Legislature(2019 - 2020)GRUENBERG 120

03/21/2019 11:15 AM FISHERIES

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Audio Topic
11:18:49 AM Start
11:19:20 AM HB41
12:06:39 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Please Note Time Change --
Moved HB 41 Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
         HB 41-SHELLFISH ENHANCE. PROJECTS; HATCHERIES                                                                      
11:19:20 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR STUTES announced that the only order of business would be                                                                 
HOUSE BILL  NO. 41,  "An Act relating  to management  of enhanced                                                               
stocks of shellfish;  authorizing certain nonprofit organizations                                                               
to  engage   in  shellfish  enhancement  projects;   relating  to                                                               
application fees  for salmon hatchery permits;  and providing for                                                               
an effective date."                                                                                                             
11:19:35 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  DAN ORTIZ,  Alaska  State Legislature,  explained                                                               
that  the [Alaska]  fishing industry  generates  about 6  billion                                                               
dollars a  year in economic  activity.  He stated  that fisheries                                                               
are renewable resources which continually  benefit the state.  He                                                               
went  on to  say  that  HB 41  is  designed  to enhance  Alaska's                                                               
shellfish industries.  Representative  Ortiz explained that HB 41                                                               
would allow  qualified non-profits  to prefer enhancement  and or                                                               
restoration  projects involving  shellfish species  including red                                                               
and blue king  crab, sea cucumber, abalone, and razor  clams.  He                                                               
continued  his explanation  by  saying the  bill  would create  a                                                               
regulatory framework which would  enable the Alaska Department of                                                               
Fish & Game  (ADFG) to manage shellfish  enhancement projects and                                                               
outline  criteria for  issuance of  permits.   It  would set  out                                                               
stringent safety  standards to  ensure sustainability  and health                                                               
of existing natural stocks.   The commissioner of ADFG would have                                                               
to determine that  there was substantial public  benefit before a                                                               
project could  proceed.  Representative Ortiz  explained the bill                                                               
would set the application fee  for shellfish enhancement projects                                                               
to one  thousand dollars and  would increase the  salmon hatchery                                                               
fee to the same amount.  He  summed up his testimony by saying HB                                                               
41 had an  important role for the mariculture  industry in Alaska                                                               
by  providing a  method for  increased harvest  of shellfish  for                                                               
public use.                                                                                                                     
11:23:41 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  asked if HB  41 was a  "letter for                                                               
letter" replacement of  House Bill 28 in its final  form from the                                                               
2018 legislature.                                                                                                               
11:24:06 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE ORTIZ answered yes.                                                                                              
11:24:21 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  EDGMON stated  the  bill seems  like an  economic                                                               
development bill, then asked if ADFG was supportive of the bill.                                                                
11:24:40 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE ORTIZ answered that  the department was in support                                                               
of the previous bill and the new bill was a mirror of that bill.                                                                
11:25:17 AM                                                                                                                   
SAM  RABUNG,  Director,  Commercial  Fisheries  Division,  Alaska                                                               
Department of  Fish &  Game, said  that Representative  Ortiz was                                                               
correct;  last year  the department  was in  support.   This year                                                               
there hadn't been any direction  from the current administration,                                                               
so the departments view was neutral.                                                                                            
11:25:52 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE NEUMAN asked if the  increase in cost for hatchery                                                               
permits covered the operating costs to the department.                                                                          
11:26:19 AM                                                                                                                   
MR.  RABUNG  answered  that the  department  processes  very  few                                                               
hatchery permits.   Then he explained that with  the proposed new                                                               
shellfish  permitting process,  it  was thought  there should  be                                                               
equity between the permit fees.                                                                                                 
11:27:40 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP asked if shellfish  enhancement was a growing                                                               
industry in Alaska.                                                                                                             
11:27:59 AM                                                                                                                   
MR.  RABUNG  explained  that the  aquatic  farming  industry  was                                                               
growing and  had been since  1988.   He said aquatic  farming was                                                               
similar  to  terrestrial farming  in  that  the farmer  owns  the                                                               
product from when  it was planted to when it  was harvested; with                                                               
