Legislature(2015 - 2016)CAPITOL 120

02/04/2016 10:00 AM FISHERIES

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Audio Topic
10:00:49 AM Start
10:01:07 AM Presentation: the Role of Seafood in the Southcentral Economy - Alaska Salmon Alliance
10:32:53 AM HJR28
11:06:06 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Presentation: TELECONFERENCED
"The Role of Seafood in the Southcentral
Economy" by Arni Thompson, Alaska Salmon Alliance
*+ HJR 28 OPPOSING GM SALMON TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHJR 28(FSH) Out of Committee
                                                                                                                                
                   HJR 28-OPPOSING GM SALMON                                                                                
                                                                                                                              
10:32:53 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STUTES announced that the  final order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE JOINT  RESOLUTION NO. 28,  Opposing the United  States Food                                                               
and  Drug Administration's  approval  of AquaBounty  AquAdvantage                                                               
genetically engineered salmon; urging  the United States Congress                                                               
to   enact  legislation   that   requires  prominently   labeling                                                               
genetically  engineered  products  with  the  words  "Genetically                                                               
Modified"  on  the  product's   packaging;  and  encouraging  the                                                               
restoration of wild, native populations  of salmon in areas where                                                               
development has negatively affected salmon.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
10:34:43 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GERAN TARR,  Alaska  State  Legislature, said  an                                                               
effort was mounted,  in 2013, to oppose  the federal government's                                                               
approval  of  genetically modified  (GM)  salmon.   However,  the                                                               
Federal  Drug   Administration  (FDA)  ruling,   dated  11/19/15,                                                               
announcing  its  decision for  approval  of  GM salmon  products,                                                               
created  the impetus  for  introducing HJR  28.   The  monumental                                                               
decision marks the  first time a genetically  modified animal has                                                               
received  FDA  approval  for  human consumption.    The  fish  is                                                               
modified  by  utilizing  combined   genetics  from  the  Atlantic                                                               
Chinook salmon  and the ocean pout.   The chinook lends  size and                                                               
type, while  the pout  provides a  continuous growth  hormone for                                                               
rapid maturity.   She provided  a series of slides  to illustrate                                                               
the  physical  differences between  the  GM  Atlantic salmon  and                                                               
other farmed salmon.   The sole motivation for  GM enhancement is                                                               
economic  gain for  those  involved, she  opined,  which casts  a                                                               
shadow  of extreme  contrast on  Alaska's  focus for  sustainable                                                               
wild  salmon harvests.    She paraphrased  a  statement from  the                                                               
AquaBounty   website,   which    states   [original   punctuation                                                               
provided]:                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     The AquaBounty founding idea - modern genetics + land-                                                                     
     based aquaculture.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     In 1993, AquaBounty's  CEO had the idea  of pairing the                                                                    
     two revolutionary technologies.   The innovative faster                                                                    
     growing  AquAdvantage   Salmon,  which   would  shorten                                                                    
     production cycles  by half and drastically  reduce feed                                                                    
     costs,  could  finally  make  land-based  fish  farming                                                                    
     economically viable.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR   said  Alaska  is  a   leader  in  resource                                                               
management  and  represents  a  model  for  healthy,  sustainable                                                               
fisheries.   Concerns continue  to exist  about GM  salmon, which                                                               
include: threats  to wild  salmon, risks to  human health,  and a                                                               
risk to  Alaska's economy.   She pointed  out that these  are the                                                               
same concerns  that initially arose,  when the  discussion began,                                                               
and which the  FDA has still not addressed.   Despite safeguards,                                                               
she  said  escapement   does  occur  from  holding   pens.    The                                                               
escapement  factor  was   a  noted  concern  by   both  the  U.S.                                                               
Department  of  Fish  and  Wildlife   Service  (USFWS),  and  the                                                               
National  Oceanic and  Atmospheric Administration  (NOAA), during                                                               
risk assessment studies.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
10:39:18 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TARR explained that  the genetically modified eggs                                                               
would be  produced in a  facility on Prince Edward  Island (PEI),                                                               
shipped to Panama  for rearing, harvested, and  imported for sale                                                               
in the United States; fully  involving three countries.  In 2013,                                                               
her visit to Prince Edward  Island, provided a firsthand look at,                                                               
and understanding of, the project.   The PEI facility is close to                                                               
a large bay,  Bay Fortune, which provides a direct  outlet to the                                                               
Atlantic Ocean.  She reported  meeting with the Premier of Prince                                                               
Edward Island, as  well as speaking with residents,  many of whom                                                               
