Today, the Obama Administration announced plans to consolidate parts of the federal government, which may include moving the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to the Department of Interior. With responsibility for managing the largest sovereign ocean territory in the world, NOAA is a critically important agency. When considering moving NOAA to the U.S. Department of Interior, policy-makers should ensure that the agency’s mission-critical functions, including management of the nation’s fish stocks, are protected and strengthened.
Such a reorganization could have huge implications for the people who work hard at sea catching the fish we like to eat. I hope we can have a vigorous debate that looks carefully at the costs and benefits of any plan to move NOAA to Interior and make sure that the public, the nation’s fishermen, and the nation’s fish resources would truly benefit from it.