Washington, DC (KINY) - U.S. Senators Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski applauded the Senate's passage of the Young Fishermen's Development Act.
The legislation is designed to mitigate the challenges facing the next generation of entrants into the fishing industry by supporting regional training opportunities and apprenticeship programs.
Senator Sullivan said this will help keep Alaska a superpower in seafood, "Alaska is the unquestioned superpower of seafood, thanks to our world-class, sustainably-managed fisheries and our countless hard-working fishermen. The sustainability and endurance of this vital industry, which employs more people in Alaska than any other, depends on up-and-coming qualified fishermen."
Sullivan said the bill will reduce barriers with new grants, training opportunities and apprenticeship programs.
Senator Lisa Murkowski said the bill will address some of the barriers young people face as they try to join the commercial fishing fleet, "This legislation will support education, training and workplace development of future fishermen and help maintain sustainable fishing careers, strengthen food security, and encourage future generations of Alaskans to pursue jobs in this important industry."
Rural communities in the U.S. have lost 30 percent of local permit holders in the past decade. The average age of a fishermen has increase by 10 years over the past generation.
The graying of the fleet has led to an increase in financial capital and risk needed to enter into the commercial fishing industry.