Golden, Young Lead Bipartisan Legislation to Create Opportunities for Young People in the Fishing Industry

February 15, 2019
Press Release
Bill provides training, education, & workplace development for next generation of fishermen

WASHINGTON — Congressmen Jared Golden (ME-02) and Don Young (AK-At Large) introduced new bipartisan legislation to address the longtime decline in younger Americans entering the commercial fishing industry. Golden and Young introduced H.R. 1240, the Young Fishermen’s Development Act with original cosponsors Representatives Seth Moulton (MA-06) and Aumua Amata (American Samoa). The bill creates 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 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.”

“The next generation of commercial fishermen is essential to the future of Maine’s fishing communities and others like them across the country,” said Ben Martens, Executive Director of the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association. “This legislation will help ensure our future fishermen have the training and tools necessary to build strong new businesses. We are grateful that Congressman Golden has taken a leadership role on this vital issue and for the bipartisan support of Maine’s entire congressional delegation.”

The Young Fisherman’s Development Act 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. The grant program outlined in the bill is modeled on the Department of Agriculture’s  successful Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program.

“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.”

"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 programs, workshops and services made available under Golden and Young’s legislation 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.