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Congressman Don Young’s Bill to Create Opportunities for Young People in the Fishing Industry Sails Through the House

The Young Fishermen’s Development Act secures passage following an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Young Fishermen’s Development Act (H.R. 1240), legislation authored by Alaska Congressman Don Young, was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. H.R. 1240 addresses 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 workforce development for the nation’s next generation of commercial fishermen. H.R. 1240 was introduced earlier in the 116th Congress with Representative Jared Golden (D-ME) along with original cosponsors Representatives Seth Moulton (D-MA) and Aumua Amata (R-American Samoa).

“This is a great day for Alaska’s fishing industry, and young people across the country hoping to make a living on the water. 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 want to sincerely thank Representatives Golden, Moulton, and Amata for partnering with me on this critical issue. I am also deeply grateful to my colleagues in the House for supporting its passage. My work on behalf of our fishing fleet is not done. The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated our fishermen, processors, and countless others who depend on a strong, thriving seafood industry. I will continue to fight to ensure a strong future full of opportunity and growth for fishermen of all ages.”

"The average age of Maine lobstermen is over 50. Same goes for scallop fishermen. The future of the fishing industry depends on young people learning the ropes right now,” said Congressman Jared Golden. “The Young Fishermen’s Development Act takes important action to help young Mainers get ready for fulfilling careers in fishing and lobstering so they can stay in Maine, build our economy, and support our communities. I’m proud of this bipartisan effort and encourage the president to sign the bill when it reaches his desk.”

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).

“Commercial fishing is part of Gloucester's and New England’s identity and economy, but the legacy will end if we don’t make it easier for the next generation to get started,” Congressman Seth Moulton said. “These grants will help the industry expand and evolve. Every fisherman and lobsterman I’ve ever met wants to keep the fish stock and our oceans healthy. I’m proud that this money will give new opportunities to young people and also help teach fishermen how to build new gear and fish in new ways that protect our oceans. Congress’s investment will pay off in new technology that works and has buy-in from the people using it to make a living.”

“Fishing is the most important aspect of our island economy,” said Congresswoman Amata Radewagen. “Congratulations to Dean of the House Don Young, a champion of American fishing for many years, Rep. Golden and Rep. Moulton on this bipartisan achievement to strengthen fishing.”

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