NOAA 2003-R943
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Aja Sae-Kung
8/14/03
NOAA News Releases 2003
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NOAA AWARDS $150,000 TO OCEAN TRUST
NOAA, Ocean Trust And National Fisheries Institute
To Enhance Fishing Industry Role In Restoration

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has awarded $150,000 to Ocean Trust to continue work with fishing and seafood communities in the restoration of marine habitat important in sustaining coastal marine fisheries. NOAA is an agency of the Commerce Department.

The award to Ocean Trust (OT) marks the final year of a three-year cooperative partnership with the NOAA Restoration Center to implement habitat restoration projects in conjunction with the National Fisheries Institute (NFI), the nations largest seafood trade association. Past projects implemented under the partnership include restoration of oyster, soft-clam, quahog and scallop beds, wetlands, mangroves and other coastal habitats important for anadromous and marine resources throughout the United States.

“We are pleased to be continuing this restoration partnership with Ocean Trust and NFI members that strengthens local and regional habitat restoration initiatives and promotes the involvement of the commercial fishing and seafood processing communities,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “NOAA’s conservation and management goals can best be reached by forging strong partnerships between industry, government and local conservation groups working toward common objectives.”

Projects selected during the final year are anticipated in coastal areas from Massachusetts to Texas to Oregon and will establish local restoration partnerships between industry and conservation groups.

“Our goal is to build strong and effective relationships between restoration and seafood communities across the nation,” said Thor Lassen of OT. The mission of OT is to provide a balanced source of information on ocean issues and innovative solutions that bridge the issues of science, conservation and food production for humanity.

All three partners echoed the win-win nature of this public/private partnership. "The commercial fish and seafood industry is committed to the restoration and conservation of important fish habitat," said Justin LeBlanc, National Fisheries Institute vice president for government relations. "Restoring these areas means a healthier coastal environment and improved fisheries for fishermen and consumers who love seafood."

The National Fisheries Institute is the nation’s leading trade association representing all aspects of the seafood industry. Ocean Trust is a national conservation foundation working to bring science, conservation and food perspectives together for the sustainability of the oceans. Potential partners or sponsors interested in becoming involved in habitat and resource restoration projects in 2003 should contact Ocean Trust, (703) 450-9852, or see the Web site at www.oceantrust.org/projects.

The Community-based Restoration Program (CRP), a financial and technical assistance program within the NOAA Fisheries Office of Habitat Conservation, promotes strong partnerships at the national, regional and local level to fund grassroots, community-based activities. The NOAA-funded projects provide strong on-the-ground habitat restoration components that offer educational and social benefits for people and their communities in addition to long-term ecological benefits for fishery resources. More information about the CRP can be found at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/habitat/restoration

In fiscal year 2003, NOAA has awarded more than 618 grants totalling $303 million to members of the academic, scientific and business communities to assist the agency in fulfilling its mission to study the Earth’s natural systems in order to predict environmental change, manage ocean resources, protect life and property and provide decision makers with reliable scientific information. NOAA goals and programs reflect a commitment to these basic responsibilities of science and service to the nation for 33 years.

The Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources. To learn more about NOAA, visit http://www.noaa.gov.