HB 56 Increases the Amount Alaskans Can Borrow to Support Commercial Fishing Businesses

Juneau – Wednesday, the Alaska Legislature passed a bill sponsored by Representative Dan Ortiz (I-Ketchikan) that will help Alaskans involved in the states vital commercial fishing industry. House Bill 56 passed the Alaska State Senate Wednesday after passing the Alaska House of Representatives last year.

“Commercial fishing is hard-work and creating a successful commercial fishing business is not an easy task. The State of Alaska 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,” said Rep. Ortiz. “House Bill 56 makes appropriate modifications to the state loan fund used by commercial fishermen to account for dramatic changes in the value of fishing permits and the cost of vessels and equipment. The price to enter many fisheries has gone up, but until today the amount that Alaskans can borrow to buy one of those permits has not gone up. This bill makes that change, and I want to thank my colleagues in the House and Senate for their support.”

HB 56 keeps in place the $400,000 cap on the amount that can be borrowed through the Alaska Commercial Fishing Loan Fund. Currently, loans to purchase entry permits are capped at $300,000, but HB 56 increases that cap to $400,000. The bill also adjusts the cap for those wishing to buy Individual Fishing Quotas (IFQs) and to upgrade tender vessels and gear at $400,000, which is up from the current $300,000 cap.

House Bill 56, which was carried on the Senate floor by Sen. Gary Stevens (R-Kodiak), passed the Alaska State Senate Wednesday by a vote of 17-1. The bill passed the Alaska House of Representatives last year by a vote of 38-0. HB 56 will now be sent to Alaska Governor Bill Walker for his signature.

For more information, please contact Liz Harpold in Rep. Ortiz’s office at (907) 465-3824.