Several items in a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee dealt with oceans and salmon last week. Senator Lisa Murkowski said the Marine Spatial Planning program was zeroed out and that the budget for fisheries stock assessments was increased, easing the minds of fishermen worried about over-cautious managers.
Murkowski says funding for Marine Spatial Planning – essentially zoning of the seas – was cut at her request.
— (Murky 1 27 sec "As Sen. Mikulski said … down our throats here.")
Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski is the chair of the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Subcommittee which Murkowski is a member of.
The funding designated for the Marine Spatial Planning program has been redistributed to other projects, including the Pacific Salmon Treaty. The funding for that accord with Canada was increased from $5.6 million to $9.6 million.
Murkowski said the subcommittee took her suggestion to allocate Pacific Salmon Restoration Fund money to all salmon and steelhead fisheries and not just to those currently listed as threatened.
— (Murky 2 32 sec "What happens if you’ve got … these policy decisions.")
Murkowski said the committee agreed with President Barack Obama’s increase in funding for Fishery Stock Assessments, bumping the funding from $51-million to $67-million. She called that a pretty good increase, given the budget environment in Washington D.C.
— (Murky 3 40 sec "I keep saying we’ve got … as sure as we can.")
Fishermen had expressed concern that if the stock assessment funding were cut, managers wouldn’t have all the information they needed to make the right decisions and therefore would be overly cautions, resulting in smaller harvest targets.
Murkowski said the appropriations bill for Commerce, Justice and Science still has to go to the floor of the Senate and then be reconciled with the House. She did not expect it to be done by the end of the month when the Federal Fiscal Year ends.