Biden's "30 by 30" report calls for expansion of NOAA conservation efforts

A report released by officials from the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday, 6 May instructs NOAA to expand the National Marine Sanctuaries System and National Estuarine Research Reserve System.

The report also calls on NOAA to work on conservation efforts to help restore fish populations, and better protect threatened and endangered species. Those recommendations are part of how the administration plans to protect 30 percent of the country’s lands and waters by 2030, a goal put forth ian executive order signed by Biden early in his presidency.

The report, "Conserving and Restoring America The Beautiful," which will now be sent to the National Climate Task Force, details eight principles that serve as the foundation for meeting the overarching goal. Fishing and fishery management are highlighted throughout. According to the report, the United States has “one of the most dynamic and innovative wild-capture fishery management systems” due to the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

“The management measures that are available to fisheries management authorities, such as gear-based restrictions and habitat-based measures, could be applied to achieve improved conservation outcomes that benefit the health of fisheries as well as other marine species and habitats,” the report states.

The report also notes that the country’s fishermen play a vital role in conservation efforts and that those efforts must also respect their rights.

“President Biden … has made clear that his administration will support voluntary stewardship efforts that are already underway across the country’s lands and waters,” it states.

The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council said in the report that it is ready to work with administration officials on its conservation goals.

“This includes promoting fishing practices in line with sustainability and local island culture, supporting international agreements, protecting essential habitat, developing underutilized or underrepresented fisheries, allow fair and equitable access to participate in management processes, promoting a ‘bottom-up’ approach to resource management, and optimizing sustainable use of resources through its management plans,” according to a council statement.

The Seafood Harvesters of America and the At-Sea Processors Association both welcomed the 30x30 report, applauding its recognition of the successes the country’s fisheries have had.

“America leads the world in fisheries management and ocean conservation. Today, the Biden administration has committed to maintaining and extending the collaborative, stakeholder-driven and science-based approaches to ocean conservation that have been such a bipartisan success story,” At-Sea Processors Association Director of Sustainability and Public Affairs Matt Tinning said in a press release.

SalmonState Executive Director Tim Bristol said extending protections to Bristol Bay in Alaska would go a long way toward meeting the administration’s goals. Bristol Bay, which is the site of the controversial Pebble Mine proposal, produces about 60 percent of the world’s sockeye salmon.

“If we want to make 30x30 real and have it resonate with the public, we should protect places that the public cares about,” Bristol said. “Bristol Bay and the Tongass National Forest are two such places. The jobs, the fish and wildlife and the cultural riches they sustain should make them top of the list, immediate priority areas for the administration.”  

Photo ocurtesy of the U.S. Department of the Interior


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