Washington, D.C. – The following statement was issued by Reggie Paros, Senior Manager of Government Relations at Ocean Conservancy, on the passage of the Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) appropriations package which includes the budget for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA):
“Today, the House and Senate have made much needed investments into our ocean, Great Lakes, and coastlines by passing a strong NOAA budget for the upcoming fiscal year, increasing NOAA’s budget by over $150 million. Specifically we are excited to see increases to Coastal Management Grants, Regional Ocean Partnerships and climate change research. Ocean Conservancy commends members of the House of Representatives and Senate who voted to increase funding for NOAA so that it can continue to conserve, manage, and protect our coastal marine ecosystems and resources, monitor changes in our ocean and climate, and share assets and knowledge with our coastal communities.
The economic uncertainty that has overcome our nation continues to impact our coastal communities. Our coasts are also at the forefront of climate change and its impacts, including increased damage from storms, rising sea levels and more. We look forward to working with the incoming Biden administration and Congress to build upon this appropriations package to ensure NOAA has the resources to respond to the growing challenges our coastal communities are facing, and ensure investments in our coastal communities and the blue economy are included in future funding proposals focused on longer-term economic recovery.
While we are grateful for strong NOAA funding, we are disappointed that this budget includes harmful language that could interfere in the management of Gulf of Mexico red snapper. The inclusion of this language could add unnecessary and harmful delay to efforts to end overfishing, thereby jeopardizing the rebuilding of this important stock and harming commercial and for-hire fishermen. The incoming Biden administration should act quickly to ensure overfishing of red snapper does not occur. Regional fishery managers, scientists and stakeholders are ready to implement solutions to make new approaches for managing private recreational fishing sustainable and in line with legal requirements.
It’s essential that NOAA have the resources and guidance to support all of our coastal communities and sustainable ocean uses. We are thankful that Congress continues to stand up for NOAA – and the wildlife, coastal communities, and blue economy that depend on strong and consistent funding for the agency.”
NOTES TO EDITOR:
- We would also like to thank members of the Appropriations Committees in the House of Representatives and the Senate, as well as their staff, for their hard work to pass a full year funding bill that strongly invests in our ocean – and for their continued rejection of the devastating budget cuts consistently purposed by the Trump administration.
- Ocean Conservancy wishes to extend our gratitude once more to the retiring Chair of the Appropriations Committee, Representative Nita Lowey, and Chair of the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee, Representative Jose Serrano. Throughout their careers in public service, Chair Lowey and Chair Serrano have been tireless champions for our ocean and NOAA. We thank them, as well as their staff, for the stewardship of this bill and their many years of public service. We wish them all the best in their retirement from Congress and look forward to working with the incoming Chair of the Appropriations Committee, Representative Rosa DeLauro.
About Ocean Conservancy
Ocean Conservancy is working to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. Together with our partners, we create science-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it. For more information, visit oceanconservancy.org, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.