Dennis Nixon: Cuts in grants, programs would hurt oceans

Dennis Nixon: Cuts in grants, programs would hurt oceans.
A portion of the fishing fleet harbored at Galilee, in 2014.
He cites the importance of expanding offshore energy resources — traditional as well as renewable — and increasing seafood exports to reduce America’s $13 billion seafood trade deficit.
NOAA, as its name implies, is responsible for the research, management, and support for the ocean exploration and economic development that the president calls for, and many of the areas specifically targeted for cuts would reduce U.S. capacity in offshore energy and seafood production.
Speaking from personal experience as the director of Rhode Island Sea Grant — which, as part of the NOAA budget, would be “terminated” along with the $73 million National Sea Grant College Program that encompasses 33 state programs — I can say that one such example is the development of the nation’s first offshore wind farm in the waters off Block Island.
“The whole fishing scene is very intriguing to me in that I’m obsessed with the problem that we have a $13 billion trade deficit in fish and fish products.
… With all the water surrounding us and all the lakes and rivers, it seems weird that we should have a deficit, so that’s one of the areas we’re going to be focusing very much on,” Ross said, according to a report in E&E News.
Still, real growth in seafood production will come from the development of aquaculture.
The administration’s budget proposes to eliminate the $9 million nationwide Sea Grant aquaculture initiative.
Dennis Nixon is the director of Rhode Island Sea Grant and a professor of marine affairs at the University of Rhode Island.

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