Legislature(1997 - 1998)
02/19/1997 05:06 PM FSH
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 19 - SPORT FISHING GUIDES Number 2340 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN stated that the next order of business is HB 19, "An Act relating to licensing of sport fishing services operators and fishing guides; and providing for an effective date" and stated that Amy Daugherty would present CSHB 19, Version H. Number 2345 AMY DAUGHERTY, Legislative Administrative Assistant to Representative Alan Austerman, stated that the penalty section of the bill has been rewritten. She stated that on page 7, line 1 the word knowingly is taken out of "knowingly violates" because the word knowingly would cause it to be unenforceable. She stated that the sunset provision suggested by the Guide Charter Task Force was included, therefore, the reporting that is stipulated on Page 6 is going to sunset after three years. She stated that Section 16, line 16 is changed to read "The department shall collect other information that the board of fish now has", instead of that the department now has. Number 2398 MS. DAUGHERTY stated that the first three pages of CSHB 19 lays out reporting in statute and adds to it on page 3, (17) by stating that "regulating the sport fishing services industry as needed for the conservation, development and utilization of fishery resources." She stated that this was added because a number of attorneys stated it was needed in order to regulate the industry. Number 2417 MS. DAUGHERTY stated that the Guide Charter Task Force asked that the three to five year requirement of holding an Alaska Sport Fish guiding license for three years out of the last five years be removed and put in the operator section of the bill. She stated in attempting to do that, it was realized that the operator section had language which said that an operator had to be a natural person and that could not happen since these businesses are often corporations and not natural people. She stated that this was then pulled out of the operators section and the three to five year criteria could not be applied. The three to five year requirement is not in CSHB 19. TAPE 97-4, SIDE B Number 008 MS. DAUGHERTY stated that the Guide Charter Task Force recommended that charter boat vessel registration be separated out of the Commercial Fisheries Entries Commission. She stated that this was put into a separate amendment because the Limited Entries Commission wanted to testify on that. Number 070 MICHAEL LANEGAN, sport fish guide, testified via teleconference from Glennallen, that there are 22 state licenses required for his business. He stated that CSHB 19 is just going to add additional paper work to the guides. He stated that if the CSHB 19 is directed towards the performance of guides in Alaska he felt that the industry is safe with very little complications and does not need monitoring. He stated that if the intent of CSHB 19 was to alienate out of state guides it would not be achieved with a $275 fee. He stated that the end result of CSHB 19 will just complicate the licensing process further. He stated that there is no need for CSHB 19. Number 282 JONATHAN BREIVOGEL Operator, Rivers Unlimited, testified via teleconference from Glennallen, that he has gone out of his way to meet all guide requirements and that CSHB 19 has no purpose except to exasperate guides and operators. He stated that additional legislation is not an answer to the problem. He stated that he is opposed to CSHB 19. Number 383 STEVEN DAUGHERTY, Assistant Attorney General, Natural Resources Section, Civil Division, Department of Law, testified via teleconference from Ketchikan, that CSHB 19 does contain the fee differential that he testified against previously. He stated that the Department of Law is concerned with that provision remaining in the bill. He stated that he has not yet review the amendment with the Board of Fisheries. He stated that all the other legal issues have been addressed. Number 474 MR. DAUGHERTY stated that the Board of Fisheries wanted to convey their concern with the recent amendment that takes out provision 17 on page 3 which would reduce the authority of the Board of Fisheries for safety and/or the integrity of the industry. He stated that participation in the Southeast charter fleet has grown from 139 vessels in 1982 to 903 in 1996. He stated that the fishery is continuing to grow with nonresident guides coming in as a result of the depressed salmon runs in the lower 48. The Board of Fisheries feels that something needs to be done to slow down the fishery and is supportive of CSHB 19. He stated that the Board of Fisheries has limited power as far as the reporting of guided sport fisherman as it is an incidental authority. The Board of Fisheries feels that the authority to impose requirements for guides to report their catches will aid in the management of the fisheries. Number 562 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked what would happen to CSHB 19 if the courts eventually determine that the fee differential is illegal. Number 578 MR. DAUGHERTY stated that the courts would find it to be severable, which would mean that the rest of the bill would stand but nonresidents would have to pay the same fee as residents. He stated that funds paid previously may have to be returned. Number 600 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN stated that the Board of Fisheries would like to see the language put back on page 3, line 14, regarding the safety of clients of the industry or the protection of the integrity of the industry. He asked that if it is put back, does the Board of Fisheries have the authority to implement issues, such as the requirement of having three years experience out of the last five years, as a regulation. Number 658 MR. DAUGHERTY replied that with the