Legislature(1995 - 1996)

03/06/1996 05:10 PM FSH

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
 HB 390 - KING SALMON TAGS & STAMPS/GUIDE FOR ALIEN                          
                                                                               
 Number 0962                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN introduced HB 390, noting it was a bill                    
 sponsored by Representative Elton that had been heard once and had            
 gone to subcommittee.  He asked subcommittee chairman                         
 Representative Davis for a report.                                            
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS indicated there had been a meeting that                  
 morning addressing the key items in the legislation.  He referred             
 to page 2, lines 27-31, and said, "We eliminated subparagraph (e).            
 If they pay for a tag, we just took away the refund.  They pay for            
 it in hopes of catching one.  If they don't catch one, we make                
 money."  He explained that the discussion had been that it was done           
 that way in other venues.  Representative Ogan noted that the                 
 subcommittee meeting had included Representatives Ogan and Elton.             
                                                                               
 Number 1068                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN suggested that each of the four recommendations            
 could be treated as an amendment on its own.  He said, "If there's            
 no objection, I'll entertain that as Amendment Number 1 for sake of           
 discussion."                                                                  
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said, "In part of the discussion that we had,             
 it was felt that many guides or lodges would probably be vendors.             
 And if someone, for example, was fishing at a fishing lodge, he               
 might pick up one or two tags and by golly, if fishing was hot and            
 they thought their chance of getting a third one was pretty good,             
 then they'd lay out the money for the third one.  But again, with             
 big game hunting tags, you pay your tags and if you get the animal,           
 you fill your tag, and if you don't, you don't get a refund."                 
                                                                               
 Number 1144                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked if there was any further discussion on the           
 amendment; he then asked if there was opposition to it.  Hearing              
 none, he noted that Amendment Number 1 was approved.                          
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS referred to the second amendment, regarding              
 page 5, line 29, relating to the nonresident anadromous king salmon           
 tag, and said, "Subparagraph (A) is there's no charge for the first           
 tag.  As you recollect, there was considerable discussion relating            
 to the charges last meeting.  And line 29 in this amendment is                
 changed to $50 dollars - from $100 to $50.  And in discussion                 
 overall with the fees, that is the only change that is ...                    
 recommended."                                                                 
                                                                               
 Number 1193                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN said, "I'll accept that as Amendment Number 2,             
 unless there's any objection."                                                
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN indicated there had been discussion of maybe              
 increasing, after two fish, the fees for the third and subsequent             
 fish.  "But I think that it was the consensus of the committee that           
 possibly it would be getting too expensive," he said.  "The general           
 conclusion was $50 for the second one."                                       
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN said, "If I understand you correctly, then, that           
 second tag becomes $50 instead of a $100.  And if they do want a              
 third one, they'll pay $200 more, the way you've done this."                  
                                                                               
 Number 1241                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS replied, "I think some of the most meaningful            
 discussion there was that if someone in Southeast landed in Juneau            
 and was on a tour of Southeast and some areas, and they were in               
 Juneau and they caught a king salmon, and then they went up to                
 Haines or Skagway and there was opportunity to go fishing up there,           
 that $100 would probably be a little steep and would probably                 
 eliminate a lot of visitors from fishing the second one.  But we              
 didn't want to maybe restrict the opportunity of some guides and              
 lodges ... from that second opportunity.  So we thought that $50              
 was still within the means of most people but $100 was a little               
 strong, and yet we didn't want to be too free with our king salmon            
 and have no charge on that.  I think, additionally, that there's              
 probably room for some additional discussions; I'm sure additional            
 testimony will address this area of the legislation."                         
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked if there was further discussion or any               
 objection to Amendment Number 2.  Hearing none, he noted that                 
 Amendment Number 2 had passed.                                                
                                                                               
 Number 1329                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS indicated the next area of discussion was on             
 page 9, line 31, continuing on to page 10.  He said, "It deletes              
 the `or'; it ends the sentence after 08.54 - it ends that sentence            
 there with a period.  So it adds a period there and it deletes a              
 semicolon and the word `or' and then eliminates subparagraph (3).             
 So ... what this was doing was requiring that nonresident aliens --           
 it's mandating that they use a guide.  And again, the discussion              
 centered around how it's done in other venues in statute.  We                 
 didn't want to complicate things by having things differently in              
 fisheries, as related to hunting."                                            
                                                                               
 Number 1391                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN said, "I'm going to accept both items 3 and 4 of           
 your recommendations as Amendment Number 3, placing the period on             
 line 31 and eliminating the words `colon, or', and deleting, on               
 page 10, lines 1 through 4."                                                  
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS said, "That's correct."                                  
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked if there was any objection to that as an             
 amendment.  He then asked if there was discussion.                            
                                                                               
