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Rep. Schrader Announces Significant Reduction in Pacific Coast Groudfish Buyback Loan


For Immediate Release

August 12th, 2020

Contact: Larkin Parker, 202-225-5711

 

Rep. Schrader Announces Significant Reduction in Pacific Coast Groudfish Buyback Loan

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – NOAA Fisheries announced that it has reduced the outstanding principal balance on the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishing Capacity Reduction Buyback Loan by nearly $6 million dollars, an action that Rep. Kurt Schrader has long championed in Congress. This reduction is due to language that Rep. Schrader added to the House Appropriations bill that passed last December. With this loan reduction, the outstanding balance will be reduced to $13.3 million dollars.

It cannot be overstated what an important step this is to reducing the incredible debt burden on our Oregon fisheries,” said Rep. Schrader. “For years, I have been working in Congress to address this issue and get some relief for our hardworking trawl fishermen. Funds that would have otherwise left the state will now remain in fishing communities at a time when they need them the most. I will continue to work tirelessly to pursue other ways to reduce the rest of this debt burden for my constituents on the coast.”

The West Coast Groundfish fishery is a monumental story of success in sustainability and conservation,” said Yelena Nowak of the Oregon Trawl Commission. “The Buyback Relief will help our trawl fishermen to weather the storm while they continue working towards making this bountiful American fishery an economically viable opportunity for generations to come.”

“This multi-million-dollar burden has been on the backs of hard-working Oregon trawl fishermen since inception of the Buyback loan,” said Heather Mann of the Midwater Trawlers Cooperative. “The West Coast trawl industry is forever grateful to Congressman Schrader and his staff for working tirelessly for years to remedy this wrong. This current action results in an overall savings of more than $11 million dollars for fishing businesses. That money will now stay in fishing communities and support jobs, maintain infrastructure and assist with product and gear development. This remedy is literally one of the most important and meaningful actions Congress has taken that provides positive benefits to the trawl industry.”

In 2013, Rep. Schrader cosponsored the REFI Pacific Act which would refinance the loan at a lower rate and was signed in to law in 2014. In 2018 he led a letter to Commerce, Justice, Science appropriators asking that they acknowledge the accrued interest due to NMFS’ delay and implement the REFI Pacific Act. In 2019, Rep. Schrader again led a letter to the same appropriators asking that they include this language and acknowledge the burden on the fleet. In December of 2019, Rep. Schrader finally got the language for this payment into the December appropriations package. This summer, he has continued to lead House efforts to lower the interest rate on this and other Buyback loans in the next COVID relief package.

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