Legislature(2017 - 2018)BARNES 124

04/19/2017 01:00 PM RESOURCES

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ HB 203 REMOTE REC. CABIN SITE STAKING SALES TELECONFERENCED
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
+ HB 107 FISH ENHANCEMENT PERMITS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
+= HB 197 COMMUNITY SEED LIBRARIES TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
                HB 107-FISH ENHANCEMENT PERMITS                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:02:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR TARR  announced that the  final order of  business would                                                               
be HOUSE  BILL NO.  107, "An  Act relating  to certain  fish; and                                                               
establishing  a fisheries  rehabilitation permit."   [Before  the                                                               
committee was CSHB 107(FSH).]                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:02:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TALERICO,   sponsor,  introduced  HB  107.     He                                                               
explained that  it is a  fish rehabilitation bill and  the permit                                                               
described  in  the   bill  could  boost  the   survival  rate  of                                                               
fertilized eggs to  the fry stage from 5 percent  in nature to 95                                                               
percent  via  incubation.    He  said  the  fish  eggs  would  be                                                               
collected, fertilized, incubated, and  hatched, and the unfed fry                                                               
would be  released back into the  same water.  While  this is not                                                               
completely  natural, he  continued, it  is as  natural as  it can                                                               
possibly be made to rehabilitate or grow populations.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TALERICO  pointed out that fish  incubation is not                                                               
new  and has  been done  for  nearly 40  years in  many areas  of                                                               
Alaska.    Similar  permits for  education  and  science  already                                                               
exist, he said, but this bill  would clean things up by outlining                                                               
these  permit requirements  in statute  and for  the purposes  of                                                               
rehabilitation.  The bill would create  the ability to not have a                                                               
project labeled  as either an  education or science  project, but                                                               
to be able  to utilize it as a rehabilitation  project.  It would                                                               
be  a   collaborative  effort  with  private   sector  nonprofits                                                               
actually doing the project while  under the complete direction of                                                               
[the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG)].                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TALERICO said his  motivation for the bill relates                                                               
to  the State  of Alaska's  current fiscal  constraints and  that                                                               
there is  at least  one party  very interested  in participating.                                                               
This party, he related, thinks  it has the ability to potentially                                                               
leverage  funds and  to use  some of  its own  funds to  do this,                                                               
while  it  would be  a  bit  tough  for  [the state]  given  [the                                                               
state's] current financial situation.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TALERICO noted  he has been down  this path before                                                               
and that  at one point it  was declared as being  "bucket biology                                                               
and anyone  could do this."     However, he continued,  given the                                                               
requirements for  the permit  under this  bill, the  permit would                                                               
not be easy to obtain.   The applicant would have to satisfy many                                                               
requirements before  it could  head down this  road and  it would                                                               
require ADFG's  approval.  Once  permitted, the party  would have                                                               
to stay engaged with ADFG by  providing data in order to continue                                                               
the project.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TALERICO allowed that  different people would view                                                               
the bill  differently.  He said  some will see it  as an absolute                                                               
disaster and  some will  see it as  opportunity to  maybe provide                                                               
more  for sport  fishermen  and potentially  more for  commercial                                                               
fishermen.  However,  he emphasized, this wouldn't  be a hatchery                                                               
replacement bill.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TALERICO  stated that for  his district this  is a                                                               
food source  bill.  He noted  that his district begins  in Tanana                                                               
on the Yukon River, goes all  the way to the Canadian border, and                                                               
includes also  a fair  portion of  the Tanana  River.   These two                                                               
enormous river  systems have traditionally  had runs in  them, he                                                               
said, but recently there have  been closures, including a closure                                                               
just put on the Kuskokwim drainage.   For the folks he represents                                                               
this is a critical food  source that they have traditionally used                                                               
for hundreds, if not thousands,  of years.  Currently that option                                                               
appears to be going away.   The bill, he continued, is an attempt                                                               
to figure out  a way to get  this food source back  so people can                                                               
continue  to  fish   from  Tanana  all  the  way   up  to  Eagle,                                                               
particularly in  the Yukon  where villages  have had  fish wheels                                                               
for centuries.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:08:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ELIJAH  VERHAGEN,  Staff,  Representative Dave  Talerico,  Alaska                                                               
State Legislature, explained  HB 107 in further  detail on behalf                                                               
of  Representative  Talerico,  sponsor.    He  noted  that  under                                                               
current  statute,   AS  16.05.050(a)(5),  a  duty   of  the  ADFG                                                               
commissioner is  to propagate fish  or increase  fish populations                                                               
throughout  the  state.    The  department  has  done  this  with                                                               
educational and  science permits, he  said, which are  similar to                                                               
what is  being proposed in HB  107.  The sponsor  has worked with                                                               
ADFG in crafting the bill's  permit criteria, which begin on page                                                               
2,  line 2,  and which  would require  that the  permit applicant                                                               
fill  out  the applicant's  name,  reasons  for doing  this,  the                                                               
conditions  justifying  the  project,  ample  communication  with                                                               
affected  people in  the area,  the location,  how many  fish and                                                               
fish  eggs  the   applicant  will  collect,  and   the  plan  for                                                               
incubation.   These requirements, he  stated, are to  ensure that                                                               
an unqualified  person can't get  a permit because  [the sponsor]                                                               
wants  this to  be a  safe  and reasonable  process to  propagate                                                               
fish.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. VERHAGEN  related that over  the years the  ADFG commissioner                                                               
has  come  up  with  science and  educational  permits  that  are                                                               
similar but are nowhere in statute.   So, HB 107 would get a fish                                                               
permit into  statute.   Also, he added,  at least  one interested                                                               
party, the  Tanana Chiefs  Conference (TCC),  is ready  to invest                                                               
its own private dollars into obtaining  one of these permits.  He                                                               
said TCC has already worked with  the biologist who has done this                                                               
fish incubation and will be  able to responsibly and safely boost                                                               
the fish populations in the Nenana and Yukon rivers.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. VERHAGEN  explained that under science  and education permits                                                               
an entity  would have to obtain  the permit under the  premise of                                                               
science, science  collection, or education, whereas  HB 107 would                                                               
allow the  entity to get  a permit simply  because of a  need for                                                               
more  fish and  would put  this type  of a  permit into  statute.                                                               
Escapement goals  haven't been met,  he said, and many  rivers do                                                               
not  even have  escapement  goals  or fish  counting  due to  the                                                               
state's  limited resources.   However,  he continued,  the locals                                                               
can attest that not near as  many fish are getting up the rivers,                                                               
especially as far as the Interior.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. VERHAGEN  stated each permit would  have to be signed  by the                                                               
ADFG commissioner  and the permit  [would be subject to]  all the                                                               
checks and balances  listed on page 2, [paragraphs]  (1)-(8).  He                                                               
