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NOAA FISHERIES: Office of Science and Technology
Directorate | Fisheries Statistics | Assessment & Monitoring | Economics & Social Analysis | Science Information | Marine EcoSystems

Budget and Strategic Plan Preparation

The Division works closely with regional coordinators at the six Fisheries Science Centers to identify, improve and advance program capabilities for at-sea fishery-independent resource surveys, marine fish stock assessments, a national network of at-sea fishery observer programs, and national cooperative research partnerships. ST4 staff support the three-year concurrent planning and budget cycles in the Federal Government, and ensures through the development of annual spending plans that program activities are high quality, cost effective and productive. An important component of the Division’s responsibilities include the development and reporting of annual and long-term performance measures that are accountable to the NMFS Strategic Plan and the NMFS Annual Operating Plan.

The Division’s principal budget initiatives include:

NOAA Fishery Survey Vessels (FSVs) and Charter Vessel Days-at-Sea. The Division represents the regional Fishery Science Centers in planning and requesting annual ship days-at-sea that support fishery-independent resource surveys. Because the available days for the NOAA fleet are oversubscribed, NOAA Fisheries also relies on the chartering of commercial fishing vessels.

Research Vessel Construction. Construction of a replacement fleet of four new state-of-the-art NOAA FSVs has begun, and the Division has been instrumental in developing the original justification and multiyear budget request. Delivery of the first ship, the NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson, is scheduled for late 2004, and funds for the second and third FSV are included in the current NOAA appropriation.

Marine Fish Stock Assessment Improvement Plan (SAIP). Provides new fiscal and personnel support for expanded resource survey days-at-sea, and the collection, processing and management of larger data sets necessary to move NOAA Fisheries stock assessments to higher national standards of increasing quality and quantity of scientific information provided to fishery manaers.

The National Observer Program (NOP). Supports budget development for regional fishery observer programs that improve their usefulness to the overall goals of fisheries management. Improvements in standards covering data collection, observer training and safety, and the integration of observer data with stock assessment and management requirements are among the important issues that the NOP works with on a national level.

National Cooperative Research Program. Funds supporting a National Cooperative Research Program are administered by ST4 and distributed to the regional programs to assist in further implementation of cooperative research projects.

The NMFS Strategic Plan is a requirement of Section 404 (a) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Management and Conservation Act (MSFMCA) and requires the Secretary of Commerce to develop, triennially, a strategic Plan for fisheries research for the subsequent five years. Furthermore, this Plan outlines NOAA Fisheries' proposed research efforts on fisheries, habitat, and protected species research that solely address requirements of the MSFMCA.

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