Locals affected by Dungeness crab season closures could see some federal financial relief
(Story updated on February 1, 2016 to clarify crab season opened south of Piedras Blancas.)
Central Coast residents affected by the closure of the Dungeness crab season can now report their losses to the federal government.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) is requesting information from those affected by the two-month closure of the Dungeness crab season along the California coast.
If the losses are severe enough, the SBA says it will make low-interest loans available to those affected.
The San Luis Obispo County Office of Emergency Services is working closely with the Administration to collect the information.
Emergency Services Manager Ron Alsop said the loans would not be restricted to the fishing industry.
"It affects even, like, restaurants that lost business because they couldn't get the crab or folks that provide ice or diesel fuel to the fishing fleet and industry. Yes. So, it does extend out to anybody that was potentially affected because of the crab and related closure", he said.
At this time, the SBA is only collecting information from the public and has not yet decided if it should make the loans available.
Alsop said such loans can help businesses recover from disasters.
"We have seen them be effective and, hopefully, if the need is out there we can get some more help for folks on this one related to the crab fishing", he said.
The crab season was reopened south of Piedras Blancas on December, 31 2015 after a two-month closure brought on by high levels of domoic acid found in crabs.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife said warm waters due to El Nino exacerbated a large algal bloom off the California Coast and is responsible the high levels of the deadly acid.