 Number 1408                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN noted the amendment singled out nonresident               
 aliens.  He pointed out that, for example, with hunting guides,               
 nonresident aliens were not singled out, but rather, all                      
 nonresidents.  He expressed that people not living in this country            
 should not be discriminated against.  "It should be people that               
 don't live in this state," he said, adding he thought that might be           
 an issue for a separate bill.                                                 
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked if there was further discussion on                   
 Amendment Number 3 or any objection to it.  Hearing none, he noted            
 that Amendment Number 3 was adopted.                                          
                                                                               
 Number 1490                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS indicated that had been the extent of what the           
 subcommittee had felt it could address.                                       
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN recalled that the subcommittee had discussed              
 that the commission may adopt regulations on page 2, lines 19                 
 through 26.                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS agreed that was correct and thanked                      
 Representative Ogan for pointing that out.  He said, "What that               
 relates to, I think, is page 3, line 3, would add a new section to            
 indicate that the commissioner would have authority to draft                  
 regulations relating to this section.  And that ... dealt with the            
 discussion we had over if you catch a king and apply a tag ... how            
 do you show that the tag is valid and after the fish is butchered,            
 how do you prove that that's your fish and that's your tag.  So, we           
 couldn't come up with anything concrete ... even relating to                  
 hunting regulation, as to how that would fit.  So we pawned it off            
 on the commissioner, through regulations, to come up with how to              
 deal with that."                                                              
                                                                               
 Number 1595                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked if that was an amendment the subcommittee            
 wished to make by adding wording on page 3.                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS replied, "I believe so, with concurrence of              
 the rest of the subcommittee; I think that was a consensus."  He              
 said, "(f) would become (e) and then we would have a new (f)                  
 stating - I didn't have it written out here - the commissioner                
 shall adopt regulations -- shall draft regulations relating to this           
 section."                                                                     
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON noted that part of the deleted language was,             
 "the department may charge a fee set by regulation."  He suggested            
 that instead of saying "the commissioner", they may want to say               
 "the department".                                                             
                                                                               
 Number 1673                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN suggested, "the department shall determine by             
 regulation what relevant information is requested."                           
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS noted that there was standard language in                
 almost all statutes.                                                          
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked if the bill had another committee of                 
 referral.                                                                     
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON indicated it would go to the House Resources             
 Committee and the House Finance Committee.                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN suggested "maybe a letter of intent or something           
 written up by the subcommittee here and passed along with the bill,           
 and having the next committee make that change.  As long as we                
 don't have it in writing, it's kind of difficult to do it here.               
 So, I would suggest that we just make it part of the record here              
 that we will forward to the next committee of referral this                   
 amendment suggestion."                                                        
                                                                               
 Number 1736                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON said, "We can get in touch with the                      
 department.  They may have the appropriate language elsewhere."  He           
 pointed out there had been a good memo distributed to the members             
 of the subcommittee by Representative Gary Davis that should become           
 part of the packet if and when the bill left the current committee.           
 "I think it's a good statement of intent," he said.  "And so, I               
 would move that the memo dated March6, 1996, from Representative              
 Gary Davis to the members of the subcommittee, become part of the             
 record."                                                                      
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN noted there had been a motion and asked if there           
 was an objection.  There being no objection, the memo from                    
 Representative Gary Davis, dated March6, 1996, became part of the             
 record.                                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 1782                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON reiterated, for the benefit of testifiers, the           
 changes made by the subcommittee.  "The first change takes away the           
 ability to be reimbursed for tags that are purchased but not used.            
 The second change sets the tag fee for the second tag at $50                  
 instead of $100.  And then the third change ... deletes the                   
 requirement that nonresident aliens must be accompanied by a                  
 registered guide in the state of Alaska."                                     
                                                                               
 Number 1830                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN asked about moving a conceptual amendment that            
 the commissioner may adopt regulations.                                       
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN replied that he thought it was already put as              
 part of the record just by the discussion and by sending a letter             
 of intent along to the next committee.                                        
                                                                               
 Number 1939                                                                   
                                                                               
 SPENCER DE VITO testified via teleconference from Kenai that he was           
 known as the very first fishing guide on the Kenai River, although            
 he had been retired since 1980.  He thought HB 390 was headed                 
 "somewhat in the right direction."  He expressed that the needs of            
 residents must be met as a priority, saying, "HB 390 offers not               
 only the best game in town but the only game in town."  Because of            
 large numbers of nonresident and alien fishermen on the Kenai                 
 River, "something must be done," he said, "even though it's a                 
 little late."  He said, "HB 390 appears to be the very first                  
 serious bit of legislation coming from Juneau that might set a                
 precedent, especially for the troubled Kenai River and Cook Inlet.            
 It's a fishery where nonresidents take thousands of pounds of king            
 salmon out of the state annually."   He expressed a regret about              
 the need the cut back on the king salmon fishery.                             
                                                                               
