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Source: United States House of Representatives – Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (1st District of Maine)

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) today released the following statement celebrating the unanimous reauthorization of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Sea Grant College Program by the U.S. House of Representatives:

“The state of Maine has over 5,000 miles of coastline—the longest in America. Sea Grant’s work to making coastal communities more resilient in the face of climate change is critically important to our state, which relies on our relationship with the Atlantic Ocean for fishing and tourism. As a longtime supporter of the Sea Grant program and an advocate for it on the House Appropriations Committee, I’m proud to see unanimous support for the extension of this program, which has already restored and protected more than 200,000 acres of coastal ecosystems across the country and generated over $624 million in economic development.”

For over 50 years, Sea Grant has supported coastal communities through research, extension, and education. Nationally, Sea Grant has helped create and sustain nearly 8,000 jobs and has provided assistance to over 23,000 fishermen. The program has also generated an estimated $624 million in economic development—nearly half of our nation’s $1.2 billion aquaculture economy. Today’s vote reauthorized the Sea Grant and Knauss Fellowship programs for 5 years, which will help provide stability for the Sea Grant program that has created or bolstered jobs nationwide through its work building a sustainable economy and environment. 

In Maine, Sea Grant has used funding to foster innovation and entrepreneurship to support Maine’s working waterfront and coastal communities during the coronavirus pandemic. Sea Grant also facilitates the Alliance for Maine’s Marine Economy, which has already supported the development of 20 new commercial seafood products and four new laboratory analytical services in its early tenure.

In March 2020, Pingree joined a bipartisan letter of more than 100 members of the U.S House of Representatives in support of robust funding for the program in the Fiscal Year 2021 appropriations package. In September, Pingree announced a $2 million grant awarded to Maine Sea Grant for American Lobster Initiative programs.