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Alaska crabbers left out of new build optimism

November 17, 2017

By Jason Smith | Undercurrent News
Curtis 'Arne' Arnesen - Commercial Banking Team Leader
Curtis 'Arne' Arnesen - Commercial Banking Team Leader

Recent fishing seasons — across most West Coast US species — have left a lot of vessel owners with the two key conditions needed to invest in new builds, Curtis Arnesen of Washington State's Peoples Bank told Undercurrent News.

The conditions that typically spur new builds, the banker said, are fishermen having money in their pockets or optimism that they will soon make money in the fishery. Those conditions don't hold true for Alaska crabbers at the moment, he said.

People’s, a Bellingham, Washington, community bank that lends heavily to US West Coast fishers across most major species, is seeing broader interest in new build financing in 2017 compared to the two prior years. However, that doesn’t extend to the individual fishing quota crab participants in Alaska fisheries, Arnesen said, largely because of concern of declining total allowable catch levels.

“We get guys who come to talk about building federal crab vessels once in a while — although not right now because that’s a fishery they’re a little nervous about,” the banker said. Read more...