Gluesenkamp Perez Introduces Bill to Honor Bryson Fitch, Protect Washington’s Fishermen

Sep 21, 2023
Press

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (WA-03) introduced the Bryson Fitch Fisherman Protection Act – legislation to honor the life of missing Pacific County crab fisherman Bryson Fitch and increase safety measures aboard fishing vessels.

“Fishing is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, and it’s our responsibility to make sure these hard working men and women are protected on the job,” said Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez. “This bill will help ensure more fishermen are equipped with the personal safety equipment they need to be located during an emergency. I’m continuing to keep Bryson, his loved ones, and the fishing community in my prayers, and I hope we can honor his legacy by making fishermen safer.”

In February, a crab fishing vessel, Ethel May, sank near the entrance of Willapa Bay. Two crewmen were rescued from the wreckage, but fisherman Bryson Fitch was not located. Fitch wasn’t equipped with a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), which is a device that could allow the Coast Guard to locate crew members during rescue efforts.

Currently, the Coast Guard recommends, but does not require, all vessels to provide crew with PLBs.

The Bryson Fitch Fisherman Protection Act would:

  • Create a business tax credit worth 50% of costs incurred for commercial fishing vessels that purchase a PLB for everyone on board.
  • Create a personal tax credit worth 50% of costs incurred for the purchase of PLBs for an individual aboard a fishing vessel that does not have PLBs for every individual on board.

A one-page summary of the bill can be found here.

Bill text can be found here.

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