Bipartisan bill to provide $483M for Sea Grant passes house

Washington, D.C.—On Nov. 16, Connecticut 2nd District Rep. Joe Courtney and the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass the bipartisan National Sea Grant College Program Amendments Act of 2020 (S. 910), which authorizes $483 million over four years for the National Sea Grant College Program.

Across the nation, 34 universities, including the University of Connecticut, participate in the National Sea Grant Program—a federal-state partnership that provides critical services to a wide range of constituents in every coastal and Great Lakes state and U.S. territories. The Sea Grant program works with local shellfish farmers, fishermen, and other businesses in coastal economies to grow and sustain their business models by connecting them to local resources to share best practices, and helping them navigate state and federal coastal zone management regulations through technical assistance.

“UCONN’s Connecticut Sea Grant program has worked to support our local fishermen and shellfish farmers for years,” said Congressman Courtney. “And that’s not all—the work that Director De Guise and his team are doing at the Avery Point campus impacts everything from the seafood sector, to coastal resilience and the health of coastal and marine ecosystems, the workforce pipeline for jobs related to coastal and marine environments, and more. Our bipartisan reauthorization provides reassurance for all of the industries who depend on the services of Connecticut Sea Grant, and it couldn’t have come at a better time while our shellfish farmers, fishermen, and many others need continued support through COVID-19.”

“The services provided by Sea Grant are important for both economic and environmental outcomes in our communities, and our stakeholders will find reassurance in the reauthorization of the program, given all the uncertainty that is going on at so many levels these days,” said Sylvain De Guise, D.M.V., Ph.D, director of the Connecticut Sea Grant College Program.

Rep. Courtney is a strong supporter of the National Sea Grant College Program, and of the Connecticut Sea Grant program at the University of Connecticut. Most recently, in March, Courtney led a bipartisan letter to House Appropriators along with Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York’s 1st District and 96 other members of Congress in support of the National Sea Grant College Program and Sea Grant Aquaculture, which are important to shoreline states throughout the country. In their letter to the chairman and ranking member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies, Courtney and the bipartisan coalition noted that, “The National Sea Grant Program is a known job creator that is highly leveraged to maximize the effectiveness of federal investment.”

Courtney was also an original co-sponsor of the House’s primary bill to reauthorize the Sea Grant program—H.R. 2405, the National Sea Grant College Program Amendments Act. The House voted to pass H.R. 2405 in December 2019 as part of a larger legislative package in H.R. 729.