The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council (Council) is soliciting proposals for a contractor to design and conduct a research project identifying species composition of sharks responsible for depredation events in pelagic troll and bottomfish fisheries in Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas (CNMI). Fishers in Guam and CNMI have noted high levels of interactions with sharks, presumably in depredation events that have deleterious effects on fishing efficiency and economic viability of fisheries in the region. It has been determined from Guam creel surveys that nearly 40% of pelagic troll fishing events involved shark depredation events. Prior survey efforts and discussions with fishers conclude that shark interactions occur at a significant frequency. It is perceived by many in both Guam and CNMI that sharks are in high density, but identification of species involved in depredation remains equivocal.

For this Request for Proposals (RFP), we invite proposals to 1) improve identification of shark involved in depredation and 2) improve understanding of patterns and drivers of interactions of sharks in fisheries in the Marianas Archipelago. At present, species composition of sharks involved in depredation is unknown, therefore respective risks of interaction from certain species have not been verified and quantified. Research is needed to fill these knowledge gaps, cooperate with stakeholders, and to estimate frequencies of adverse interactions between Marianas fishers and sharks. Additionally, conceptualization of management options based on results from research activities must emerge to mitigate shark interactions in fisheries in the region.

 

SCOPE OF WORK

 

The selected contractor will work closely with the Council, NMFS Pacific Island Fisheries Science Center (PIFSC), Pacific Islands Regional Office (PIRO), CNMI Division of Fish and Wildlife, Guam Division of Aquatic and Wildlife Resources, and other partners as appropriate to conduct field studies on depredation events in troll and bottomfish fisheries.

 

Proposals should address the following scope of work:

  • Coordinate with Council, PIFSC and PIRO throughout the contract period to determine the final analysis approach, obtain data necessary for the analysis, discuss preliminary results, and coordinate presentations as appropriate
  • Participate in bottomfish and troll fishing in Guam and CNMI to observe likely depredation
  • Collect and analyze fish specimens that both targeted and have been depredated by sharks; analyses could include examining residues using genetic techniques and deploying cameras to capture depredation events
  • Design sampling and field experimentation
  • Validation of shark identification using biological/genetic sampling
  • Training local scientists and fishers in Guam and CNMI on how to collect and treat depredated specimens; developing incentives for fishers to participate
  • Work in concert with the Council in hosting educational and training workshops in Guam and CNMI
  • Provide presentations to Council advisory bodies, as appropriate.
  • Prepare a report detailing the methods, results and discussion of the analysis by the end of the project period.
  • Develop recommendations on avoidance of shark depredation events

 

The final scope of work will be determined through a contractual agreement between the Council and the selected contractor.

 

CONTRACT PERIOD

 

The contract is expected to begin in or around January 2020. The contract shall be completed no later than February 2021.

 

ELIGIBILITY

  • Principle Investigator(s) must have a demonstrated ability to implement the project, with a background in statistics, ecology, and genetics
  • Principle Investigator(s) must have a demonstrated expertise on elasmobranchs
  • Principle Investigator(s) must have a demonstrated familiarity with elasmobranch bycatch issues in bottomfish and troll fisheries
  • The contractor must be available to start the project no later than January 2020;
  • Principal investigator(s) with prior experience working on small boats in Pacific Islands
  • Principle Investigator(s) must have prior experience working with fishing communities
  • S. Federal agencies and their employees are not eligible for contractual agreements with the Council;
  • Proposals will be evaluated on a competitive basis by a review committee. The selected proposal will be funded as a contract.

 

REPORTING REQUIREMENTS

The contractor will be required to submit regular progress reports, a final report, and any other deliverables to be identified in the contractual agreement. All end products, reports, and other deliverables resulting from this project must be submitted to the Council. Substantive deliverables may also be reviewed by PIFSC and PIRO personnel. The contractor must also formally acknowledge the Council support in all publications and presentations related to the funded project. The contractor is expected to produce a high quality analysis that is appropriate for submission to a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

 

HOW TO APPLY

Proposal submissions should include the following materials:

  • A proposal including the following items (maximum 10 pages):
    1. Name, affiliation, and contact information of the principal investigator(s)
    2. Project narrative, including the proposed analysis approach and timeline
    3. Budget (may not include overhead or indirect cost exceeding 15 percent)
    4. List of citations, if any
  • A curriculum vitae or resume for each Principal Investigator (maximum of 2 CVs per proposal; not to exceed 4 pages each).

 

Proposals may be submitted by e-mail (attach materials in PDF files) or regular mail to:

 

Mark Fitchett, PhD

Pelagic Fisheries Ecosystem Scientist

Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council

1164 Bishop Street, Suite 1400

Honolulu, HI 96813

Email: mark.fitchett@wpcouncil.org

 

Any inquiries regarding this Request for Proposals should be directed to the contact information above. Proposals will be reviewed by a committee consisting of staff members from Council.

 

SUBMISSION DEADLINE

Proposals must be submitted and received at the Council office by Tuesday, October 15, 2019, at 5pm Hawaii Standard Time.

 

POTENTIAL AVAILABLE ASSISTANCE

Total amount of funding available is $105,000. Travel costs and supplies are subject to purchase requisitions by the Council.