Legislature(2013 - 2014)CAPITOL 120

03/25/2014 10:00 AM FISHERIES

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10:03:00 AM Start
10:03:37 AM HCR25
10:30:01 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved Out of Committee
          HCR 25-CATCH SHARES IN NPFMC GROUNDFISH PLAN                                                                      
10:03:37 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR SEATON announced  that the only order of  business would be                                                               
HOUSE  CONCURRENT  RESOLUTION  NO.  25, Urging  the  Governor  to                                                               
request  that  the  North   Pacific  Fishery  Management  Council                                                               
analyze the  option of  including community  fishing associations                                                               
as  entities  that may  be  granted  catch  shares in  any  trawl                                                               
bycatch management program for the Gulf of Alaska.                                                                              
10:04:04 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR SEATON opened public testimony on HCR 25.                                                                                 
10:04:07 AM                                                                                                                   
HENRY  MITCHELL stated  he  has been  involved  in North  Pacific                                                               
fisheries  for over  30  years.   He  originally  worked for  the                                                               
Bering  Sea  Fisherman's  Association   from  1980  to  1996  and                                                               
currently works  for Coastal  Villages [Region  Fund], but  he is                                                               
speaking on  behalf of himself.   He said he served  on the North                                                               
Pacific Fisheries  Management Council (NPFMC) in  the early 1990s                                                               
when the  community development quota  system was developed.   He                                                               
recalled that  at the time  he made  motions to include  the Gulf                                                               
communities; however,  the council  preferred not to  do so.   He                                                               
said he  believes local communities  in the Gulf of  Alaska would                                                               
benefit by the NPFMC passing  community quotas.  He urged members                                                               
to pass HCR 25.                                                                                                                 
10:05:44 AM                                                                                                                   
ALEXUS  KWACHKA stated  his  support  for HCR  25.    He said  he                                                               
personally  has lived  through  two  rationalization programs  in                                                               
Kodiak that  directly affected him  in the halibut  and sablefish                                                               
and  crab programs.    He supported  this as  a  means of  adding                                                               
another  tool for  the NPFMC.   He  emphasized the  importance of                                                               
anchoring quota  in communities in  perpetuity and  remarked that                                                               
losing access  to fisheries  in Alaska  would be  a tragedy.   He                                                               
encouraged members to move this resolution forward.                                                                             
10:06:36 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  HERRON asked  for  further  clarification on  the                                                               
rationalizations and which communities were negatively impacted.                                                                
MR.  KWACHKA  answered that  he  has  more familiarity  with  the                                                               
halibut and  sablefish fisheries,  but in  his view,  Kodiak lost                                                               
out in the  crab program, which has resulted in  a huge reduction                                                               
in the fleet; direct economic loss  to the community; and a major                                                               
impact  on  local  businesses.   Consequently,  the  halibut  and                                                               
sablefish fleet size was drastically  reduced.  He reiterated the                                                               
importance   of  keeping   these  fisheries   as  community-based                                                               
fisheries in order to gain more local control.                                                                                  
10:08:37 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  HERRON  asked  him to  identify  two  communities                                                               
negatively impacted by rationalization.                                                                                         
MR.  MITCHELL  answered  that  some of  the  communities  on  the                                                               
[Aleutian] Chain, in  particular, were left out  of the programs.                                                               
He  said  Sand  Point  and  Chignik  in  some  regards  has  been                                                               
substantially  impacted  by  being  left   out  of  many  of  the                                                               
programs.   He said  that if  the NPFMC  had adopted  a community                                                               
development regime  for the Gulf  of Alaska communities,  many of                                                               
them would be much better off today.                                                                                            
10:09:41 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  HERRON asked  what  leverage  would the  governor                                                               
have in encouraging the [NPFMC] to have this option.                                                                            
MR.  MITCHELL  said  that  the  governor  has  influence  through                                                               
relationships  with  council  members,  and  the  governor  could                                                               