pointed out  that page  2, line 24,  states the  department "may"                                                               
issue  a  permit.   Therefore,  he  said,  ADFG would  have  full                                                               
latitude to reject  an application or ask the  applicant to amend                                                               
its  application  if the  department  feels  that the  person  or                                                               
organization isn't qualified.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. VERHAGEN  noted that science  and education permits  are open                                                               
to  governmental agencies  and  schools, but  not to  businesses.                                                               
The hope  under HB  107, he  said, is for  the private  sector to                                                               
collaborate under the  oversight of ADFG and  use private dollars                                                               
to  boost  fish  populations.    But,  he  added,  these  private                                                               
entities would  not be able to  say, "These are our  fish, so you                                                               
can't touch  them."   The fish  coming from  these rehabilitation                                                               
projects would  be open to  everyone and it  will be in  the best                                                               
interest of everyone to get as many natural fish as possible.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  VERHAGEN drew  attention to  the document  in the  committee                                                               
packet  entitled, "Early  Survival (emergent  fry) Comparison  of                                                               
Salmon  Naturally   Spawning  Versus  Assisted  Spawning."     He                                                               
explained that in  nature when salmon spawn many of  the eggs are                                                               
washed away  without getting fertilized.   Additionally, the eggs                                                               
are  subject to  predation by  other fish  and animals,  die from                                                               
being covered  by silt,  or die  from freezing  in winter  if the                                                               
water  table  drops.    With  all these  factors,  he  said,  the                                                               
survival  rate from  fertilized egg  to emergent  fry is  about 5                                                               
percent.   Through incubation, he  continued, that  survival rate                                                               
from fertilized egg  to fry is increased to  90-95 percent, which                                                               
has been  proven [by hatcheries]  for the  past 40 years.   Under                                                               
the bill the  fry would be unfed  and would be put  back into the                                                               
same  river that  [their parents]  were  taken out  of and  there                                                               
would be no risk of changing  the genetics.  [These released fry]                                                               
would  be just  like any  other emergent  fry and  would have  to                                                               
learn to fend for themselves naturally.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. VERHAGEN stated  that the permit proposed under  HB 107 would                                                               
allow qualified  individuals, corporations, or other  entities to                                                               
use their  resources and money  to prove through  the application                                                               
process outlined in the bill that  they know what they are doing.                                                               
For  example, he  continued,  he  has been  working  on this  all                                                               
session and now has  a good idea of how to do  this, but he would                                                               
probably  be rejected  if  he  applied for  a  permit because  he                                                               
doesn't  have  the  money  or resources  to  get  the  incubation                                                               
equipment or  to build the troughs.   He further added  that [the                                                               
Gulkana  Hatchery  near Paxson  that  is  managed by  the  Prince                                                               
William Sound  Aquaculture Corporation]  has used  nearby natural                                                               
hot  springs  to adjust  the  water  temperatures throughout  the                                                               
winter while the eggs are growing.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:16:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. VERHAGEN reiterated  that applicants would have  to know what                                                               
they are doing to  be given a permit.  The  permit would last for                                                               
five years  so that  a return  would be  seen on  the permittee's                                                               
efforts.   He noted  that on  page 3, beginning  on line  26, the                                                               
bill  directs  that  the  permittee  shall  collect  and  provide                                                               
project data  and reports  that are  reasonably requested  by the                                                               
department.  While the department is  doing a great job, he said,                                                               
the  state's money  is limited  and there  are many  rivers where                                                               
there are no escapement goals and  that have no fish counts being                                                               
done, even  though there are  locals depending on those  fish for                                                               
food.    In   the  event  the  department   receives  two  permit                                                               
applications for the same location  on a river, he continued, the                                                               
department would have the discretion  to either issue two permits                                                               
for the same  area if it would not overpopulate  the river, or to                                                               
request one  of the applicants  to change the  proposed location.                                                               
Both permittees  would then be  providing data to  the department                                                               
that ADFG  would not otherwise have  on many of these  rivers and                                                               
creeks.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:17:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH stated  that early in his career  he was the                                                               
project  manager at  Sikusuilaq  Springs Hatchery  on the  Noatak                                                               
River.  Therefore,  he said, he can understand  what an advantage                                                               
it  would be  to  have  this supplement  to  the  natural run  of                                                               
salmon.  One  of the challenges, he continued, is  making sure it                                                               
is a natural run and he  appreciates that the salmon would be put                                                               
back into  the stream where they  started.  The survival  rate is                                                               
phenomenal, almost like  "crowd sourcing" of salmon,  so he likes                                                               
the idea.   He  said he  would like  to hear  whether there  is a                                                               
downside even though  it looks to him like it  would leverage the                                                               
food source and he looks forward to supporting the bill.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:19:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON  directed attention  to [the  bill on  page 4,                                                               
lines 30-31, and continuing to page 5, line 1] which read:                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
           (e) In making a finding that the plans and                                                                           
      specifications for a proposed construction, work, or                                                                      
        use sufficiently protect fish and game under (d)                                                                        
        section, the commissioner shall consider related                                                                        
     fisheries enhancement projects under AS 16.05.855.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON  expressed his  concern that  the commissioner                                                               
could  be   satisfied  by  showing  said   alternative  means  of                                                               
rehabilitation rather  than doing everything possible  to restore                                                               
wild  salmon  streams.    He  asked  Representative  Talerico  to                                                               
address this concern.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TALERICO  replied that this has  been successfully                                                               
done in the  Copper River drainage for  a long time.   He said it                                                               
is remarkable  how the  operators of  the Gulkana  Hatchery, ADFG                                                               
and now the Prince William  Sound Aquaculture [Corporation], have                                                               
kept wild salmon  stock available in the Copper River  as well as                                                               
the volume of fish that they've  put down the river for people to                                                               
utilize on a regular basis.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TALERICO  related that currently  his constituents                                                               
in the upper Yukon River are  at crisis levels with [the shortage                                                               
of] fish.  Jokes have been made  about how few fish there are, he                                                               
said, but  it is serious for  those people living in  Fort Yukon,                                                               
Rampart,   Tanana,   or   any    community   along   the   river.                                                               
Traditionally it  is a real  crisis and  it is critical  for [the                                                               
legislature]  to come  up with  the very  best plan  possible, he                                                               
continued.  While some may argue  that it might be detrimental to                                                               
the wild stock,  it is at a  level where action must  be taken to                                                               
get  these  supplies replenished  and  give  fish back  to  these                                                               
people.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TALERICO said the one  thing he is trying to avoid                                                               
is all  the theories of  why there  are no fish  because everyone                                                               