 Number 2051                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. DE VITO said the time was long overdue to regulate king salmon            
 as a trophy fish.  "One thing is for certain," he said.  "Resident            
 Alaskans have to fight hard for every bit of space and every fish             
 these days.  By promoting the king as a trophy fish and curtailing            
 nonresidents, no matter where they come from, from engaging in                
 sport fishing for king salmon with such gluttonous intensity, our             
 state would place more value on our fish and assure more security             
 and longevity for the guiding industry.  I support HB 390 until               
 someone comes up with something better.  It needs some work but               
 you're on the right track."                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 2200                                                                   
                                                                               
 GARY HULL testified via teleconference from Kenai that he was a               
 guide, saying, "I can't support this bill as it is right now.  We             
 need something like this but I think there's some real problems               
 with it."  His suggested, "change the limit for nonresidents but              
 don't get into their pockets.  These people spend a lot of money as           
 it is.  Instead of five fish a year, let them only have three."  He           
 thought the complementary license that the Governor could give away           
 should be stricken from the bill.  "I don't think the people who              
 would receive these licenses deserve them; they can afford to buy             
 them.  And I know he's not going to give any to a poor boy that               
 couldn't afford to buy them that's been dreaming all his life to              
 come up here and hunt or fish."  As for nonresident aliens, he                
 said, "I do believe that nonresident aliens should have to have a             
 guide."  He recalled experiences with foreign fishermen who were              
 "gluttonous with the fish," rude and hard to fish with on the bank.           
 He suggested guides could aid them and help them understand the               
 laws.  He concluded, "If you can work this bill over a little bit,            
 I could probably support it.  But the way it is, right now, I                 
 can't."                                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 2362                                                                   
                                                                               
 VERN NOWELL testified via teleconference from Kenai, saying he had            
 been an Alaska resident since 1959.  He believed that personal use            
 for Alaska residents should be the number one priority.  "I do                
 believe it's time to put the king salmon in a trophy category," he            
 said.  He thought the bill was a good step in the right direction.            
 "The first tag should come with the license," he said.  "The second           
 tag should be a minimum of $50 or $75 and then go to the $200 fee,            
 and so forth.  There should be a maximum amount of kings that can             
 be taken.  Just because you can afford to keep buying tags at a               
 higher price, I do not believe you should be able to do that."  He            
 suggested, for example, for a person fishing on the Kenai River and           
 also in Southeast Alaska, maybe a total of four kings.                        
                                                                               
 Number 2463                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. NOWELL said he did not go along with the handling of the money            
 taken in by each tag [part of testimony cut off -- end of tape].              
                                                                               
 TAPE 96-11, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 0001                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. NOWELL talked about enforcement, saying in years of fishing, he           
 had never had his bag limit checked.  He believed more protection             
 was needed in high-volume areas.  "There are hundreds more fish               
 being taken out than the state is aware of," he said.  "And the               
 protection end of this bill is going to have to really come into              
 play."  He concluded, "If you could work something in for                     
 protection with these fees, I could go along with 390.  But we                
 definitely have to do something."                                             
                                                                               
 Number 0844                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN commented that unfortunately, funds could not             
 be dedicated to anything except the fish and game fund.  As he                
 recalled, the only way the commissioner could use that fund was if            
 there was proof of a serious threat to the resource.  "I'd like               
 nothing better than to get more protection," he added.  "It's going           
 to have to be done through appropriation in the ... legislative               
 process.  We can't dedicate this money to protection.  It's                   
 unconstitutional."                                                            
                                                                               
 Number 0147                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. NOWELL replied, "Whatever means you do [it], you're going to              
 have to put some money toward protection."  He   said he had                  
 personally witnessed people catching fish to send to Europe to sell           
 for $75 per pound.  He referred to nonresidents coming up with a              
 motor home and sitting by the Kenai River, fishing and canning all            
 summer long and then selling it or bartering it.  "That's going to            
 have to stop," he said.  "I think there should be a seasonal limit            
 put on kings for nonresidents, a seasonal limit on reds and silvers           
 for nonresidents."                                                            
                                                                               