encourage  the  council to  pass  regulations  that will  benefit                                                               
10:10:36 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR SEATON  related that the  committee has asked  the governor                                                               
via HCR  25 to put  protections for Alaskan  coastal communities.                                                               
He clarified  the legislative  intent is to  ask the  governor as                                                               
chief executive  of the  state to inform  the council  to protect                                                               
coastal communities.                                                                                                            
10:11:24 AM                                                                                                                   
ERNEST WEISS  said he works  for the Aleutians East  Borough, has                                                               
lived many  years in King  Cove, and  he now lives  in Anchorage.                                                               
He  addressed the  member's  question regarding  rationalization,                                                               
stating  that  King  Cove  was  severely  impacted  by  the  crab                                                               
rationalization program.  He offered  his support for HCR 25, the                                                               
NPFMC, and  the option for community  fishing associations (CFAs)                                                               
for  the   Gulf  of  Alaska  trawl   bycatch  management  program                                                               
currently being developed.  He  said that inclusion of CFAs could                                                               
mitigate some  of the  potential negative  impacts inherent  in a                                                               
catch share  program by  anchoring quota  in the  communities and                                                               
keeping  entry-level  opportunities  open   for  fishermen.    In                                                               
addition,  the   CFAs  could  enhance   some  of   the  community                                                               
protections  already being  considered as  part of  this program.                                                               
He has regularly  participated in the NPFMC  process and commends                                                               
the state on its leadership in  this bycatch action.  The current                                                               
structure can  be found  in the  [NPFMC's] October  motion, which                                                               
contains innovative  elements that  will give some  protection to                                                               
coastal  communities,  including  consolidation  limits,  limited                                                               
duration  of shares,  requirement for  active participation,  and                                                               
including  the community  as part  of  the co-op.   He  supported                                                               
these community protections but  also strongly believes including                                                               
the CFAs  could enhance existing  elements to reduce  bycatch and                                                               
benefit coastal communities.  He urged members to move HCR 25.                                                                  
10:13:39 AM                                                                                                                   
ALAN PARKS  said he  is from  Homer and  is in  his 38th  year of                                                               
fishing in Alaska and that his  teenage children fish with him in                                                               
the summer.  He  said he supports HCR 25.  He  has been through a                                                               
number of  privatization programs  that are in  place -  the crab                                                               
rationalization   program    and   the    halibut/sablefish   IFQ                                                               
[Individual Fishing  Quota] program.  He  expressed concern about                                                               
his  son's opportunities  to enter  these fisheries,  since entry                                                               
level  opportunities   are  limited   primarily  due   to  costs.                                                               
However, the  type of  community-centered fisheries  supported in                                                               
HCR 25 could provide a road  map for shaping future fisheries and                                                               
allow  people  to  be  part  of a  healthy  economic  and  social                                                               
environment in  coastal communities.   He  urged members  to move                                                               
HCR 25.  He offered his belief that  the CFAs are a means to best                                                               
benefit Alaska's communities.                                                                                                   
10:16:45 AM                                                                                                                   
CHUCK  MCCALLUM, Director,  Gulf  of  Alaska Coastal  Communities                                                               
Coalition, stated  that he regularly participates  in the NPFMC's                                                               
public process.  He encouraged members  to pass HCR 25.  It takes                                                               
a  concerted  and  extraordinary effort  for  communities,  whose                                                               
interests  are at  stake,  to effectively  engage  in the  public                                                               
process at  the [NPFMC] and  be heard.   He asked members  to add                                                               
their voice  to this effort.   This  resolution, HCR 25,  does no                                                               
more  than  to  ask  for   more  information  on  how  giving  an                                                               
allocation  of fishing  quota might  be a  better way  to protect                                                               
communities by  promoting a good  jobs-based fishing  economy for                                                               
everyone in the  Kodiak Island Borough and the  broader region of                                                               
