Helping America Prepare and Respond to Climate Change Under the Inflation Reduction Act
How NOAA Fisheries will prioritize historic Inflation Reduction Act funding to support America’s marine resources, coastal communities, and economies in preparing for climate change.
NOAA has received historic funding under the Inflation Reduction Act: $3.3 billion. It will focus on ensuring America’s communities—including tribes, vulnerable populations, and the U.S. economy—are ready for and resilient to climate change.
Of that funding, NOAA Fisheries will receive an unprecedented investment to strengthen the agency’s core mission to provide science-based management and conservation of the nation’s marine resources as we confront climate change. Climate change impacts every aspect of our mission—from managing fisheries and aquaculture, to conserving protected resources and vital habitats. Given that fisheries support more than 1.7 million jobs and $244 billion in economic activity in the United States every year, it’s critical that we prepare for changing ocean conditions.
The infusion of these funds allows NOAA Fisheries to prioritize several critical areas focused on tackling the impacts of climate, including:
- Data acquisition and management
- Climate, Ecosystems, and Fisheries Initiative
- Conservation efforts around Pacific salmon, red snapper, and North Atlantic right whales
- Habitat restoration
- Support for salmon hatcheries and other tribal initiatives
- Arctic research
- Facilities modernization
- Improved permitting efficiency
Climate-Ready Fisheries ($349 million)
Funds include $349 million to support Climate-Ready Fisheries, an ambitious new initiative to strengthen the agency’s science and survey enterprise. We will support the nation’s $370 billion fishing industry and the states, communities, and tribes that depend on it. We will use this historic investment to propel our entire stock assessment enterprise for fish and protected species forward. These assessments support the businesses and communities that depend on marine resources that are being impacted by a rapidly changing ocean. This investment will help build a dynamically managed fisheries system. It will incorporate climate and ecosystem environmental data to provide real-time advice and long-range projections to inform and support management decisions for affected sectors and communities.
Expand and Modernize Stock Assessments
Data Acquisition and Management ($145 million)
NOAA Fisheries will invest in advanced technologies, modern data systems, and infrastructure that expand and modernize stock assessments to account for climate change. We will also invest in cooperative partnerships with the fishing industry, academia, and state partners. This funding will increase the number and types of observations we can make, which will move us toward the greater sampling required to manage the nation’s large marine ecosystems.
For example, uncrewed systems allow expansion of survey coverage over large areas. Camera technology surveys combined with artificial intelligence and machine learning can improve data collection in physically challenging habitats.
Climate, Ecosystems, and Fisheries Initiative ($40 million)
The Climate, Ecosystems, and Fisheries Initiative is a transformational cross-NOAA effort that will emphasize:
- Development of ocean ecosystem predictions in preparing for climate-driven problems
- How those predictions extend to coastal communities and economies
- Projected impacts
- How coastal communities will use these predictions to increase resilience and the viability of their fisheries
For example, we will conduct pilot projects in six marine regions. They will include testing and validation of these products for regional and sub-regional fisheries and ecosystem applications to provide advice for climate-ready fisheries, protected species, and affected sectors and communities.
Region-Specific Fisheries and Protected Resources
Regional Fisheries Management Councils ($20 million)
Support to regional fishery management councils will assist regulatory responses to current climate challenges. We need to implement dynamic fishery management measures that are more timely in response to climate impacts and that increase fishing community resiliency to fishery changes caused by anticipated climate impacts.
For example, the councils will operationalize fish climate vulnerability assessments, climate scenario planning, and management changes to address climate vulnerability or improve climate resiliency of fisheries important to underserved communities.
North Atlantic Right Whale ($82 million)
The funding, coupled with supplemental funds appropriated in FY23, also provides us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to address the North Atlantic right whale crisis with new technologies and new approaches.
