Committee Passes Amata-Cosponsored Bipartisan Young Fishermen’s Development Bill

January 29, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Wednesday, Congresswoman Aumua Amata hailed Committee passage of a bipartisan bill to strengthen the future of fishing. She is an original cosponsor of the bill and was pleased to vote for it on Wednesday in the Natural Resources Committee, where it passed by unanimous consent. The bill promotes the development of the next generation of commercial fishermen with new federal grant support.

The Young Fishermen’s Development Act, H.R. 1240, was introduced by the longest-serving Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) along with three original cosponsors, Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine), Rep. Aumua Amata Radewagen (R-American Samoa) and Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Massachusetts), all of whom represent Congressional Districts that look to fishing, both as a staple of their area economies and a strong local tradition.

“Fishing is the lifeblood of our economy, and has always been part of the lives of islanders,” said Aumua Amata. “This legislation would ensure that our young fishermen have the top training possible to succeed. This program can help prepare and equip young professional fishermen from the start for the best practices in an enduring career and way of life.”

“A special thank you to Dean of the House Don Young,” continued Congresswoman Amata. “Congressman Young has been a champion of American fishing for many years, and this bill has been a priority. I’m also encouraged by today’s strong bipartisan support for this program, and I appreciate the leadership of Congressman Golden and Congressman Moulton.”


Congresswoman Amata and Dean of the House Congressman Don Young of Alaska
Congresswoman Amata and the Dean of the House, Rep. Don Young.


This legislation would create a national grant program through the Department of Commerce that – for the first time – would support training, education, and workplace development for the next generation of commercial fishermen throughout the country.

The new program would work to reverse the longtime decline in younger Americans entering the fishing industry. It would create a competitive grant that is modeled after the Department of Agriculture’s Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program. This new effort would provide meaningful resources for younger generations of Americans starting out and growing in the fishing industry.

The bill 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 services 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.