Maine lobster businesses awarded US$14.9 million in Covid-19 relief loans

FISHING/AQUACULTURE WEEK
Photo: University of Maine

Around US$14.9 million in loans has been awarded to a number of lobster fishing companies in Maine as part of a relief package provided by the US Government through the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Payroll Protection Program (PPP).

A total of 1,358 lobster companies have been declared eligible for the loans, which seek to help address the issue of significant losses that were incurred as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Each eligible recipient under the PPP is slated to receive a forgivable loan of US$150,000 or lower.

The Maine state government said in a recent press release that a loan will be fully forgiven if the funds are used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities (due to likely high subscription, at least 75 per cent of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll).

Loan payments will also be deferred for six months. No collateral or personal guarantees are required, and neither the government nor lenders will charge small businesses any fees.

A number of Maine lobster businesses have welcomed the awarding of loans to help offset any gaps between revenues and costs, especially since the pandemic and the resultant weak export market had caused the wholesale price of lobster in the state to drop by around 40 per cent compared to this same period in 2019.

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