As the Trump administration proposes budget cuts amid concern that it will raise the federal deficit, what will the cuts do to the country’s fisheries?
The Anchorage Daily News has more on the possible shockwaves:
Off the top, the spending plan unveiled Feb. 12 cuts the budget for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration by 20 percent to $4.6 billion. Among other things, NOAA manages the nation’s fisheries in waters from 3 to 200 miles offshore, which produce the bulk of Alaska’s seafood landings.
It’s the cuts within the cuts that reveal the most.
NOAA Fisheries is facing a $110.4 million drop to $837.3 million, a 14 percent budget cut. That includes a $17.7 million decrease in fisheries science and management, a $5 million cut in data collection needed for stock assessments, a $5.1 million reduction in funding for catch share programs and a $2.9 million cut to cooperative research programs.
The proposals for NOAA law enforcement are even more severe — a decline of $17.8 million is a 25 percent budget reduction.
“The entire law enforcement reduction is coming from the agency’s cooperative enforcement program and will eliminate funding for joint enforcement agreements with law enforcement partners from 28 states and U.S. territories,” reported the Gloucester Times.
The National Weather Service, also under NOAA’s umbrella, is facing a $75 million slice off its $1 billion budget. It will ax 355 jobs, more than a quarter of the National Weather Service staff, including 248 forecasters.
Trump also wants to cut $4.8 million from habitat and conservation programs, wiping out funding and grants for NOAA’s fisheries habitat restoration projects.