could spend the next 10 years,  like has been done these previous                                                               
10 years,  pointing a finger  at sport fishermen,  or subsistence                                                               
fishermen,  or   commercial  fishermen  and   getting  absolutely                                                               
nowhere.   Instead, he said,  he is  looking for a  resolution to                                                               
satisfy  the   user  groups   and  make   sure  Alaska   has  the                                                               
subsistence, sport,  and commercial  fish that  are vital  to the                                                               
state's employment and economy.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TALERICO maintained  the  bill would  not be  the                                                               
replacing  of  wild stock.    This  is as  wild  as  it gets,  he                                                               
posited.   Further, he said,  the bill  is not trying  to replace                                                               
hatcheries, which are  doing a great job of getting  lots of fish                                                               
out there and which he supports.    Rather, it is time to look at                                                               
this  in  a comprehensive  holistic  approach  and come  up  with                                                               
something to resolve the issue that is at hand.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:23:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  VERHAGEN  suggested  the bill's  drafter,  Alpheus  Bullard,                                                               
might be able to address Representative Josephson's concerns.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
ALPHEUS   BULLARD,    Attorney,   Legislative    Legal   Counsel,                                                               
Legislative   Legal   Services,   Legislative   Affairs   Agency,                                                               
explained the  language is  conforming to  a section  in existing                                                               
law that  has to  do with  protection of fish  and game  with the                                                               
existence  of  these  new fisheries  enhancement  permits.    The                                                               
section of law  that's being amended is  AS 16.05.871, Protection                                                               
of fish and  game, and it has to do  with protection of waterways                                                               
for  anadromous  fish.    This   was  included  as  a  conforming                                                               
amendment because  these rehabilitation  permits are  relevant to                                                               
that effort.  He said he  doesn't know if it would allow anything                                                               
that wouldn't be allowed otherwise  and therefore he doesn't know                                                               
that he has an answer to Representative Josephson's question.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:26:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON requested the  definition of "construction" or                                                               
"work."                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. BULLARD  replied there  is no  set definition.   To  get some                                                               
idea of what would be  affected, he suggested that the department                                                               
be asked what it has regulated underneath this statute.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:26:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  JOSEPHSON  said his  concern  is  that the  section  in                                                               
question is protection of waterways  for anadromous fish; that is                                                               
the  article  and  the  topic   is  protecting  anadromous  fish.                                                               
[Alaska  Statute 16.05.871(a)]  he  continued,  sticks with  that                                                               
subject and  notes the  importance of  the spawning,  rearing, or                                                               
migration of  anadromous fish.   He said he understands  that the                                                               
aforementioned language  is conforming, but stated  that it seems                                                               
to say, in effect, that if  there is some sort of construction or                                                               
work,  which  apparently  could include  hydraulic  projects  and                                                               
diversions,  one way  to get  to  meet the  requirements of  this                                                               
section  would  be  to  say  that  the  fisheries  rehabilitation                                                               
projects,  including  a hatchery  way  up  river, would  suffice.                                                               
Therefore, he  continued, his concern  is that in a  net-zero sum                                                               
situation, a commissioner might say that  he or she is willing to                                                               
continue  to sacrifice  improvements of  anadromous fish  because                                                               
[the department's]  fish goal is  going to  be met in  some other                                                               
way.   He stated he is  concerned as to what  policy statement is                                                               
being made by this  section of the bill.  He  asked whether he is                                                               
misreading subsection (e) on page 4, line 30, of the bill.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BULLARD responded  he  doesn't  believe that  Representative                                                               
Josephson is  misreading it.   He posed a  hypothetical situation                                                               
in which  there may be  constructions, works, or uses  that could                                                               
not  help  but  have  an   effect  on  existing  anadromous  fish                                                               
populations or other fish populations.   So, in this instance, he                                                               
said, it seems  appropriate that the commissioner  would be asked                                                               
to consider these fisheries enhancement permits.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:29:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
FORREST   BOWERS,  Deputy   Director,   Division  of   Commercial                                                               
Fisheries, Alaska  Department of Fish  & Game (ADFG),  stated the                                                               
discussion between Co-Chair Josephson  and Mr. Bullard accurately                                                               
portrays the intent of that particular section.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:29:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON related that a  concern heard from wild salmon                                                               
advocates is that by definition  these hatcheries are designed to                                                               
replenish weakened stocks of wild  salmon.  However, he said, the                                                               
process  of  that  replenishment  could further  weaken  what  is                                                               
already  weakened  and  the  wild  salmon  suffer  further.    He                                                               
inquired whether the sponsor shares this concern.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TALERICO  answered he  has heard that  concern and                                                               
added  that  several  people have  expressed  concern  about  the                                                               
diversity of the  different genetics in the salmon.   However, he                                                               
said, "Most of  us wonder how diverse do they  really get because                                                               
we know that  they just don't scatter-shot, they  usually go back                                                               
to where they were produced."   Wild salmon numbers getting lower                                                               
and lower and  the salmon continue to be fished  and the resource                                                               
depleted, but  there is  currently no  supplementing of  the wild                                                               
salmon with any other potential for  any other kind of catch.  He                                                               
said he looks  at this as more  like, "Are we just  going to work                                                               
our way to an extinction process?"   Obviously, he said, it would                                                               
have to stop at some point if numbers get that low.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TALERICO  recalled a presentation provided  to the                                                               
committee  about a  rehabilitation  project on  the Tanana  River                                                               
near  Delta  Junction in  which  the  riverbank was  rebuilt  and                                                               
stabilized to  prevent loss of  a historical park  and buildings.                                                               
He said that  if a project were  to be approved in  that area, he                                                               
would  hate to  think  that the  fish would  be  made to  suffer.                                                               
These things are going to have  to cohabitate with each other, he                                                               
said.   Destabilized riverbanks will  need to be  stabilized, but                                                               
the potential  is still there to  [also protect] the fish  run in                                                               
the  Tanana River  even  though  the bank  was  stabilized.   Mr.                                                               
Bullard's  explanation   of  that  was  really   good,  he  said,                                                               
occasionally there will be those things and they can coexist.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. VERHAGEN  pointed out that  the bill requires the  release of                                                               
only unfed  fry.  There is  a 10-day window, he  explained, where                                                               
fry  do not  need to  be fed  because they  emerge in  the alevin                                                               
stage [and are nourished by  their still-attached] yolk sac.  The                                                               
unfed  fry  will  be  mixing  with  the  natural  fish,  but  the                                                               
sponsor's argument  is that  the released  fry are  natural fish.                                                               
While humans incubated  them, nothing else was done to  them.  He                                                               
said the Gulkana Hatchery has been  doing this for 40 years and a                                                               
difference cannot be  seen between the incubated  fish versus the                                                               
