22nd Alaska State Legislature
Information from Senator Ben Stevens



Click image for large 5'' x 7'' picture, 153.5k Session:
State Capitol, Room 119
Juneau, AK 99801-1182
Phone: (907) 465-4993
Fax: (907) 465-3872


Interim:
716 W 4th Avenue, Suite 510
Anchorage, AK 99501-2133
Phone: (907) 269-0200
Fax: (907) 269-0204

Sponsor Statement for CSSB 266
Fishery Enhancement Loans

An act authorizing the commissioner of community and economic development to refinance and extend the term of a fishery enhancement loan.
Released: February 25, 2002
Contact: Senator Ben Stevens at (907) 465-4993

CSSB 266 authorizes the Commissioner of the Department of Community and Economic Development to refinance loans made by the Fisheries Enhancement Revolving Loan Fund. It also gives the Commissioner the ability to extend the term of the loan when justified and also requires the commissioner to submit a report annually to the legislature summarizing the commissioner's decisions during the prior calendar year to approve or deny requests to extend loans.

The construction and operational funding provided by the Fisheries Enhancement Revolving Loan program have helped to create an extremely successful statewide salmon rehabilitation program. The hatchery system was established in 1974 to enhance and stabilize Alaska's Regional salmon stocks. Now, approximately 40% of the entire salmon harvest in Alaska is enhanced fish.

A majority of the loans made under this program carry the maximum allowable interest rate of 9.5%. Alaska Statutes allow for interest rates of 1% over prime, not to exceed 9.5%. New loans, if received today, would be at 6%. Hatcheries would like to take advantage of the lower interests rates to bring down their debt service, just as other business and homeowners are currently doing throughout Alaska and the Nation. Financially sound hatcheries are better able to continue producing salmon for the fishing community, and smaller loan payments make it easier for them to pay back their obligations to the State.

The last Legislative Audit of private nonprofit hatcheries, published in 1997, recommended that the Division of Investments in the Department of Community and Economic Development seek the authority to restructure hatchery loans. This legislation does just that. The Department is sufficiently staffed to accommodate the few applications necessary to refinance these loans. There is no forgiveness of principal or interest allowed under this legislation, and all payments are made directly to the loan fund.

Senate Bill 266 recognizes the public trust nature of these non-profit entities. This legislation protects the State's financial interest by guaranteeing sustained production of salmon for the commercial, sport, and personal use fisheries, and assuring continued payments of outstanding debts to the state.

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Related Links

Fisheries Enhancement Revolving Loan Fund

1997 Audit of Private Non-Profit Hatcheries

Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation

HB 208 : Aquatic Farms for Shellfish

HB 360 : Appropriations: ASMI Generic Salmon Marketing

HB 368 : Fishery Enhancement Loans

HB 390 : ASMI Salmon Marketing

HB 447 : Com Fish & Agriculture Bank Interest Rate

HB 456 : Commerical Fishing Loan Program

HB 468 : Fisheries Business Tax

HB 504 : Minimum Wage for Workers in Fisheries

HB 508 : Dive Fishery Associations/PSP Reports

SB 141 : Aquatic Farms for Shellfish

SB 208 : Farmed Salmon Disclosures

SB 266 : Fishery Enhancement Loans

SB 277 : Definitions of Fisheries Businesses

SB 282 : Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute/Tax

SCR 12 : Petition Feds to Label Farmed Salmon

SCR 28 : Joint Legis Salmon Industry Task Force

SJR 15 : Chilean Farmed Salmon

SJR 29 : Labeling Fish as Wild or Farmed