WASHINGTON, DC - Senator Edward M. Kennedy, John F. Kerry, and Congressman Barney Frank today announced that the final budget for the Department of Commerce contains $4.8 million for Massachusetts-based sustainable fisheries research.
Of that amount, $3 million is for the UMass Dartmouth School of Marine Sciences and Technology (SMAST) to continue its multi-species surveys, and $1.8 million is to continue the Massachusetts Marine Fisheries Institute (MFI) research on scallop fisheries. Over the past three years, total federal funding for SMAST and MFI research has topped $14 million.
The bill passed the House yesterday, and is expected to pass the Senate today and be signed into law shortly thereafter.
"By pursuing this cutting-edge fisheries research, we're making a long-term investment in the health of our irreplaceable fisheries and working to expand Massachusetts' leadership position as a hub of marine science," Senator Kennedy said. "I'm thrilled Congress continues to recognize the important contributions SMAST and MFI are making to promote the health, sustainability, and prosperity of our fisheries for generations to come."
Senator Kerry said, "The fishing industry has a long, proud history in Massachusetts. This funding will continue the invaluable research on sustainable fisheries being done at UMass Dartmouth's School of Marine Science and Technology and the Massachusetts Marine Fisheries Institute, and it will help ensure our fisheries are being protected into the future."
"In order to manage our fisheries properly, it is essential that we have high-quality scientific information about fish populations, and the funds we are announcing today will make a major contribution toward that goal," Frank said. "UMass Dartmouth has been playing an increasingly important role in the effort to keep the Southeastern Massachusetts fishing industry strong, and I am delighted that the school's involvement will continue to grow."
“The Massachusetts delegation has made a considerable investment in SMAST and MFI fishery research. This investment is growing our capacity to provide improved information of fishery management, which is critical to the economic well-being of our industry,” said Brian J. Rothschild, Dean of UMass Dartmouth's School of Marine Science and Technology.
”The support from Senators Kennedy and Kerry and from Congressman Frank given to UMass-SMAST and the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries will help our institutions to improve the fisheries and oceanographic science of the Gulf of Maine, Georges Bank, and other ocean waters utilized by Massachusetts fishermen. The partnership between the university and the state’s fisheries agency focusing on scallops, lobster, and multispecies groundfish will foster better marine habitat management, sustainable fisheries harvests, and improved economic viability in the marine economy,” said Paul Diodati, Director of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries.
The funding secured for SMAST will be used to expand their research into ground-fish and lobster populations and migration patterns and to conduct oceanographic modeling of Georges Bank and the Gulf of Maine. With the $1.8 million provided in this bill, the MFI will continue scallop surveys to determine growth rates, migration patterns, mortality rates and to complete stock assessments. Both research efforts intend to formulate recommendations to promote better resource management and to improve stock conditions for the future.
CONTACT: Melissa Wagoner/Keith Maley (617) 565-4472