natural fish.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:33:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  TARR  related  that  the  House  Special  Committee  on                                                               
Fisheries  discussed   the  difference   between  trying   to  do                                                               
enhancement for an entire fishery  versus enhancement for a stock                                                               
because the  bill is limited  to just  the stock of  a particular                                                               
river or river tributary, which should minimize that risk.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. BOWERS  replied that applications  under the  proposed permit                                                               
in  HB  107  would  be  limited  to  500,000  eggs,  which  is  a                                                               
relatively small number of fish.   He said [the department] has a                                                               
genetics policy  that is meant  to preserve genetic  diversity of                                                               
wild  stocks, so  there would  be stipulations  on any  applicant                                                               
permitted  under this  bill that  they would  have to  meet their                                                               
population sizes to ensure that  genetic diversity of wild stocks                                                               
is not compromised.  He stated  that loss of genetic diversity is                                                               
a legitimate concern that it is taken seriously by [ADFG].                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR TARR  reiterated her  question regarding  the difference                                                               
between an enhancement project that  is directed toward an entire                                                               
fishery  versus  an enhancement  project  that  is directed  more                                                               
toward the stock level as provided in HB 107.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. BOWERS  responded that it  would depend  on how a  fishery is                                                               
defined.   There could be  a recreational or  subsistence fishery                                                               
that targets  a very small  discreet stock in a  small tributary,                                                               
he said.   There are many examples of that  across the state; not                                                               
every  fishery  is targeting  a  resource  returning to  a  large                                                               
drainage.   He  surmised  that projects  permitted  under HB  107                                                               
would be attempting  to rehabilitate a stock that  is a component                                                               
of a larger  resource.  But, he continued,  certainly there could                                                               
be a  fishery or more than  one fishery that is  directed at some                                                               
of these  resources in small  tributaries that would  possibly be                                                               
considered under this bill.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:37:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON asked  whether there is any  evidence of which                                                               
Mr. Bowers  is aware that  hatcheries of this sort  have enhanced                                                               
wild stock populations.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. BOWERS  answered that [ADFG] permits  several different types                                                               
of aquaculture projects intended  to enhance or rehabilitate fish                                                               
stocks,   primarily  through   the  private   nonprofit  hatchery                                                               
program, he  said, which includes  the big hatcheries  around the                                                               
state.  A few state-run  hatcheries are similar; for example, the                                                               
William Jack  Hernandez Hatchery in  Anchorage and a  hatchery in                                                               
Fairbanks, but  primarily big private, nonprofit  hatcheries such                                                               
as the  [Macaulay Salmon Hatchery/Douglas  Island Pink  and Chum,                                                               
Inc. (DIPAC)] in Juneau.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. BOWERS noted  that [ADF&G] also permits  other projects, such                                                               
as the  11 bio-enhancement research projects  that were permitted                                                               
in  2016.   He  said the  provisions of  those  permits are  very                                                               
similar to  those contained  in HB 107,  such as  the 500,000-egg                                                               
limit.   [The department] has  permitted some of  those projects,                                                               
in the Seward Peninsula in  particular, that have restored salmon                                                               
stocks  in streams  where salmon  were extirpated  due to  mining                                                               
activity; so there  have been some positive outcomes.   As far as                                                               
small-scale projects  like this,  he continued,  [the department]                                                               
doesn't permit  many of  them because the  number of  requests is                                                               
low.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:38:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WESTLAKE  stated that  the hatchery on  the Noatak                                                               
River was successful.  Speaking  from his personal experience, he                                                               
related that  in the  1980's the  whole Kotzebue  fish population                                                               
crashed and was an economic disaster.   The hatchery has now been                                                               
closed about 15  years, he said, and he wonders  at what point do                                                               
[anadromous] fish  become indigenous  [fish].   He added  that he                                                               
travels past  that fish  hatchery and it  is teaming  with salmon                                                               
because that is  where they were born.  Since  the fisheries have                                                               
never come  back to what  they were  before, he continued,  he is                                                               
glad to see this bill.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:39:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH  stated he  has several  reservations about                                                               
the bill as a  whole.  He noted he has a  degree in biology where                                                               
salmon was a frequent topic, did  a research project on Auke Lake                                                               
salmon, and worked a bit for ADFG.   He said he has visited a few                                                               
weirs, including  one on Frazer  Lake, which wasn't  previously a                                                               
salmon stream,  and where a  ladder was put  in and now  the lake                                                               
has a robust run.  There is also  DIPAC in Juneau.  He said he is                                                               
therefore not  inherently opposed to fishery  enhancements.  But,                                                               
he continued, he is concerned  that giving a "19-fold competitive                                                               
advantage  to a  subset  of  the population,"  as  would be  done                                                               
according  to  the sponsor's  survival  statistics,  would put  a                                                               
downward pressure  on genetic diversity.   Effectively increasing                                                               
a subset  of the  population's representation  19 times  over, he                                                               
posited, would result in the  remaining one-twentieth composing a                                                               
smaller portion of the overall population.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  PARISH offered  his  appreciation  that the  bill                                                               
would require [the fry] to be  returned to the same waters and be                                                               
returned unfed.  He said  this provision would avoid what happens                                                               
with hatchery  fish where they  are fed  and come out  larger and                                                               
stronger and so he commends the sponsor in this regard.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH reiterated his  concern about the long-term                                                               
downward pressure on  genetic diversity that HB  107 would result                                                               
in.  While  the bill would be  great in the short  term, he said,                                                               
it would  not be a  long-term solution,  and that leads  to other                                                               
factors affecting  fisheries such as climate  degradation, timing                                                               
mismatches  in outmigration  and  return,  and larger  population                                                               
blooms of prey when they  out-migrate.  Also, he inquired whether                                                               
there is a provision  for local citizens - who are  not keen on a                                                               
project happening in their traditional  fishing area - would have                                                               
a mechanism to say, "no thank you."                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:43:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  VERHAGEN,  in  response   to  Representative  Parish's  last                                                               
question, directed attention  to the requirement on  page 2, line                                                               
8, which states that the  application for the permit must include                                                               
"any  communication, or  plan for  continued communication,  from                                                               
the applicant with affected  persons, relevant organizations with                                                               
applicable expertise, and stakeholders  in the project area," and                                                               
to page 3,  line 16, which states, "if the  proposed project is a                                                               
salmon rehabilitation  project, relevant and  applicable comments                                                               
relating  to  the  proposed  project   submitted  by  a  regional                                                               
planning  team established  under [AS  16.10.375] for  the region                                                               
that  encompasses  the project  area".    So, he  explained,  the                                                               
commissioner would be looking at  several things when considering                                                               
