The Beaufort (NC) Laboratory known as the “Beaufort lab” of NOAA, National Marine Fisheries Service, Southeast Fisheries Science Center is being slated to be closed as per President Obama’s budget. This important research laboratory has had a renowned history since its origin in 1899. It is the second oldest marine laboratory in the US. It presently employs approximately numerous people, including scientists who are recognized both internationally, nationally and regionally for the excellent quality work they do to support objective ecosystem based fisheries management. Rachel Carson apparently worked at this institution at one time. They may not be seen as a high profile lab. as is the Miami Laboratory, but they are the only Federal Fisheries lab between Miami, FL, and Sandy Hook, NJ. In my opinion we don’t need less labs studying fish and our fisheries for improved management, we need more. Present employees at other NMFS labs are already over subscribed and stretched thin. These are critical times in fisheries management and we need the contributions from these scientists and staff.
This lab has a long history of cooperative research with the Duke University, North Carolina State University and University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill among many others. We have had positive experiences working with staff at this lab over many years. While being well known for working with Atlantic menhaden, sea grasses, red tide, and salt marshes they are integrated in the stock assessment process of many species from king mackerel to snappers and groupers, triggerfish and other coral reef species, shrimp, as well as, turtles and marine mammals. See http://www.sefsc.noaa.gov/labs/beaufort/ for more details on their important work including their work with the Chevron fishery independent survey. They work with the head boat fisheries as well.
NOAA had recently invested in approximately $14 million in upgrades. It has been estimated that this lab affects $58 million into the local economy (http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/04/01/3750561/false-savings-in-cutting-beaufort.html) and it seems to us that this investment should be allowed to generate intellectual profit.
We would like for you to write the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce as it is taking written testimony until April 25th. Comments or testimony should be submitted to the Senate Subcommittee of Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies. The committee members are listed here:
One of many suggestions is that this laboratory be transferred totally back to NMFS as apparently it had been transferred to the National Ocean Service a while back. Please click and support this lab. It appears to some that this facility is being closed for more political reasons rather than for intellectual ones. Include in your comments that more money should be invested in fisheries independent research, advanced procedures in stock assessment, fisheries oceanographic research, and for ocean observations.