- Eileen Sobeck, Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NMFSAssistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries, NMFS
Help Protect Hawaiian Monk Seals
We recently learned that the FY 2014 spending plan for National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) may include just $2.5 million for the recovery of the Hawaiian monk seal – a cut of $1.4 million from the FY 2013 amount actually spent on the seal, a 36% decline.
This cut would be a severe blow to the monk seal recovery program which is gaining momentum after years of struggle.
We cannot allow this species to go extinct.
The Hawaiian monk seal is one of the four most endangered seals in the world and the iconic species of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. We urge you to make the seal’s recovery a higher priority for the NMFS by keeping the recovery program funded at $3.9 million.
Although many challenges remain, we are optimistic the seal can be recovered if NMFS will make seal recovery a continuing priority at a sustained budget level of around $5 million annually. Without this amount, NMFS staff cannot competently address the growing number of negative interactions between humans and seals in the main islands, or prevent seal mortalities in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. The proposed reduced funding of $2.5 million is a case in point – one of its impacts would be to eliminate the agency’s annual field research camp in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands in 2015.
The Hawaiian monk seal is the only endangered seal living entirely within US waters. Hence, the fate of this seal is entirely hinges on the work of NMFS and its partners.
I urge you to review the situation, reverse any cuts, and increase the monk seal budget to $3.9 million for 2014. We believe NMFS is poised to make great strides on monk seal recovery in Hawaii in the next few years if the entire NOAA leadership gets behind the program.
- Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries, NMFS
Eileen Sobeck, Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NMFS
Stop the Budget Cut to the Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Program for FY2014
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