Legislature(1995 - 1996)
04/15/1996 08:15 AM RES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SB 42 - LIMITED ENTRY & UNITS OF GEAR Number 0017 CO-CHAIR WILLIAMS announced the first item on the agenda was SSSB 42 am, an act allowing a person to hold more than one entry permit for certain fisheries and amending the definition of `unit of gear' for purposes of the commercial fisheries limited entry program; and providing for an effective date. Number 0095 FRANK HOMAN, Commissioner, Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission, Department of Fish and Game (DFG), was first to testify. He said DFG has been working with the Dungeness fishermen and Senator Taylor's office as well as with Co-Chair William's office on this issue of the Dungeness crab moratorium and limitation. He said, four years ago, the legislature imposed a moratorium and the provision for a tiered pot system. He said SSSB 42 am is a minor adjustment to that moratorium. Number 0176 MR HOMAN said SSSB 42 am is sponsored by the Southeast Dungeness Crab Coalition, the Petersburg Vessel Owners Association and a number of other crab fisherman. He said the commission is supporting SSSB 42 am and the work that has been done on it. Number 0214 MR. HOMAN said in a tiered pot system, which we have with Dungeness crab, an A,B,C, or D permit would be more restrictive than the Board of Fish limitation of 300 pots. He said SSSB 42 am would allow the combination of two permits as long as it did not go over the 300 pot maximum. He said the bill would allow people to work up through the system and allow them to retain some entry level permits. Number 0291 REPRESENTATIVE ALAN AUSTERMAN asked if SSSB 42 am would only affect Southeast Alaska. Number 0295 MR. HOMAN said, at this time, the only fishery that would be affected by SSSB 42 am would be the Southeast Dungeness fishery as it is the only one with a tiered system. Number 0309 CO-CHAIR JOE GREEN asked how many permits are currently held by Alaskans as compared to those owned by non-residents of the state. Number 0322 MR. HOMAN said he did not know the precise figure, but 80 percent to 90 percent of the permits would be owned by Alaskans. Number 0348 SENATOR ROBIN TAYLOR, sponsor of SSSB 42 am, gave some legislative background on the bill. He said both he and Representative Grussendorf introduced identical legislation last year because it was felt that the Dungeness fishery had reached an economic level where this was possible. He said the fishery had gone through a boom and bust cycle and a flood of boats had come up from the states of Washington and Oregon where the fishing was poor. He said, during that time, the number if licensed crab fisherman doubled and then redoubled the following year. He said, at that point, if a limited entry system was installed all of those fisherman would have been included in that system. He said the states of Washington and Oregon have experienced strong Dungeness crab fishing in recent years and it has left the state with a resident Dungeness fishery. At the resident fisherman's request, a limited entry system was installed to prevent non-residents from fishing in Alaskan waters. Number 0483 SENATOR TAYLOR said, as last years legislation moved through the system, a consensus was reached that a tiered system should be installed. He said people with lower entry permits wanted to be assured that over time they could buy additional permits, called the stacking provision. He said when the limited entry system legislation passed out of the House, the title was too narrow to make an amendment for a permit stacking to occur. He said there was not the time to get a two-thirds vote to get a title change resolution. He said SSSB 42 am is clean-up language and follows up with the commitment that everyone made during the process from last year. SENATOR TAYLOR said the stacking provision would be limited by the 300 maximum gear limitation that the commission had set. He said there has been some discussion regarding the stacking provision by those who had received what they wanted from last years legislation, as a result a compromise was reached that only two permits would be allowed to be stacked. He said limiting the permits to two allows for more permits to be obtained at the lower level, because that is where the largest number of permits is located. He said having more permits at the lower level allows people to get involved in the industry with a limited investment. Number 0668 REPRESENTATIVE JOHN DAVIES asked if this was a strict limited entry situation where there is only a finite number in all of the classes. Number 0678 SENATOR TAYLOR said this was correct and referred to information in the committee packet. He said the smallest number involved was 300 and then it goes down with a 75 pot permit where the largest number of permits is found. Number 0698 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES asked if a person held one of the 75 pot permits would it be possible for the fisherman to buy one of the higher pot number permits and relinquish the 75 pot permit. SENATOR TAYLOR said if a 300 pot permit became available, he would need to sell the 75 pot permit. He said there are brokers who handle these transfers and as a result there wouldn't be any risk involved in the transfer of permits. Representative Kott joined the committee at 8:24 a.m. REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN made a motion to move SSSB 42 am with the accompanying fiscal note and individual recommendations. Hearing no objections SSSB 42 am was moved from the House Standing Committee on Resources.