objected to the  facilities GM project.  The  primary industry on                                                               
PEI is tourism,  which is being supplanted  by its identification                                                               
with the "frankenfish"  facility, a direct result  of the budding                                                               
industry.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
10:40:49 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR said  GM salmon  pose additional  threats to                                                               
wild salmon,  which include: spread  of disease, similar  to what                                                               
occurs with  hatchery fish;  food chain  competition, due  to the                                                               
aggressive  behavior  of  the  GM  salmon;  and  cross  breeding.                                                               
Multiple  scientific journals  and papers,  have been  published,                                                               
regarding the ability to cross  breed, she reported, and provided                                                               
headline  illustrations for  a number  of  articles regarding  GM                                                               
salmon hybridizing  with trout.   Further, the  studies confirmed                                                               
that  the  GM fish  could  out-compete  both  the trout  and  the                                                               
Atlantic salmon  for food,  also a major  concern.   Expanding on                                                               
the  risk to  human health,  she  said the  approval was  handled                                                               
under FDA veterinary rules and  standards, bringing into question                                                               
the  appropriateness of  the ruling.    The AquaAdvantage  salmon                                                               
represent a trademarked product and,  as such, AquaBounty is able                                                               
to  restrict,  and  is   legally  protected  against,  unfettered                                                               
research conducted  by outside agencies.   Although  motivated by                                                               
economic gain, the company can  be selective in choosing to share                                                               
its information.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:42:49 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TARR  recalled the  depressive effect  on Alaska's                                                               
economy when farmed  salmon were introduced on  the world market.                                                               
Due  to major  efforts,  undertaken by  Alaska Seafood  Marketing                                                               
Institute  (ASMI),  the  Wild  Alaska   Salmon  brand  is  widely                                                               
recognized  as an  industry standard.   However,  there could  be                                                               
confusion  among  consumers,  if  GM salmon  products  enter  the                                                               
market without appropriate labeling.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
10:43:33 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR   said  Alaska's   congressional  delegation                                                               
supports pushback  on the  GM salmon ruling.   She  reported that                                                               
U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski has  been holding up the confirmation                                                               
of an FDA official in an  effort to leverage control for labeling                                                               
requirements  and  marketing  standards on  GM  salmon  products.                                                               
Additionally,  another 40  members  of congress  also oppose  the                                                               
FDA's  actions.    Over  2  million  public  comments  have  been                                                               
submitted to  the FDA and  65 retailers have stated  their intent                                                               
to refuse to shelve the product  when it becomes available in the                                                               
market place.   Furthermore, international opposition  is strong.                                                               
The  local  PEI protest  efforts  have  resulted in  restrictions                                                               
being placed on egg production  and isolating the activity to one                                                               
facility.  Finally  she said that the AquaBounty  efforts are not                                                               
isolated  to  salmon.   Information  regarding  its  interest  in                                                               
applying GM  technology to other seafood/shellfish  products, and                                                               
establishing facilities  in other locales, has  been outlined and                                                               
available  on its  website; some  information  has recently  been                                                               
removed.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
10:46:53 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON moved  to  adopt  the proposed  committee                                                               
substitute (CS) for HJR 28, Version 29-LS1213\W, Nauman, 2/3/16.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STUTES objected for discussion.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
10:47:26 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS stated  support  for  HJR 28,  and                                                               
lauded the well drafted resolution.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
10:47:41 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HERRON  noted the sponsor's comment  regarding the                                                               
blocked  congressional  confirmation  of  the  FDA  official  who                                                               
authorized  the  GM   salmon.    He  asked   about  amending  the                                                               
resolution to  including another whereas to  support U.S. Senator                                                               
Lisa Murkowski's efforts to holdup the confirmation.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
10:49:32 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR said  an amendment  would  be welcomed,  and                                                               
forwarded  her understanding  that the  senator would  appreciate                                                               
the support.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
10:49:46 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  opined that innovation for  profit is not                                                               
inherently a  bad motivator; however,  in this  specific instance                                                               
it creates an  issue regarding the profitability  of Alaskans. He                                                               
