Legislature(2017 - 2018)BARNES 124
04/14/2017 01:00 PM RESOURCES
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|Presentation: Ak Gasline Development Corporation Status Update|
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 211-NONRESIDENT HUNTING REQUIREMENTS: CARIBOU 2:24:23 PM CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON announced that the next order of business would be HOUSE BILL NO. 211, "An Act requiring a nonresident to be accompanied by a guide or resident spouse or relative when hunting certain caribou; and providing for an effective date." 2:25:09 PM REPRESENTATIVE WESTLAKE read from the Alaska State Constitution, Article 8, section 2 as follows: The legislature shall provide for the utilization, development, and conservation of all natural resources belonging to the state, including land and waters, for the maximum benefit of its people. RESPRESENTATIVE WESTLAKE said maximizing benefits for Alaskans should not be limited to oil [resources]. He pointed out the wealth from out-of-state hunters with a guide is not disruptive to migration patterns. Furthermore, a transporter bringing in a hunter from out-of-state, or not, suffers no repercussions if a violation is committed by a client, but if a hunter is accompanied by a big game guide, the guide has a vested interest in ensuring Alaska laws are obeyed. CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON asked for clarification on why the Porcupine Caribou Herd, [with a herd size of] 200,000, is included in the provisions of the bill. REPRESENTATIVE WESTLAKE explained the legislation applies to the caribou that cross over from Canada. CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON recalled previous testimony [during the hearing of HB 211 on 4/13/17] from Mr. Barrette that mandatory guiding should not be used as a tool to limit nonresident opportunity. REPRESENTATIVE WESTLAKE agreed, and explained why the bill requires mandatory guiding as follows: It goes back to sustainable yield, exactly what the Board of Game [Alaska Department of Fish & Game (ADFG)] was created for. You have big game guides out there [and] it behooves them to, to have sustainability built into whatever they may be hunting, so, unlike [Mr. Barrette], where he's saying I'm using it to exclude people, I'm using it so their children, the clients' children, and their children, and so forth, will be able to hunt from these magnificent herds that are traveling across America, the last ones that we have out here. [The bill] is a safeguard for sustaining these herds, rather than what we have now, with transporters being able to take someone in, and being disruptive to herd migrations - the herd patterns. This, it just makes sense. CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON directed attention to the bill on [page 1, lines 10-14, which read: *Sec. 2. AS 16.05.407(b) is amended to read: (d) A nonresident who violates (a) or (g) of this section, or who fails to furnish an affidavit under (b) of this section, is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction is punishable by imprisonment for not more than one year, or by a fine of not more than $5,000, or by both. CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON asked whether the foregoing section would be consistent with the efforts of the Division of Wildlife Troopers, Department of Public Safety (DPS), in proposed HB 129 and in Senate Bill 91 [passed in the first session of the 30th Alaska State Legislature], which are to move provisions into AS 12.55 "in sort of a generic [class] A misdemeanor sort of way." 2:29:29 PM BERNARD CHASTAIN, Major, Deputy Director, Headquarters, Division of Alaska Wildlife Troopers, DPS, clarified the question is related to the penalties associated with AS 16.05.407 subsections (b) and (d). He informed the committee [companion bills SB 60 and HB 129] propose to align penalties within Alaska Statues Title 16, and standardizes the penalties within as class A misdemeanors. Currently, AS 16.05.407 is not included in the provisions of proposed HB 129 or SB 60; however, amendments are forthcoming which would align AS 16.05.407 penalties to a class A misdemeanor, and thereby change the penalties proposed in HB 211. CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON said, "... but you're O.K. with this sort of continuing with the status quo, in terms of its language, pending any further reform of, through HB 129." MAJOR CHASTAIN clarified the change in the language [in HB 211 on page 1, lines 10-14] simply adds "or (g)" and does not change the penalties. Other [proposed] bills would change the penalties. REPRESENTATIVE TALERICO said he is struggling with the idea of the bill because the state has established a regulatory agency via the Board of Game (BOG), ADFG, to deal with proposals [related to wildlife]. He questioned whether