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Southwest and Western Pacific
The Fiscal Year 2002 budget request for National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) totals $734.2 million, including $598.0 million for research and management programs and $136.2 million in associated funding. The requested funding provides important new investments critical to the long-term stewardship of the Nations living marine resources, including $20.3 million in new funding to enhance and modernize NOAA Fisheries activities in the Southwest and Western Pacific.
Who is Southwest NOAA Fisheries?
The NOAA Fisheries Southwest Region is responsible for the research and management of some of the Nation's most diverse fisheries, and is a major force in the efforts to build international cooperation for the stewardship of these species. The Southwest Region encompasses an incredible expanse of open ocean. Its jurisdiction extends from the coast of California, west to the Hawaiian Islands, the U. S. Territories of Guam and American Samoa, and beyond to the western Pacific Island Nations. This expansive area of over 64 million square miles of ocean is home to over 70 protected marine species, and over 150 important fish stocks of which the status remains unknown for two- thirds. In addition to the marine ecosystems in this region, the international and domestic mix of culturally diverse fishing communities presents complex challenges for managing fisheries, conducting research, and collecting data necessary to ensure sustainable fishing practices.
Our Management Partners
Nationally, NOAA Fisheries works in partnership with eight regional fishery management councils, conducting the scientific research and analysis on which to develop management strategies, and advising the councils on the fishery management plans under their jurisdiction. The Southwest Region works with two Councils: the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council, based in Honolulu HI, which is responsible for 4 plans; and the Pacific Fishery Management Council, based in Portland OR, responsible for 3 plans.
Recovering a Heritage
Home to ten endangered salmon and steelhead runs, the Southwest Region is aggressively building cooperative partnerships with water management agencies, agriculture, and timber interests to recover and manage these species. Research programs are addressing genetic diversity, strategies for difficult to manage small populations, identification of the causes of ocean mortalities and the environmental linkages, and habitat preservation and restoration strategies. In recognition of the overwhelming task faced by NOAA Fisheries in the Southwest and elsewhere, the FY 2002 request maintains an agency-wide commitment of nearly $184 million in funding to promote the recovery of west coast salmon stocks. This includes funding for NOAA Fisheries recovery activities in coordination with local and state governments, industry, Tribes, and the public. Continued implementation of the Pacific Salmon Treaty Agreement requires $10.0 million for the Southern Boundary Restoration and Enhancement Fund. The request also includes a total of $90 million for the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund to support coastal states and tribes in their efforts to conserve salmon and their habitats.
Protecting and Recovering our Marine Species and Habitats
The Southwest Region is also home to a rich diversity of marine mammals, sea turtles, and the marine habitats on which they depend. The research necessary to support the recovery and management of these resources is a challenge requiring complex and innovative strategies. Partnerships with fishermen and conservationists have been established to remove derelict fishing gear from coral reefs, and to rescue entangled animals. Efforts to address declines in sea turtle populations include working with Hawaiian swordfish longliners to reduce mortalities while fishing and working with Latin American nations to protect leatherback sea turtle nesting beaches in central America. The FY 2002 request includes an increase of $1.5 million for Pacific sea turtle recovery and research activities. An increase is also critically needed for dolphin conservation and recovery efforts. Funding will be used to expand current activities in stock identification and assessment, to reduce mortality incidental to commercial fishing activities, and to initiate efforts to use dolphins as an indicator of the health of the ecosystems they occupy. New funds provided in the FY 2001 appropriation to support various coral reef research and conservation initiatives in the western Pacific are continued in FY 2002.
A Leader in Stewardship
A key focus of NOAA Fisheries' Southwest Region is the management and conservation of highly migratory species (HMS) along the U. S. west coast and throughout the eastern, central, and western Pacific Ocean. Comprised of tunas, swordfish, sharks and billfish, the U. S. Pacific HMS is extremely valuable. NOAA Fisheries successfully represents and leads the international science and management practices emanating from various international forums, including the Inter- American Tropical Tuna Commission which is responsible for the eastern tropical Pacific tuna fishery and its impact on various species of dolphin. New resources are also needed to assess the socio- economic effects of proposed domestic and international management measures on the fishing industry.
Enforcing the Future
New funding is needed to expand current enforcement programs in the Southwest and western Pacific, and speed the implementation of vessel management systems that employ the latest satellite technology to better track vessels to ensure compliance with regulations and improve safety at sea.
Modernizing Our Infrastructure. The request includes additional funding needed for the operation of the new NOAA Fisheries laboratory in Santa Cruz, CA. A total of $4.2 million is requested to complete the retrofit of the surplus Navy vessel ADVENTUROUS to conduct the dolphin surveys and fisheries research in the western Pacific currently hampered by the lack of resources and aging research vessels.
Funding for other important programs and activities
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