Amata-Cosponsored Young Fishermen Bill Signed into Law

January 5, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Tuesday, Congresswoman Uifaatali Amata welcomed President Trump’s signing into law of the bipartisan Young Fishermen’s Development Act (H.R. 1240), which she co-led as an original cosponsor in a group of four, joining its author, Dean of the House, Alaska Congressman Don Young, Congressman Jared Golden (D-Maine) and Congressman Seth Moulton (D-Massachusetts). A Senate companion effort was led by Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska). Each of these lawmakers has a strong fishing tradition in their Districts.

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.

“This is great news for our young fishermen, and a fine bipartisan accomplishment,” said Congresswoman Amata. “This initiative will equip young professionals for a lasting fishing career that strengthens U.S. food resources. Working within the U.S. Commerce Department, this new law will also support and enhance the goals of the recent $4.4 million grant for fishing business incubation training vessels in American Samoa to promote economic activity.”

 

Congresswoman Amata and Dean of the House Congressman Don Young of Alaska
Congresswoman Amata and Dean of the House Congressman Don Young (file photo)

 

"Today is a great day for the future of commercial fishing in our state,” said Congressman Don Young. “I am grateful to President Trump for signing the Young Fishermen's Development Act into law, and I want to sincerely thank my colleagues in the House and Senate for supporting its passage. Young commercial fishermen are facing bigger challenges than ever before – new barriers to entry, limited training opportunities, lack of support, and now, a global pandemic. Fishing is important, not only to Alaskan culture, but 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. This is a tremendous victory, but 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 thriving seafood industry. Now that the 117th Congress has begun, I want our fishermen to know that I will continue fighting for a safe and prosperous future for this vital sector."

"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 that this bipartisan bill is now law.”

“Alaska is the unquestioned superpower of seafood, thanks to our world-class, sustainably-managed fisheries and our countless hard-working fishermen,” said Senator Dan Sullivan. “The sustainability and endurance of this vital industry, which employs more people in Alaska than any other, depends on up-and-coming qualified fishermen. Helping the next generation of Alaskans enter our fisheries will be crucial to ensuring Alaska remains the superpower of seafood. I appreciate my partners in the House and Senate for joining in this effort to support our great fishing sector and I thank President Trump for signing the Young Fishermen’s Development Act into law today.”

 

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