Commercial fisheries lending limit up

Loan caps from the Alaska Commercial Fishing Loan Fund now stands at $400,000 for those wanting to borrow for the purchase of entry permits, thanks to passage of House Bill 56.

HB 56 keeps in place the $400,000 cap on funds that can be borrowed through the Alaska Commercial Fishing Loan Fund. Loans for purchase of entry permits are currently capped at $300,000, but the bill boosts that cap to $400,000. The measure also adjusts the cap for loans for individual fishing quotas and to upgrade tender vessels and gear at $400,000, up from $300,000.

That bill, sponsored by Rep. Dan Ortiz, I-Ketchikan, was carried on the Senate floor by Sen. Gary Stephens, R-Kodiak, and passed by a vote of 17-1, then went to Gov. Bill Walker for his signature.

The state plays a key role in helping many commercial fishing businesses get the capital they need to start or expand because all too often the risky nature of the industry makes it difficult to get private loans, Ortiz said. While the price to enter many fisheries has gone up, until now the amount that Alaskans could borrow to buy one of those permits had not, he said.