BOG has the ability to enact the restriction directed by the bill, and thereby keep the restriction "somewhat flexible"; the legislature enacts statutes, which are not very flexible. He asked whether the bill removes authority from a state agency structured to provide [wildlife] management. REPRESENTATIVE WESTLAKE responded the bill addresses user conflict. The problem is: There are many conflicts between those who pay transporters and those who use the resource for subsistence, which seem to be "never-ending." In GMU 23, [the sizes of] caribou herds have dropped. He read as follows [from a document not identified]: Leading up to game management unit 23's closure, all [caribou] harvesting declined ... except nonguided nonresident. REPRESENTATIVER WESTLAKE concluded from the foregoing that the subsistence harvest declined, the resident harvest declined, the guided nonresident harvest declined, and the only increase was to the nonresident unguided harvest; therefore, the only ones to lose were the local folks. 2:34:03 PM FORREST WOLFE, staff to Representative Dean Westlake, Alaska State Legislature, in response to Representative Talerico, said enactment of a guide requirement has to be in statute as BOG does not have the authority to do so. CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON recalled the executive director of Resident Hunters of Alaska, testifying in opposition to the bill, also stated [the restriction] had to done legislatively. REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH said, "... it sounds to me like the unguided nonresident hunters are better hunters, is that right?" REPRESENTATIVE WESTLAKE agreed, and explained, "You can be the best hunter out there if you go over there [and] disrupt that pattern that they're trying to go through when they're, when they're migrating either north to south in this instance, or else south to north ...." Speaking as a Native hunter, he said Native hunters never bother the front herds. He related his experience of watching caribou come over a mountain to a river followed by a second group following the same track. Representative Westlake stressed the importance of letting the pilot herds travel the migratory path without disruption, and said, "So, sometimes at the end of the day, we get less game, but the caribou stay on that route ...." REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH asked whether a hunt can be structured around a time that does not disrupt the migration pattern. REPRESENTATIVE WESTLAKE suggested a summer hunt would probably work. MR. WOLFE, in response to Representative Birch's previous question, said guides are regulated as to the number of clients they can take per season to the hunting grounds, and transporters are not. He advised nonguided nonresidents may not be better hunters, but there may be more of them. 2:37:16 PM REPRESENTATIVE PARISH inquired as to the economic impact to the region of a guided hunt as opposed to a nonguided hunt. 2:37:56 PM THOR STACEY, Lobbyist, Alaska Professional Hunters Association, disclosed he has a guide concession located in the northeastern portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), thus he may have a personal financial interest in some aspects of the bill. In response to Representative Parish, he said the Alaska Professional Hunters Association (APHA) commissioned an economic report in 2013, and a second report with a partner in 2017, to review the economic impacts associated with visiting nonresident hunters who are accompanied by hunting guides. Mr. Stacey was unaware of a study that documents the transporter industry's direct economic benefit, or per animal most recent economic study that the average guided hunt in Alaska is worth approximately $16,500, calculated from a total of $87.5 million of total economic output, from approximately 3,300 nonresident hunters accompanied by guides. Mr. Stacey assumed there is more value-added benefit for a guided hunting trip, but he did not have documentation on the value of a transported nonresident guided hunt. Furthermore, in response to a question posed [4/13/17], approximately 90 percent of active registered guides in Alaska are Alaska residents. 