NMFS's Budget Spared in Trump Administration's Proposal to Slash Commerce Department Funding 16%
The Trump Administration's proposal to cut the Department of Commerce's budget by 16 percent does not specify the extent of cuts to NOAA's satellite programs but it appears to include only minor reductions to NMFS. It has been reported that the budget proposal would eliminate $250 million in coastal research programs including $73 million for Sea Grant programs.
One of the issues flagged in the dismal assessment of Newfoundland snow crab stocks this year was increased predation on snow crabs. One source of the increased predation is thought to be cod, which are eating more snow crab as capelin, their primary food, has not recovered sufficiently to support current cod populations. Another source of predation is seals. Recently Baie Verde native Danny Dicks harvested a bearded seal that had 181 female and 2 male snow crab in its stomach. The seal weighed between 200 and 300 pounds.
In other news, a Minnesota state lawmaker proposed a bill to provide short-term tax incentives for entrepreneurs who want to jump into the shrimp farming business in the state. The bill proposed by Rep. Chris Swedzinski was positively received by the state's House Agriculture Policy Committee. “We’re looking to build a whole new industry of agriculture in Minnesota, one that uses local commodities and creates very good jobs,” Rep. Swedzinski said.
Meanwhile, about 27 million adult salmon returned to Alaska’s 28 hatcheries last summer dotted throughout Prince William Sound, Southeast and Kodiak. That was less than half of the forecast and the lowest return since 1992. From that, the hatchery catch plummeted to 24 million salmon, or just 22 percent of the statewide harvest, again the lowest since 1992. The dockside value of the hatchery fish at $85 million was the lowest since 2005.
Finally, we publish a video by the National Fisheries Institute that features an interview with attorney Katherine Alveraz, who is the general counsel for Alfa Gamma Seafood Group in Miami and Derek Figueroa, COO of Seattle Fish Company in Denver who discuss the potential impact of the Trump Administration's proposed border tax on the seafood market in the US. The border adjustment tax would tax imports and exempt exports as part of a plan to encourage companies to locate or keep jobs and production in the U.S. Alvarez and Figueroa emphasize that a majority of the wild caught and farmed seafood Americans eat—at least 85 percent—is imported. This means the tax could increase the cost of seafood for consumers in the US market. This could result in a decline in seafood sales and actually in job losses, not job creation, across the country.
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