Trump budget slashes billions in federal fishery funds

The Trump administration’s 2018 federal budget unveiled on May 23 is bad news for anything that swims in or near U.S. waters.

At a glance: the budget will cut $1.5 billion from the U.S. Commerce Department, with NOAA taking the hardest hit.

The NOAA budget for NMFS operations, research and facilities would be slashed by about $43 million. It would eliminate NOAA’s coastal research programs and the Sea Grant program.

The Trump dump also includes pulling the budget from NOAA’s Coastal Zone Management Program and the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund, which targets recovery of West Coast and Alaska salmon runs.

Funding for management and enforcement of U.S. catch share programs would be cut by $5 million.

The budgets for Coastal Ecosystem Resiliency Grants, Interjurisdictional Fisheries Grants, the Chesapeake Bay project, the Great Lakes Restoration Project and the National Estuary Program also would be eliminated.

Another $193 billion would be cut over 10 years from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (also called SNAP) that is used by more than 42 million needy Americans to supplement food purchases and often includes government-purchased seafood.

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told McClatchy News that the Trump administration “looked at the budget process through the eyes of the people who were actually paying the bills.”

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Laine Welch is an independent Kodiak, Alaska-based fisheries journalist. Click here to send her an email.

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