an application and  determining whether to accept it.   Page 1 of                                                               
the  application  includes   the  reasonable  communication  with                                                               
interested and  relevant parties  and organizations  and affected                                                               
persons.   The parties would  be able to have  discussions, which                                                               
would be  documented, and the  commissioner would be able  to see                                                               
that and know whether the locals are in favor of a project.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. VERHAGEN  then addressed genetic  diversity, stating  that in                                                               
the  late 1970's  and 1980's  ADFG successfully  planted over  20                                                               
million sockeye eggs in the  upper Karluk River and this restored                                                               
the depleted run  to pre-1921 populations.  Also,  he said, since                                                               
the 1970's the Gulkana Hatchery  has annually rehabilitated up to                                                               
40  million eggs  per year  in the  Copper River  watershed.   He                                                               
suggested Gary Martinek  be asked what the  Gulkana Hatchery does                                                               
for continuing  genetic diversity.   Mr.  Verhagen added  that by                                                               
incubating  the eggs  and putting  [the fry]  right back  in, the                                                               
bill is  trying to keep  everything as  natural as possible.   He                                                               
also pointed out that ADFG would  be using its genetics policy to                                                               
closely monitor those concerns.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:47:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR TARR [opened public testimony].                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:47:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
GARY MARTINEK testified that he  recently retired from working at                                                               
Gulkana Hatchery for  37 years and is speaking on  his own behalf                                                               
in support of  HB 107 and the rehabilitation of  salmon stocks in                                                               
a reasonable and  responsible way where conditions are  wild.  He                                                               
said the  hatchery is  located adjacent to  the Gulkana  River, a                                                               
tributary to  the Copper  River.  Located  260 miles  inland from                                                               
the marine  environment, the  hatchery was started  in 1973  as a                                                               
research  project by  the Division  of Fisheries  Rehabilitation,                                                               
Enhancement and  Development (FRED) within  ADFG to see  if there                                                               
was an  efficient low-cost method  of rehabilitating  the heavily                                                               
pressured Copper River  sockeye stocks.  The  hatchery is located                                                               
in a spring  system where the water temperature  only varies five                                                               
degrees summer  to winter and  a simple  non-powered gravity-feed                                                               
system is used to get water from the spring to the incubators.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. MARTINEK  reported that from  1973-1980 Gulkana  Hatchery was                                                               
primarily a sockeye research facility.   From 1980-1984, he said,                                                               
production increased  to 20 million  eggs and by  1987 production                                                               
increased  to 36  million  eggs, making  it  the largest  sockeye                                                               
salmon  fry producer  in the  world.   The basic  premise was  to                                                               
increase the natural survival of  13-16 percent of sockeye in the                                                               
spring.   By  placing them  into  an incubator  the survival  was                                                               
increased to  as high  as 95  percent with  75 percent  being the                                                               
average historical survival.   He explained that  when fry emerge                                                               
from  the  incubator  they  are   counted,  otolith  marked,  and                                                               
released  into nursery  lakes where  they spend  one year  before                                                               
outmigrating to  the sea.   He  said the  fry encounter  the same                                                               
environmental  predation  issues that  all  wild  stocks have  to                                                               
overcome, and that 17 percent  of the returning adult sockeye are                                                               
four-year-old fish and 83 percent are five-year-old fish.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. MARTINEK pointed out that  the Gulkana Hatchery stock is just                                                               
one stock of 136 sockeye stocks in  the Copper River.  He said an                                                               
intelligent management  program goes hand-in-hand to  ensure wild                                                               
stocks remain healthy and the  commercial fleet, subsistence use,                                                               
personal use, and  sport fisheries all benefit  from the 350,000-                                                               
400,000 annually  produced hatchery  salmon.  He  further related                                                               
that the  monetary value of  production to all user  groups since                                                               
the hatchery started in 1973 has been $700 million.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:50:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH  asked how the emergent  state of hatchery-                                                               
raised  alevin compares  with the  emergent  state of  indigenous                                                               
populations of salmon.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MARTINEK  replied that  in  the  1970's and  1980's  Gulkana                                                               
Hatchery did  research on the  hatchery spring and that  is where                                                               
it was determined that the survival  was only 13-16 percent.  The                                                               
hatchery  started  very  small  and  by  increasing  and  through                                                               
research the survival was increased to 75 percent.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:51:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  PARISH inquired  as  to how  the hatchery's  fry,                                                               
when introduced  to the stream, compare  developmentally with the                                                               
wild grown.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. MARTINEK  responded that  based on his  years at  the Gulkana                                                               
Hatchery, hatchery fry  are the same fitness as  the wild stocks.                                                               
Regarding earlier  questions about genetic diversity,  he advised                                                               
that wild  fish are coming into  the spring before and  after the                                                               
egg-take  for  the   hatchery.    By  looking   at  otoliths,  he                                                               
continued, it has  been determined that the  wild stock component                                                               
in the hatchery spring is still 47 percent.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:51:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MATHEW  O'BOYLE, Spokesperson,  Skagway Community  Fish Hatchery,                                                               
testified in  support of HB 107.   He said the  Skagway Community                                                               
Fish Hatchery  is a  newly founded  nonprofit formed  through the                                                               
local municipality to  address the low level  of returning salmon                                                               
in  Skagway.    In  the  past,  he  noted,  Skagway  has  been  a                                                               
collection  and  release  site for  king  salmon  through  ADFG's                                                               
enhancement  program encouraging  stock diversification,  but due                                                               
to dwindling return rates the  rearing facility could not sustain                                                               
involvement.   He explained  that during  the summer  king salmon                                                               
would be collected for egg  retrieval and the eggs transported to                                                               
DIPAC in Juneau  for incubation.  The following  spring the smolt                                                               
would  be returned  to Skagway,  but  a great  deal of  mortality                                                               
occurred in the  transfer from Juneau to Skagway.   With the lack                                                               
of eggs collected  in previous years due to low  return rates, he                                                               
said Skagway  is currently seeing  a closure to sport  fishing of                                                               
king salmon in northern Lynn Canal.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. O'BOYLE  added that Skagway has  a natural run of  coho that,                                                               
with the  help of HB 107,  could be brought back  to a reasonable                                                               
population  level.    The  underlying  benefits  of  HB  107,  he                                                               
continued, are the economic and  educational values.  The tourist                                                               
dollars brought in through sport  fishing affect the community as                                                               
a whole.   The infrastructure  that is created for  this resource                                                               
can plant  the seed  for future generations.   He  said Skagway's                                                               
community has  always been  a big  supporter of  fish enhancement                                                               
through volunteers  and programs  through the  school.   The bill                                                               
would  provide  an  additional  tool  in  educating  high  school                                                               
seniors who are  interested in a fisheries job,  thus building on                                                               
Alaska's future.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:54:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WILL  MAYO,  Executive  Director, Tribal  Government  and  Client                                                               