enhancement the product is not owned  until it is harvested.  The                                                               
intention of the bill would  be to provide additional harvestable                                                               
surplus for existing common property fisheries.                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP asked if Mr.  Rabung was aware of anything in                                                               
the legislation that had to do with macro algae or kelp.                                                                        
MR. RABUNG  replied that the  bill only dealt  with invertebrates                                                               
so there wasnt a macro algae component in the bill.                                                                             
11:29:40 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  asked for  clarification regarding                                                               
whether it  was correct  that the  department received  less than                                                               
one private nonprofit hatchery application per year on average.                                                                 
11:30:21 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. RABUNG confirmed that is correct.                                                                                           
11:30:33 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  NEUMAN  asked  if  there was  a  way  to  protect                                                               
mariculture farms from marine mammals.                                                                                          
MR.  RABUNG explained  that the  sea otter  is the  marine mammal                                                               
that  would  interact with  the  farmed  species  the most.    He                                                               
confirmed that the  sea otter population was  growing quickly and                                                               
having  consequences  on  marine  fisheries.   He  explained  sea                                                               
otters are  under the jurisdiction  of the federal  Marine Mammal                                                               
Protection  Act, which  makes it  difficult to  take any  adverse                                                               
11:32:36 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR LOUISE STUTES opened public testimony on HB 41.                                                                           
11:33:06 AM                                                                                                                   
JULIE  DECKER, Executive  Director, Alaska  Fisheries Development                                                               
Foundation, testified  in favor of the  HB 41. She said  the bill                                                               
would create  the regulatory framework  which would  help develop                                                               
the  shellfish  fishery  enhancements necessary  to  benefit  the                                                               
states  economy.  Ms. Decker  explained that the Alaska Fisheries                                                               
Development Foundation  had been part of  spearheading the Alaska                                                               
Mariculture  Initiative   which  was  meant  to   accelerate  the                                                               
development of mariculture in Alaska.                                                                                           
11:36:08 AM                                                                                                                   
CLAY KOPLIN, Mayor,  City of Cordova, testified in  support of HB                                                               
41.  He said Alaska has  the potential for a multi-billion dollar                                                               
industry,  but  currently  the  production  is  under  a  million                                                               
dollars  annually.    He  shared that  he  thought  the  proposed                                                               
legislation would  provide an opportunity  for Alaska to  use its                                                               
world-class  environmental  standards  for shellfish  and  salmon                                                               
enhancement.  He  explained that Cordova ranks  as the thirteenth                                                               
largest seafood port on average  in the United States even though                                                               
the fisheries are  largely summer month fisheries.   He concluded                                                               
his testimony  by explaining there are  opportunities for aquatic                                                               
farms to enhance the economy of Cordova and the state.                                                                          
11:39:18 AM                                                                                                                   
NANCY HILLSTRAND,  Pioneer Alaskan  Fisheries, testified  she was                                                               
concerned  that Alaska  fisheries were  becoming farm  fisheries.                                                               
She  shared  that  during the  previous  year  approximately  200                                                               
million dollars had been earned  from tanner crab fisheries.  Ms.                                                               
Hillstrand pointed  out fisheries  were making money  without any                                                               
up-front  costs.    She  said  that  from  an  economic  business                                                               
perspective, self-perpetuating wild fish  stock provided the most                                                               
efficient business model.  She  requested that a cost analysis be                                                               
done on hatcheries.  Ms.  Hillstrand stated that shellfish need a                                                               
comprehensive shellfish plan by species.                                                                                        
11:41:42 AM                                                                                                                   
TOMI MARSH,  Oceans Alaska, testified in  support of HB 41.   She                                                               
shared  her belief  that  the bill  would  create the  regulatory                                                               
framework for shellfish hatcheries and enhancement.                                                                             
11:43:13 AM                                                                                                                   
JEFF  HETRICK,   Director,  Alutiiq  Pride   Shellfish  Hatchery,                                                               
testified in  support of HB  41.   He explained that  the Alutiiq                                                               
Pride Shellfish  Hatchery had been doing  research into shellfish                                                               
farming for  almost twenty years.   He said  it was time  to move                                                               
beyond  studies and  start determining  the economic  benefits of                                                               
using  shellfish  enhancement  as  a  tool  to  restore  depleted                                                               