2:40:32 PM REPRESENTATIVE PARISH questioned how the number of active guides in the region compares with the number of transporters. MR. STACEY said hunting guides contract the services of transporters, and a nonresident accompanied by a hunting guide may also contract the services of a transporter, such as an air taxi. He pointed out the central portion of the affected area to the west is federal land, and except for Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) land, there is a fixed number of hunting guide concessions permitted on land managed by the National Park Service, DOI, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, DOI. In addition, from the Kavik River east - the area of the Central Arctic and Porcupine herds - the land is similarly restricted. Because there is not a restrictive program affecting transporters, there is an unlimited number of transporters operating within any of these lands. One area not reported in studies of reductions in harvest and opportunity is the "transporter component." He related the demand for hunting a caribou is good - worldwide - and the demand for transported access to hunting areas is high; thus an "uptick" in harvest represents a larger uptick in total hunter effort, because not every hunter gets a caribou: an uptick in harvest and a declining herd represents more hunters in the field. 2:43:19 PM REPRESENTATIVE PARISH inquired as to what sanctions APHA has in place for guides who may disrupt a migrating caribou herd. MR. STACEY said APHA is a nongovernmental entity with a code of conduct and ethical guidelines to which members adhere. He said he was unaware of any governmental or nongovernmental sanctions against a guide who disrupts the migration of a caribou herd. However, the perception of disruptions, founded or unfounded, may have resulted in the closure of GMU 23 to all nonlocal hunters. In further response to Representative Parish, he opined the bill is not designed to cap [the number of visits and] the decline of the herd, in fact, caribou herds could experience many environmental and human causes for a serious decline; the state BOG process is confined by the state constitutional mandate for sustained harvest, with a subsistence priority, and on federal land, state and federal subsistence absolute amounts are set. However, APHA does not see the bill as necessary for the conservation of the herd, but instead, human-on-human conflict is the "discussion on the table." REPRESENTATIVE PARISH referred to information from the Division of Wildlife Conservation, ADFG, reporting that last year 82 percent of nonresident hunters were unguided, and 350 nonresident hunters per year hunt unguided. For the Teshekpuk and Western Arctic herds, approximately 2,326, or 77 percent of nonresidents, are unguided. He asked what percentage [of the unguided nonresident hunters] could be "absorbed into guided hunts." MR. STACEY advised not all could be absorbed through guided hunts because that would be beyond the capacity of hunting guides. Furthermore, the number of guided hunts is also limited by economics because guided hunts cost more. He assured the committee that the current number of permitted hunting guides could not accompany the same number of nonresident unguided hunts that now occur. REPRESENTATIVE PARISH questioned whether guides could double their capacity next year. 2:48:17 PM MR. STACEY expressed doubt that the guiding industry could double its capacity within a year. REPRESENTATIVE PARISH posited that if guides were able to double their capacity, there would be a 50 percent decline in the number of nonresidents hunting, unless they had [qualified] relatives in the area. CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON clarified nonresidents could hunt if they have relatives in the state with a second degree of kindred. MR. STACEY remarked: Currently, zero nonresidents hunters could actually hunt in the unit 23 portion of the area discussed, so any opening would represent a significant increase of opportunity that would theoretically, obviously, come with a caveat .... that Alaska residents, everyone in this room, that doesn't live within the area, would once again be allowed to hunt there. ... It's hard to ascertain the downrange of facts, especially where federal management and federal boards and other things are involved, so ... it's a complex problem. CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON asked whether guides can combine hunting for caribou and sheep in the same trip. MR. STACEY said that is common practice. 2:51:20 PM REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND moved to adopt [Amendment 1, identified as 30-LS0700\J.2, Bullard, 4/12/17]. 2:51:27 PM CO-CHAIR TARR objected for discussion purposes. REPRESENTATIVE WESTLAKE explained Amendment 1 would correct an oversight that omitted the Teshekpuk Caribou Herd from the caribou herds protected in the bill. As an aside, he noted the local hunters have already scaled down their subsistence hunting of this herd. 2:52:33 PM CO-CHAIR TARR removed her objection. There being no further objection, Amendment 1 was adopted. 2:53:08 PM CO-CHAIR TARR moved to report HB 211, as amended, out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes. There being no objection, CSHB 211(RES) was reported from the House Resources Standing Committee.
|AGDC House Resources Committee Presentation 4.14.17.pdf||
HRES 4/14/2017 1:00:00 PM
|HB201 Supporting Document - Legal Memos re MatSu Trapping 2013.pdf||
HRES 4/14/2017 1:00:00 PM