Legislature(2005 - 2006)BUTROVICH 205

03/09/2005 03:30 PM RESOURCES

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03:39:37 PM Start
03:43:28 PM SB113
05:18:40 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
            SB 113-GULF OF ALASKA GROUNDFISH FISHERY                                                                        
CHAIR SEEKINS announced SB 113 to be up for consideration.                                                                      
ED DERSHAM,  Board of Fisheries,  said the board's task  force on                                                               
this  issue  was begun  because  of  federal rationalization  and                                                               
because many  state groundfish fisheries  have become a  race for                                                               
fish.  That  task  force  has   realized  that  the  board  needs                                                               
additional  authority  to  be able  to  address  a  comprehensive                                                               
solution that would be best for the State of Alaska.                                                                            
     We fleshed  out the  bare bones  of a  dedicated access                                                                    
     privilege partial  solution to these things  along with                                                                    
     an open entry portion.... We  think that the bare bones                                                                    
     idea is  enabled by this legislation,  which is process                                                                    
     legislation,  not programmatic.  It's  meant to  create                                                                    
     the ability for the CFEC  and Board of Fisheries to use                                                                    
     this  additional  authority  in the  process  and  then                                                                    
     flesh out  a complete solution that  would address what                                                                    
     we  think  would  be best  for  the  participants,  the                                                                    
     Alaska residents in the coastal communities....                                                                            
     In addition, we  have also been in  discussion with the                                                                    
     CFEC  (Commercial Fisheries  Entry Commission)  about a                                                                    
     Memorandum   of   Understanding   to  flesh   out   the                                                                    
     cooperation  part of  this legislation  and we  believe                                                                    
     that  the  result  of  that will  be  a  Memorandum  of                                                                    
     Understanding  that we  will be  able to  get into  the                                                                    
     legislative  record before  this bill  is voted  on. It                                                                    
     will create  a joint  public process  for much  of this                                                                    
     work... which is kind of a  new idea that I think would                                                                    
     have  many benefits  for the  public  process input  of                                                                    
     stakeholders and other interested parties.                                                                                 
3:43:28 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BEN  STEVENS,  sponsor,  said  he  wanted  to  clear  up                                                               
misconceptions.  It  was  also  introduced   last  year  and  was                                                               
requested  by the  Board  of Fish,  the  North Pacific  Fisheries                                                               
Management  Council  (NPFMC),  ADF&G  and CFEC  as  a  result  of                                                               
federal action in federal waters.  He emphasized that the urgency                                                               
of  addressing this  issue  has increased  because  the NPFMC  is                                                               
closer  to acting  on its  management plan,  which surrounds  the                                                               
Gulf of Alaska fisheries.                                                                                                       
3:46:20 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS said  his first concern is to  protect the rights                                                               
of  Alaskan fishermen  in Alaskan  waters. The  question is  will                                                               
this help Alaskan fishermen in  Alaskan waters against adverse or                                                               
unintended  consequences  of  a  implementation  of  the  federal                                                               
fisheries  management plan.  Another  question is,  "If we  don't                                                               
act, what happens?"  Those organizations came to  him saying that                                                               
the state  has to act or  it will face negative  consequences for                                                               
its fishermen. He stated:                                                                                                       
     I just  hope that people  who testify against  the bill                                                                    
     will  understand  the  reasoning behind  the  bill  and                                                                    
     understand what  the bill allows the  departments to do                                                                    
     and allows the  fisheries managers to do  to meet their                                                                    
     objective as  fisheries managers. Those  objectives are                                                                    
     pretty well stated  on page 4 - which  is sound fishery                                                                    
     management,   resource    conservation,   protect   the                                                                    
     economic  health  of  the fisheries,  have  enforceable                                                                    
     allocations,  promote the  safety  of the  participants                                                                    
     and...adopt other important goals  as identified by the                                                                    
     commission.  We're creating  a tool  for the  fisheries                                                                    
     managers to use if they see fit to use it.                                                                                 
3:48:18 PM                                                                                                                    
SUE ASPLUND,  Alaska Department  of Fish  and Game  (ADF&G), read                                                               
position paper.  She said  the race for  fish and  the increasing                                                               
pressure to get more does not  maximize the economic value of the                                                               
