A new initiative is calling on youth, fishermen, aquaculture farmers, new industry members, seasoned industry leaders, educators, mentors, workforce experts, training program leaders, and anyone else who cares about the future of Maine's working waterfront heritage, to help identify the educational priorities for the next generation's leaders.
A group of local organizations have partnered together to identify the needs and opportunities for the next generation of fishermen and sea harvesters in Maine. Maine Sea Grant, Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association and Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries are working together in advance of anticipated funding through the Young Fishermen’s Development Act (YFDA), national legislation passed in December 2020.
The Young Fishermen's Development Act was created with support of organizations from across the country in order "to preserve United States fishing heritage through a national program dedicated to training and assisting the next generation of commercial fishermen." Following the passage of this legislation, Maine Sea Grant received support from the National Sea Grant Office to launch an initiative known as Sea Careers.
“Maine has already demonstrated a commitment to this industry, with numerous training programs already in place at Community Colleges and through sector-supporting organizations and institutions, such as the Eastern Maine Skippers Program,” said Paul Anderson, director of Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries.
This initiative will identify where existing programs might be enhanced to better meet the needs of the next generation of industry leaders. According to Ben Martens, director of Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association, “Questions to be addressed include what knowledge, skills, and expertise early career fishermen and sea farmers lack to get started for successful life-long work in this sector, what barriers to training exist and how can we remove them, and how to support the next generation to envision and secure their role in an industry that will sustain Maine's coastal communities into the future.”
Partners are seeking input from fishermen and aquaculture farmers throughout the state, in anticipation of advancing the Young Fishermen Development Act goals here in Maine. To participate, please fill out your contact information here: https://forms.gle/u1y8cR4uzp4J5ybaA.
Ultimately, to implement the YFDA, Congress will need to appropriate the funds requested in the legislation for the four-year period between 2022 and 2026.
For more information please contact:
Natalie Springuel, Maine Sea Grant, email@example.com
Tom Duym, Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ben Martens, Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association, email@example.com