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Amata co-sponsors bills that would benefit future of local fishing industry

Congresswoman Aumua Amata
Source: Office of the Congresswoman

Washington, DC — Congresswoman Aumua Amata is an original co-sponsor of two fishing-related bills examined in a Natural Resources Committee hearing, and co-sponsored another Pacific bipartisan bill on education policy. The hearing of the Subcommittee on Water, Oceans and Wildlife is an important step in advancing these bills forward for a vote.

Congresswoman Amata is an original co-sponsor (one of two Republicans and two Democrats) of the bipartisan Young Fishermen’s Development Act, H.R. 1240, which would strengthen the future of fishing in American Samoa, and promote the development of the next generation of commercial fishermen with federal grant support.

For the first time ever, this legislation would create a national grant program through the Department of Commerce that would improve training, education, and workplace development for the next generation of commercial fishermen.

“Fishing is the backbone of our economy in American Samoa,” said Aumua Amata. “This program will help ensure that our young fishermen are equipped and prepared for the dynamic 21st century world. This effort can assist young commercial fishermen in overcoming challenges, by providing resources and emphasizing training for better-paying jobs.”

Additionally, she is an original co-sponsor of the American Fisheries Advisory Committee Act, HR 1218, which would add options for research and development grants related to fisheries. Also, this bill would clarify more balanced representation for the region on the American Fisheries Advisory Committee, leading to better input from the Pacific region.

Finally, Congresswoman Amata also cosponsored a bipartisan bill, the National Sea Grant College Program Amendments Act of 2019, HR 2405, introduced by Chairman Jared Huffman (D-CA) of the Subcommittee on Water, Oceans and Wildlife. This effort promotes studies, courses and educational programs related to ocean and marine topics.

The Young Fishermen’s Development Act was introduced in February by the Dean of the House, Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) and Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine), Rep. Aumua Amata (American Samoa) and Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Massachusetts).

It would authorize up to $200,000 in competitive grants through NOAA’s Sea Grant Program to support new and established local and regional training, education, outreach, and technical assistance initiatives for young fishermen. These programs, workshops and services 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.