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Alaska fishermen cheer passage of the Young Fishermen’s Development Act through Congress by Sabine Poux December 29,2020   |  Source: KDLL - Soldotna

A new United States federal act will set aside funds each year to support fledgling fishermen, pending approval from President Donald Trump.

The Young Fishermen’s Development Act passed through both houses of Congress this month with strong support from all three Alaska legislators. If enacted, the act would fund training and mentorship opportunities for commercial fishermen who are just entering the industry.

It would be the first program of its kind for fishermen. The U.S. government already sponsors comparable professional development programs for young ranchers and farmers.

Grants and program funding would come from Congress. But it would be up to local communities to decide how to use the funding.

“So local nonprofits or Native organizations can apply and propose projects that make sense for that year,” said Marissa Wilson, executive director of the Alaska Marine Conservation Council. The council is one of the nonprofits that brought the idea for the act to Rep. Don Young’s desk five years ago.

“Things are changing so much year to year that having this sort of bottom-up program focus, I think, is going to be a lot more effective than having some kind of program legislated at the federal level and then trickling down across the nation,” Wilson

 

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