Aquaculture for all

California Funds Sustainable Fishing

Sustainability Post-harvest Politics +3 more

CALIFORNIA, US - The Californian Fisheries Fund has granted its first ever loans for eco-friendly fishing businesses in California.

The $5 million, first-of-its-kind revolving loan program, will help rebuild California's fishing communities and develop eco-friendly fishing.

"Without the California Fisheries Fund, these fishing businesses probably wouldn't get loans, and without loans, the entire seafood supply chain, starting with the fishermen, can't make the necessary investments to make fishing more sustainable," said Michael DeLapa, manager of the CFF. "We expect these loans to be paid back because we're confident about the growing market for environmentally-friendly fish and the new value created by management innovations.

Demand for seafood is growing as consumers respond to evidence of its health benefits and concern grows for ocean life and habitat and for the people whose livelihoods depend upon the sea. Large retail chains and food service providers are providing sustainable seafood when possible including: Bon Appétit Management Company, Wal-Mart, McDonald's and Darden Restaurants, the parent of Red Lobster, and the Compass Group.

Since much of California's fishing industry has, for decades, been unprofitable or marginally profitable, banks have been mostly unwilling to extend loans to fishermen. The CFF provides needed capital to fishermen and businesses that face additional barriers because the experimental methods they use to catch fish and protect the environment are considered risky by lenders.

"We really appreciate the loan from the California Fisheries Fund, especially in the middle of the current economic realities and credit crunch," said Brett Cunningham, owner of Morro Bay Fish Company, a dockside fish buyer located in Morro Bay, CA.

The CFF will grant Morro Bay Fish Company a $25,000 working capital line of credit, as well as a 5-year, $100,000 loan to remodel its freezer, purchase a delivery truck and build a hoist on the dock. As the primary fish buyer on the dock in Morro Bay, Morro Bay Fish Company will help to deliver and market sustainable fish from local fishermen.

"Our business model depends on maintaining a reliable supply of fresh fish caught in ways that maintain healthy fish populations," said Giovanni Comin, owner of Central Coast Seafood. "Our California Fisheries Fund loan will make it a lot easier to deliver sustainable seafood to markets worldwide."