BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A Trump administration proposal that would cut funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as well as completely dissolve the Sea Grant is causing concern among Maine's marine community because it relies heavily on both of them.
President Trump wants to slash NOAA's budget by nearly 1-billion dollars. It's an agency that plays a key role in fisheries management, weather forecasting, as well as marine industries. The budget would also eliminate the Sea Grant -- which is funding that supports marine research at the University of Maine and other universities around the country.
"Cutting funding at this time is, I think, is not a wise decision and certainly not going to be beneficial for our industry" Annie Tselikis said. Tselikis is the Executive Director of the Maine Lobster Dealers’ Association. She stated that NOAA provides many services to fisherman that may go unnoticed by others. “One of the things that I think that people don’t really realize is that NOAA is responsible for a substantial amount of weather forecasting and monitoring”
Maine's lobster and fishing industry is a big part of Maine's heritage as well as it's economy -- over the years it has built a relationship with scientists and biologists. The groups work hand in hand collaborating on ways to resolve industry issues that arise. It also allows for trends to be studied which can help in sustaining the industry down the road.
"It's a small amount of money but it has a big impact" Robin Alden said. Alden is the Executive Director of the Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries in Stonington. She has worked with the Sea Grant for over a decade. “The Extension team at Maine Sea Grant are people that work and live in the field that connect real people’s problems with science and vice versa” Alden said. “We would not be as strong as we are without this research”.
The University of Maine has relied on funding from the Sea Grant since 1980 -- it's program director, Paul Anderson, issued this statement to NEWS CENTER:
'The Sea Grant program helps coastal communities and the people that live, work and recreate there respond to their challenges in a way that helps them prosper and create opportunity and sustainability. We do this through strategic research, education and extension programs'.
The proposal has not been approved yet.