Courtney, Zeldin lead 107 congressmen supporting Sea Grant funds

Congressman Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, along with Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., led a bipartisan group of 107 members of the House of Representatives in calling on the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies to continue their support for the National Sea Grant College Program, Courtney’s office announced on March 16.

The members highlighted the Sea Grant program’s role in cultivating our nation’s aquaculture economy.

In addition, Connecticut Sea Grant has been awarded $368,300 in federal funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Courtney announced. After receiving an initial grant of $216,300 in February, Connecticut Sea Grant’s total grant funding for 2018 is now $584,600 for 2018.

Sylvain De Guise, director of Connecticut Sea Grant, said the broad support demonstrated in the letter is especially gratifying.

“While it is disappointing to see the President’s budget zeroing out a program like Sea Grant that offers direct support to a broad diversity of stakeholders, it is nice to see our stakeholders reacting and contacting their members of Congress, who in turn get the message and take action,” De Guise said. “It is impressive to see nearly a quarter of the members of the U.S. House of Representatives signing onto a letter for the $73 million Sea Grant program. I am not sure this has ever been seen. I guess this is democracy at work. Thanks to Rep. Courtney and Rep. Zeldin for their leadership in preserving the Sea Grant services that so many in coastal communities have come to depend upon.”

In addition to Courtney, all four of the other members of Connecticut’s Congressional delegation – Reps. Rosa DeLauro, Elizabeth Esty, James Himes and John Larson – signed the letter.

“With imported seafood making up 90 percent of American seafood consumption, our nation should be focusing on programs to expand and improve our domestic aquaculture industry,” the letter said. “Sea Grant is a program that does just that — helping fishermen and shellfish farmers navigate a complex patchwork of state and federal coastal zone management regulations through technical assistance. Sea Grant works with local producers to grow and sustain their business models while connecting them to local resources to share best practices.”

The letter was sent to Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas, chairman of the subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies of the Committee on Appropriations; and ranking subcommittee member Rep. Jose Serrano, D-N.Y.

The full text of the letter is available here.



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