 Number 0218                                                                   
                                                                               
 MARVIN WALTER testified that he was a charter boat operator in the            
 Juneau area.  He thought HB 390 was based on opinion, not fact.  He           
 was concerned that charter boat clients might not want to fish in             
 Juneau because of the cost of the trophy fish.  He discussed catch            
 rates, saying in May his 13 clients caught 7 fish, for a 53 percent           
 catch rate.  In June, 76 clients caught 24 kings, for a 31 percent            
 rate.  In July, 102 clients caught 24 kings, for a 23 percent rate.           
 In August, 123 clients caught 15 kings, for a 12 percent rate.  For           
 the summer, for king salmon, he had a total of 70 kings for 314               
 clients, for a catch rate of 22 percent.  Even though the rate of             
 success was higher on his charter boat than for the ADF&G weekly              
 reports, Mr. Walter considered the success rate low.  He questioned           
 whether commercial interests were being voiced under HB 390 at the            
 expense of charter operators.  He wondered if the king salmon were            
 a trophy fish, why it was being sold commercially.  He noted that             
 ADF&G had classified the 50-pound king a trophy fish in Southeast             
 Alaska, a size that neither Mr. Walter nor any of his clients had             
 ever caught.                                                                  
                                                                               
 Number 0570                                                                   
                                                                               
 MIKE BETHERS, Juneau Charter Boat Association, indicated his                  
 testimony represented the views of 20-25 active operators in the              
 Juneau area.  He read the following:                                          
                                                                               
 "First of all, the ADF&G currently has a box full of tools to                 
 manage the recreational king salmon fishery in Southeast.  The                
 Board in 1992 directed the Department of Fish and Game to manage              
 the recreational king fishery so as to allow for uninterrupted                
 fishing throughout the season and to minimize the regulatory                  
 restrictions on unguided anglers.  At the same time, the fishery              
 management options to obtain these goals were provided, and they're           
 currently written in the Southeast/Yakutat Chinook Salmon                     
 Management Plan.  HB 390 would dramatically increase the costs of             
 king salmon fishing for visiting nonresident friends and relatives,           
 some of which make annual visits.  We feel a good portion of these            
 anglers would likely return to Alaska, at least to fish for king              
 salmon.                                                                       
                                                                               
 "HB 390 would have a very detrimental impact on our sport fishing             
 guiding, charter boat and lodging industry, and all associated                
 travel services.  King salmon are available in British Columbia,              
 Washington, Oregon, California and the Great Lakes System.  If this           
 legislation and its price structure were passed, we feel that a               
 great portion of nonresident anglers would pass right on by Alaska            
 and fish in other places where kings are more available at a lesser           
 cost.                                                                         
                                                                               
 "The `one free king salmon with a stamp' provision may satisfy some           
 short-stay visitors.  However, we feel that most cruise ship                  
 anglers catching a king on their first stop in Alaska would not               
 likely fish again in another community.  In this regard, this                 
 legislation would have a detrimental impact on even half- and                 
 whole-day trips in every community in Southeast Alaska.  Keep in              
 mind that in Juneau, the average charter boat trip leaving the dock           
 generates from $10 to $30 in local sales tax.  Given the                      
 approximately 40 boats we have here, that figures out to better               
 than $100,000 a year that our little, puny charter boat fleet                 
 generates for our local sales tax.  Also, the sport fishing in                
 Juneau generates tens of millions of dollars to the local economy,            
 over a $100 million to the Southeastern economy and hundreds of               
 millions to the state of Alaskan economy.                                     
                                                                               
 "In all likelihood, we feel that the effect of this legislation if            
 passed would be a reallocation of catch rather than any savings in            
 catch.  In most instances, the king salmon not caught by a                    
 nonresident sport angler would likely be taken by some sort of                
 commercial gear and sold for 60 cents to $2 or $3 a pound.  Given             
 that the average king salmon caught by a nonresident sport angler             
 already generates well over $1,000 to our local and state economy,            
 it would make really the best sense to get as many kings as                   
 possible caught by nonresident anglers.                                       
                                                                               
 "In regard to the allocation issue, the sport allocation of king              
 salmon has not been taken since it was established in 1992, even              
 though the sport allocation is less than 20 percent of the total              
 Southeast allocation and there have, in fact, been increases in the           
 number of charter boats and nonresident anglers.                              
                                                                               
 "There may in fact be a reduced allocation of king salmon to                  
 Southeast this season.  However, we don't feel this is                        
 justification to put a permanent law on the books which would                 
 forever restrict harvest by a segment of our sport fishery.  This             
 year, the Board of Fisheries has already indicated they will take             
 necessary action, if required, should Southeastern allocations turn           
 out to be unmanageable.                                                       
                                                                               
 "In conclusion, we request you to take no action on HB 390 for the            
 above reasons.  Once again, we do appreciate your interest in king            
 salmon; however, suggest that efforts be directed toward achieving            
 an adequate allocation to Southeast Alaska, rather than reducing              
 public access to a public resource and crippling an industry that             
 adds hundreds of millions of dollars annually to our local and                
 state economy.  Further, we would request the legislature to leave            
 fisheries issues to the Board of Fisheries."                                  
                                                                               