current language the Board of Fisheries would not have that authority, unless they could make a strong finding on the record as showing how this is related to the development of the fishery. He stated that with the change it would be very likely that they could adopt that kind of regulation because by giving the Board of Fisheries authority over the integrity of the industry they could reasonably impose some experience requirements. He stated that currently, the Board of Fisheries main authority is over the resource and not over whether or not clients are getting ripped off because of an incompetent guide. Number 678 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked "The Board of Game has in the past done just that is there a way of writing language in this bill that would give the board that authority if needed." Number 692 MR. DAUGHERTY replied that it was previously done by a separate board under occupational licensing and they had the authority set out in their statute to impose that type of requirement. CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN stated that if it is in one statute in one department it can be transferred to statute in another department. MR. DAUGHERTY agreed but he did not have the statutes in front of him at this time. CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN stated that he is looking to get language in CSHB 19 to give the board the control they need to protect and work the resource. MR. DAUGHERTY indicated that he thought it was possible. Number 789 COLONEL JOHN GLASS, Director, Division of Fish and Wildlife Protection, Department of Public Safety, stated the division is in favor of CSHB 19. He stated that the definition of field under Section 16.40.390.1 concerns him because a person could conduct guiding services within city limits of an area and not be needing a guide license which would cause a concern for the enforcement of the bill. He stated that if the Kenai river goes through downtown Soldotna, a person could guide on that three mile section of the Kenai river and not require a sport guide license. CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked if George Utermohle, drafter of CSHB 19 could address Colonel Glass' concerns. Number 887 GEORGE UTERMOHLE, Attorney, Legislative Legal Counsel, Legislative Legal and Research Services, Legislative Affairs Agency, stated that he would echo the concern of what area of the state constitutes field and that under the definition it would be difficult to determine where a person would be required to have a guide license. He stated that the field is the area outside of established developments usually associated with a city or town. He stated that it would be problematic to determine how small a settlement would qualify in that area. He stated that a large lodge could qualify as being outside of the field and questioned how far one would have to go before entering into the field. Areas inside a municipality would certainly be outside the field. He stated that there is the concern from the enforcement side as to where the field exists and where the guide licensing requirements would be in effect. Number 1013 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN stated that it should be reviewed and addressed to eliminate the loopholes. He asked Mr. Utermohle to address putting in the language that would give the Board of Fisheries the authority to go out and manage a resource to the degree that it needs to be managed. He stated that there is the concern of giving the Board of Fisheries too much authority because then the legislature would lose control on how the resources are managed. However, the legislature should be here to set policy and let the board implement that policy through the Department of Fish and Game. He stated that he is concerned that the Board of Fisheries has not been given express authority to regulate the safety of the public and the resource. He asked if Mr. Utermohle was in agreement with this. Number 1128 MR. UTERMOHLE stated that he is in agreement with the testimony given by the Department of Law, that if the Board of Fisheries is to have responsibility in a particular area it is best to express that in the bill. He stated that CSHB 19 gives the board the ability to provide for the regulation of the industry as needed for the conservation, development and utilization of the fishery resources of the state. He stated that this is a broad authority so that the purposes of the act can be achieved, however it is not a blanket authority for the boards to do everything that they would like to do in regard to the sport fishing industry. He stated that the Board would have to justify any regulations on the basis of having to proof it would have some effect toward the conservation, utilization and development of the fisheries in the state. He stated that the experience requirement may be able to be enforced by the Board of Fisheries. Number 1209 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked if he could draft language to make this happen. MR. UTERMOHLE replied that he could. Number 1226 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN stated that on page 3, line 14, the language regarding protection of the industry was taken out. He asked if that language was added back in would the Board of Fisheries have to authority to enforce the experience requirement. Number 1250 MR. UTERMOHLE stated that it gives them a stronger position to justify such a regulation but it would still be a stretch for the board to justify that the integrity of the industry needs this requirement or that it is necessary for the protection of the clients. He stated that those are the facts the board would have to develop in order to justify the regulation. Number 1284 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked if the Board of Fisheries has the