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Amata welcomes passage of Sea Grant Program for colleges and universities

Aumua Amata in a file photo speaking at ASCC
Source: Media release from Cong. Aumua Amata's office

Washington, D.C. — Congresswoman Aumua Amata on Tuesday welcomed House passage of a bipartisan effort she has supported, the National Sea Grant College Amendments Program Act of 2020, S. 910, often called the Sea Grant Reauthorization Bill.

Congresswoman Amata cosponsored the House version of the same priority (the National Sea Grant College Program Amendments Act of 2019, HR 2405), and voted for it in the House National Resources Committee.

“I’m pleased to see this educational priority will be secure through 2024,” said Aumua Amata. “This program helps ensure ocean and coastal research topics are given support in higher education, then that knowledge is shared in Congress and federal agencies. This program is in use at American Samoa Community College, and active at the universities in Hawai’i and the U.S. West Coast most attended by Pacific Islanders. Thank you to Kelley Anderson Tagarino for her work with this program at ASCC.”

The bill reauthorizes the National Sea Grant College Program through the end of Fiscal Year 2024. Under this program, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) supports university-based programs that focus on studying, conserving, and effectively using U.S. coastal resources. In this way, it supports studies, courses and educational programs related to ocean and marine topics.

Under this bill, NOAA awards Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowships, which place graduate students in fields of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resources into positions within the nation’s executive and legislative branches.

Grants can include (1) university research on the biology, prevention, and control of aquatic nonnative species; (2) university research on oyster diseases, oyster restoration, and oyster-related human health risks; (3) university research on the biology, prevention, and forecasting of harmful algal blooms; and (4) fishery extension activities conducted by sea grant colleges or sea grant institutes to enhance existing core program funding.

Additionally, the bill authorizes grants for (1) priority issues identified in the National Sea Grant Program's strategic plan, and (2) university research on sustainable aquaculture techniques and technologies.