Clockwise from top left, Chellie Pingree, Jared Golden, Susan Collins and Angus King. Credit: Composite photo | BDN

PORTLAND, Maine — Both houses of Congress have passed a proposal backed by Maine’s delegation designed to help young people enter the world of commercial fishing.

The U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate passed the Young Fishermen’s Development Act this week. The proposal would authorize up to $200,000 in competitive federal grants to support new and existing training, education, outreach and technical assistance initiatives, the sponsors said.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins, independent Sen. Angus King and Democratic Reps. Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden helped introduce the proposal last year. Maine is the nation’s largest producer of lobster, which is one of the most valuable marine species in the country.

Members of the delegation said the legislation “will help prepare young Mainers for jobs in the fishing and lobster industries, which will encourage them to stay in Maine to find work and sustain fishing communities and businesses throughout our state.”