necessary tools to manage the resource and the ability to implement on a regional basis what the resource is doing, the way CSHB 19 is currently written. Number 1304 MR. UTERMOHLE replied that there is ample authority for the Board of Fisheries to do that, to the extent that one region of the state needs a different set of regulations in order to achieve conservation, development and utilization of the fisheries. HB 19 - SPORT FISHING GUIDES CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN stated that the committee would turn back to CSHB 19. Number 1425 DAN TUCKER, Guide Charter Task Force, testified via teleconference from Matsu, that CSHB 19 does not even resemble the original purpose of the bill. He referred to page 1, line 6, and stated that guided sport does not belong in this or other documents of references. Fisherman should be allowed to catch fish by virtue of their license not by virtue of their means of access or opportunity. He stated that on page 4 lines 9 and 10 where it included the original intent language of the requirement that the individual not be convicted of Fish and Game violations for the past three years was deleted. He stated that the Guide Charter Task Force discussed the word "shall" in line 11 to be changed to "may" for purposes of Fish and Game. He stated that page 7, line 16, that the definition of field as included there would preclude someone from being guided if they happen to be in the vicinity of a campground road or otherwise. He stated that page 1 of the amendment lines 4 thought 10 with reference to the definition of commercial vessel and the requirement to carry the Commercial Fisheries Entry Permit on the boat. He stated that as a guide he is anxious to see regulation of the industry to see a high level of integrity to the industry but some of the detail in CSHB 19 goes far beyond what is intended and it is losing any prospective to guiding. Number 1747 BARRY BRACKEN, Secretary, Petersburg Charter Boat Association, testified via teleconference from Petersburg, that the association is in agreement with the language in the latest working draft and stated that the passage of CSHB 19 is essential to provide legitimacy to and accountability for the industry. He stated that if CSHB 19 does not go forward by June of this year we will be looking at a similar set of regulations for halibut from the federal agency. He stated that he would prefer to see the terms guided sport fish and guided sport taken out of line 6 and line 22 on page 2. He stated that if the regulations established for guided sport are different then those for the general sport of recreational fishing it will result in an operational problem for the industry and cause clients to turn away. He stated that they like to think of themselves as service operators providing access to recreational fishing rather than some distinct type of fishery. He stated that on page 3, line 8, with the regulating resident and nonresident sport fisherman and having listed in the regulations the possibility of different bag limits or possession limits for the same group could create some operational difficulties. Number 1975 MR. BRACKEN asked if on page 6, Section 16.40.370, line 17, was intended to cover effort information. He stated that the association is in favor of the proposed amendments to require separate vessel licensing for charter vessels. Number 2168 DALE ANDERSON, Commissioner, Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission, Department of Fish and Game, stated that the commission has not yet developed a position of CSHB 19. He stated that page 1, lines 4 through 21, moving charter boat licensing from the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission (CFEC) and assigning the responsibility to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's Sport Fish Division is not necessary. He stated that the commission has the ability to take care of the situation, in that it is running well, and making the change to the Sport Fish Division would result in an interruption of services. He stated that the legislature has signed the vessel licensing function to the CFEC in order to streamline the licensing process and provide individuals with a one stop shopping system. He stated the commission has an extensive database from 19 years of licensing vessels as well as a computerized system and staff in place to perform the functions. He stated that the 1742 individuals who license vessels for charter only pay out $57,850 which is deposited into the general fund for legislative appropriation. He stated that there are 1362 vessels licensed for charter and licensed for other commercial activities and if the amendment was adopted these individuals would be required to obtain vessel licenses from two different agencies. Tape 97-5, SIDE A Number 040 MR. ANDERSON stated that having vendors all over the state trying to do the same operation creates confusion, numbers are assigned to wrong boats, or several boats assigned to one number. He stated that it has taken CFEC several years to straighten out past records. He stated that the Sport Fish Division is welcome to advise the CFEC on what they want to know in this licensing program and are willing to incorporate their requests in the forms and will transfer the information to them whenever they need it. He stated that the CFEC is willing to take suggestions on how to better serve the public. Number 216 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN stated that it was his understanding that in Kodiak and in Southeast Alaska the Department of Fish and Game requires charter boat operators to register with the Department of Fish and Game. He asked if because charter boats are not classified as commercial vessels they are not required to register with the CFEC. He stated that it was his goal to eliminate paperwork