Don Young

02/14/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 02/14/2019 17:50

Congressman Young Leads Bipartisan Legislation to Create Opportunities for Young People in the Fishing Industry

Washington, D.C. - Today, Representatives Don Young (AK-At Large) and Jared Golden (ME-02), along with original cosponsors Representatives Seth Moulton (MA-06) and Aumua Amata (American Samoa), introduced H.R. 1240, the Young Fishermen's Development Act - legislation to address the longtime decline in younger Americans entering the commercial fishing industry. This legislation would create the first ever national grant program through the Department of Commerce to support training, education, and workplace development for the nation's next generation of commercial fishermen.

'Young commercial fishermen are facing bigger challenges than ever before - new barriers to entry, limited training opportunities, and a lack of support,' said Congressman Don Young. 'Fishing is important not only to Alaskan culture, but it is central to our rich history. Our legislation is about supporting the livelihoods of fishing communities across the nation by making the next generation aware of the opportunities available in the commercial fishing industry. I'm proud to stand with our young fishermen by introducing this important piece of legislation.'

'Young Mainers need opportunities for good-paying jobs that stay here in Maine,' said Congressman Golden. 'Preparing them to enter our fishing industry is just common sense. Our bill provides training and resources to Maine's next generation of commercial fishermen, helping them get their sea legs and support our coastal economies. I'm focused on supporting Maine's heritage industries and bringing good-paying jobs to communities across our state.'

Congressman Young introduced the Young Fishermen's Development Act with Congressman Jared Golden (ME-02) to create a competitive grant program - modeled closely after the successful Department of Agriculture's Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program - that provides meaningful resources for younger generations of Americans entering and progressing in the fishing industry. Congressmen Young and Golden are pleased to be joined by original cosponsors Congresswoman Aumua Amata (American Samoa) and Congressman Seth Moulton (MA-06).

'Fishing is one of the oldest jobs there is, but the industry is changing rapidly with the evolution of our economy,' said Representative Seth Moulton. 'Congress needs to step up so a new generation of Americans in Gloucester and in communities across the country can access the skills and technology they need to succeed as commercial fishermen. I'm grateful to Representatives Young and Golden for their collaboration on this bill and in broader efforts to support the sustainable commercial fishing industry and the communities where fishing isn't just a job but a way of life.'

'Fishing is the lifeblood of the American Samoan economy. This program will ensure that our young fishermen are equipped and prepared for the highly dynamic 21st century world,' said Congresswoman Aumua Amata (American Samoa). I want to thank Dean of the House, Don Young for his tireless championing of American fishing.'

The legislation would authorize up to $200,000 in competitive grants through NOAA's Sea Grant Program to support new and established local and regional training, education, outreach, and technical assistance initiatives for young fishermen. These programs, workshops and services include: seamanship, navigation, electronics, and safety; vessel and engine care, maintenance, and repair; innovative conservation fishing gear engineering and technology; entrepreneurship and good business practices; direct marketing, supply chain, and traceability; financial and risk management, including vessel, permit, and quota purchasing.

'Young fishermen face a host of challenges when entering our nation's fisheries these days - they need to be smart business people, savvy about hydraulics, electronics and diesel mechanics, well-schooled in management regulations, tuned in to marketing opportunities - and, of course, they need to know how to catch and take care of fish,' said Linda Behnken, Executive Director of the Alaska Longline Fishermen's Association. 'There is currently no federal program in place to support education and training for our nation's young fishermen. The Young Fishermen's Development Act will change that. We thank Congressman Young for his hard work shepherding this important legislation through Congress.'