asked whether  state statutes exist that  apply to identification                                                               
of genetically modified fish.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR  said  that Alaska's  labeling  statute  was                                                               
passed in  2006; however, it's now  out of step with  the federal                                                               
requirements and  it remains unclear  whether state law  could be                                                               
enforced given the federal overrides in place.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  inquired about  modification requirements                                                               
for state law.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR  stated   her  understanding  and  assurance                                                               
received from  legislative legal  services that  the laws  can be                                                               
synchronized.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
10:52:00 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  STUTES removed  her  objection.   There  being no  further                                                               
objection, Version W was before the committee.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STUTES opened public testimony.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
10:52:25 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
LOUIE FLORA, Alaska  Center for the Environment  (ACE) and Alaska                                                               
Conservation  Voters  (ACV),  testified  in support  of  HJR  28,                                                               
speaking as follows:                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     I'm  working  here  in Juneau  ...  speaking  today  on                                                                    
     behalf of  Alaska Center for the  Environment (ACE) and                                                                    
     Alaska Conservation Voters ACV),  and also on behalf of                                                                    
     myself  as  a  Bristol  Bay drift  fisherman.    Alaska                                                                    
     Center for the Environment  and Conservation Voters are                                                                    
     working to  protect Alaska wild salmon  and Alaska wild                                                                    
     salmon  habitat.   And they  work to  promote positive,                                                                    
     clean  energy, [and]  job  creating,  solutions to  the                                                                    
     climate change issue.   And they also  are supporting a                                                                    
     reinvigoration of  local and  public comment  in Alaska                                                                    
     on resource permitting issues.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Alaska  Center for  the  Environment  supports HJR  28.                                                                    
     Their concerns with  GMO [genetically modified organism                                                                    
     (GMO)]  salmon are  justifiably  based  on the  unknown                                                                    
     risks  to our  wild ocean  stocks.   The impact  of GMO                                                                    
     cross   pollination,   unintentional    or   not,   and                                                                    
     [weakening]  of wild  genetics  is  well documented  in                                                                    
     American agriculture.  Alaska  wild salmon is unique as                                                                    
     a  thriving and  genetically varied  population.   Wild                                                                    
     stock, genetic  variance, and diversity  is one  of the                                                                    
     hallmarks  of  the  survival of  the  different  salmon                                                                    
     species.   The potential  that genetic  diversity could                                                                    
     be compromised by  the introduction of GMO  fish is not                                                                    
     some farfetched notion.  If  this GMO fish takes off in                                                                    
     the market, anything is possible.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     That was my testimony on  behalf of [ACE], but I wanted                                                                    
     to speak  directly as a  gillnet fishermen who  has ...                                                                    
     seen  what the  market  changes have  been since  1983.                                                                    
     And  my fear  with genetically  modified salmon  on the                                                                    
     market  is that  there  would be  a  problem of  market                                                                    
     perception, which  could drive the  price down.   And a                                                                    
     problem  of market  saturation  of  new species,  which                                                                    
     could  drive the  price down.   We  saw the  problem of                                                                    
     market  perception  in   1989-90,  following  the  [oil                                                                    
     tanker] Exxon Valdez spill.   ...  Fishermen have a lot                                                                    
     of opinions  on why markets  are changing, so  this may                                                                    
     be apocryphal.  ...  One  of the opinions out there was                                                                    
     that the market perception  that all Alaska salmon were                                                                    
     tainted, had the ability to  leverage a decrease in our                                                                    
     Bristol Bay price ..., which  was at $2.35 per pound at                                                                    
     that point;  [the price]  has fallen  ever since.   ...                                                                    
     That a  genetically modified  salmon could  ... instill                                                                    
     fear in the  global salmon markets, I think  could be a                                                                    
     real  potential   and  ...  have  long   term  economic                                                                    
     implications for all of Alaska.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     As far  as market  saturation:  We  got $.50  per pound                                                                    
     this  year for  our price.   ...   One  of the  [price]                                                                    
     factors  is the  increased  resurgence  of the  Chilean                                                                    
     farmed, and other farmed, salmon  populations.  I think                                                                    
