought for the coming field season of June 1998 to October 1998. HURL's assets include the manned submersible Pisces V, a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) RCV-150, and other equipment deployed from R/V Ka'imikai-o-Kanaloa. The submersible is operated during daylight hours only; the ROV will operate at night. Proponents should consider carefully which vehicle best serves their research objectives. Proposals may request use of either vehicle, or use of both at different times. Proposals to use RCV-150 will be particularly welcomed.

Research themes are outlined below. Scientists and engineers at any university or research institution are encouraged to apply. Preliminary inquiries are encouraged and should be directed to HURL's Science Director, Keith Crook, [phone (808) 956-9429; fax (808) 956-9772] to ensure that appropriate guidelines are addressed, and to permit operations staff to evaluate feasibility. Final proposals should reach HURL by March 31, 1998.

General support of at-sea operations, including vessel, submersible, and ROV time; food; and lodging is provided at no cost to participating investigators and their associates. Participants should expect to meet other costs associated with their projects. Associated research funding should be solicited from granting agencies through the usual channels.

Following peer review of the proposals, and recommendations from a Review Panel, research projects will be ranked and selected according to scientific merit, vehicle suitability, programmatic goals, and logistical considerations. All requests of scientific or technical merit that address one or more of the research themes will be carefully considered.


The following fishery and related benthic habitats research themes are based upon 1) the Hawaii and American Flag Pacific Islands Coastal Zone and Fisheries Managers Workshop that was held June 9-10, 1997, in Honolulu, Hawaii, and 2) the NOAA Fisheries Strategic Plan. The latter can be found at the NOAA web site under the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). The areas of interest have been limited to the Hawaiian EEZ because of funding limitations.

Rebuilding and maintaining fisheries will promote the economic and biological sustainability of U.S. fishing resources and assist the commercial fishing industry in becoming more competitive internationally. NOAA's vision for the next decade is to increase greatly the Nation's wealth and quality of life through sustainable fisheries that support fishing industry jobs, safe and wholesome seafood, and recreational opportunities. It is also NOAA's vision to conserve marine species and to recover those in danger of extinction. Fisheries management issues arise in three broad areas: fisheries assessment, fisheries protection, and fisheries recovery. In addition, recovery of protected species and control of interactions between fisheries and protected species are important management issues.

1. Fisheries Assessment

Assessment relates to evaluating the extent and status of exploited resources and to the discovery of new resources. This includes life history science focused on fishery related species that will provide essential information to fishery monitoring and management activities. It includes studies to validate assumptions in fishery assessment models or to provide descriptive information important to emerging management issues such as fishery bycatch. Projects could focus on:

  • Conducting research to enhance fishery independent surveys (acoustic/visual/multispectral investigations) of stocks (e.g., bottomfish)
  • Performing research to better locate and assess fishery-dependent resources (e.g., precious corals)
  • Performing acoustic surveys and visual validation of new resources
  • Conducting research related to life history science (e.g., all aspects of life cycle)
  • Conducting research related to the inventory of essential habitat for target species, including juvenile stages

2. Protection of Fish Stocks

Information relevant to stock protection includes knowledge of the characteristics of essential habitat, understanding of the forage base of the species, and evaluation of human impacts. The habitats of most target species and their juvenile stages have yet to be characterized. Information concerning the effectiveness of refugia and the competition between introduced and native species are important management needs. Direct impacts to fish stocks include bycatch issues, damage to habitat by fishing operations, and impacts of marine debris. Projects relevant to these issues include:

  • Conducting research related to defining relevant habitats of juvenile and adult stages of fishery target species (e.g., bottom fish)
  • Performing acoustic and visual surveys and measurements of fish movements in conjunction with refugia studies to evaluate effects of refugia and assist in the optimal development of fish species
  • Evaluating popular claims that the introduced Lutjanus kasmira is displacing native bottomfish
  • Evaluating the impact of trawl and tangle net gears on habitat and stock (e.g., precious corals)

3. Recovery of Depleted Fisheries

Strategies to recover fisheries may include habitat improvement, stock enhancement techniques, and open ocean aquaculture technology. Implementation of these enhancement approaches and their technologies will require assessment as to their effectiveness and any possible impacts. Potential research needs relate to:

  • Conducting the field component of research to support bottomfish aquaculture
  • Conducting studies of the impacts of introducing technology to natural habitats (e.g., artificial reefs, aquaculture support systems, manipulation of nutrient levels)
  • Conducting studies that support the elimination or prevention of overfishing, rebuilding of depleted fisheries, and minimization of habitat destruction
  • Conducting research that supports monitoring programs

4. Recovery of Protected Species

Marine related protected species include marine mammals and sea turtles. Basic life history, biological, and ecological information are required to effectively protect these species and the habitats essential for them. Equally important are understanding and mitigating the impacts resulting from interactions between human activities and protected species. Possible research areas could include such topics as:

  • Conducting studies to obtain important ecological and life history information of marine species that are threatened or endangered.
  • Conducting research related to better assessment of candidate species and stocks of uncertain status to determine whether human activities are posing a risk.
  • Evaluating the degree of competition between protected species (e.g., marine mammals) and the fishery for the same benthic resource, and other effects of marine mammals on the benthos.

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