Legislature(1995 - 1996)
04/11/1996 05:05 PM FSH
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= 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 together. 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.