Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/11/1996 05:05 PM FSH

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
 SB 42 - LIMITED ENTRY & UNITS OF GEAR                                       
 Number 0041                                                                   
 SENATOR ROBIN TAYLOR, sponsor of SB 42, described the bill as "the            
 second shoe to drop".  A bill he sponsored the previous year,                 
 identical to one sponsored by Representative Grussendorf, had                 
 provided the beginning of a limited entry system in the dungeness             
 crab fishery.  Senator Taylor recalled a flood of entrants came               
 into Alaska from Oregon and Washington, resulting in doubling and             
 redoubling of the numbers of participants.  "Finally, after some              
 years where the economics of that over-extended fishery began to              
 take their toll, and we saw the numbers of permits beginning to               
 level off and come down, we felt it was probably a good time to               
 initiate this tiered system," Senator Taylor said.                            
 Number 0144                                                                   
 SENATOR TAYLOR explained there was insufficient time the previous             
 year to accomplish a title change.  "The title had been written too           
 tightly and, as a consequence, we were unable to put the stacking             
 provisions within the title," he stated.  "The tiered system that             
 was created creates four different levels of gear involvement in              
 the fishery, starting at 300 pots at the top, which would be a                
 Class A permit, going down to a 75-pot limit, which would be a                
 Class D ... permit."                                                          
 Number 0202                                                                   
 SENATOR TAYLOR indicated the legislation allowed the stacking of              
 two permits, so that a person with 75 pots, for example, could                
 purchase a 225-pot or Class B permit and put themselves at the 300-           
 pot limit.  "By limiting it to two permits, you would not end up              
 eliminating all of the smaller, entry-level permits," he said,                
 indicating there had been serious concern that economics might                
 quickly generate only Class A or B permits, eliminating an entrance           
 level for new participants.                                                   
 Number 0348                                                                   
 FRANK HOMAN, Commissioner, Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission              
 (CFEC), commented that Senator Taylor had provided a good summation           
 and offered to answer questions.                                              
 REPRESENTATIVE KIM ELTON asked how long it would take to develop              
 the regulations.                                                              
 MR. HOMAN replied it was hard to say.  However, he estimated                  
 approximately six months.  It would not be the current season, he             
 said, but rather the 1997 season, at least, because permanent                 
 permits would be required before CFEC could allow stacking them               
 Number 0421                                                                   
 OTTO FLORSHUTZ testified via teleconference from Wrangell, saying             
 he opposed SB 42 as written, although modification had made it more           
 to his liking.  He believed access to the fishery by smaller or               
 younger operators was highly important.  However, the timing of the           
 bill was bad.  The tiered limited entry system was not to be                  
 implemented until June 1997.  "While the resource is healthy, there           
 are some other things seeking to destroy this fishery," he said.              
 Mr. Florshutz referred to a meeting in October 1995, at which the             
 Board of Fisheries postponed a decision to cut pot levels by one-             
 third and directed the Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) to                 
 develop a comprehensive management plan for the 1997 meeting                  
 schedule.  The board had forewarned crabbers to get their facts and           
 figures together if they hoped to defeat this management plan.                
 "Fish and Game's position was clear," Mr. Florshutz said.  "The               
 45,000-pot tiered limited entry system plan was too much."  He                
 suggested ADF&G would have lots of charts and graphs to prove the             
 imminent destruction of the resource under the current and past               
 management plans.                                                             
 MR. FLORSHUTZ said it was uncertain how many permits would be                 
 issued or pots fished.  He suggested up to 58 interim permits could           
 be issued.  "This bill would ensure that all unfished gears would             
 be bought, stacked and then aggressively fished," he said.  "This             
 type of maximization of fishing effort at this time is dangerous in           
 regard to the Board of Fish[eries] decision.  This bill could work            
 if amended to read that any gears transferred would sunset or                 
 forfeit one-third of the pot allotment.  This would ensure some               
 future gear reductions and demonstrate so to the board.  For                  
 example, 150-pot gear sold becomes 100 pots transferred and 50                
 forfeited.  That would be a one-time only.  But, this bill, if                
 passed as written, may be like getting a raise the day before your            
 boss fires you."                                                              
 Number 0617                                                                   
 JOHN JENSEN testified via teleconference from Petersburg, saying              
 simply that he supported SB 42.                                               
 Number 0632                                                                   
 LIZ CABRERA, Director, Petersburg Vessel Owners Association,                  
 testified via teleconference in support of SB 42.  She referred to            
 the tiered system and said it gave current dungeness participants             
 an opportunity to make their operations more economically viable              
 without increasing the number of pots in the fishery, while                   
 allowing new participants.  By limiting the number of permits per             
 individual to two, the bill guaranteed that smaller permits could             
 not be consolidated into 300-pot blocks.                                      
 Number 0698                                                                   
 BILL FLOR, President, Southeast Dungeness Crabbers Association,               
 testified via teleconference from Petersburg.  He said the bill was           
 a compromise that his organization supported, primarily because it            
 allowed for an entry level permit.                                            
 Number  0730                                                                  
 BILL ALWERT spoke via teleconference from Kodiak, asking if the               
 bill had any bearing on Kodiak.  He noted there was no limited                
 entry there yet.                                                              
 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN indicated he understood that it did not                    
 currently pertain to Kodiak.  He asked if there was further                   
 testimony or discussion by the committee.                                     
 Number 0812                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON moved that SSSB 42 (am) move from committee              
 with individual recommendations and attached zero fiscal notes.               
 There being no objection, it was so ordered.                                  

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