WASHINGTON, D.C.—Delegate Madeleine Z. Bordallo (D-GU) issued yesterday the following statement on NOAA’s new Territorial Fisheries Science Initiative. This initiative will support projects and efforts in Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico to increase locally-based science, build scientific and monitoring capabilities and enhance fisheries science capacity.
The fund allocates $125,000 to the Pacific Fisheries Science Center and was discussed at the Western Pacific Council meeting yesterday in Honolulu.
NOAA has also agreed to expand on this effort next year, contingent on passage of a fiscal year 2014 appropriations bill for NOAA. Funding from next year’s fund would expand this initiative and collect additional catch data on the fisheries in the territories.
“I am pleased that NOAA is addressing our concerns of inadequate research funding to improve our fish stocks,” said Bordallo. “Guam’s artisanal, small scale fisheries are critical to our local food security. This initiative will help ensure that our fisheries conservation and management measures are based on the best scientific data available and addresses concerns from local stakeholders about the lack of tangible resources for certain data-gathering activities. Better data and coordination with local stakeholders will help federal and local officials make more informed decisions about maintaining and sustaining current fish stocks. Additionally, the data will help us protect our ocean ecosystems and ensure a sustainable future for our island.” (Office of the Delegate)