Golden-led Bill to Improve Fishing Industry Safety Sent to President’s Desk

December 11, 2020
Press Release
Legislation would restore critical funding for safety and training programs like those run by Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association, Maine Lobstermen’s Association, and the Maine Lobstering Union

WASHINGTON — Legislation introduced by Congressman Jared Golden (ME-02) to bolster safety training programs for fishermen is on its way to the president’s desk to be signed into law. Golden’s Funding Introduction for Safety, Health, and Security Avoids Fishing Emergencies Act (FISH SAFE) passed the House and Senate this week and would restore important federal funding that supports the work of local organizations to offer safety training to fishermen and research safety practices. 

According to the CDC, more than 725 fishermen have died on the job since 2000. 

“Fishermen go to work every day with the knowledge that they have the most dangerous job in Maine,” said Congressman Golden. “They do it because they love the work and they want to provide for their families. However, we continue to lose Maine fishermen at sea. The FISH SAFE Act, which we sent to the president today, will help organizations in our state work to protect lives at sea by making more training available to fishermen and researching new approaches to safety.”

The bipartisan legislation restores important federal funding that supports the work of local organizations to offer safety training to commercial fishermen and research safety practices. The legislation was included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) conference report that passed the House and Senate this week. Golden introduced the bill in 2019 with Republican Don Young (AK-AL). 

In Maine, a number of organizations, including the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association, the Maine Lobstering Union, and the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, already provide limited safety training to commercial fishermen in the state. The FISH SAFE Act would allow the organizations to expand their programs to reach more fishermen with a broader array of trainings. 

“Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association developed our 'Safe at Sea' program to help keep our fishermen safe and healthy on the water and at home. Safety trainings and being prepared saves lives, but we don’t have the resources to reach all the fishermen we need to in Maine. This year has been devastating as Maine has lost multiple boats and fishermen to the sea. We hope that the FISH SAFE Act will help us and the other organizations make sure that no other families have to go through what was experienced this year. Congressman Golden understands the risks that our fishermen face as they feed our nation and we’re glad to work with him to make this bill law.” - Ben Martens, Executive Director, Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association