Legislature(1993 - 1994)

05/08/1994 01:10 PM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
  SB 316    An Act relating to commercial fishing penalties.                   
            HCS  CS SB 316 (FIN) was reported out of Committee                 
            with "no recommendations" and with fiscal notes by                 
            the  Alaska Court  System, the  Department of  Law                 
            dated 3/03/94 and the Department of Public  Safety                 
            dated 3/16/94,  and with a House  Judiciary Letter                 
            of Intent.                                                         
  SENATE BILL 316                                                              
       "An Act relating to commercial fishing penalties."                      
  ASSOCIATION, INC.(BBDA), JUNEAU, briefed the Committee  that                 
  BBDA's top priority is  to seek a solution to  the situation                 
  existing at the North Egegik line.                                           
  He added that the  record of the Alaska Board  of Fisheries,                 
  twice has shown that within the  last seven years there have                 
  been proposals submitted which could have reduced violations                 
  at the existing boundary.  Such proposals will be before the                 
  Board  at   their  next  meeting   for  reconsideration   of                 
  regulations in the Bristol Bay area.                                         
  Mr. Paddock stated  that BBDA does  not support the  current                 
  proposal for the following reasons:                                          
       1.   The penalties are proposed as a remedy to a unique                 
            and  unusual  situation,  yet  they  would  affect                 
            fishermen statewide;                                               
       2.   The proposed penalties  will not remedy the  cause                 
            of  the  problem, which  may  be described  as the                 
            regulatory  confining   of  a   great  number   of                 
            fishermen into  an extremely  limited space,  into                 
            which  large  numbers  of  valuable  fish  migrate                 
            rapidly, especially at certain stages of the tide;                 
       3.   The line in question is not visible but is defined                 
            by the  use of  Loran C.   Loran C is  admitted by                 
            all, including the Department of Public Safety, to                 
            have a  variation of  at least plus  or minus  100                 
            feet  or more in either  direction.  Thus there is                 
            an invisible electronic line with a built-in error                 
            of at least 200 feet.  In the competitive world of                 
            salmon  fishing  today,   the  fact  creates   the                 
            existing situation.  More stringent penalties will                 
            do little to correct this.                                         
       4.   DDBA believes that the problem  has now achieved a                 
            profile  which   is  bringing  attention   to  the                 
            legislation.     He  asked  for   more  meaningful                 
            consideration  from  the Board  of  Fisheries, the                 
            Department of Fish and Game  and the Department of                 
            Public Safety; and                                                 
       5.   DDBA submits  that no other industry of comparable                 
            value and importance to the State would be subject                 
            to  a proposal  of  similar  impact without  being                 
            provided   a   better   opportunity  for   process                 
  Representative Grussendorf pointed out that the  regulations                 
  would negatively impact  other small fisheries which  do not                 
  generate as much value as those in Bristol Bay.                              
  PROTECTION, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY, emphasized that the                 
  problem is with the  greed of the fishermen.   They push the                 
  line hard to  make the  most money.   The legislation  would                 
  provide the Department a tool to provide a larger deterrent.                 
  Representative Navarre provided the Committee with a copy of                 
  AS  16.05.722  which  clarifies   the  strict  liability  of                 
  commercial fishing penalties.  [Copy on file].  He suggested                 
  changing the burden  of proof which  would make the  penalty                 
  more  stringent.   He added  that the  legislation will  not                 
  impact the Bristol Bay area as intended,  but instead impact                 
  the low value fishery areas.                                                 
  Col. Valentine commented  that the Department does  not want                 
  to be in the position to be  the judge, jury and enforcement                 
  officer.  Representative  Navarre felt that DPS  should have                 
  the  authority to provide all those services.  He understood                 
  that seizure of  a vessel  is allowable by  current law  and                 
  should be implemented  more often creating a  deterrent that                 
  would keep fishermen "towing the lawful line".  The monetary                 
  fine does not  prohibit the fisherman  from moving over  the                 
  line and catching the greater yield of fish.                                 
  Representative Hanley MOVED  to report HCS  CS SB 316  (JUD)                 
  out   of   Committee   with    individual   recommendations.                 
  Representative   Navarre   OBJECTED   asking   for   further                 
  discussion of the  Senate Resource version of the bill which                 
  would change  the burden  to provide  "clear and  convincing                 
  A roll call vote was taken on the MOTION.                                    
       IN FAVOR:      Therriault,  Hanley,  Hoffman,   Martin,                 
                      Parnell, Larson.                                         
       OPPOSED:       Grussendorf, Navarre.                                    
  Representatives Brown,  Foster and MacLean  were not present                 
  for the vote.                                                                
  The MOTION PASSED (6-2).                                                     
  Representative  Navarre  recommended  adding  an  additional                 
  fiscal   note  to   allocate   money   to  adequately   fund                 
  enforcement.  Representative Parnell advised that additional                 
  funds were added last year for fish  and wildlife protection                 
  with no additional work load.                                                
  There being NO  OBJECTIONS to the  Letter of Intent, it  was                 
  Representative Hanley MOVED to adopt the accompanying fiscal                 
  notes.  There being NO OBJECTIONS, it was so ordered.                        
  HCS CS SB 316 (JUD) was  reported out of Committee with  "no                 
  recommendations" and with a House Judiciary Letter of Intent                 
  and  with  fiscal  notes by  the  Alaska  Court  System, the                 
  Department of Law dated 3/03/94 and the Department of Public                 
  Safety dated 3/16/94.                                                        

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