Fishery Resource Grant Program


The Virginia Legislature ratified House Bill 1634 in 1999,  creating the Fishery Resource Grant Trust Fund to "protect and enhance the state's coastal fishery resources through the awarding of grants." The Virginia Fishery Resource Grant Program (VFRGP) is a competitive grant program to fund commercial fishers who have ideas to conserve the resource and improve fishing efficiency. The program looks to fund small-scale tests of industry ideas, which may include new gear development, a new process, etc. The FRG Program is not meant to fund a start-up business, business expansion, or large pieces of equipment.

To see the most recent report, please visit: 2022 Annual Legislative Report

To view past reports, please visit our final project reports page.


1. Look through the priority areas to determine where your idea fits.

2. Discuss your idea(s) and partner with interested groups and/or other experts in the field.

3. Develop your idea into an application - help is available.

4. Submit application by January 13, 2023.

5. Applications are reviewed in February with a two-step evaluation process:. 

  • The first technical review will be conducted by a panel of experts from outside of Virginia.
  • Next, the VFRGP Advisory Board will provide application evaluations to the selection process. The Advisory Board will consider the technical reviews and evaluate the applications with respect to: a) how well the application addresses the priority; b) the ability to protect or enhance fishery resources; c) organization of a work plan leading to conclusions; d) the plan to extend findings to the fishing industry; e) availability of expertise and its application; f) familiarity and experience with the problem addressed; g) innovation of approach and/or potential findings; h) cost-effectiveness of implementation of results; and i) reasonableness of the budget for the work proposed. 

6. Applicants are contacted with review result in late February.

7. Successful applications move forward with contract awards with funding available in early March.


An Advisory Board, with input from members of the fishing industry, develops priorities for each year in the following areas (more details are found in the Full Application Package):

Single column table for formatting purposes
New Fisheries Equipment and Gear 

This priority area seek proposals that focus on the development of less environmentally destructive gear, bycatch reduction, more effective ways to handle catch and the development of information leading to fishery management plans for key species and groups. 

*New priorities for the current funding cycle include:

  • Increase use of vessel tracking devices in data-limited fisheries (i.e. shrimp trawl, electrofishing, or conch)
  • Develop video observation systems to quantify bycatch in fisheries with limited or no monitoring (i.e. purse seine, shrimp trawl, electrofishing, haul seines, pound nets, hook and line, crab pots, etc.)
  • Explore new harvest methods for experimental shrimp fishery
Environmental Pilot Studies

This priority area seeks proposals that focus on ways to restore damaged habitat, create new habitat, prevent habitat impairment or reduce impact from fishing or aquaculture activities.


This priority area seeks proposals that focus on ways to develop criteria and assessment for permits, increase return from investment in cultural activities or introduce new species to the existing aquaculture list to broaden the participation in commercial aquaculture.

Seafood Technology and Utilization

This priority area seeks proposals that develop value-added products from existing production, the utilization of underused or new fishery resources, develop models for total quality system management programs or increase returns in the seafood industry by improving packaging and handling. 


To be eligible for funding under the Fishery Resource Grant Program, each proposal must be lead by, or substantially involve, Virginians who are actively involved in a fishing industry (defined as persons involved in commercial activities relating to fishery resources, aquaculture/mariculture, or the processing or handling of fishery products). 


Full Application Package Application period is open through January 12, 2024. 

Application w/ Guidelines (PDF)

Microsoft Word Application for electronic completion

View a completed, example application before getting started

  • For assistance with the application process, idea development, or to request more information, please contact a MAP specialist.
  • Attend a workshop
  • Watch the introduction video

{{youtube:medium:center|G77x1CM-CJs, FRG Program Application Guide}}


Project ideas must come from Virginia’s commercial fishing industry and the commercial fisher must serve as the Principal Investigator (PI), but collaborative partnerships are encouraged to provide the most impactful and rigorous study results. FRG Partners are often state agencies (VMRC, VDACS), academic researchers (VIMS, VT Seafood AREC, etc.), other commercial fishers, and public programs (E.G., Sensible Seafood). This document will answer some of the frequently asked questions regarding the role of partners in FRG funded projects.

Questions concerning the Virginia Fishery Resource Grant Program may be directed to the Program Manager:

Dr. David B. Rudders
VIMS Marine Advisory Program
Gloucester Point, VA 23062
phone: 804-684-7531

vafrg 2023 postcard