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Small businesses affected by Alaska crab crash may be eligible for low-interest federal loans

Maggie Nelson
Small businesses that were impacted by the crab crashes between Oct. of 2022 and May of this year are eligible to apply.

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering special disaster loans to some businesses impacted by the recent red king crab and snow crab closures.

The federal agency announced last month that certain entities, like small agricultural coops or aquaculture businesses, as well as most private nonprofit organizations are eligible for low-interest loans of up to $2 million. Interest rates range from below 2% to about 3%, depending on the type of organization.

The SBA declared a disaster following a relief request from Gov. Mike Dunleavy for the crab fisheries closures in the Bering Sea and Bristol Bay. Along with U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola, Dunleavy requested a total of nearly $290 million from the federal government last year — the estimated total exvessel loss for both fisheries since 2021. It generally takes years for that kind of money to reach the hands of fishermen and others affected by similar disasters.

“We’re committed to providing federal disaster loans swiftly and efficiently, with a customer-centric approach to help businesses and communities recover and rebuild,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman.

Small businesses that were impacted by the crab crashes between Oct. of 2022 and May of this year are eligible to apply. Eligibility is based on the financial impact of the disaster, as opposed to actual property damage.

The loans can be used to cover debts, payroll and other bills that couldn’t be paid because of the recent crashes. The deadline to apply is Nov. 9.

Business owners and nonprofit organizers interested in applying can do so online. The Alaska Small Business Development Center is also offering help with applications. Email for more information.

Hailing from Southwest Washington, Maggie moved to Unalaska in 2019. She's dabbled in independent print journalism in Oregon and completed her Master of Arts in English Studies at Western Washington University — where she also taught Rhetoric and Composition courses.
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