December 10, 2020

Rep. Moulton’s Young Fishermen's Development Act Passes House

WASHINGTON – Today, the House of Representatives passed Congressman Seth Moulton’s Young Fishermen's Development Act, a bill Moulton (D-MA) introduced with Rep. Don Young (R-AK) in 2017 and reintroduced with Rep. Young and Rep Jared Golden (D-ME) last year. The bill creates a national grant program to support the training and education of the nation’s next generation of commercial fishermen.

“Commercial fishing is part of Gloucester's and New England’s identity and economy, but the legacy will end if we don’t make it easier for the next generation to get started,” Rep. Moulton said. “These grants will help the industry expand and evolve. Every fisherman and lobsterman I’ve ever met wants to keep the fish stock and our oceans healthy. I’m proud that this money will give new opportunities to young people and also help teach fishermen how to build new gear and fish in new ways that protect our oceans. Congress’s investment will pay off in new technology that works and has buy-in from the people using it to make a living.” 

In 2017, Moulton announced the bill in Gloucester during an event at Fisherman's Wharf with the President of the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association Angela Sanfilippo, Executive Administrator of the Gloucester Fishing Community Fund and NE Seafood Coalition Chair of Government Affairs Vito Giacalone, and his son, Chris Giacalone, the owner of Gloucester Fisherman’s Wharf.  Gloucester Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken, State Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante, and State Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr joined in support. 

The Senate has passed its own version of the bill and is expected to quickly reconcile that version with the House’s version so that the bill can be signed into law. Once that happens, The Young Fishermen’s Development Act will authorize grants of up to $200,000 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 grants can be used to fund courses and workshops including: seamanship, navigation, electronics, and safety; vessel and engine care, maintenance, and repair; innovative conservation fishing gear engineering and technology; entrepreneurship and sound business practices; direct marketing, supply chain, and traceability; financial and risk management, including vessel, permit, and quota purchasing.

When Moulton reintroduced the bill last year, he wrote an op-ed explaining its importance and advocating for its passage in The Gloucester Daily Times.

Massachusetts Congressman Bill Keating and Senators Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren supported Moulton’s bill.