Services, Tanana  Chiefs Conference  (TCC), testified  in support                                                               
of HB 107.   He said TCC has had experience  working with ADFG to                                                               
develop  a program  that  could  be added  to  TCC's toolbox  for                                                               
fisheries.    He   explained  that  TCC  wants   to  develop  its                                                               
capacities  because in  recent years  [tribal members]  have felt                                                               
very  vulnerable   with  the  decline  in   their  primary  human                                                               
consumption fish species as well  as other [species] in the past.                                                               
However,  he noted,  TCC has  discovered that  the current  state                                                               
permitting system basically has two  types of permits, neither of                                                               
which can  be used  for the kind  of rehabilitation  project that                                                               
TCC would  like to do.   This bill  would provide a  third permit                                                               
that would  enable TCC to  proceed with  its projects in  a close                                                               
working relationship with ADFG.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAYO stressed that  TCC does not in any way  want to harm the                                                               
wild stocks  and is  not approaching this  haphazardly.   But, he                                                               
continued,  TCC would  like  to develop  the  ability to  enhance                                                               
these  stocks that  [its members]  depend upon  if needed  in the                                                               
future.  These  are TCC's motivations, concerns,  and reasons for                                                               
giving its hearty support to HB 107.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:57:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH  said he  is very  encouraged to  hear TCC's                                                               
support.   He  asked how  TCC envisions  this moving  forward and                                                               
whether TCC  would deploy individual incubation  stations or have                                                               
a central location.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MAYO replied  that TCC  staff are  running various  projects                                                               
around the  Interior in different  river systems, all  within the                                                               
Yukon  drainage.   There are  counting stations  and weirs  among                                                               
other things.   He  said TCC is  identifying spawning  streams on                                                               
which enhancement projects  could be done to  enhance the returns                                                               
to that  area.  Working  with the department, TCC  is identifying                                                               
and choosing  where to  start a  project.   Brood stock  would be                                                               
taken from  an existing  stream, [the  eggs] would  be incubated,                                                               
and  then  at  the  eyed  stage  of  development  they  would  be                                                               
replanted into the gravel beds  of their native spawning streams.                                                               
The other  option is to  incubate the  eggs until they  emerge in                                                               
the alevin stage and then place them into their native stream.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:00:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRIAN  WINNESTAFFER,  Chickaloon  Native  Village,  testified  in                                                               
support  of HB  107.   He  said he  works  for Chickaloon  Native                                                               
Village, which  is located in  the Matanuska-Susitna Valley.   He                                                               
outlined his  extensive work experience as  a fisheries biologist                                                               
and noted that Chickaloon Native  Village has worked on many fish                                                               
population   rehabilitation  projects   and  many   fish  habitat                                                               
restoration projects.   One of  the village's first  fish passage                                                               
restoration projects was on Moose Creek  in 2005 in which over $1                                                               
million  was  spent, mostly  in  federal  funds, to  reroute  the                                                               
stream   back  into   its  original   alignment  after   railroad                                                               
activities  in  the  early  1900's  straightened  the  creek  and                                                               
created waterfalls  that precluded  fish passage  and essentially                                                               
deleted  11  miles  of  spawning  and  rearing  habitat.    After                                                               
rehabilitating  the habitat,  he continued,  the village  began a                                                               
project  to restore  fish  numbers by  implementing  a moist  air                                                               
incubation project  from 2007-2010.   The village  partnered with                                                               
the  U.S.  Fish and  Wildlife  Service,  ADFG, and  the  National                                                               
Oceanic  and Atmospheric  Administration.   The  project and  the                                                               
process worked well and the returns  of salmon, based on foot and                                                               
aerial surveys,  remained level  when similar  stocks of  fish in                                                               
the area dwindled.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR.  WINNESTAFFER  stated  that Chickaloon  Native  Village  also                                                               
replaced or  rehabilitated many culverts  under Matanuska-Susitna                                                               
Borough and state roads that  were not providing fish passage and                                                               
were on  their last  stage of  usefulness.   He pointed  out that                                                               
because  there  wasn't  a  fisheries  rehabilitation  permit  the                                                               
village  had  to apply  for  multiple  permits,  such as  a  fish                                                               
resource  permit and  fish transport  permit with  prior approval                                                               
from  the Cook  Inlet Regional  Planning Team.   He  said HB  107                                                               
would  have been  a permit  that  was apropos  for the  village's                                                               
project and  would have  allowed the state  to track  the project                                                               
better.   It  would have  been labeled  a rehabilitation  project                                                               
versus a science or education permit.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. WINNESTAFFER  noted that all  these projects  represent local                                                               
people taking  interest in the  resources.  Instead of  an agency                                                               
coming in  and telling  folks what  to do  there is  an excellent                                                               
collaboration between  agencies and  local folks  to rehabilitate                                                               
[the  state's] trust  resources.   Chickaloon Native  Village was                                                               
able to bring  forward fish passage and population  issues to the                                                               
agencies and  was able to  leverage federal and state  dollars to                                                               
solve these issues, of which most  were federal dollars.  He said                                                               
passage of HB 107 would get to  the heart of these projects.  The                                                               
ability to rehabilitate a resource  that was impacted in the past                                                               
is a win-win  for the people of Alaska, all  user groups, and the                                                               
resource itself.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON  offered  her praise  to  Chickaloon  for                                                               
doing a great job in rehabilitating its streams.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:03:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RICKY  GEASE,  Executive  Director,  Kenai  River  Sport  Fishing                                                               
Association  (KRSFA), testified  in  opposition to  HB  107.   He                                                               
posed  a scenario  in  which there  are 2,000  wild  fish in  the                                                               
Nenana River with  1,000 females and 1,000 males.   He calculated                                                               
that  if an  enhancement  program had  100 of  the  females at  a                                                               
survival rate  of 95 percent  and the wild  stock had 900  of the                                                               
females  at  a  survival  rate   of  0.5  percent,  in  just  one                                                               
generation  the genetic  diversity would  be reduced  because the                                                               
enhanced portion  would generate  two-thirds of the  fry outgoing                                                               
and the wild stock would generate one-third.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. GEASE  said he understands low  king returns because it  is a                                                               
statewide issue  and [the Kenai  area] feels  it just as  much as                                                               
anywhere  else.   He stated  that there  is a  difference between                                                               
rehabilitating  and  reintroducing  a population  that  has  been                                                               
extirpated  versus trying  to enhance  low numbers  of fish  in a                                                               
population.  He said KRSFA thinks  that the best strategy for low                                                               
numbers  of fish  is to  drastically reduce  fishing pressure  on                                                               
those  fish,  maintain good  habitat,  and  let nature  take  its                                                               
course.  While  it is painful to go through  these periods of low                                                               
abundance, it is really important that  this be done.  The budget                                                               
for king salmon research was once  $30 million and it is now half                                                               
that.  Budget  cuts are difficult, he said, but  this bill is not                                                               
