Sending Office: Honorable Jared Huffman
Sent By:
Christine.Sur@mail.house.gov

Deadline TODAY: COB March 12th, 2018

Current cosigners (22): Blumenauer, Bonamici, Brownley, Cicilline, Cohen, DeFazio, DeLauro, DeSaulnier, Deutch, Hanabusa, Hastings, Kuster, Lowenthal, Matsui, McGovern, Moulton, Napolitano, Peters, Smith, Soto, Speier, Don
Young
 

 

Dear Colleague:

Please join Rep. Huffman and Rep. Thompson in sending an appropriations letter requesting full funding for the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). We would appreciate having you on board with the following letter to appropriators to demonstrate strong
support for the robust funding of critical National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) marine fishery data and resource management programs. A thriving fishing industry is a vital component to improving our American economy. In order to maintain
healthy fisheries, it is crucial to fund programs and initiatives that are designed to ensure sustainable fisheries and rebuild overfished stocks. This letter highlights several key NOAA programs designed to protect and promote fisheries, and we urge that
they be funded at the levels necessary to effectively implement each program.

NOAA and NMFS fund a variety of programs, grants, and organizations that maintain marine fishery data and resource management programs. These programs include the Inter-Jurisdictional Fisheries Act Grants, which was established by Congress to promote and
encourage state activities in support of the management of inter-jurisdictional fishery resources throughout their ranges. Other key programs include Fishery Information Networks like PACFIN, AKFIN, and RECFIN, which supply commercial and recreational fisheries
data to help manage annual fishing seasons. Additionally, continued funding for Regional Councils and Commissions is critical as they implement and revise fishery management plans and monitor management regimes that help maintain sustainable inter-jurisdictional
fisheries.

Of particular concern are our nation’s dwindling salmon populations. Salmon are an important source of food, recreation, jobs, cultural identity, and social tradition. These iconic fish are synonymous with pristine water, rich landscapes, healthy environments,
and a thriving natural resource economy. Landings of wild salmon have declined steadily in the past two years, and these programs need strong, sustained support.

To ensure that our fishing populations do not become depleted, commercial and recreational fishing data collection programs, stock assessments, and research need to be a priority. Please join us in ensuring that our NOAA marine fishery data and resource
management programs remain operational by urging robust funding for these proposed programs. To cosign this letter, please contact Christine Sur (Rep.
Huffman) or
 Casey Badmington (Rep. Thompson).

 

Sincerely,   

Jared Huffman                                                            Mike Thompson

Member of Congress                                                  Member of Congress

 

_________________________________________________

March XX, 2018

 

Dear Chairman Culberson and Ranking Member Serrano:

We request your assistance to provide adequate levels of funding for FY 2019 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) marine fishery data and resource management programs through the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).

Fisheries conservation and management requirements have increased substantially since the 2006 reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA). The fishery management councils and NOAA Fisheries have imposed a variety
of restrictions designed to ensure sustainable fisheries and rebuild overfished stocks. Reductions in harvest quotas to avoid bycatch of overfished stocks and vast closed areas to protect both fish stocks and their habitats have been implemented. Progress
on ocean and fisheries initiatives has been slowed by the sheer amount of scientific knowledge needed to provide conservation while allowing sustainable commercial and recreational harvests to occur on healthy fish populations.

Our requests for specific Programs, Projects, and Activity (“PPA”) programs are as follows:

PPA: Regional Councils and Fisheries Commissions

The Regional Fishery Management Councils (“RFMC”) are the workhorses of the Federal regulatory process for marine fisheries. Each RFMC is working to revise fishery management plans under its jurisdiction to end overfishing and rebuild fish stocks. The three
Interstate Marine Fisheries Commissions are funded annually within this account to assist the States, NOAA Fisheries and the Councils develop and monitor management regimes for fisheries that are inter-jurisdictional in nature.
We are recommending that the Regional Councils and Fisheries Commissions Line Item for FY 2019 be funded at $35,871,000, the same amount provided in the FY 2018 Senate Commerce-Justice-Science & Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Bill.

