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Justice, Fairness, Inclusion, and Performance.

The National Academy of Public Administration Releases Report For NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service

Post Date: September 20, 2021

Academy Panel Outlines Six Recommendations for NOAA Fisheries

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A Panel of the National Academy of Public Administration today released its report for the National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries or the Agency), the primary agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) responsible for the stewardship of the nation's ocean resources and their habitat, making six recommendations for changes.

The Academy Panel report, “National Marine Fisheries Service Budget Structure and Allocation Review,” was requested by Congress in fiscal year 2020 appropriations legislation in order to evaluate how NOAA Fisheries connects three important processes – budgeting, planning, and decision-making – with the Agency’s regional mission requirements.

Recognizing that the agency is a complicated organization with a complex mission, the Panel report includes five interconnected recommendations for NOAA Fisheries. A sixth recommendation is directed to Congress, calling for the approval of a change in NOAA Fisheries’ budget structure – with the caveat that the Agency take clear actions to implement the five recommendations as reciprocity with Congress for agreeing to take this action.

The six recommendations include:

  1. Strategic Planning – Re-evaluate NOAA Fisheries’ strategic planning process so that it is a major driver of the budgetary process.
  2. Program Management – Implement stronger program management at the headquarters level, in close collaboration with the Agency’s Financial Management Centers and external partners.
  3. Functional Planning – Implement stronger functional planning for operations and mission support, integrating with the overall strategic planning process. This includes a recommendation to produce and circulate an annual fish survey and stock assessment priority list to a number of internal and external stakeholders.
  4. Facilities Budget Line - Request funding for the NOAA Fisheries facilities portfolio’s requirements through NOAA and its Facility Capital Investment Plan after conducting robust assessments of the NOAA Fisheries portfolio.
  5. Communications – Devise and implement a more robust and comprehensive congressional engagement strategy, giving particular attention to providing insights into key elements of the budget. Also develop and implement comprehensive internal and external budgetary communications strategies.
  6. Account Structure Change – Embracing and implementing all other recommendations in this report, NOAA Fisheries should ask Congress to provide greater discretion that allows it to be more strategic in its use of resources, using an evidenced-based approach to identify and organize around agency priorities and giving managers more flexibility to address those priorities.

Read the full report here.

About the National Academy of Public Administration

Chartered by Congress to provide non-partisan expert advice, the Academy is an independent, non-profit, and non-partisan organization established in 1967 to assist government leaders in building more effective, efficient, accountable, and transparent organizations. Learn more at