This fiscal year (FY21) the Commission requested research proposals that would further the conservation and management goals of the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and assist the Commission in fulfilling its duties under the MMPA. We were especially interested in projects addressing human impacts on marine mammals and their ecosystems, or proposing research with clear management applications. All projects were to include an outreach, communication, or engagement component and additional weight was given to proposals that: 1) focused on species or population(s) of conservation concern, or 2) increased the inclusion or representation of people from underrepresented groups in marine mammal research, management, or conservation. We reviewed over 120 proposals totaling over $3.5 million in funding requests. We are pleased to announce the eight projects, totaling almost $250,000, selected for funding:

  • Whales from space: Designing a standardized workflow to annotate whales and confounding features in very high resolution satellite images to assist the development of automated whale detection systems

  • Internships program for diversity and inclusion in marine mammal science

  • Initiation of a long-term Guadalupe fur seal (Arctocephalus townsendi) population monitoring program

  • Advancing whale conservation and outreach with sustainable infrastructure for WhaleMap

  • Migratory patterns and overwintering areas of the world’s rarest whale, the North Pacific right whale (Eubalaena japonica)

  • Preventing whale entanglements through gear innovations in the California Commercial Dungeness Crab Fishery

  • Design for an international virtual fishing gear marking system to reduce whale entanglements

  • Assessing the status of two coastal cetacean species in a marine biodiversity hotspot off the west coast of India

For more information, visit our 2021 Grant Awards webpage. Please check back in November for information about next year's request for proposals.