 Number 0844                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN asked Mr. Bethers how many of his clients had             
 caught more than one king salmon.                                             
                                                                               
 MR. BETHERS responded, "We target kings sometimes.  Most often, we            
 target what's most available.  And last year, when we had cohos               
 available, we targeted them.  On the few trips that we targeted               
 kings, we generally caught kings."  The previous year, his first              
 season, he had 48 paying days.  On three of those days, they had              
 "limited" on two or three people on king salmon.  Additionally,               
 they had released legal-size king salmon on those days.                       
 "Chartering this last summer, I'd estimate I killed under 30                  
 kings," he concluded.                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 0906                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON clarified that any fish not taken by the                 
 charter fleet would not be reallocated to the commercial fleet.               
 "The Board of Fisheries does set the allocation for the sport                 
 fleet," he said.  "Part of that allocation is caught by                       
 nonresidents, part of it is caught by residents.  So anything not             
 caught by nonresidents would be reallocated only toward resident              
 sport fishermen and not toward the commercial fleet."                         
                                                                               
 Number 0957                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. BETHERS responded that the king salmon stocks seemed to be                
 fully utilized.  In the last few years, the commercial fishery had            
 been allocated over 80 percent of the king salmon.  Given the                 
 efficiency of the gear and the number of hooks in the water, he               
 thought fish not taken by a recreational angler would probably                
 "swim a couple of hundred yards the other way and run into a troll            
 hook or a gillnet."                                                           
                                                                               
 Number 1016                                                                   
                                                                               
 MIKE DOBSON, Nine Lives Charters, testified that Alaska spends                
 millions of dollars on tourist recruitment every year.  "This bill            
 will negate much of this goal," he said.  "This bill will actually            
 promote Canadian king fishing.  We already are more expensive than            
 Canada; this will make it far more expensive than Canada."  He                
 thought the king salmon were not trophies.  In twenty years of                
 fishing in the Juneau area, he had never caught one in excess of              
 fifty pounds, he said.  He noted that a brown bear, which was a               
 trophy, cost $585 for tags and license.  He felt a 20-30-pound king           
 salmon was hardly a trophy of such proportions.  He suggested that            
 king salmon fishermen were already paying an estimated $1 million             
 to $1.2 million in tags, with half going to the creel study census            
 and half going to king salmon enhancement.  Mr. Dobson said there             
 had not been an overharvest in that branch of the fishing industry            
 to date.                                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 1157                                                                   
                                                                               
 MIKE MILLAR, Salmon Guaranteed Charters, read some excerpts from a            
 letter he said he had sent to Representative Elton a few months               
 ago.  He had chartered for nine years.  He countered the idea of              
 king salmon being unique and in short supply by saying they were              
 available from California to Alaska, as well as in the Great Lakes.           
 He suggested king salmon were currently "feeling the impacts of               
 poor ocean survival due to el nino, hydroelectric dams and                    
 federally sanctioned gillnets."  He pointed out that until last               
 year, British Columbia took, by their estimate, 100,000 sport-                
 caught kings annually, with a limit of four per day, which were not           
 counted against their quota allocated by the North Pacific Salmon             
 Treaty.  On the other hand, Alaska had for several years                      
 voluntarily counted its sport-caught kings against its treaty                 
 allocation.                                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 1240                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. MILLAR said, "My customers for the most part are middle-income            
 America and, as such, are on a budget.  I grant you that there are            
 some high-rollers who can afford HB 390, but they really are the              
 exception."  He cited a study commissioned by ADF&G in the mid-               
 1980s, which found a sport-caught king salmon was worth $923 to the           
 economy of Southeast Alaska.  "Sport fishermen have the least                 
 impact on the resource of all the user groups and spend the most              
 money per fish in pursuit of their sport," he said.  "HB 390 will             
 not only hurt the sport fishing but every business that relies on             
 the tourist dollar."  As an alternative to HB 390, he suggested               
 establishing freezer limits for sport fish, not only for king                 
 salmon.  He further suggested bringing pressure on ADF&G to invoke            
 area management for king salmon.  "King salmon we catch in Juneau             
 are different from those in Ketchikan," he said, asserting that the           
 fish passing by on the outside coast were the ones in contention.             
                                                                               
 Number 1380                                                                   
                                                                               
 BENNY MITCHELL testified via teleconference in strong support of HB
 390.  "I see an awful lot of frozen fish moving through the Sitka             
 airport each day during the summer," he said.  "I see massive                 
 amounts of fish brought into Sitka's docks each evening by guided             
 sport fishing charters."  He thought it possible that some of the             
 fish shipped south as sport-caught might enter the commercial                 
 market elsewhere.  He urged swift passage of the bill.                        
                                                                               
