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Alaska cannot afford to let any job die away. Nor can Ketchikan.
Our economy depends upon it.
Congressman Don Young understands that and the value of the commercial fishing industry here.
Fishing is a respectable profession requiring hard work. But it also provides benefits that create a satisfying quality of life.
As the fishermen of this day retire, it will be up to the next generation to take advantage of those rewards and provide the high quality wild-caught fish for which Alaska is renowned.
To that end, Young has introduced a bill to create the first-ever federal grant program for training, educating and teaching the next generation of commercial fishermen.
"Young commercial fishermen are facing bigger challenges than ever before — new barriers to entry, limited training opportunities and a lack of support," says Young.
The Young Fishermen's Development Act, House Bill 2079, is modeled after the Department of Agriculture's Beginning Farms and Ranchers Development Program.
The program would authorize up to $200,000 in grants through NOAA's Sea Grant Program for new and established training, education, outreach and technical assistance initiatives for young fishermen, according to Young.
These programs, workshops and service 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, including vessel, permit and quota purchasing.
This bill is the type of spending appropriate in Congress. It costs taxpayers, but in the end it pays out dividends — for Ketchikan, for Alaskans, particularly for the next generation who wish to preserve Alaska's fishing heritage and make a living along the way.
This bill should be widely encouraged in Congress and by President Trump. It's a jobs bill.