Bipartisan FISH SAFE Act restores and extends federal funding for fishing safety programs for 2018-2021


Washington (May 10, 2019) – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Angus King (I-Maine), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) this week introduced the Funding Instruction for Safety Health, and Security Avoids Fishing Emergencies (FISH SAFE) Act. The bipartisan bill restores the federal share of fishing safety training and research grants back to 75 percent, fixing the decrease to 50 percent created by the Frank LoBiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018 (S.140). The bill would also reauthorize the safety training and research programs for $6,000,000 per year for 2019-2021.


“Fishing is one of the most dangerous professions in the United States, and we need to make sure our fishermen are able to come back to dock every day and return to their families safe and sound,” said Senator Markey. “This legislation provides our fishing community with the training and resources they need to do their jobs safely today and in the future. I look forward to working my colleagues on a bipartisan basis to include the FISH SAFE Act in the Coast Guard Reauthorization Act of 2019.”


“Fishermen take safety more seriously than anyone else—they’re the ones working on these boats, often with their children and other family,” said Senator Sullivan. “We have a strong safety record in Alaska, in part, because of programs like these. Over the past few decades we’ve made great strides in safety and we want to continue that trend.”


“Our fishermen routinely face daunting conditions on the job, which is why support for safety training is so important,” said Senator Shaheen. “Ensuring our fishermen are kept out of harm’s way is a critical priority, and I’m glad to work on this bipartisan effort to strengthen federal resources to help keep them safe.”


A copy of the FISH SAFE Act can be found HERE.  


In November 2018, Senator Markey secured the reauthorization for $6,000,000 per year for the safety training and research grant programs for 2018-2019. Senator Markey also led a bipartisan appropriations letter requesting full funding for these grant programs in Fiscal Year 2020.


“This legislation is critical for the health, safety, and economic security of commercial fishermen and their families,” said J.J. Bartlett, President of Fishing Partnership Support Services. “While fishing is one of the most dangerous jobs in the country, fishermen are among the lowest paid workers. The FISH SAFE Act addresses both of these inequities by extending a critical safety training grant program and reducing an unaffordable cost matching requirement.  Massachusetts fishing families are lucky to have Senator Markey fighting on our behalf.”


“Fishing safety and survival trainings, like those at the Fishing Partnership, are literally saving lives,” said Steve Holler, Boston Harbor Lobsterman. “I go every year to make sure I have the training I need to do my job and return home to my family.”