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Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Angus King (I-Maine) have introduced a bill called the Fishing Industry Credit Enhancement Act that would allow businesses that directly promote commercial fishing to access a federal farm loan program. The proposal specifically targets rural fishing communities, aiming to provide them with specific financial benefits and support.

The Fishing Industry Credit Enhancement Act would allow access to the Farm Credit System (FCS) loans to fishing operations, such as producers of fishing gear or cold storage. In other words, it would expand the proposals to more people in rural fishing communities related to the industry.

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“The Fishing Industry Credit Enhancement Act is a straightforward, common-sense amendment to the Farm Credit Act of 1971 ensuring businesses that support Alaska’s fishing industry – our ranchers of the sea – have the same financing opportunities as businesses supporting our land-based farmers and ranchers,” said Senator Murkowski.

History to understand the details of the proposal

The FCS was established by the U.S. Congress in 1916 to provide farmers with a dependable funding source for credit and financial services. Then, in 1917, the Farm Credit Act expanded the system to include commercial fishermen. Thus, as of last year, the program had provided about $400 billion in loans by persons residing in rural areas of the U.S. Now the intention is to go further and expand the reach to encompass more segments of the fishing industry chain.

“Maine’s fishing industry is more than just the hardworking folks who catch and harvest our delicious seafood, it is also hundreds of small family businesses,” said Senator King. “The Fishing Industry Credit Enhancement Act would allow fishing-support businesses to access loans. These reliable loans are huge economic drivers for rural communities, helping businesses invest in new expansions. I’m proud to join with Senator Murkowski on this commonsense and bipartisan effort.”

Todd Van Hoose, Farm Credit Council President, and CEO, explained that it is a great chance for the sector. He clarified that both parts of the chain ultimately face the same problems and that financing is an important component. “Businesses providing services directly to the commercial fishing operators are also impacted by same the pressures. These fishing-related businesses need access to competitive financing to maintain service to the U.S. fishing industry.”

King Jr Angus. Photo by: U.S. Government.
Lisa Murkowski. Photo by: U.S. Government.
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