Bioeconomy Policy Development Sprint

The bioeconomy – the part of the economy driven by the life sciences and biotech, and enabled by engineering, computing, and information science – has the potential to revolutionize human health, climate and energy, food security and sustainability, and supply chain stability, as well as support economic growth and well-paying jobs across the entire country. The U.S. government has recognized this exceptional promise: The recent Executive Order on advancing the U.S. bioeconomy and relevant provisions in the CHIPS and Science Law and the Inflation Reduction Law have opened up an excellent opportunity to engage with the U.S. government to help develop and shape the implementation of policies to bolster the economic engine that is the biotech and biomanufacturing ecosystem.

The Day One Project now needs your help to generate innovative, specific, and actionable policy ideas that the U.S. government could use to supercharge the U.S. bioeconomy.

They are particularly focused on:

  • Leveraging financial or economic tools – such as loan programs, tax incentives, demand-pull mechanisms, and economic development challenges – to support and advance the U.S. bioeconomy in ways that enable and incentivize biotech or biomanufacturing to expand into new regions of the U.S., build new facilities, and engage in workforce development efforts;
  • Enabling better measurement of the U.S. bioeconomy’s contributions to the rest of the economy; and
  • Devising new authorities that may be needed at federal agencies in order to support a maximally-coordinated effort to advance the U.S. bioeconomy.

Submit your idea here. Submissions are due Monday, November 7th, and will be reviewed on a rolling basis, so submit today!

Federal Fisheries Management: Overfishing Determinations Vary Across Regions, and Data Challenges Complicate Management Efforts

Download the document.

What GAO Found

GAO’s analysis of National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) data found that the number of fish stocks assessed for 2011 through 2020 varied by the six NMFS regional fisheries science centers and that many stocks were not assessed. For example, on average, the Southeast Science Center assessed about 10 percent of the 153 stocks it supported each year, while the Alaska Science Center assessed about 78 percent of its 64 stocks.

NMFS uses these assessments to support management, including determining whether a stock is in overfishing or is overfished. GAO found that the number of stocks in these statuses varied by science center and that many stocks had an unknown status (see fig. for overfishing information). Challenges inherent in collecting fisheries data, along with resource challenges, affected the availability and quality of the data. For example, trawl surveys, which are used to collect fisheries data, are challenging and costly to conduct over large geographic areas. These challenges were a key source of the variability in the number of stocks assessed and one of the reasons why many stocks may have unknown status.

Average Annual Number of Fish Stocks Experiencing Overfishing and Average Number with an Unknown Overfishing Status, by National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Fisheries Science Centers for 2011 through 2020
Average Annual Number of Fish Stocks Experiencing Overfishing and Average Number with an Unknown Overfishing Status, by National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Fisheries Science Centers for 2011 through 2020

Note: Some science centers are jointly responsible for assessing a fish stock. The averages do not total the amount noted in the report, due to rounding. A fish stock is a fish species or stock complex, which is a group of stocks similar enough to be managed as a single unit.

In reviewing NMFS’ stock assessment and status data, GAO identified issues with the Species Information System database that prevented conducting certain multiyear trend analyses. NMFS has not documented these structural limitations or developed general guidelines for how to complete such analyses. NMFS officials noted that such analyses can be useful for tracking changes in stock status, as well as the frequency with which individual fish stocks have been assessed over time. NMFS is working on two projects to improve the functionality of the database. The plans for these projects do not include key project management elements, such as written goals and timelines. Developing a plan that includes these elements could help ensure completion of the projects and help NMFS conduct additional analyses that could be used to support management measures to prevent overfishing and manage overfished stocks.

Why GAO Did This Study

Commercial and recreational marine fisheries are a critical part of our nation’s economy. These fisheries contributed $118 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product and supported 1.8 million jobs in 2019. NMFS and eight Regional Fishery Management Councils (Council) are responsible for managing about 460 fish stocks in federal waters. This includes minimizing the extent to which stocks experience overfishing or become overfished. Overfishing occurs when the number of fish caught is above a certain threshold; a stock becomes overfished when its population is deemed to be too low.