and is getting frustrated that maybe CSHB 19 is not doing that. He stated that if they have to register with the CFEC he wants to make sure that they don't have to register with the Department of Fish and Game as well. Number 333 MR. ANDERSON stated that the CFEC is required, according to statute to issue a vessel license to any vessel, including vessels used in charter services for the recreational taking of fish. Number 359 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked if he saw a problem with incorporating charter operators when they register the vessels with the CFEC to classify them as charter operators and then pass that information on to the Department of Fish and Game. Number 383 MR. ANDERSON stated that he believed that is what is being done now. Number 404 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN stated that he understands that a commercial fishing vessel receives a commercial triangle that they place on the boat after they register with the CFEC. He asked if the charter boats receive the same triangle when they are registered with the CFEC. MR. ANDERSON replied, "Yes." Number 436 MR. TUCKER stated, "One of the problems that charter operators have with the CFEC license is similar, somewhat to the sport/guided sport classification. Any expressed or implied connection however vague between charter vessels is exclusively for recreational harvest and vessels used for commercial harvest must be clearly and unequivocally separated. By having charter vessels used for recreational harvest, getting the same commercial triangle with nothing to differentiate between a recreational use vessel or a commercial use vessel tends to create a problem of lumping all of us into the same category." He stated that it would be helpful if a sub-digit, sub-category or a different color could be used to clearly differentiate those vessels used for recreational use and those used for commercial and/or recreational and commercial use. He stated that anything that would provide a single entry registration would be the intent of the entire process and he felt that has not been achieved at this time. Number 581 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN stated he did not want to create an entire new bureaucracy in the Department of Fish and Game if we already have the ability to do it at the CFEC. He asked Mr. Anderson if different colored triangles for charter and commercial vessels would be something the CFEC could do. Number 644 MR. ANDERSON replied that the CFEC is in support of streamlining process and one stop shopping. CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked if at any point the Department of Fish and Game wants to know how many vessels are registered the CFEC would be able to transfer the information over. MR. ANDERSON replied, "That's correct." Number 825 ALLEN LEMASTER testified via teleconference from Gakona Junction Village, that the committee go back to the purpose of CSHB 19 and consider that half of the boats are being registered with the Department of Fish and Game. He stated that maybe the nonresidents could be regulated to the point where it would deter them from coming to Alaska to charter. He stated that if the goal is to register boats and have an accounting of the fish, it is already being done by the Department of Fish and Game. Number 962 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN stated that part of the problem with CSHB 19 is how to regulate nonresidents. He stated that is why on page 3, line 14, it was added to give the Board of Fisheries Authority to regulated sport fish guide services as needed for conservation, development and utilization of the fisheries. He stated that by giving the board the authority they will do what they need to do to regulate the industry instead of having it written in statute. Number 1059 ERIC STIRRUP testified via teleconference from Kodiak, that the real attempt of the CSHB 19 is to slow down entry into the industry. He stated that the CFEC registration clearly states that charter service vessels for the recreational taking of fish and shellfish are licensed by the CFEC. He stated that if limiting entry into the industry is the intent then it needs to be put out in the open. He asked why sport guides are required to have $300,000 in insurance. He stated that commercial fisherman should also be required to have $300,000 in insurance in order to get their license. Number 1341 DALE BONDURANT testified via teleconference from Kenai, referred to the Department of Law's determination that charging nonresidents more would be against the law. He stated the court case stated that it could not be done and he thought it was a farce that it was left in. Number 1436 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN stated that the committee did receive notification from the Department of Law that the court case will be determined whether the fee is illegal and if it is then that section of the bill be severed. Number 1452 MEL ERICKSON, Vice President, Kenai River Guides Association, testified via teleconference from Kenai, in support of CSHB 19. He stated that they would like to have the three out of five year experience requirement left in the bill. He stated that CSHB 19 is supposed to be streamlining paperwork for the sport fishing industry not for commercial fisherman. He stated that it should be put under the Sport Fish Division therefore charter operators can eliminate the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) license and the CFEC triangle. He stated having it under the Division would give an accurate idea of how many people are participating and where they are participating versus who is speculating to participate in the industry. Number 1599 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN stated that he will hold CSHB 19 until the next meeting.