Legislature(1995 - 1996)
03/27/1996 03:37 PM RES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SSSB 42 LIMITED ENTRY & UNITS OF GEAR CHAIRMAN LEMAN brought SSSB 42 before the committee as the final order of business. SENATOR TAYLOR , prime sponsor of SB 42, explained that last session he and Representative Grussendorf submitted companion legislation to allow for setting up a tier gear system within the dungeness crab fishery. Part of the various compromises that were worked out between the Limited Entry Commission and the fishing fleet as the legislation moved through the process was the opportunity to do what is called the stacking of permits. However, the way the law currently exists, an individual can purchase a higher tier level, but to do so, he must first sell one tier level, so it leaves the individual with very little opportunity to break out of or move out of that limitation on the gear. Senator Taylor said the understanding was that a change would be made in the House bill (HB 107) when it got to the Senate, but when it did get to the Senate it was discovered the title was too tight and it would have taken a two-thirds vote to get the title amended. SSSB 42 will provide for the stacking option which will actually eliminate numbers of people over time out of the fishery, but it will still leave the same volume of gear. FRANK HOMAN , Commissioner, Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission, informed the committee that as a result of the passage of HB 107, this past summer the Commission instituted a dungeness tiered pot system that was designed to be reflective of the way the fleet was at the time of the limitation. He said there are people on both sides of the issue of whether to combine tiers so that an individual could work his way up and have more pots. SSSB 42 will allow the combining of tiers, although there would always be the same number of permits, which is a maximum of 308, but they could be consolidated into a smaller number of fishermen. He noted there are people on the other side of the issue who want to leave a lower tier in there so that there is an entry level, and they feel that permits might be cheaper at a reduced pot level. MARK JENSEN , testifying from Petersburg in support of SSSB 42, said the reason he supported the tier system in the first place was because it had a stacking and unstacking provision. Also, it won't change the number of pots in the fishery, but it will reduce the number of fishermen on the grounds. It will allow a person to get into the fishery at a small level, like a 75-pot permit, and then expand to whatever level he wanted to end up at in the fishery. JOHN JENSEN , testifying from Petersburg, voiced his support for SSSB 42 and the testimony given by Mark Jensen. BOB GRANDE , a fisherman testifying from Petersburg, stated his opposition to SSSB 42. He stated he originally supported the tiered entry system because he was led to believe that there would not be a stacking provision. He believes that if permits are stacked, it will effectively ensure that all of the allowable gear is actually fished; whereas with the small permits being fished, many of those will either not be fished or be fished at a very low level, which currently happens, and eventually 75-pot permits will disappear. ROCKY LITTLETON , testifying from Petersburg in opposition to SSSB 42, stated he agrees with Mr. Grande's comments. He believes it will create more pressure in the fishery and that it defeats the whole purpose of the tiered system. STEVE THOMASSEN , testifying from Wrangell, voiced his support for SSSB 42. He supports stacking so that some of the fishermen can build up enough gear to make it worthwhile and feasible to go fishing. TAPE 96-38, SIDE A Number 001 OTTO FLORSHUTZ , testifying from Wrangell, said one thing is clear and that is that Fish & Game will have lots of charts and graphs to prove the destruction of this resource under current and past management plans, a forecast that's been heard for years. He said at this point there are three unknowns: (1) how many permits will be issued; (2) how many transferrable permits will be issued; and (3) how many pots will be fished. This legislation will ensure that all unfished tiers will be bought back and then aggressively fished, in effect, setting a speed limit on an unknown road without checking curves or road conditions. He suggested the bill could work if it were amended to read that any tiers transferred would forfeit or sunset one-third of their pot allotment. There being no further testimony on SSSB 42, CHAIRMAN LEMAN asked for the pleasure of the committee. SENATOR TAYLOR moved SSSB 42 be passed out of committee with individual recommendations. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered.