Courtney, Zeldin Hail Continued Funding For Sea Grant Despite Budget Request
WASHINGTON, DC—Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (D-CT) and Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-NY) issued the following statements after the FY 2018 Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) appropriations bill passed the full appropriations committee last night and maintained the core funding for Sea Grant. Earlier this year, Courtney and Zeldin led a bipartisan letter signed by nearly 100 members from across the country in support of full funding for the program. In May, President Donald Trump’s 2018 budget request to Congress called for the program to be eliminated.
“Connecticut Sea Grant is a critical federal program that has aided local fishermen, shellfish farmers, and maritime conservation efforts in Long Island Sound for fifty years,” said Courtney. “Whether it’s jumpstarting a fishery or connecting aquaculture producers to local communities, Sea Grant is a vital part of eastern Connecticut’s maritime economy. I am very glad that House Appropriations Committee recognized how important Sea Grant is for aquaculture efforts across the country and reversed the president’s misguided attempt to eliminate the program.”
“I am proud to join my colleague, Congressman Joe Courtney, to announce that Sea Grant, a great environmental and economic program, will remain funded,” said Zeldin. “Working with local producers to grow and sustain their business models while connecting them to local resources to share best practices, Sea Grant is a successful program that helps our maritime economy achieve the positive results that are long deserved. With imported seafood making up 90% of American seafood consumption, funding Sea Grant is an essential part of growing our coastal economy and supporting our local fisheries.”
The CJS appropriations bill that was passed yesterday includes $63 million for the National Sea Grant College program. Across the nation, thirty-three universities participate in the National Sea Grant Program—a federal-state partnership which provides critical services to a wide range of constituents in every coastal and Great Lakes state, and U.S. territories. Sea Grant contributes to making coastal communities more resilient while also aiding our aquaculture industries in navigating federal and state regulations. In this sense, Sea Grant serves as the coastal, marine-based equivalent of Agriculture Extension programs.