     that  there's  a  potential that  if  this  genetically                                                                    
     modified salmon can be produced  cheaply, can flood the                                                                    
     market ...  that in combination with  the global farmed                                                                    
     salmon  populations could  have  a further  compounding                                                                    
     effect  on  our  price.    ...    For  the  reasons  of                                                                    
     perception   and   market   saturation,  as   a   drift                                                                    
     fisherman,  I   would  really,  really   encourage  our                                                                    
     congressional delegation,  and congress as a  whole, to                                                                    
     enact   whatever   labeling,    and   whatever   market                                                                    
     mechanisms they  can apply,  to differentiate  wild ...                                                                    
     Alaska salmon from the rest  of the world markets.  ...                                                                    
     I  know  a   lot  of  good  work  has   gone  into  the                                                                    
     differentiating   process   by   the   Alaska   Seafood                                                                    
     Marketing Institute (ASMI), and  other marketers, but I                                                                    
     think  labeling on  a national  scale is  paramount for                                                                    
     the health of our fisheries.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
10:57:38 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
ARNI  THOMPSON,  Representative,  Alaska Salmon  Alliance  (ASA),                                                               
stated support for HJR  28 and said ASA adds its  name to all who                                                               
support  HJR 28  and who  oppose the  development of  genetically                                                               
modified  salmon  products.     Additionally,  ASA  supports  the                                                               
congressional mandates for labeling  of genetically modified food                                                               
products, including salmon.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
10:59:10 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MATT ALWARD,  Representative, United  Fishermen of  Alaska (UFA),                                                               
testified in  support of  HJR 28 citing  the UFA's  long standing                                                               
position to  oppose genetically modified salmon  production.  The                                                               
organization   also  supports   the  requirement   to  have   any                                                               
genetically  modified  seafood  to  be clearly  labeled  for  the                                                               
market place.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  STUTES  closed public  testimony  after  ascertain no  one                                                               
further wished to testify.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
11:00:15 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 11:00 a.m. to 11:02 a.m.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
11:02:37 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HERRON moved  to  adopt  Conceptual Amendment  1,                                                               
provided  to the  committee in  handwritten form,  which read  as                                                               
follows:                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Page 3, Line 5, Insert:                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     FURTHER  RESOLVED  that  the Alaska  State  Legislature                                                                    
     fully  supports our  Congressional delegation  in their                                                                    
     efforts to hold up the  confirmation of a new [Food and                                                                    
     Drug  Administration  (FDA)]   Commissioner  until  the                                                                    
     agency  agrees  to  require labeling  for  [genetically                                                                    
     engineered] salmon.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STUTES objected for discussion.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
11:02:58 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS stated  support for  the amendment                                                               
and  said  a  thorough  understanding  of  how  the  confirmation                                                               
process is  handled by congress  would be good knowledge  to have                                                               
when making this type of request.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HERRON  acknowledged  the  member's  concern  and                                                               
commented that  the action of  approving the GE salmon  carries a                                                               
huge potential for harming Alaska.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
11:04:56 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STUTES removed  her objection.  With  no further objection,                                                               
Conceptual Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
11:05:21 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS moved  to report  the proposed  CS                                                               
for  HJR 28,  Version  29-LS1213\W, Nauman,  2/3/16, as  amended,                                                               
from   committee   with   individual  recommendations   and   the                                                               
accompanying fiscal notes.  Without  objection, CSHJR 28(FSH) was                                                               
reported from the House Special Committee on Fisheries.                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Seafood in Southcentral - McDowell Study, Arni Thompson.pdf HFSH 2/4/2016 10:00:00 AM
Arni Thompson Alaska Salmon Alliance
HJR 28 Sponsor Statement.pdf HFSH 2/4/2016 10:00:00 AM
HJR 28
HJR 28 Explanation of Changes between Version W and Version A.pdf HFSH 2/4/2016 10:00:00 AM
HJR 28
HJR 28 Version W (CS).pdf HFSH 2/4/2016 10:00:00 AM
HJR 28
HJR 28 Version A.PDF HFSH 2/4/2016 10:00:00 AM
HJR 28
HJR 28 Support Alaska Dispatch News Article.pdf HFSH 2/4/2016 10:00:00 AM
HJR 28
HJR 28 Support Reps. Young and Defazio.pdf HFSH 2/4/2016 10:00:00 AM
HJR 28
HJR 28 Support NY Times Article.pdf HFSH 2/4/2016 10:00:00 AM
HJR 28
HJR 28 Support Sen. Murkowski.pdf HFSH 2/4/2016 10:00:00 AM
HJR 28
HJR 28 Support Tarr Frankenfish.pdf HFSH 2/4/2016 10:00:00 AM
HJR 28
HJR 28 Support PVOA.pdf HFSH 2/4/2016 10:00:00 AM
HJR 28
HJR 28 Support USAG.pdf HFSH 2/4/2016 10:00:00 AM
HJR 28
HJR 28 Support UFA.pdf HFSH 2/4/2016 10:00:00 AM
HJR 28
HJR 28 Oppose ITIF.pdf HFSH 2/4/2016 10:00:00 AM
HJR 28
HJR 28 Oppose AquaBounty Testimony.pdf HFSH 2/4/2016 10:00:00 AM
HJR 28
HJR 28-Fiscal Note LAA.pdf HFSH 2/4/2016 10:00:00 AM
HJR 28 Fiscal Note
HJR 28 Support Weathers.pdf HFSH 2/4/2016 10:00:00 AM
HJR 28
HJR 28 Support SAFA.pdf HFSH 2/4/2016 10:00:00 AM