Dungeness disaster declaration drags on at state level, as Feds take cue from Gov Brown and offer low-interest loans...by declaring the Dungeness fishery shutdown a federal disaster.
The state Office of Emergency Services posted the news on Feb. 3, yesterday, that "the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering low-interest federal disaster loans to California small businesses that have suffered financial losses due to the ocean conditions resulting in the delayed Commercial Dungeness Crab Season that was set to open on November 15, 2015, and the November 6 closure of the Commercial Rock Crab Fishery that is normally open year-round." The announcement was made by SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet.
The news comes as Brown has yet to declare the all-but-canceled Dungeness season a disaster, which would free up federal and state cash assistance—not loans—for the affected crabbers. At his request, the Feds went ahead and declared it a disaster in the meanwhile. "By declaring a disaster, Administrator Contreras-Sweet’s action makes low-interest Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) available immediately to help meet financial needs caused by the Commercial Dungeness Crab Season delay and the closure of the Commercial Rock Crab Fishery.
The government agency says it "acted under its own authority to declare a disaster following a request SBA received on January 27, 2016, from Gov. Edmund G. Brown, Jr.’s designated representative, Mark S. Ghilarducci, director of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services." That move came a day after a group of coastal lawmakers wrote to Brown urging that he declare the Dungeness closure a state disaster. Check out the OES posting
, there's lots of great information from the SBA on how and where affected crabbers can apply for the loans.