fisheries   to  fishermen,   to   processors,   to  the   coastal                                                               
communities - or to the state. She feared that:                                                                                 
3:50:50 PM                                                                                                                    
     The  planned rationalization  of  the  federal Gulf  of                                                                    
     Alaska  groundfish  fisheries   has  the  potential  to                                                                    
     further aggravate all of the  problems that are already                                                                    
     inherent in this race for fish....                                                                                         
     Alaska's current  Limited Entry  program satisfactorily                                                                    
     addresses  fisheries  and  social  issues  in  many  of                                                                    
     Alaska's  fisheries.  It  may  not best  serve  all  of                                                                    
     Alaska's   diverse  groundfish   fisheries  given   the                                                                    
     demands  on today's  global marketplace  for consistent                                                                    
     supply, quality and market and product diversity.                                                                          
     SB 113  provides authorities to the  Board of Fisheries                                                                    
     and Commercial  Fisheries Entry Commission  (CFEC) that                                                                    
     allow  them  to  explore   innovative  Gulf  of  Alaska                                                                    
     groundfish   fisheries    allocation   and   management                                                                    
     strategies  to find  solutions to  the changing  global                                                                    
     marketplace and  that would  benefit the  resource, the                                                                    
     resource  users and  the communities  that depend  upon                                                                    
     SB  113 has  been purposefully  written to  provide for                                                                    
     maximum   flexibility    without   predetermining   any                                                                    
     programmatic  outcome.   It's  intended   that  program                                                                    
     development for  each Gulf  groundfish fishery  will be                                                                    
     developed  in  a transparent  Board  of  Fish and  CFEC                                                                    
     public processes and not within this legislation.                                                                          
MS.  ASPLUND  stressed  that this  is  process  legislation,  not                                                               
programmatic. It expands  the public process by  adding the Board                                                               
of Fish and  its public processes onto the  CFEC hearing process.                                                               
A  dedicated  access privilege  is  not  ownership and  providing                                                               
entry-level access for fisheries is a state priority.                                                                           
3:52:38 PM                                                                                                                    
She said  that while limited  entry has generally worked  well in                                                               
Alaska biologically, it does  not prevent over-capitalization and                                                               
increases harvesting.  Some would argue that  the groundfisheries                                                               
have  already   seen  significant   negative  effects   of  over-                                                               
capitalization such  as low product  values, short  seasons, loss                                                               
of  resident  processing  for  workers  in  coastal  communities,                                                               
safety  issues, et  cetera. Longer  seasons would  likely provide                                                               
stability to coastal communities and fishermen.                                                                                 
BRUCE  TWOMLEY, Chairman,  Commercial Fisheries  Entry Commission                                                               
(CFEC),  supported SB  113.  The CFEC  and  board need  dedicated                                                               
access to control quota fisheries.                                                                                              
     It is  a way  of assigning quota  so that  people don't                                                                    
     overfish  their individual  share. It  can be  based on                                                                    
     past  historic catch.  It's a  new development;  it's a                                                                    
     tool  the  state  hasn't  had  and  we  know  from  our                                                                    
     experience  in   limiting  quota  fisheries   that  the                                                                    
     state's  license  limitation   program  simply  doesn't                                                                    
     work. I  could give  you examples; it  has not  been an                                                                    
     effective tool.                                                                                                            
He  explained that  SB  113  is limited  to  the  Gulf of  Alaska                                                               
fisheries and doesn't mandate anything.                                                                                         
     When and if that produces  a proposal for this fishery,                                                                    
     there is  going to be extensive  public comment.... One                                                                    
     thing  we  contemplate  is  joint  hearings....  Merely                                                                    
     acting  on this  doesn't lock  the state  for all  time                                                                    
     into  a particular  system. The  state  always has  the                                                                    
     power to modify the system.                                                                                                
3:59:13 PM                                                                                                                    
Constitutional  provisions  limit  what  the  state  can  do  for                                                               
limited access. It can only  be used to prevent economic distress                                                               
among  fishermen  and  only   for  conservation.  This  framework                                                               
doesn't apply to the federal limited fisheries.                                                                                 
