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Senators Collins, King Announce $3.4 Million to Support Maine’s Fisheries, Coastal Communities, and Marine Ecosystems

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King announced today that the Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems (NERACOOS), has been awarded a total of $3,442,301 to support weather and ocean data collection programs in the Gulf of Maine. Of these funds, $1,066,420 will be directed to five Maine-based ocean research and science institutions charged with monitoring weather and ocean data in the Gulf that are fundamental to public safety and economic activity.


“For generations, the Gulf of Maine and Maine’s coastal communities have always been at the center of our state’s success. They’ve powered our economy, allowed us to ship Maine products around the globe, and shared the natural beauty of our coast with millions,” said Senators Collins and King in a joint statement. “This investment in NERACOOS and five Maine scientific institutions will help to strengthen our ocean economy, keep our fishermen safe, assist commercial shipping, help us better understand our changing climate, and provide coastal communities with the data and support they need to thrive.”


"We are very thankful for the years of support Senator King and Senator Collins have given to NERACOOS. This award, in addition to our partnerships with leading Maine institutions, will help us rise to meet the challenges of a changing climate and shifting maritime economy,” said Dr. Jake Kritzer, Executive Director of NERACOOS. “We're looking forward to continuing our work in the Gulf of Maine, which has already generated more than 20 years' worth of data that helps us support people who depend on the ocean and track an evolving ecosystem."


“NERACOOS’ buoys greatly enhance the safety for Maine lobstermen by keeping them onshore when the weather is too rough, and saves them the time and expense of steaming to fishing grounds only to learn the water is too rough to safely haul traps,” said Patrice McCarron, Executive Director of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association. “I’m glad this funding will allow them and affiliates like the University of Maine to continue their valuable work assisting our industry.”


The funding will be allocated through NERACOOS to Maine organizations as follows:

·         $900,000 to the University of Maine Orono: 

o    For the operation of seven NERACOOS buoys in the Gulf of Maine. These stations are deployed year round and provide hourly information about the weather, sea state, as well as conditions below the surface as deep as 250 meters. The buoys also monitor nutrients offshore, a key parameter for characterizing the water masses entering the Gulf of Maine and better understanding changing ocean conditions.

·         $137,325 to the Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI):

o    For the Ocean Data Products team at GMRI to run the NERACOOS data management system and improve the services they provide to the public, which includes data access. 

·         $15,000 to the Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries in partnership with the Passamaquoddy at Pleasant Point (Sipayik), and the Peskotomuhkati Nation. 

o    To assess coastal areas and determine the most beneficial location for a new monitoring station. The station will deliver real-time conditions to fishermen, and its data will also be used to improve oceanographic predictions.

·         $6,095 to Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences:

o    For Bigelow Laboratory to host OceanHackWeek, a national workshop supported by IOOS. 

·         $8,000 to U.S. Geological Survey Maine: 

o    For the sustained operation of a water level station at Camp Ellis, which is particularly vulnerable to inundation.

The Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems (NERACOOS) spans coastal waters from the Canadian Maritime Provinces to the New York Bight – including the Gulf of Maine. NERACOOS provides weather and ocean data to Maine fishers and commercial shippers determining if conditions are safe for passage and to emergency managers issuing storm warnings. NERACOOS is also advancing efforts to improve water quality monitoring, harmful algal bloom predictions and warnings, and coastal flooding and erosion forecasting systems.



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