KODIAK — Rep. Alan Austerman on Wednesday co-sponsored a bill that would expand loans for fishermen seeking commercial fishing entry permits.

HB261 would allow fishermen to borrow up to $200,000 from the Commercial Fishing Revolving Loan Fund, which was originally founded to help commercial fishermen make improvements to their boats.

HB261 was originally sponsored by Rep. Bryce Edgmon, D-Dillingham, who said he wanted to “reverse the graying of the fleet” by giving more young fishermen the chance to “pursue ownership-level careers in fisheries.”

According to documents submitted in support of the bill, the average cost of a Kodiak salmon seine fishery entry permit in 2011 was $44,000. For a Chignik salmon seine permit, the average cost was $95,100.

HB261 is now in the House Rules Committee.

Contact the Mirror at editor@kodiakdailymirror.com.

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