the right path.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. GEASE  provided an example  of where hatchery  components and                                                               
enhanced components can result in a  "trap."  He said that in the                                                               
Kenai River there  are enhanced runs on Hidden  Lake [Trail Lakes                                                               
Hatchery] and  pointed out  about 90 percent  of the  returns are                                                               
[fish  that  live  one  year  in  freshwater  and  two  years  in                                                               
saltwater (1.2  fish)], which are  the really small  torpedo fish                                                               
that  swim through  dipnets and  commercial nets.   However,  the                                                               
majority of returns of sockeye on  the Kenai are 2.2 fish and 2.3                                                               
fish - really large sockeye.   So, he stated, the concept of loss                                                               
of  genetic  diversity is  a  really  critical concept  and  with                                                               
today's department  standards of  strict separation  between wild                                                               
stocks  and enhanced  stocks  or hatchery  stocks,  it is  really                                                               
important.   He further pointed  out that  in many of  the marine                                                               
waters there are  hatchery terminal fisheries that  don't go into                                                               
anadromous  streams  and which  he  thinks  is really  key  going                                                               
forward.  He urged that more  thought go into the concept of loss                                                               
of genetic diversity.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. GEASE,  responding to Representative  Parish, stated  he sent                                                               
copies of his testimony to committee members via email.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:07:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
NANCY HILLSTRAND,  Pioneer Alaskan  Fisheries Inc.,  testified in                                                               
opposition to HB 107.  She  said her company has been in business                                                               
in Alaska for 53 years and that  she worked for ADFG for 21 years                                                               
in hatcheries  where she  raised all five  species of  salmon and                                                               
two trout.  She stated she is  very aware of what is being talked                                                               
about in  HB 107 and is  against the bill, the  reason being that                                                               
she has seen a lot of problems with weakened wild fish.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS.  HILLSTRAND said  Alaska is  blessed with  its wild  spawning                                                               
salmon and that  what needs to be done more  so than putting fish                                                               
into  these  river  systems  is  doing  what  has  been  done  in                                                               
Chickaloon    fixing culverts,  fixing the  habitat, and  most of                                                               
all going to  the Board of Fisheries and asking  why the fish are                                                               
not  getting up  as far  as Tanana  because that  has to  do with                                                               
management  problems downriver.    She related  that people  have                                                               
worked  hard  to  get  the  North  Pacific  Fisheries  Management                                                               
Council  to stop  some  of  the trawling  bycatch  and have  been                                                               
fairly successful, so maybe that  will help.  But, she continued,                                                               
HB 107 is  putting the cart before the horse  because fishing and                                                               
fish populations do go up and down.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. HILLSTRAND  noted that  ADFG has  written a  scientific paper                                                               
about what  has happened at  Hidden Lake [Trail  Lakes Hatchery],                                                               
and the paper states that there  is a risk with doing these kinds                                                               
of things.   She said  it is  important to read  these scientific                                                               
papers that show damage is being  done to the wild fish.  Oregon,                                                               
Washington, and  Vancouver have all  done damage,  she continued,                                                               
and there  are many scientific  papers showing that this  kind of                                                               
activity    enhancement    can  be very  detrimental because  the                                                               
released fish outcompete the wild fish.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. HILLSTRAND  brought attention to page  5 of HB 107  and noted                                                               
that the  regional planning teams  (RPTs) were  restructured with                                                               
ADFG and now  most of those teams are made  up of hatchery people                                                               
who work  for the aquaculture  associations.  These teams  are no                                                               
longer made up of ADFG staff  although they might have that name,                                                               
she maintained,  and it  is really  important to  look at  who is                                                               
taking care  of the state's  supposed wild  fish.  She  urged the                                                               
committee to  take care of the  state's wild fish and  said there                                                               
are other  ways to do  rehabilitation, which is  totally separate                                                               
from enhancement.  She also urged the two be defined.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:09:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRUCE  CAIN,  President,  Copper   Valley  Chamber  of  Commerce,                                                               
testified in  support of HB 107.   He said many  of the chamber's                                                               
members are sport-fishing  guides, but that this  year the Copper                                                               
River  sport-fishing  season  for  king salmon  has  been  closed                                                               
because of a  lack of return.  There is  the Gulkana Hatchery, he                                                               
continued,  and  the  Gulkana  sockeye run  is  strong  at  about                                                               
300,000 returns  and has been  going on  since 1977.   The Copper                                                               
River fishery is one of the  best managed fisheries in the world.                                                               
He related that  the chamber has said it doesn't  want the Copper                                                               
River to become  like the Yukon River and the  hatcheries, one of                                                               
the reasons for  that.  But, he said, no  king salmon enhancement                                                               
is done  on the Copper  River and now  people are faced  with the                                                               
year of where  everything is closed because of lack  of return on                                                               
the king salmon.  Efforts must be balanced, he added.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. CAIN  maintained that  incubation boxes are  not an  issue of                                                               
genetic diversity because they come  from the wild stocks and are                                                               
hatched  just like  wild stocks.    He said  it is  a good,  non-                                                               
intrusive system that  has been tested and proven  for many years                                                               
to be  successful.   The Copper  River sport-fishing  guides will                                                               
not be  guiding this year, he  reiterated.  The fisheries  can be                                                               
closed like has  happened on the Yukon and people  can sit around                                                               
hoping things come  back.  Or, he continued, folks  can take care                                                               
of themselves,  which is part of  the approach of HB  107, a good                                                               
approach that he supports.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:12:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRIAN  ASHTON testified  in support  of HB  107.   He said  he is                                                               
representing himself  but is before  the committee on  request of                                                               
Representative Talerico  to help answer questions  because he has                                                               
been involved  in salmon restoration for  over 15 years.   He was                                                               
involved in some  of the mega-hatcheries in  Southeast Alaska and                                                               
helped  develop some  of the  technologies that  are being  used.                                                               
From being  raised in villages, he  said, he has realized  that a                                                               
balance must be found with how  to help these fish survive, given                                                               
that  people are  certainly very  good at  taking them.   He  has                                                               
dealt with ADFG  for many years, he continued, and  is in support                                                               
of HB  107 simply because  it fills a  gap that exists  today for                                                               
being able to do this effectively  and have good controls on when                                                               
it is appropriate  and when it is not.   Other permits are trying                                                               
to be used that are not  appropriate, he said, and he appreciates                                                               
ADF&G for  the years  it has  helped to  make those  permits fit.                                                               
This bill  simply clarifies how to  do it when it  is appropriate                                                               
to do it.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. ASHTON  addressed some of  the statements made  in opposition                                                               
to the bill.  He offered  his belief that it was overstated about                                                               
the numbers  overwhelming the genetic  stocks of the fish.   When                                                               
talking  about genetics  policy  with the  fisheries managers  at                                                               