The court has said it is  better to serve more people rather than                                                               
less. A  dedicated access privilege  better serves  that standard                                                               
than the traditional license  limitation program where everything                                                               
is tied  to the existing  number of units  of gear in  a fishery.                                                               
and all applicants have to be ranked against one another.                                                                       
     The point of a dedicated  access privilege is it can be                                                                    
     much more  inclusive because  you have  the opportunity                                                                    
     to bring  everybody who  is currently  participating in                                                                    
     the fishery - everybody  who can demonstrate a reliance                                                                    
     on the fishery  into the fishery at their  own level of                                                                    
FRANK  HOHMAN,  Commercial  Fisheries  Entry  Commission  (CFEC),                                                               
supported Mr. Twomley's comments.                                                                                               
4:02:51 PM                                                                                                                    
ALEXUS  KWACHKA,  Kodiak  fisherman,  said under  SB  113  it  is                                                               
possible  to issue  a  license to  a vessel  and  not the  vessel                                                               
operator. It divides  the pie and will marginalize a  lot of guys                                                               
with a lot at stake. It creates unequal access.                                                                                 
4:06:33 PM                                                                                                                    
CHUCK THOMPSON,  President, Kodiak Divers Association  said he is                                                               
also on  the board of the  Alaska Jig Association (AJA)  and they                                                               
opposed  SB 113  because it  is too  broad. Management  tools are                                                               
already  available to  prosecute these  fisheries in  a safe  and                                                               
timely manner. SB 113 would  create unequal access. Jig fishermen                                                               
don't race for fish. Further, he  stated as a husband, father and                                                               
resident of Alaska,  he is also concerned that there  would be no                                                               
entry-level fisheries.                                                                                                          
4:10:09 PM                                                                                                                    
STEVE  GROGGY,   Vice  President,  Alaska   Draggers  Association                                                               
(representing  30  vessels),  supported  SB  113.  He  noted  the                                                               
Governor,  the North  Pacific Fisheries  Management Council,  the                                                               
Board  of Fish  Rationalization Task  Force, Board  of Fish,  and                                                               
United  Fishermen of  Alaska all  support SB  113. Many  industry                                                               
members  who favor  this bill  can't testify  today because  they                                                               
have gone fishing.                                                                                                              
He  said that  a significant  amount of  Pacific cod  and pollock                                                               
have been  caught inside three  miles in the federal  fisheries -                                                               
otherwise known as the parallel fishery.                                                                                        
     Even though the vessels  thought they were operating in                                                                    
     a federal  fishery, it  turns out  the state  of Alaska                                                                    
     has  jurisdiction over  this catch.  SB 113  will allow                                                                    
     the state to maintain  authority over the inside three-                                                                    
     mile catch  allowing fishermen  to have  somewhat equal                                                                    
     treatment   when   compared    to   potential   fishing                                                                    
     privileges  in  the  federal  program.  Otherwise  they                                                                    
     would  be dropped  out of  the loop,  since both  would                                                                    
     receive fishing privileges based on catch history.                                                                         
     SB   113  also   allows  for   a  coordinated   fishery                                                                    
     management  approach  for  stocks  that  are  migratory                                                                    
     across the  three-mile jurisdiction line....  The state                                                                    
     must take  action to protect  the fishery  resource and                                                                    
     Alaskan  fishers. Otherwise  they  put  at risk  inside                                                                    
     three-mile  fishers   with  excessive  effort   by  new                                                                    
     fishers   joining   in   the  fray   of   open   access                                                                    
     fisheries.... With  SB 113, Alaska  has the  ability to                                                                    
     drive the outcome in the federal process.                                                                                  
4:12:37 PM                                                                                                                    
It  does not  designate  processor quota  shares or  predetermine                                                               
what species or  gear types need to have  programs developed, but                                                               
it does  grant authority to  the Board  of Fisheries and  CFEC to                                                               
adequately develop plans for Alaska groundfish fisheries.                                                                       
4:15:02 PM                                                                                                                    
JULIE  KAVANAUGH,  representing  family,  said SB  113  is  about                                                               
unequal  access and  she is  opposed to  it. She  urged extensive                                                               
public hearings on this issue.                                                                                                  