 Number 1430                                                                   
                                                                               
 THERESA WEISER, Vice-President, Sitka Charterboat Operators'                  
 Association, testified via teleconference, saying she also had a              
 fishing lodge operation in Sitka.  The association was opposed to             
 HB 390 as written, fearing the high dollar amounts proposed would             
 put king salmon charter boat operators out of business.  "I know              
 that very few of my clients would be willing to pay the exorbitant            
 fee that is proposed," she said.  She pointed out that there was no           
 commercial hunting or harvesting of Alaska trophy big game.  "So,             
 I would ask, why is the state and Southeast Alaska giving away this           
 very valuable king salmon resource to the commercial fishery, i.e.,           
 the 20,000 current allocation to the net fishing and then an 80               
 percent allocation to the commercial troll fleet?"  She said, "at             
 least nonresident sport anglers come here to the state and leave a            
 very high and significant amount of monetary value here in exchange           
 for the privilege of the sport fishing experience and taking some             
 of our precious natural resource back home with them."  In closing,           
 she noted that 200 million salmon were caught in Alaska annually,             
 with two million caught by sport anglers.                                     
                                                                               
 Number 1647                                                                   
                                                                               
 ERIC STIRRUP, Owner, Kodiak Western Charters, testified via                   
 teleconference that many of his objections to HB 390 had been                 
 voiced already.  He suggested reducing both the nonresident and               
 resident bag limits for king salmon, which he thought would be                
 equitable.  "If king salmon are so valuable, then they're valuable            
 to all sport fishermen," he said.  "We all live in the United                 
 States.  We all live under the Constitution of the United States.             
 And I don't see a difference between a person coming to the state             
 of Alaska from the state of Washington to fish versus somebody                
 coming from Fairbanks, coming to Kodiak to fish."  He thought HB
 390 set a bad precedent.                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 1768                                                                   
                                                                               
 WAYNE SANGER testified via teleconference from Washington state,              
 saying he had owned and operated a small, full-service sport                  
 charter fishing business out of Craig since 1987.  He said there              
 had been a quota placed on sport harvest of king salmon in 1992, as           
 a result of efforts by commercial interests.  Since 1992, he said,            
 the sport charter fleet had increased by more than 50 percent.                
 "Resident and nonresident sportsmen alike are feeling the effects             
 of allowing uncontrolled growth in the charter industry after                 
 placing a cap on the resource," he said, "due to restrictions                 
 placed on all sportsmen by Fish and Game to avoid overharvesting.             
 Limited entry of charter licenses should have happened in 1992 when           
 the resource was capped.  HB 390 will undermine the vitality of the           
 sport charter industry in Alaska."  Mr. Sanger expressed that the             
 fees, which he felt were excessive, would discourage nonresident              
 sportsmen from traveling to Alaska.                                           
                                                                               
 MR. SANGER noted that currently, 25 percent of the charter                    
 operators in Alaska also held commercial licenses, a trend which he           
 said was on the increase.  "Commercial fishermen are expanding into           
 the charter industry without increasing the sport allocation," he             
 said.  "King salmon stocks should be reallocated between commercial           
 and sport interests and a moratorium should be placed on the                  
 registration of new charter boats.  If this was done, there would             
 be enough salmon and the nonresident angler would still find Alaska           
 an attractive fishing destination."                                           
                                                                               
 Number 1856                                                                   
                                                                               
 BOB ANDERSON, Owner/Operator, Fireweed Lodge, testified via                   
 teleconference from Klawock, saying he was a lifelong Alaska                  
 resident who had owned the lodge for six years and had chartered              
 prior to that.  He indicated it took marketing effort each year to            
 maintain the charter industry.  He suggested the biggest                      
 competition they had was with British Columbia; he thought HB 390             
 would encourage people to go there instead.  Most of his guests               
 were on a budget and were middle-income people, he emphasized.                
                                                                               
 Number 1936                                                                   
                                                                               
 PHILLIP L. GRAY testified that he sport fished locally for king               
 salmon for food for himself and his family, out of a small skiff.             
 He testified in support of HB 390, saying he thought it was a good            
 idea to protect the residents of Alaska from the increasing harvest           
 of king salmon by nonresidents.  "I've lived in Alaska for over 30            
 years and it's getting much more difficult to get a few fish to               
 eat," he said.  "Our family of four uses maybe about 12 king salmon           
 a year.  But greatly increased competition for the fish by charter            
 boats and nonresidents are making it difficult for residents to get           
 fish.  We are told that nonresidents are taking two-thirds of the             
 sport catch of king salmon in Southeast Alaska now, and the catch             
 rate of king salmon by the charter boats is twice that for the                
 residents.  The charter boats fish every day.  They have                      
 sophisticated electronic gear, down-riggers, and are on the fish              
 constantly.  Charter boats are really just another commercial                 
 fishery."                                                                     
                                                                               
