Climate change impacts every aspect of our mission—from managing fisheries and aquaculture, to conserving protected resources and vital habitats. Fisheries support more than 1.7 million jobs and $244 billion in economic activity in the United States every year. Preparing for changing oceans will help sustain valuable marine resources, fisheries, and coastal communities.
On June 6, 2023, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced historic funding for NOAA under the Inflation Reduction Act, highlighting plans to implement $3.3 billion in investments focused on ensuring America’s communities and economy are ready for and resilient to climate change. Through the IRA, and building on investments made under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, NOAA will continue its efforts to build a climate-ready nation. We will advance research, observations, modeling, predictions, and information dissemination and service delivery to address climate risks including wildfires, floods, drought, and extreme heat. NOAA will also invest in facilities, hurricane hunter aircraft, supercomputing capacity, and permitting efficiencies. IRA funding will empower NOAA to address the growing demand for climate information, services, and products.
NOAA Fisheries will receive an unprecedented investment in strengthening the agency’s core mission to provide science-based management and conservation of the nation’s marine resources as we confront climate change. Changing climate and oceans have significant impacts on valuable marine life and ecosystems. IRA funding will provide critical support for these resources, which will help strengthen the resilience of coastal communities that depend on them. We will be able to provide capacity on the ground for resource managers and stakeholders to assess and reduce climate impacts, increase resilience, and help adapt to changing conditions. Our IRA funds will also support facilities modernization, Arctic research, permitting efficiency, and habitat restoration.
The infusion of IRA funds allows NOAA Fisheries to advance several critical areas focused on tackling the impacts of climate. One of four new NOAA initiatives, Climate-Ready Fisheries will support the nation’s $370 billion fishing industry and the states, communities, and tribes that depend on it. In the face of rapidly changing oceans, NOAA Fisheries will use this historic investment to propel our entire stock assessment enterprise for fish and protected species forward. It will help build our capabilities to incorporate climate and ecosystem environmental data, providing real-time advice and long-range projections that inform and support management decisions for affected sectors and communities. We will invest in advanced technologies, data systems, and infrastructure to pilot projects that expand and modernize stock assessments to account for climate change. We will invest in cooperative partnerships with the fishing industry, academia, and state partners.
We will also invest in our critical partnerships with the regional fishery management councils. Action is needed to implement dynamic fishery management measures that are more timely in response to climate impacts and increase fishing community resiliency to fishery changes caused by anticipated climate impacts. The combination of programs funded by IRA will both improve our overall science and survey enterprise to better address ecosystem changes associated with climate change and make headway on scientific and management priorities.
NOAA Fisheries prioritized specific fisheries and species for IRA funding, including North Atlantic right whales, red snapper, and Pacific salmon. This prioritization was based on factors including:
- Urgency and emerging needs
- Impact on the species and the coastal communities that depend on them
- Areas where the agency can make investments to significantly advance climate resilience
We are eager to get to work and excited about what we hope to accomplish, but it will take time. We look forward to coordinating with our partners on these important efforts. Our next steps are to work on the implementation plans for each issue area and begin executing these plans between now and 2026. This funding will help the agency—and by extension the people and marine life that depend on us—develop and strengthen tools to confront the challenges associated with climate change.