4:18:23 PM                                                                                                                    
TIM  GOSSETT,  Kodiak,  said   Gulf  rationalization  takes  away                                                               
opportunity  and opposed  SB  113. It's  much  too ambiguous  and                                                               
gives CFEC and the Board of Fish too much power.                                                                                
LONNIE WHITE, Kodiak, liked what SB  113 does, but thought it was                                                               
contrary  to the  spirit and  intent of  our state  constitution.                                                               
Jobs and  money are lost  with the emerging  industry efficiency.                                                               
He  thought this  issue  should  be voted  on  by  the people  of                                                               
Alaska,  not passed  as a  bill in  the Legislature.  He did  not                                                               
support it.                                                                                                                     
4:22:10 PM                                                                                                                    
STEVE MATHIEU, Kodiak,  opposed SB 113. It's vague  and gives too                                                               
much power to  the Board of Fisheries. He wanted  to know exactly                                                               
what plan would be adopted by it.                                                                                               
4:24:38 PM                                                                                                                    
DONALD  LAWHEAD, JR.  opposed SB  113.  Everyone understands  the                                                               
current system. He echoed previous  testimony in opposition to SB
113 emphasizing that it represents unequal access.                                                                              
4:27:04 PM                                                                                                                    
TIM TRIPP, Kodiak, opposed SB 113.  The Board of Fish already has                                                               
the   tools   to  stabilize   fisheries.   He   didn't  see   any                                                               
justification to give the CFEC more power than it already has.                                                                  
4:28:00 PM                                                                                                                    
PETER THOMPSON,  Kodiak fisherman, opposed  SB 113. More  time is                                                               
needed  for  affected fishermen  in  the  coastal communities  to                                                               
weigh in  on the  matter. This  bill is too  broad and  gives too                                                               
many undefined powers to CFEC and the board.                                                                                    
4:29:07 PM                                                                                                                    
DONNA JONES, Kodiak,  opposed SB 113. It gives too  much power to                                                               
the  board. It  is unconstitutional  to  give the  Board of  Fish                                                               
power  to bypass  the legislative  process. She  did not  support                                                               
creating a  dedicated access  privilege to  a state  fishery. She                                                               
was also concerned that this  advocates privatization of a public                                                               
4:32:44 PM                                                                                                                    
THERESA  PETERSON,  Kodiak  fisherman,  opposed  SB  113.  It  is                                                               
vaguely  written  and  stakeholders   won't  know  how  they  are                                                               
4:34:28 PM                                                                                                                    
LEONARD CARPENTER,  Kodiak, opposed  SB 113.  It gives  the board                                                               
and CFEC too many powers and  they already have adequate tools to                                                               
manage fisheries. He encouraged the  legislature to have a lot of                                                               
4:37:39 PM Recess 4:43:58 PM                                                                                                
LUDGER DOCHTERMANN,  Kodiak, opposed  SB 113 for  reasons already                                                               
stated.  The Kodiak  fishermen are  the ones  who asked  for this                                                               
statewide fishery in  the first place. He wanted  open access for                                                               
the little guy.                                                                                                                 
4:46:19 PM                                                                                                                    
SHAWN DOCHTERMANN, Kodiak,  said he fishes in  the jig groundfish                                                               
fishery  and can  survive with  open  access. But,  if the  state                                                               
waters  are  rationalized,  that  will make  him  and  others  go                                                               
bankrupt. "I  am completely  against the whole  idea of  SB 113."                                                               
Further, there  are no guidelines  for the  Board of Fish  or the                                                               
CFEC.  They will  have the  power to  manipulate the  state water                                                               
fisheries  as they  please. State  government is  working against                                                               
the little guy.                                                                                                                 
4:49:01 PM                                                                                                                    
ROBERT  CARTER opposed  SB 113  because  it is  unconstitutional.                                                               
Fish  should be  an open  resource. "If  people can't  make money                                                               
fishing, then they get out of  the business. Those who make money                                                               
can stay in.  It's the American way. The resource  has never been                                                               
in danger."                                                                                                                     
4:50:16 PM                                                                                                                    
GLEN CAROLL,  Homer pot  cod fisherman, said  the catch  rate for                                                               
fish is  accelerating and  this causes  poor quality.  Every year                                                               
the season is shortened  by at least a week as  the race for fish                                                               
