Young Fishermen’s Act Passes in Senate, House

The Young Fishermen’s Development Act passed Sunday in both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate.

The bipartisan bill, introduced by Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) in the Senate and Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) in the House, passed unanimously in both chambers of Congress and establishes the first ever national program to train, educate, and foster the next generation of commercial


The Young Fishermen’s Development Act was first proposed in 2015 by the Fishing Communities Coalition, a national advocacy group that represents more than 1,000 independent fishermen and business owners from Maine to Florida to California and Alaska, said Linda Behnken, executive director and the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association. ALFA – a founding member of the Federal Communities Coalition – has, along with others, spent the last five years working with members of Congress to develop YFDA, which directs the National Sea Grant in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to establish a Young Fishermen’s Development Grant Program to provide training, education, outreach, and technical assistance initiatives for young fishermen.

“Young people entering our nation’s fisheries deserve support to succeed in this challenging but vital business,” Behnken said. “Commercial fishing demands a broad skillset to operate safely and successfully. We are thrilled by passage of the YFDA and grateful for the effective leadership provided by Alaska’s Congressional delegation in moving this Act through Congress.”

Even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Behnken said, new commercial fishing entrants faced many challenges, including high cost of entry, financial risks, and limited entry-level opportunities.

‘‘This year, those challenges have been amplified as the ongoing pandemic continues to devastate America’s commercial fishermen and fishing communities, and jeopardize our country’s food security and supply chains,’’ Behnken said. 

She said the legislation (H.R. 1240, S. 496 ) will help mitigate the challenges facing the next generation of commercial fishermen and entrants into the fishing industry by supporting regional

training opportunities and apprenticeship programs. It’s modeled after similar agricultural programs, and will provide competitive grant funding and support for state, tribal, local, or regionally based networks or partnerships.

The YFDA will support programs such as ALFA’s crew apprentice program and Sitka Fishermen’s Expos.

“We look forward to expanding our Young Fishermen programs and

supporting other communities in launching similar initiatives.” Behnken added.


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At a Glance

(updated 1-31-2023)

By Sentinel Staff

The state Department of Health and Social Services has posted the following update on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alaska as of 12:15 pm Tuesday, January 31.

New cases as of Tuesday: 792

Total cases (cumulative) statewide – 291,060

Total (cumulative) deaths – 1,436

Case Rate per 100,000 – 108.66

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.

COVID in Sitka

The Sitka community level is now "Low.'' Case statistics are as of Tuesday.

Case Rate/100,000 – 70.4

Cases in last 7 days – 6

Cumulative Sitka cases – 3,264

Deceased (cumulative) – 10

The local case data are from Alaska DHSS.






February 2003

By GIL TRUITT: It seems like only yesterday that I was aboard the Alaska Coastal Airlines Grumman Goose, taking off from Wrangell, headed for my hometown, Sitka, in February 1947. I was a student at Wrangell Institute at the time but that was quickly forgotten when the “Goose” pulled up on the Japonski Island ramp. The big student movement to Sitka from Wrangell had begun. The creation of Mt. Edgecumbe High School was under way.



February 1973

 This year’s theme for the Sitka High School girls third quarter challenge is “Beat the Pudgies.” ... Becoming a member guarantees taking off or readjusting inches, taking off excess pounds, developing muscle tone and losing unnecessary flab.