Legislature(1993 - 1994)

02/02/1994 08:30 AM FSH

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
  RICHARD B. LAUBER, LOBBYIST, PACIFIC SEAFOOD PROCESSORS                      
  ASSOCIATION, chairman of the North Pacific Fisheries                         
  Management Council (NPFMC), updated the committee on the                     
  January 1994 meeting of the NPFMC, which had comprehensive                   
  rationalization ranging from the status quo to various other                 
  alternatives, including an individual transferrable quota                    
  system.  The NPFMC also considered vessel licensing and some                 
  alternatives for a reward system for clean fisheries.  The                   
  reward system might include giving a person the opportunity                  
  to fish earlier, longer or some other reward for lower waste                 
  of bycatch.                                                                  
                                                                               
  MR. LAUBER stated the NPFMC, while retaining all of its                      
  options to study, directed the staff to place its major                      
  emphasis on vessel licensing.  This places the individual                    
  transferable option on a "slower track" because of staff                     
  constraints, time and available resources.                                   
                                                                               
  MR. LAUBER stated the NPFMC was following the recommendation                 
  of its advisory panel, which voted 17-2 recommending the                     
  NPFMC to follow this action.  It was not an Alaska versus                    
  Washington vote.  There was overwhelming support.  The                       
  advisory panel was concerned about a number of things.  They                 
  felt the Individual Transferable Quota (ITQ) system was                      
  moving much too rapidly, and that it may be put in place                     
  well before they would have the opportunity to assess the                    
  ITQ system for halibut and sablefish adopted by the NPFMC                    
  some time ago and being implemented some time next year.                     
  While the halibut and sablefish fisheries are not mirror                     
  fisheries of the groundfish and crab fisheries, the program                  
  would give some idea of how effectively it is tracked and                    
  enforced.                                                                    
                                                                               
  MR. LAUBER stated that the groundfish and crab ITQ system                    
  will be the most complicated, significant individual quota                   
  system that will be implemented in the world.  It will be                    
  most significant in volumes and value of fish, as well as                    
  numbers of individuals it will affect - processors,                          
  fishermen, processing workers, coastal communities, the                      
  various states involved and the nation.                                      
                                                                               
  MR. LAUBER stated the NPFMC was informed by the National                     
  Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) that the time lines involved                 
  were not realistic and the earliest the groundfish and crab                  
  ITQ system could be enacted would be 1997 or even by the                     
  year 2000.  It was going to be longer than the NPFMC                         
  originally thought and they wanted to move forward with a                    
  vessel licensing system more rapidly.                                        
                                                                               
  MR. LAUBER stated that a vessel licensing system is what is                  
  currently in place in the state of Alaska for salmon                         
  fisheries and some other species.  The individuals are                       
  licensed and a limited number of people are engaged in the                   
  fishery.                                                                     
                                                                               
  MR. LAUBER supports the resolution.  The NPFMC has not voted                 
  down the ITQ system.  It is still on their plate of options.                 
  Votes could be reversed at some future meeting and ITQs                      
  could be placed back on the "fast track" or on a dual track                  
  as proposed by NMFS.                                                         
                                                                               
  MR. LAUBER stated the resolution is important.  The impact                   
  of an ITQ system on Alaska would be significant.                             
                                                                               
  Number 187                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE GAIL PHILLIPS MOVED TO PASS HJR 50 out of                     
  committee with individual recommendations.                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN MOSES hearing no objections so ordered.                             
                                                                               
  ADJOURNMENT                                                                  
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN MOSES informed members there would be no meeting of                 
  the House Special Committee on Fisheries on Friday, February                 
  4.  He adjourned the meeting at 8:50 a.m.                                    

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