shellfish species.                                                                                                              
11:44:46 AM                                                                                                                   
STEVE  RICCI,  Aleutian  Pribilof  Island  Community  Development                                                               
Association, testified in support of HB  41.  Mr. Ricci said that                                                               
there  is tremendous  opportunity  for  mariculture business  and                                                               
revenue  generation  in  Western  Alaska.   He  stated  potential                                                               
increases  to subsistence  fisheries, workforce  development, and                                                               
furthering research  efforts to better understand  the impacts of                                                               
climatic  related  ocean  changes  are  all  potential  long  run                                                               
11:47:12 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR LOUISE STUTES closed public testimony on HB 41.                                                                           
11:51:33 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATVE   VANCE  asked   if   the  sponsor   of  the   bill                                                               
[Representative  Ortiz] could  address concerns  from one  of her                                                               
constituents about shellfish enhancement to the wild stock.                                                                     
11:51:57 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE ORTIZ suggested Mr.  Rabung would be better suited                                                               
to answer the question.                                                                                                         
11:52:22 AM                                                                                                                   
MR.  RABUNG  explained  that safeguards  are  built  into  place.                                                               
Sustainability  of   wild  stock  is  the   departments   primary                                                               
guidance,  so potential  projects are  evaluated with  wild stock                                                               
safety as  part of  the planning process.   Mr.  Rabung described                                                               
various  methods of  ensuring the  same genetic  stock were  used                                                               
within the area  they were gathered from in an  effort to protect                                                               
the  resource.   He  said  the  departments  primary  concern  is                                                               
maintaining natural stock productivity.                                                                                         
11:55:15 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE asked if mariculture  enhancement was like a                                                               
MR.  RABUNG replied,   That  is exactly  what it  is  like.    He                                                               
explained that  the gain  comes from  protecting the  young until                                                               
they  are large  enough to  survive at  a much  higher rate  than                                                               
would occur naturally in the wild.                                                                                              
12:00:53 PM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE TARR asked  Mr. Rabung whether the  stock would be                                                               
from a local source or from another area.                                                                                       
MR.  RABUNG  explained  that  ADFG would  provide  the  stock  or                                                               
approve appropriate stock from another project.                                                                                 
12:01:33 PM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE asked  what would happen in an  area that no                                                               
longer supported or had local natural stock to enhance.                                                                         
MR. RABUNG  answered,  There  is language in  the bill  that says                                                               
you  must  first   use  stock  from  the   project  location,  if                                                               
feasible.      If   an  area   needed  to   have  natural   stock                                                               
reestablished, the department would  provide breed stock from the                                                               
nearest available appropriate stock.                                                                                            
12:03:30 PM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR STUTES shared that the bill  has two zero fiscal notes, one                                                               
indeterminant note, and a further  reference to the House Finance                                                               
12:03:58 PM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  NEUMAN   suggested  that  there  might   be  some                                                               
legitimate questions  from the public,  and he expected  that the                                                               
bill would not  be moved forward without further  discussion.  He                                                               
concluded by  saying he would  continue to work with  the sponsor                                                               
and would have no objection to moving the bill.                                                                                 
12:05:39 PM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP moved  to report HB 41 out  of committee with                                                               
individual  recommendations and  the  accompanying fiscal  notes.                                                               
There being  no objection, HB  41 was  reported out of  the House                                                               
Special Committee on Fisheries.                                                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB041 Support Document - AFDF 03.20.2019.pdf HFSH 3/21/2019 11:15:00 AM
HB 41
HB041 Support Document - Alutiiq Pride 03.12.2019.pdf HFSH 3/21/2019 11:15:00 AM
HB 41
HB041 Support Document - APICDA 03.20.2019.pdf HFSH 3/21/2019 11:15:00 AM
HB 41
HB041 Support Document - Oceans Alaska 03.21.2019.pdf HFSH 3/21/2019 11:15:00 AM
HB 41
HB041 Support Document - SARDFA 03.13.2019.pdf HFSH 3/21/2019 11:15:00 AM
HB 41
HB041 Support Document - SE Conference 03.13.2019.pdf HFSH 3/21/2019 11:15:00 AM
HB 41
HB041 Support Document - Silver Bay Seafoods 03.19.2019.pdf HFSH 3/21/2019 11:15:00 AM
HB 41
HB041 Support Document - UFA 03.12.2019.pdf HFSH 3/21/2019 11:15:00 AM
HB 41
HB041 Support Document - Wrangell 03.12.2019.pdf HFSH 3/21/2019 11:15:00 AM
HB 41
HB041 ver A 03.12.2019.PDF HFSH 3/21/2019 11:15:00 AM
HB 41
HB 41 Fiscal Note-DAS#2-03.15.19.pdf HFSH 3/21/2019 11:15:00 AM
HB 41
HB 41 Fiscal Note-DAS-03.15.19.pdf HFSH 3/21/2019 11:15:00 AM
HB 41
HB 41 Fiscal Note-OMB-03.15.19.pdf HFSH 3/21/2019 11:15:00 AM
HB 41
HB041 Sectional Analysis ver A 03.12.2019.pdf HFSH 3/21/2019 11:15:00 AM
HB 41
HB041 Sponsor Statement 03.12.2019.pdf HFSH 3/21/2019 11:15:00 AM
HB 41