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September 03, 2008

Sen. Barack Obama on Marine Fisheries

An Exclusive Sport Fishing Interview

Sport Fishing: Would you consider the current funding levels for fisheries research and management within NOAA to be acceptable? If not, why not, and how would your administration propose amending this?

Obama: Even prior to the passage of the new requirements of the 2006 Magnuson-Stevens Act, research and management funding for marine-fisheries programs were proving insufficient to meet the demands placed on the system. Congress and NOAA worked to address these shortfalls, but the requirements have only increased - particularly for managers to set effective and accurate annual catch limits, design ecosystem-based management plans, provide effective advice on endangered-species recovery plans and design workable limited-access-privilege programs. Newly identified threats, such as the shifts predicted due to climate change, are  placing more strain on an already challenged program. However, any effort to address funding needs must be targeted in order to apply new funds where they are needed and where they will best meet these new challenges. My administration will charter a fisheries-needs assessment, in consultation with Congress, designed to identify critical resource-management needs that can be targeted for funding by federal agencies with the goal of getting ahead of the curve.