Connecticut Sea Grant Director Sylvain De Guise issued this statement on Feb. 14, 2018:
Friends and colleagues,
I wanted to provide a brief update on the status of the budget for Sea Grant, since there is a lot of activity in D.C. which directly affects our programs and associated activities.
Last week saw a breakthrough in budget negotiations between parties, with an agreement on overall budget caps for this and next year. However, Congress has yet to pass a budget for the current fiscal year (FY18, which started Oct. 1, 2017, and ends Sept. 30, 2018), and we are still operating under a Continuing Resolution (CR). It is in fact the fourth CR this year, and extends until March 23. As a consequence, we are still uncertain about our budget allocation for the Sea Grant award year that funds our program for the cycle that started Feb. 1, 2018. Because of delays in receiving our funding, and uncertainty about our allocation, some program activities have already been disrupted. For example, we are still unable to fund the research projects that should have started on Feb. 1.
Further, President Trump’s budget for fiscal year 2019, released on Monday, proposed the elimination of all 33 Sea Grant programs. This would cause hardship for a broad diversity of stakeholders who count on Sea Grant to build resilience in their communities, grow and sell safe seafood, maintain and improve ecosystem services for environmental and economic benefits, develop and maintain businesses and educate the next generation. However, Congress has in the past been supportive of Sea Grant. When President Trump’s budget also proposed to zero out Sea Grant last year, stakeholders and supporters across the country reached out to their Congressmen, and the Appropriations Committees in both the House and Senate proposed budgets to fully restore funding for Sea Grant for the current year, although as stated above the FY18 budget still has to be finalized.
We thank you in advance for understanding the circumstance and associated disruptions in services that may result, but we have no control over the federal budget process and its consequences.
Sylvain De Guise