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House passes Amata-cosponsored bipartisan Young Fishermen’s Development Bill

Congresswoman Amata with Dean of the House Congressman Don Young.
Source: Media release from Cong. Uifaatali Amata's office

Washington, D.C. — Thursday, Congresswoman Uifaatali Amata hailed passage by the U.S. House of Representatives bipartisan fishing bill. She is an original cosponsor of the bill promoting the development of the next generation of commercial fishermen with new federal grant support. Earlier this year, Amata also voted for the Young Fishermen’s Development Act, H.R. 1240, in the Natural Resources Committee, where it passed by unanimous consent.

“The goals of this Act go hand in hand with the recent $4.4 million grant for fishing business incubation training vessels in American Samoa,” said Aumua Amata. “This Act ensures that our young fishermen have access to better training to succeed. It’s a program to prepare and equip young professional fishermen with the knowledge of best practices for an enduring career.”

The bill was introduced by the longest-serving Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Dean of the House Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) along with original cosponsors, including Congresswoman Amata; Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine); and Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Massachusetts). These Members all represent Congressional Districts that include fishing as a staple of their area economies and a strong local tradition.

The bill would authorize the addition of up to $200,000 in competitive grants through NOAA’s Sea Grant Program (recently renewed by Congress) to support local and regional training, education, outreach, and technical assistance initiatives for young fishermen.

H.R. 1240 creates 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.

This 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. It would provide meaningful resources for younger generations of Americans starting out or advancing in the fishing industry.

“Fishing is the most important aspect of our local economy, and has always been part of the lives of islanders,” continued Congresswoman Amata. “Congratulations to Dean of the House Don Young, a champion of American fishing for many years.”

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, such as vessel, permit, and quota purchasing.