MassDevelopment to Offer $100,000 in Low-Cost Loans to Gloucester Seafood Businesses Affected by Summer Water Crisis

November 4, 2009


Kelsey Abbruzzese, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2086
Kathleen Healy, Office of Rep. Ferrante, 617-722-2080

MassDevelopment, Chairman Peter Koutoujian,Gloucester State Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante (D-Gloucester), and State Senator Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) announced today that the Agency will offer $100,000 in term working capital loans to Gloucester seafood businesses affected by the City’s boil water order over the summer. Loans of up to $25,000 per business will come from the Gloucester Revolving Loan Fund. The Fund generally makes real estate and equipment loans to businesses located in Gloucester, Rockport, Essex, and Manchester-by-the Sea with a particular emphasis on fishing vessels and seafood-related businesses. In this case, funds also can be used for term working capital.

“Gloucester’s seafood industry has a long, storied history in Massachusetts,” said Robert L. Culver, MassDevelopment President and CEO. “With local companies struggling to cover the high costs of trucking in water during the crisis, this financing provides a boost to help them stay afloat.”

Gloucester’s seafood processers struggled with unexpected water costs during the boil order, which lasted nearly three weeks in August and September because of bacteria in the water supply. Companies estimated that they spent thousands of dollars a day hauling in clean outside water.

“This is the first step in providng short term assistance to the business community while we concentrate on the long term solution of repairing and modernizing our infrastructure,” said Ferrante. “I thank Chairman Koutoujian for his leadership on this issue.”

“I want to thank Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante for bringing this issue to my attention. I am thankful for her leadership, as well as that of Senator Bruce Tarr, in aggressively pursuing a resolution to this problem.” said State Representative Peter Koutoujian, House Chairman of the Joint Committee on Financial Services. “The seafood processors are an integral part of the economic engine in Gloucester and their presence is vital to the well-being of the community.”

“Stable and safe supply of water is a critical ingredient to seafood processing” said Senator Tarr. “These loan funds can go a long way toward the strengthening viability of the processing infrastructure that our commercial fisheries depend on. Often these small businesses may have limited or no access to capital funding, and this loan program will respond directly to their needs.”

MassDevelopment’s term working capital loans will be for five years at 4 percent interest for seafood businesses that experienced money loss because of the water crisis. These loans differ from standard working capital loans in that businesses can amortize the loan over a fixed term. 

MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development authority, works with businesses, financial institutions, and local officials to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2008, MassDevelopment financed or managed 265 projects statewide representing an investment of more than $3 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are supporting the creation of 4,001 housing units and more than 10,384 jobs: 5,424 permanent and 4,960 construction-related.