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House OKs Bill Promoting Alaska-Made Fisheries Products (HB 59)

HB 59 offers 2% interest rate reduction on Commercial Fishing Fund Loans

Wednesday, April 4, 2012, Juneau, Alaska – Alaska Fishermen who apply for new loans under the Commercial Fishing Loan Fund for engine efficiency or product quality upgrades could receive a reduction on their interest rates under a bill passed today by the Alaska House.

House Resources Co-chair Paul Seaton sponsored the bill, House Bill 59, which offers a two percent interest rate reduction to borrowers seeking to make vessel energy efficiency or product quality upgrades if they spend more than 50-percent of the loan on Alaska-made products.

“Offering this ‘carrot’ to borrowers promotes economic development by creating jobs and a greater demand for Alaskan products manufactured in Alaska,” Seaton, R-Homer, said.  “Alaskan companies already produce a pretty amazing range of products, and hopefully we can use this as a bridge to diversify some of our local fishing economies.”

The Fund was created to aid commercial fishermen in securing new equipment, quota shares and to upgrade their vessels.  The department currently allows reductions in interest rates for borrowers who pay on-time, make engine and fuel efficiency upgrades or product quality improvements.

HB 59 now moves to the Alaska Senate for consideration.

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