the Gulf of Alaska fisheries.                                                                                                   
MR. MCCALLUM said  the state has included in  the current [NPFMC]                                                               
motion  what it  believes may  adequately address  the issues  of                                                               
community  protections; however,  he believed  that those  static                                                               
approaches   are  very   likely  to   fail  in   significant  and                                                               
unpredictable  ways while  the  inherently  dynamic and  adaptive                                                               
involvement  of a  community fishing  association  (CFA) is  much                                                               
more likely to  effectively promote and maintain  the healthy mix                                                               
of  fishing   related  jobs  that   the  community  needs.     He                                                               
acknowledged that fishermen  often don't see any  upside for them                                                               
in this  and imagine innumerable  ways that  the CFAs might  be a                                                               
problem,  but without  getting a  clear motion  on the  table and                                                               
analyzing it,  it won't be possible  to put those fears  to rest.                                                               
Please pass this resolution, he said.                                                                                           
10:18:50 AM                                                                                                                   
JOHN WHIDDON stated he serves on  the Kodiak City Council, but is                                                               
representing himself  today.   The fishery  work group,  which he                                                               
co-chairs, and  a joint work  session he participated  in between                                                               
the  Kodiak  Island  Borough  and  the  city  council  last  week                                                               
discussed the CFA  issue.  He said he manages  a processing plant                                                               
in Kodiak and is engaged  in the trawl fishing industry, although                                                               
he also participates  with a mix of vessels  including pot boats,                                                               
longliners,  and  seiners.    He  suggested  that  the  committee                                                               
consider  a  balanced point  of  view,  noting  the lack  of  100                                                               
percent consensus  for CFAs in Kodiak.   He surmised that  of the                                                               
34  vessels currently  fishing,  most would  say  they aren't  in                                                               
favor  of   CFAs  since  they   are  concerned   about  outcomes.                                                               
Certainly  some coalition  members are  100 percent  in favor  of                                                               
CFAs; however, it's  important to strike a balance, he  said.  He                                                               
agreed that  CFAs could  be part  of the  solution set  to ensure                                                               
that the  Kodiak economy is strong,  but all three sectors  - the                                                               
trawl sector, the fish and  harvesting sector, and the processing                                                               
sector -  must each be healthy  to have a healthy  community.  He                                                               
said the  sectors have a  symbiotic relationship.   He maintained                                                               
that  the CFAs  are only  one approach  to consider,  but it  may                                                               
ultimately need to  be a combination of solutions.   For example,                                                               
one  thing to  consider  in  terms of  ownership  issues is  that                                                               
corporate  ownership  of vessels  in  some  ways circumvents  and                                                               
negates any  impact of the  [NPFMC] motions.  He  maintained that                                                               
in Kodiak,  diversity resides  around the [CFA]  issue.   If this                                                               
approach  would positively  impact  the trawl  industry, he  will                                                               
support  it; however,  if it  will result  in a  net loss  to the                                                               
trawl industry, another approach might need to be considered.                                                                   
10:22:16 AM                                                                                                                   
DAVE KUBIAK stated he has been  in Kodiak since the 1960s, and is                                                               
currently a salmon permit holder,  has some halibut IFQs, and has                                                               
jigged for codfish.   He urged members to pass  HCR 25 to include                                                               
CFAs as part  of the rationalization plan for the  Gulf of Alaska                                                               
trawl fleet.   He  described a number  of problems  the fisheries                                                               
face  such as  absentee ownership,  fewer locally-based  vessels,                                                               
high  lease fees,  rapid vessel  consolidation, consolidation  of                                                               
quota ownership,  lower crew pay,  and fewer crew jobs  that have                                                               
resulted from rationalization in the world.                                                                                     
MR. KUBIAK  said the CFAs  could represent a means  of countering                                                               
many of the consequences through  local control over a portion of                                                               
rationalized fishing rights, which could  be done by CFAs joining                                                               
a cooperative.   Proponents  of CFAs view  the associations  as a                                                               