ADFG, they will specifically talk  about the numbers of fish that                                                               
are  going  to be  enhanced  because  they  have had  decades  of                                                               
experience looking at what the ratio  would be of those wild fish                                                               
spawning compared to greatly increasing  the survival of the wild                                                               
fish by  assisting their survival.   They  will look at  what the                                                               
escapement is and what the numbers  are, he said, and discuss how                                                               
to do this  without overwhelming the natural stocks,  in spite of                                                               
the  fact that  these fish  are wild  fish as  well.   The Copper                                                               
River  enhancement program  has had  40 million  eggs a  year for                                                               
decades and the stock is still well.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. ASHTON  stated that there  are stocks  of fish that  have not                                                               
come back.   The Bradfield River south of Wrangell  was a mutant-                                                               
sized fish  on a par  with the Kenai River,  he related.   It was                                                               
logged down to the watershed  and the habitat was never restored.                                                               
It should  be a [U.S. Environmental  Protection Agency] Superfund                                                               
project and  work is being  done on  getting that restored.   The                                                               
stock is so far  down in its numbers, he said,  that while it may                                                               
return  eventually it  would take  many decades  to do  it.   The                                                               
remnant  stock  could be  captured,  and  the population  brought                                                               
back.  These  Southeast Alaska fish were the size  of Kenai River                                                               
kings.  As oil continues  to diminish, it is critically important                                                               
to look at  Alaska's natural reoccurring stocks like  in the case                                                               
of salmon to ensure they are being helped as best as possible.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ASHTON pointed  out that  tribes on  Prince of  Wales Island                                                               
have  spent   over  10  years   restoring  the  habitat   in  the                                                               
watersheds, but  the stocks are  down so  much that they  look at                                                               
this as  the only option.   The tribes have restored  the habitat                                                               
to reintroduce  the fish that  are gone  that have not  come back                                                               
for decades.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. ASHTON stated there would not  be any feeding [under HB 107].                                                               
He said he helped write this  bill in collaboration with ADFG and                                                               
very conservative regulations were looked  at to ensure that this                                                               
policy could  not be abused.   The wild stocks and  the nature of                                                               
the wild stocks must be protected.   What is being proposed in HB                                                               
107 is absolutely different than  taking king salmon in the Lower                                                               
48 that  are incubated, reared  in pens, and  fed all the  way to                                                               
the smolt  stage for a year  in a conventional hatchery  and then                                                               
letting them come back.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. ASHTON offered  his belief that by law  the regional planning                                                               
teams  must have  ADFG  staff on  those  teams.   It  is good  to                                                               
question  who  is going  to  be  approving  these things  in  the                                                               
regional  planning  teams, he  said,  but  ADFG serves  on  those                                                               
boards.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ASHTON offered  his appreciation  for  Co-Chair Tarr  asking                                                               
that people with  concerns submit them in writing.   He said ADFG                                                               
can  provide  information  regarding  such  concerns  as  genetic                                                               
diversity.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:17:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  JOSEPHSON  asked  what  made [the  Bradfield  River]  a                                                               
Superfund  site and  what hurt  the  habitat on  Prince of  Wales                                                               
Island.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ASHTON replied  that  it  is not  a  Superfund  site on  the                                                               
Bradfield River,  but he  suggested it  should be  considered one                                                               
because back  in the  1960's and 1970's  the U.S.  Forest Service                                                               
oversaw logging where gravel was  actually taken out of the river                                                               
to  build the  logging roads.   He  said it  was over  the entire                                                               
floodplain within  the water system  and it simply  decimated the                                                               
watershed.   Prince of  Wales Island had  logging that  was right                                                               
down to  the watershed as well,  he continued.  Great  steps have                                                               
been  taken because  the communities  are close  enough to  it in                                                               
collaborating  with state  and federal  agencies.   Environmental                                                               
groups have funded the restoration of that habitat, he noted.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:17:49 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   BIRCH  related   that  committee   members  have                                                               
received a letter  of concern from the Kenai  River Sport Fishing                                                               
Association  about the  biological diversity.   He  said he  will                                                               
provide this letter to Mr. Ashton  so that Mr. Ashton can provide                                                               
his comments between now and the committee's next meeting.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. ASHTON responded that he  will provide comment, but suggested                                                               
the letter  also be provided to  the genetics lab at  ADFG, which                                                               
has the  best genetics policies  in the world for  protecting the                                                               
state's stocks of fish.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:18:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   PARISH  recalled   Mr.  Ashton   mentioning  the                                                               
possibility of restoring  stocks to streams where  the salmon are                                                               
currently  not returning.    He inquired  whether  that would  be                                                               
permitted under the bill as it  currently stands in that it talks                                                               
about taking  eggs from one set  of waters and returning  them to                                                               
the same waters.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ASHTON  answered that  the  watersheds  he is  referring  to                                                               
actually have  a remnant stock, but  the stock is so  low that it                                                               
can't be expected to recover for a very, very long time.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
[HB 107 was held over.]                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 197 Sponsor Statement.pdf HRES 4/10/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/12/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/17/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/19/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/26/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/28/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 5/1/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 197
HB197 Version J 4.5.2017.pdf HRES 4/10/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/12/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/17/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/19/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/26/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/28/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 5/1/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 197
HB197 Sectional Analysis ver J 4.6.2017.pdf HRES 4/10/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/12/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/17/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/19/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/26/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/28/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 5/1/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 197
HB197 Fiscal Note - DNR-PMC 4.7.17.pdf HRES 4/10/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/12/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/17/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/19/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/26/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/28/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 5/1/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 197
HB197 Supporting Document - Article. Seed Bill 4.9.17.pdf HRES 4/10/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/12/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/17/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/19/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/26/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/28/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 5/1/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 197
HB 107 Sponsor Statement 2.8.17.pdf HRES 4/19/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/26/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 107
HB 107 Ver O 2.8.17.pdf HRES 4/19/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 107
HB 107 CS (FSH) WORK DRAFT version U 3.6.2017.pdf HRES 4/19/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 107
HB 107 CS (FSH) Explanation of Changes 3.6.2017.pdf HRES 4/19/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 107
HB 107 Sectional Analysis 2.8.2017.pdf HRES 4/19/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 107
HB107 Fiscal Note DFG-DCF 2.24.17.pdf HRES 4/19/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 107 Additional Documentation Egg to Fry survival rates.pdf HRES 4/19/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 107 Additional Documentation. Considerations for Salmon Restoration Planning.pdf HRES 4/19/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 107 Additional Documents - Fish Enhancement in AK History.pdf HRES 4/19/2017 1:00:00 PM