Young Unveils Young Fishermen’s Development Act
Bill Creates National Grant Program to Support Next Generation of Nation’s Fishermen
Washington, D.C. – Alaska Congressman Don Young, a longtime leader in national fisheries policy and legislation, this week unveiled his newest bill – H.R. 2079, the Young Fishermen’s Development Act – to address the longtime decline in younger Americans entering the commercial fishing fleet – or “graying of the fleet.” Young’s 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.
“This innovative new program is only one effort to preserve fishing heritage and encourage new participation in the industry,” said Congressman Don Young. “Young commercial fishermen are facing bigger challenges than ever before – new barriers to entry, limited training opportunities and a lack of support. This legislation is about supporting the livelihoods of fishing communities in Alaska and across the nation. I’m proud to stand with our young fishermen by introducing this important piece of legislation.”
Congressman Young introduced H.R. 2079 with Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) to create a completive grant program – modeled closely after the successful Department of Agriculture’s Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program – to provide meaningful resources for younger generations of Americans entering and progressing in the fishing industry.
“The fishing industry is vital to the Sixth District and to our entire region, but we’re at a crossroads,” said Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA). This legislation will help to sustain the fishing industry by ensuring that our young people not only have a future in fishing, but are also empowered with the training and resources necessary to thrive in the 21st-century economy. I’m grateful to Congressman Young for his collaboration on this bill and broader efforts to support our young fishermen.”
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 service 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.
“Congressman Young understands the challenges young fishermen face, and we thank him for his strong leadership on this vital issue,” said Linda Behnken, Executive Director of the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association. “Empowering the next generation of young fishermen is essential to economic opportunity, food security and our way of life.”
“Representatives Moulton and Young understand that the success of young fishermen is vital to the survival of fishing communities in New England and across the country,” said John Pappalardo, CEO of the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance. “We look forward to working with them on this important effort to ensure the next generation of commercial fishermen are on the water and ready to sustainably harvest America’s seafood.”