GAO was asked to review federal efforts to prevent overfishing and manage overfished stocks. Among other things, this report examines the number of stock assessments conducted from 2011 to 2020, along with the number and status of overfishing and overfished stocks during this period. GAO reviewed NMFS policies and documents; interviewed NMFS regions, Councils, and relevant stakeholders based on factors such as familiarity with different regions of the United States; and analyzed data from NMFS’ Species Information System database.


GAO is making two recommendations to NMFS on the structural limitations of the Species Information System database, including developing guidelines for conducting certain multiyear analyses, as well as incorporating leading practices into its database improvement plans. The agency agreed with GAO’s recommendations.

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency AffectedRecommendationStatus
National Marine Fisheries ServiceThe Assistant Administrator for NMFS should develop written documentation of the structural limitations of the Species Information System database, as well as general guidelines on how to conduct the manual editing needed for multiyear trend analysis and reporting purposes. (Recommendation 1)When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
National Marine Fisheries ServiceThe Assistant Administrator for NMFS should develop a written plan for executing the Species Information System database improvement projects, including the project goals, the procedures to be followed, a timeline for completion, and a schedule for providing status updates. (Recommendation 2)When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Pricing emissions: Fury over New Zealand’s plans to charge farmers for agricultural emissions

Read the full story at Dairy Reporter.

Federated Farmers have bemoaned government proposals that could see farmers pay an emissions levy to meet a ‘pulled-out-of-a-hat’ GHG target.

As electric vehicle growth squeezes gas tax revenues, data helps states prepare

Read the full story from Pew.

Forecasters expect sales of electric vehicles (EVs), already at record levels, to grow at a breakneck pace in the years ahead. This transition from gasoline to electric-powered vehicles matters not only for car buyers and climate goals, but also for state governments. In the aggregate, fuel taxes provide nearly 40% of the revenue that states direct to their transportation funds—special accounts for transportation spending. Much of that could vanish in the coming decades.

Despite the attention on EVs, their sales remain a modest share of total vehicle sales. Still, state policymakers will need data to inform decisions about how to fill the funding gap that’s expected once sales increase. By producing long-term projections of gas tax revenue, state analysts can provide critical estimates for how quickly and how far gas tax revenue will fall. And that will help states implement sustainable transportation funding sources.

Sewer backups, increasing from climate change, are costing city’s homeowners

Read the full story at City Limits.

About 20 houses in South Jamaica are prone to sewer backups every few months, say homeowners, some of whom have dealt with the issue for more than a decade. But because the sewer line is on private property, the residents are left to contend with the problem on their own.

How cities are deciding where electric vehicle chargers should go

Read the full story at Route Fifty.

Places where street parking is the norm and residential driveways are rare face unique challenges when it comes to making sure drivers can plug in their cars.

USDA grant funds research to reduce agricultural plastic taken to landfill

Read the full story at Waste Today.

The $8 million grant will help researchers at Washington State University find alternatives to plastic mulch and develop recycling methods for the material.

Hydrogen reality check: Green hydrogen can scale this decade

Read the full story from the Rocky Mountain Institute.

A slew of new hydrogen projects in the works, coupled with sky-high fossil energy prices, point to a significant near-term role for green hydrogen.

Dashboards aren’t always good for the long haul, data officers say

Read the full story at State Scoop.

Despite their popularity among elected city leaders, flashy data dashboards often have limited lifespans and limited utility, a group of U.S. city chief data officers said Tuesday at a Bloomberg Philanthropies event in Amsterdam.

Discussing the impact of COVID-19 on data collection and sharing, the data officers shared their concern that dashboards, such as those created to show the number of positive COVID-19 cases in a specific region, aren’t sustainable in the long-term.

Forestry leaders scramble to turn massive new funding into trees

Read the full story at Stateline.

Foresters, nursery managers and urban planners have long sought funding to grow more trees, replant burned areas and help marginalized communities prepare for the effects of climate change.

Suddenly, the money isn’t the problem — it’s figuring out how to spend it.