 MR. GRAY discussed the difficulty of catching bottomfish near                 
 Juneau.  He related how a friend had watched "nonresidents bringing           
 in ping-pong-paddle-size fish and cleaning them and packaging them            
 up to take back home rather than releasing them to grow up."  He              
 concluded, "There's increasing competition for everything out there           
 that can be sold or eaten and I agree with some reasonable                    
 restrictions so that our residents can get more fish to eat.  I               
 think the wise use of the resource would be allow more sport catch            
 so that charter boat anglers can help to contribute to the economy,           
 there.  But until we get more fish and the commercial fishermen are           
 getting a few less, I think I support HB 390," he said.                       
                                                                               
 Number 2020                                                                   
                                                                               
 MARK KAELKE, Alaska Skiff Charters, said most of his opposition to            
 HB 390 had already been voiced.  He thought HB 390 would impact               
 fisheries on a statewide basis, whereas the fishery and its                   
 problems varied by area.  "I believe that ADF&G should continue to            
 manage king fisheries by area," he said, "and not have legislation            
 such as 390 in the way of that."                                              
                                                                               
 Number 2060                                                                   
                                                                               
 TRACY RIVERA, Capital City Fishing Charters, spoke against HB 390,            
 saying he agreed with most of the testimony in opposition.  He                
 said, "I think we're getting into the point of fish politics rather           
 than looking at the science behind it and having Fish and Game                
 manage the resource."  He thought management should be done by                
 area, rather than for the state as a whole.                                   
                                                                               
 Number 2097                                                                   
                                                                               
 DICK CAMERON, Owner/Operator, Angler's Choice Outdoor Adventures              
 and Angler's Choice Lodge, said most of his views had been voiced.            
 He suggested there was a 100,000-person-per-year increase in                  
 Southeast Alaska visitors, with no allowance to the economic value            
 of those people coming to this region.  "If we put this kind of               
 economic sanction on the king salmon fishery," he said, "those                
 people will not be dumping that money into this economy."  He                 
 referred to by-catch in the coho fishery and suggested more fish              
 were killed during that fishery than would account for the entire             
 sport allocation.  He asked, "Where are we going to find people to            
 enforce this bill?"  He thought the economic ramifications of                 
 enforcement needed looked into.  He further noted that the sport              
 harvest quota for the previous year was unfilled, suggesting                  
 amounts caught were 7,000-8,000 fish shy of the quota.  "The burden           
 of that should not be on the charter boat industry if someone                 
 didn't put forth the effort to go out and catch the fish," he said,           
 "because they were there."                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 2188                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. CAMERON suggested king salmon could not be compared to large              
 game species, saying, "There's not anything similar to it.  Even              
 residents of this state in some areas are only allowed one brown              
 bear per every five years, four deer per year.  It's not the same             
 as a two-king-salmon-a-day bag limit for a resident versus someone            
 only economically being able to take one king salmon out a year."             
 He further thought regional differences were so great that "this              
 blanket bill isn't logical."  He thought priorities should be                 
 geared towards resident sport fishermen, then "on down the line,              
 with sport being the focus and take what's left and give that to              
 the commercial guys."                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 2247                                                                   
                                                                               
 DOUG UNRUH, Angler's Choice Lodge, stated, "Everybody's said                  
 everything.  I'm not in support of this house bill.  I am a lodge             
 owner.  And charging people up to another $1,200-$1,500 for a                 
 three-days' bag limit, I think, is just way, way out of line."  To            
 slow catch rate, he preferred to see a bag limit of some type.  He            
 referred to the established trophy sizes and suggested, "if you               
 want to start charging those increments of prices of fish over                
 those weights, I wouldn't have a problem with that because I don't            
 catch them anyway."                                                           
                                                                               
 Number 2293                                                                   
                                                                               
 ED DERSHAM, President, Anchor Point Charter Association, testified            
 via teleconference from Homer in opposition to HB 390, saying, "I'd           
 like to echo all the comments that have gone before me,                       
 particularly those of Theresa Weiser in Sitka."  He added that the            
 bill could have potentially disastrous effects on the charter                 
 industry and a large segment of the economy of the Kenai Peninsula.           
 He referred to recent meetings with the Board of Fisheries, the               
 results of which HB 390 could undo.  He thought the matter should             
 be left to the Board of Fisheries and should be addressed areawide,           
 rather than for the entire state.                                             
                                                                               
