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Young Fishermen's Development Act

Key YFDA Components

  • Competitive grant program for collaborative state, tribal, local or regionally based networks or partnerships

  • Mentorship/apprenticeship program to connect retiring fishermen and vessel owners with new and beginning fishermen

  • Support for regional training and education programs focused on sustainable and accountable fishing practices, marine stewardship and sound business practices

  • Grants may not exceed a period of longer than three years, with a maximum grant amount of $200,000/year

  • $2 million annual authorization for six years for program implementation

Currently, there is no single federal program dedicated to training, educating, and assisting the next generation of commercial fishermen. But the need 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.

The bipartisan Young Fishermen’s Development Act (H.R.1240, S.496) establishes a national grant program to support initiatives to educate, train, and mentor young and beginning fishermen.

The bill implements a program allowing fishing associations, universities, tribal organizations, and others to compete for grant funding to train young commercial fishermen in sustainable fishing and business practices. It solidifies and unites current piecemeal training efforts into a cohesive, national initiative to advance this critical mission.  

The program’s $2 million annual budget is fully paid for using monies from fines paid by fishermen who have violated fishing rules. Lastly, the grants cannot be used to purchase fishing permits, quota, or other harvesting rights.

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