For example, we will provide direct support for the application of newer technologies, such as passive acoustic monitoring. We will invest in the development and, ultimately, implementation of new technologies to enable vessels to detect and avoid right whales and other large whales. This will reduce one of the primary threats to this species. We will continue developing and evaluating new technologies, such as satellite observations, to transform North Atlantic right whale monitoring and to improve understanding of the whales’ distribution and habitat use. This funding will leverage other funding received and support the development of innovative fishing gear and support dynamic management. We will also partner and coordinate within NOAA and with our federal, state, industry, and other partners.
Red Snapper ($20 million)
We will implement improvements to state and federal recreational fisheries surveys for red snapper and other reef fish in the Southeast. Our plans for red snapper are focused on improving recreational catch and discard estimates from federal and state surveys.
For example, we will improve data delivery to enable state recreational data to be processed more quickly for use in science and management. These improvements will increase certainty for red snapper and dozens of other species, benefiting millions of anglers in the world's largest recreational fishery.
Pacific Salmon ($42 million)
We will enhance our efforts to conserve, restore, and protect Pacific salmon. Part of the funding for Pacific salmon will be awarded through the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund.
In addition, funding will go to science and research that supports transformative modeling to identify and prioritize high-impact restoration. Funding will also support reintroduction strategies to secure climate-resilient ecosystem function and improve salmon abundance at watershed and population scales.
Tribal Fish Hatcheries ($300 Million)
Tribal initiatives include funding to support hatcheries across the West Coast. Funding will address deferred maintenance and repairs to hatcheries that produce Pacific salmon and steelhead in support of federally recognized tribes. NOAA Fisheries will conduct a minimum of five tribal engagement sessions on the hatchery funding.
Mitchell Act Hatcheries ($60 million)
This funding will support Pacific Coast salmon conservation. It will support high-priority deferred maintenance for Mitchell Act Hatcheries for federally recognized tribes’ federally reserved fishing rights in the Columbia River Basin.
Non-Mitchell Act Hatcheries ($240 million)
This funding will support fish hatcheries that produce Pacific salmon and steelhead. The Bureau of Indian Affairs will administer the funding. NOAA Fisheries and the Bureau of Indian Affairs will conduct engagement opportunities with tribes to help determine the distribution of the funds.
Habitat Restoration and Fish Passage ($484 million)
With funding under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, we are continuing our work to support fisheries and coastal communities across the country through large-scale competitive funding opportunities and expert technical assistance. This includes:
- Fish passage projects that restore access to healthy habitat for migratory fish
- Habitat restoration projects that support fisheries and protected resources while also strengthening the resilience of coastal ecosystems and communities
- Capacity building and on-the-ground restoration projects that advance the coastal habitat restoration priorities of tribes and underserved communities
An additional $484 million of Inflation Reduction Act resources will be added to four Bipartisan Infrastructure Law competitive funding opportunities. These competitions support habitat restoration and fish passage and are run through NOAA Fisheries' Office of Habitat Conservation. They include:
- Transformational habitat restoration
- Tribes and underserved communities habitat restoration
- National fish passage
- Tribal fish passage
Tribes are eligible to compete for all competitions; two of these competitions will specifically include funding only for tribes.
Arctic Research ($2.9 million)
Arctic research funding will support coordination and shared research and knowledge with academic, international, community, and Indigenous partners. This will also help us to better understand changing climate condition effects on Arctic marine resources including fisheries, marine ecosystems, and subsistence-harvested marine mammals.
Efficient Permitting ($15.5 million)
This investment will meet the increasing demand for consultations, authorizations, and permitting activities required under the Endangered Species Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and the National Marine Sanctuaries Act. Some of this funding will be used to initiate a rapid response team to address the surge in consultation, authorization, and permitting workload across the country. This will improve efficiency and provide a much-needed increase in capacity to tackle these challenges effectively.
Facilities ($95 million)
This investment will invest in the Northwest Fisheries Science Center, Seattle (Montlake facility), which is critical to maintain continuity of NOAA Fisheries’ science missions in the Northwest. It will also replace a major sea water system at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center’s Sandy Hook Lab.