A waiver for the Jones Act has cleared hurdle No. 1 and is now being sent to the desk of President Donald Trump for final approval. The waiver, which was approved by the United States House of Representatives on Nov. 27 via voice vote, is known as the Coast Guard Authorization Act. This came just two weeks after changes were made to the bill by the United States Senate when approved in that chamber.
If the bill is signed by President Trump, it would permit the replacement of two fishing boats in the Fishermen’s Finest fleet with America’s Finest. The language of the proposed bill would permit the Coast Guard to conduct a 30-day review to investigate if there were any further violations of the Jones Act. If violations are found, the waiver would be denied.
The issue stems out of Washington state, where a corporation known as Dakota Creek was found to have used too much steel from foreign countries in the manufacturing of vessels. There is a limit placed via the Jones Act on the amount of foreign steel manufacturers can use when building vessels that deliver goods between ports in the United States.
There is another stipulation in the waiver, should it pass. That stipulation is that America’s Finest would be limited in the number of fish it could legally process for a period of six years. A letter from the mayor of Unalaska, Alaska, noted that this stipulation could hurt processing plants in Dutch Harbor, which is the top port in the country. The letter asked that sideboards be added to the Jones Act waiver if it is granted to America’s Finest.