method  to  ensure  local  fishermen,  skippers,  and  crews  can                                                               
continue  to  participate  and  communities  will  stay  healthy.                                                               
Further,  CFAs will  effectively anchor  quota to  communities in                                                               
perpetuity, which  will support new generations  of fishermen, he                                                               
said.   The initial allocation  amplifies the  community benefit,                                                               
he said.  He  pointed out that the value of  quota arises as soon                                                               
as  a  fishery  is  rationalized.   Any  deleterious  effects  of                                                               
allocation against  the current participants will  be ameliorated                                                               
by  this since  he assumed  it  would be  accomplished through  a                                                               
private   non-profit  approach,   who  would   likely  take   out                                                               
administrative  fees.   He urged  members  to vote  to move  this                                                               
forward so CFAs can be further examined by the NPFMC.                                                                           
10:25:18 AM                                                                                                                   
EMIL  CHRISTIANSEN,  Secretary,  Old Harbor  Native  Corporation,                                                               
stated his support for  HCR 25.  He said he  has been fishing for                                                               
55 years - he  started fishing when he was six with  his dad.  He                                                               
said he has seen changes and  "seen people do things that have so                                                               
much affect against  the villages, that we need to  stop this and                                                               
we need to  look at the future  of our children and  the State of                                                               
Alaska."  He asked for support for  HCR 25, for the future of the                                                               
coastal fishing communities.                                                                                                    
10:26:24 AM                                                                                                                   
FREDDIE CHRISTIANSEN,  Secretary, Old Harbor  Native Corporation,                                                               
said he was born in Kodiak,  raised in Old Harbor, and has fished                                                               
for 48 years.  He disagreed  with the comment with respect to the                                                               
community of Kodiak  having a diverse view.  The  six villages on                                                               
Kodiak Island  have lost access  to the resource adjacent  to the                                                               
communities.   He  objected to  all the  fish being  processed in                                                               
Kodiak  since  it  comes  from  the  villages.    He  found  this                                                               
unacceptable.   He  could recount  his experiences  with the  IFQ                                                               
program that  was implemented in  the Bering  Sea but not  in the                                                               
Gulf  of  Alaska.    In  all  of  his  time  spent  with  fishing                                                               
organizations,  he  has not  experienced  or  observed the  state                                                               
taking  the responsibility  to  care for  the  communities.   The                                                               
villagers  have  their "backs  against  the  wall" and  are  very                                                               
disappointed with the current process.                                                                                          
CHAIR  SEATON  related  his understanding  that  Mr.  Christensen                                                               
supports passage of HCR 25.                                                                                                     
MR. CHRISTIANSEN agreed.                                                                                                        
10:28:30 AM                                                                                                                   
THERESA  PETERSON,  Kodiak  Outreach Coordinator,  Alaska  Marine                                                               
Conservation  Council (AMCC),  stated support  for HCR  25.   She                                                               
said what  the current options  lack is an opportunity  to anchor                                                               
quota to  the communities.   The  state has done  a great  job to                                                               
date  with bringing  the  motion forward  and  considering a  new                                                               
program design.  She said the HCR is on the right track.                                                                        
CHAIR SEATON closed public testimony on HCR 25.                                                                                 
10:29:38 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  FEIGE moved  to report  HCR 25  out of  committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  fiscal                                                               
note.   There being no  objection, HCR  25 was reported  from the                                                               
House Special Committee on Fisheries.                                                                                           

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HCR025A.pdf HFSH 3/25/2014 10:00:00 AM
HCR 25
HCR 25 Sponsor Statement.pdf HFSH 3/25/2014 10:00:00 AM
HCR 25
Community Fishing Association Information.pdf HFSH 3/25/2014 10:00:00 AM
HCR 25
Alaska Journal of Commerce Article - Stakeholders ponder protections under Gulf rationalization.pdf HFSH 3/25/2014 10:00:00 AM
HCR 25
SWAMC Resolution 14-02 Support Analysis of CFA.pdf HFSH 3/25/2014 10:00:00 AM
HCR 25
2014 House Bush Caucus to Governor RE CFAs.pdf HFSH 3/25/2014 10:00:00 AM
HCR 25
Magnuson-Stevens Act language regarding Community Fishing Associations.pdf HFSH 3/25/2014 10:00:00 AM
HCR 25
GOA trawl Motion NPFMC October, 2013.pdf HFSH 3/25/2014 10:00:00 AM
HCR 25