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

Anchorage – Today, Alaska Governor Bill Walker signed legislation into law to help Alaskans improve their commercial fishing businesses. House Bill 56, sponsored by Representative Dan Ortiz (I-Ketchikan), updates the state loan fund to account for increasing costs for permits, vessels, and equipment.

“Too many Alaskans are priced out of the commercial fishing industry because they can’t afford a permit, quota, or gear. We addressed that problem in this bill by updating the state loan fund to account for the increased costs. By clearing away bureaucratic and economic hurdles, this bill moves us one step closer towards the goal of helping Alaskans reap the benefits of our sustainable commercial fisheries,” said Rep. Ortiz. “House Bill 56 nearly didn’t pass because of all the other work that needed to get done in the Alaska Legislature. However, thanks go to Senator Gary Stevens, who has always been a champion for commercial fishermen, for stepping forward and guiding this simple yet vital bill across the finish line.”

Currently, there is a $400,000 cap on the amount that can be borrowed through the Alaska Commercial Fishing Loan Fund. Loans to purchase limited entry permits, individual fishing quotas (IFQs), and gear were capped at $300,000, but HB 76 increases those caps to $400,000.

Last year, House Bill 56 passed the Alaska House of Representatives by the unanimous vote of 38-0. The Alaska State Senate passed the bill in May by a vote of 17-1. Alaska Governor Bill Walker signed the bill into law today during a ceremony at the Fisherman’s Hall in Kodiak. 

For more information, please contact Liz Harpold in Rep. Ortiz’s office at (907) 247-4672.