 Number 2379                                                                   
                                                                               
 FRANK LIBAL, Fairweather Guides, testified via teleconference from            
 Homer in opposition to HB 390.  He pointed out that some charters             
 were for family groups, to whom the fee rates would be prohibitive.           
                                                                               
 Number 2404                                                                   
                                                                               
 JIM PRESTON, Big Jim's Charters and Board Member, Juneau                      
 Charterboat Operators Association, testified about the fee                    
 structure under HB 390.  "I would like to remind the committee what           
 happened a couple of years ago," he said.  "When the $35 blanket              
 fee was put on the initial king salmon stamp, that fee did not even           
 last the season.  On July 1 of that year, that fee structure was              
 completely changed because of the devastating impact it had on the            
 nonresidents choosing, once they got here, `another $35, forget it,           
 I'll go -- not spend my money catching the fish.'"  He feared the             
 fee would drive clients away from Southeast Alaska.  "And they will           
 go down to British Columbia," he said, "where they can still catch            
 their four king salmon per day."  Mr. Preston suggested removing              
 sport-caught king salmon from the allocation.                                 
                                                                               
 TAPE 96-11, SIDE B                                                            
 Number 0005                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. PRESTON referred to the export limit.  He noted that British              
 Columbia had an export limit of 40 kilograms, approximately 88                
 pounds.  "If we put a similar type of export limit," he said,                 
 "we're going to deal with the issues that cause the residents to be           
 so angry about the nonresidents catching king salmon, that is, the            
 `Winnebago warriors' up there on the Kenai just canning them on the           
 spot, sending them home, case after case of them.  Or the box after           
 box after box that goes through our airports.  If there was, say,             
 a 100-pound or 120-pound limit on that, that would reduce that."              
                                                                               
 Number 0058                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. PRESTON mentioned the notion of trophy fish.  "What's not been            
 mentioned," he said, "is that when you talk about the other trophy            
 animals ... these animals are taken by sportsmen.  They're none of            
 them taken commercially.  Yet, over 80 percent of the king salmon             
 are being allocated to commercial interest.  Then you're saying               
 that less than 20 percent we're now going to have to consider as              
 trophy?"  Mr. Preston expressed that the idea behind HB 390, of               
 wanting to do something about the king salmon, he liked.  "But 390            
 doesn't do it," he concluded.                                                 
                                                                               
 Number 0101                                                                   
                                                                               
 KEITH STEPHENS, Juneau Charterboat Association and Snoopy's                   
 Adventures, testified that he was born in the Juneau area and grew            
 up commercial fishing, having owned ten boats.  For the past eight            
 years, he had been in the charter business.  He noted there were              
 2,900 commercial fishing permits and 115,000 licensed resident                
 anglers, yet the resident sport fishermen were allocated only 17              
 percent of the total.  He indicated that in 1994, charters took 48            
 percent of the sport fish allocation and private boats took 52                
 percent.  In that same year effort and angler days for charters               
 were 27 percent, whereas for private fishermen, they were 73                  
 percent.  "So," he said, "the problem isn't that charters are                 
 taking fish away from resident fishermen."  He expressed that HB
 390 was detrimental to state efforts towards tourism.                         
                                                                               
 MR. STEPHENS suggested that HB 390 was totally unenforceable.                 
 "It's true that king salmon is a trophy fish," he said, "if caught            
 in the over-50-pound range.  But generally, these kings in                    
 Southeast and the rest of the state cannot be compared to those               
 mature fish in the Kenai River and other river fisheries.                     
 Therefore, game tags for tagging big game and fish tags have no               
 comparison whatsoever.  After all, game hunters are not allocated."           
 He thought king salmon belonged to everyone nationwide.                       
                                                                               
 Number 0262                                                                   
                                                                               
 JOJI OLIVER, Prince of Wales Charter Association, testified that he           
 operated Prince of Wales Charter Service and had been guiding for             
 15 years.  He expressed opposition to HB 390.  He said, "We suggest           
 dealing with the problem with, maybe, bag limits and, obviously,              
 the allocation issue."                                                        
                                                                               
 Number 0306                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN thanked everyone for their patience and their              
 testimony.  He noted that due to the late hour, two of the                    
 committee members were no longer in attendance.  He suggested                 
 holding the bill until everyone was present.                                  
                                                                               
 Number 0337                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN noted for the record that few people from the             
 general public had been present to testify.  "People primarily that           
 came out to testify are people that have an interest in making                
 money off the resource," he pointed out.  "The average Alaskan                
 didn't show up tonight off the street."                                       

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