NOAA Fisheries Requests $1.1B Budget for 2025

NOAA Fisheries is seeking $1.1 billion to cover operations, research and facilities in 2025, down slightly from the $1.3 billion allocated to the agency by Congress for fiscal 2023 and roughly equal to the fiscal 2024 funds that Congress agreed to earlier in March.

One of those budget priorities, the online publication SeafoodSource notes, is funding for Mitchell Act hatcheries in the Columbia River Basin, to help restore fish to that water body and protect biodiversity from offshore wind.

The budget request notes that the additional funds are “part of the (Biden) administration’s commitment to prioritize the restoration of healthy and abundant wild salmon, steelhead and other native fish populations to the Columbia River Basin and honor the United States’ obligations to tribal nations.”

According to NOAA Fisheries, only 36 hatchery programs are currently funded, but the additional $10 million sought in this budget would allow NOAA Fisheries to fully fund all 60 hatchery programs. NOAA officials said if these funds are approved, they’ll enable production of roughly 42 million hatchery fish annually, translating into a harvest of some 250,000 salmon.

In September 2023, the White House noted, President Joe Biden signed a presidential memorandum prioritizing restoration of fish to the Columbia River Basin, “to restore these wild fish populations and help ensure that the United States upholds its treaty and trust responsibilities to the tribes.”

The document established that it is the policy of the Biden administration to work with Congress and with tribal nations, states, local governments and stakeholders “to pursue effective, creative and durable solutions to restore wild fish populations while delivering affordable and reliable clean energy, supporting the local agriculture economy and meeting the many resilience needs of the region.”