goes on and on. He supported SB 113.                                                                                            
4:52:52 PM                                                                                                                    
MACO HAGGERTY, Homer, opposed SB 113.                                                                                           
4:54:18 PM                                                                                                                    
ALAN PARKS,  Homer, opposed  SB 113 for  all the  reasons stated.                                                               
Let  it go  through the  board process  and work  on a  community                                                               
4:56:32 PM                                                                                                                    
BRUCE HENDRICKSON,  Homer, opposed SB  113, which tries  to bring                                                               
state  fisheries   in  alignment   with  federal   fisheries.  It                                                               
allocates the  resource to  a vessel, not  an individual,  and at                                                               
the  vessel level  it represents  capital.  Small boat  fishermen                                                               
lose and big boat lobbyists walk away with the resource.                                                                        
5:00:37 PM                                                                                                                    
ARNE FUGELVOG,  President, Petersburg Vessel  Owners Association,                                                               
said  he  is  also  a  member  of  the  North  Pacific  Fisheries                                                               
Management Council. Both supported SB  113. The NPFMC will have a                                                               
rationalization program finalized by next winter.                                                                               
     If we  retain open  access in state  waters and  have a                                                                    
     federally  rationalized  fishery,  I truly  believe  we                                                                    
     will have a disaster on  our hands because we will have                                                                    
     a   complete  mismatch   of  programs.   Fishermen  who                                                                    
     participate  in the  state water  fishery are  the same                                                                    
     ones who  participate in the  federal water  fishery. A                                                                    
     program for those fishermen that  does not work in both                                                                    
     state and  federal waters,  I think, is  going to  be a                                                                    
     real problem.                                                                                                              
5:03:41 PM                                                                                                                    
CHARLIE PARSONS,  Vice Chair,  Western Alaska  Ground Fishermen's                                                               
Association,  supported  SB 113.  He  said  all the  members  are                                                               
fishing right now  so they are not available to  testify in favor                                                               
of it.  Rationalizing the  fishery will spread  it out  over time                                                               
and space and make it a much safer and more profitable fishery.                                                                 
5:05:15 PM                                                                                                                    
MIKE MILLIGAN, representing himself,  explained the history about                                                               
the lobbying  effort in D.C.  to get  a state water  fishery that                                                               
was  allowed under  the  original Magnuson  Stevens  Act. It  was                                                               
successful at  the beginning of  the Knowles  administration. "It                                                               
has been a fantastic fishery for us."                                                                                           
He had  a couple of  problems with  SB 113, however.  Most people                                                               
started out  on boats  with mentors; probably  50 percent  of the                                                               
skippers  didn't own  the boats  they worked  on. These  skippers                                                               
didn't  qualify to  get IFQs  for  halibut. That  is really  what                                                               
people  mean  when  they have  concerns  about  dedicated  access                                                               
privilege. He  also wanted to  see some  way for people  to enter                                                               
the fishery. Further he stated:                                                                                                 
     What  isn't known  about the  three-mile limit  is that                                                                    
     under Magnuson  Stevens, the state could  have taken 12                                                                    
     miles.  If   there's  going  to  be   a  rational  deep                                                                    
     discussion  before this  committee, I  would like  this                                                                    
     committee to ask  that question - Why  didn't the state                                                                    
     go for 12 miles?                                                                                                           
5:10:22 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS clarified that under  Alaska law "persons" includes                                                               
people, corporations and  partnerships. He asked if  that was the                                                               
intent of the use of the word in this bill.                                                                                     
SENATOR BEN STEVENS replied yes.                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS told  Mr. Milligan that the  definition of "person"                                                               
includes skippers.                                                                                                              
5:16:27 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEN STEVENS  highlighted page 5, number  4 that indicates                                                               
past landings  are credited  solely or  partially to  the interim                                                               
permit holder, the  entry permit holder, the vessel  owner or the                                                               
commercial fishing license  holder. He emphasized that  no one is                                                               
excluded in the  consideration of this plan.  He concluded saying                                                               
that he looked forward to the next hearing.                                                                                     

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