PPA: Inter-Jurisdictional Fisheries Act Grants

The IJFA was established by Congress to promote state activities in support of the management of inter-jurisdictional fishery resources throughout their range. The IJFA supports the monitoring and assessment programs of the States and Interstate Commissions,
as well as funding for research to gauge the health of commercially and recreationally important fish stocks. The IJFA is a matching grant program. Funds received by the States are matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis. This is a successful example of an effective
and affordable federal/state partnership designed specifically for the management of nearshore fisheries with inter-jurisdictional boundaries. These funds are also used to combat the spread of marine invasive species.
We support $3,000,000 to maintain this important collaboration between the Federal Government and the States, the same amount as the FY 2017 enacted level.     

PPA: Fisheries Data Collections, Surveys, and Assessments

This line item funds critical data collection, fish stock assessments, and longstanding fishery surveys nationally. This includes the commercial fishery data program for the West Coast (“PACFIN”); the commercial fishery data program for the North Pacific
(“AKFIN”); and the recreational fishery data program (“RECFIN”). These are joint federal-state programs designed to collect, assimilate, and distribute baseline fisheries data. The information is used by the Regional Fishery Management Councils, NOAA Fisheries,
the States, and the U.S.-Canada Pacific Salmon Commission to manage annual fishing seasons.  The line item also funds efforts to expand and improve fish stock assessments, a Federal obligation strengthened by the Congress when it reauthorized the MSA. Long-term,
extended time series stock assessments used to manage fisheries throughout the Nation are also included. For the West Coast, these include West Coast groundfish; the Alaska crab fisheries; Alaska pollock and groundfish, rockfish, halibut, and sablefish. Both
the Pacific Fishery Management Council and the North Pacific Fishery Management Council rely upon these fishery surveys to determine annual catch limits and monitor the health of these stocks.
We are recommending $166,000,000 for this important line item. We also recommend that you include report language specifying the expenditure of $23,500,000 for Fisheries Information Networks within the amounts provided for this PPA, as follows:

            “Within funding provided for Fisheries Data Collections, Surveys, and Assessments,         $23,500,000 is provided for Fisheries Information Networks.”

PPA: Habitat Conservation and Restoration

These programs support efforts to protect and restore coastal and marine habitat to rebuild commercial and recreational species, recover species, and improve the resiliency of coastal communities. Habitat loss and degradation directly threaten the sustainability
of our nation’s fisheries and the communities that depend on a healthy coast. Funding for habitat restoration directly confronts these challenges. This includes the Community-based Restoration Program (“CBRP”). Through public-private collaboration with states,
localities, citizens’ organizations, businesses, and colleges and universities, CBRP accomplishes on-the-ground projects to restore the nation’s coastal, marine, and migratory fish habitat.
We recommend that Habitat Conservation and Restoration PPA be funded at $68,400,000, with a minimum of $21,100,000 for the Community Based Restoration Program and $10,000,000 for Coastal Ecosystem Resiliency Grants.

PPA: Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund

The States of Oregon, Washington, California, Alaska, and Idaho must submit projects on a competitive basis to promote the recovery and sustainability of wild salmon and steelhead stocks. Projects supported by the PCSRF have improved management practices
and increased the availability and quality of salmon and steelhead habitat.
We believe that the conservation benefits realized by PCSRF projects justify the base funding amount of $65,000,000.  This amount would fund the program at its existing level.

PPA: ESA Salmon

This program strives to recover and sustain all threatened and endangered salmon populations on both coasts to maintain healthy ecosystems.
We urge that this PPA be funded at 69,724,000, with $63,500,000 and $6,224,000 for Pacific and Atlantic Salmon, respectively.  This request represents a $500,000 increase from the amount provided for the PPA in the FY 2018 House CJS Appropriations Bill.

PPA: Salmon Management Activities

This account supports many important salmon management activities on the West Coast and Alaska. These activities include but are not limited to the operation and maintenance of the Mitchell Act hatcheries; the mark and coded wire tag programs; the Pacific
Salmon Treaty and the Chinook Salmon Agreement; and ongoing work to establish a genetic stock identification database.
We support funding for this program at the amount of $35,469,000, the funding amount included in the FY 2018 Senate CJS bill.   

We appreciate your support for NOAA marine resource conservation and data management programs. We ask that you strongly support these budget items as recommended in your FY 2019 Commerce-Justice-Science & Related Agencies Appropriations Bill.

Thank you for your consideration of our request.

 

Sincerely,

 

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Appropriations, Environment, Natural Resources

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