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Young Fishermen's Development Act

Floor Speech

Date: Dec. 10, 2020
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. YOUNG. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 1240, the Young Fishermen's Development Act. I would like to start off by thanking Senator Lisa Murkowski, and Dan Sullivan, along with Congresswoman Radewagen, Congressman Moulton, and everyone else who was involved in this legislation. Their hard work and dedication to the next generation of commercial fishermen is commendable.

Currently, there is no single federal program dedicated to training, educating, and assisting the next generation of commercial fishermen. However, the need for such a program is very real. Daunting challenges, including the high cost of entry, financial risks, and limited entry-level opportunities, have made it harder than ever for young men and women to start a career in commercial fishing.

That is why we have introduced H.R. 1240, the Young Fishermen's Development Act, which is modeled after the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program. Our legislation seeks to support our nation's aspiring commercial fishermen by creating a competitive grant program at NOAA to support local training, education, outreach, and technical assistance initiatives.

The bill would provide funding to entities that offer instruction in seamanship, navigation, electronics, safety, vessel maintenance, entrepreneurship, sustainable fishing, and other efforts related to the commercial fishing business. The heritage and economies of America's coastal communities are directly linked to our fisheries.

Help us ensure that the next generation of commercial fishermen is well prepared to sustainably harvest America's seafood by breaking down the many barriers facing young fishermen, I strongly support this bipartisan legislation and encourage all my colleagues to join me.

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