Legislature(2005 - 2006)BUTROVICH 205

04/18/2005 03:30 PM RESOURCES

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03:34:55 PM Start
03:40:00 PM Confirmation Hearing: || Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (aogcc) - Cathy Forester
03:43:28 PM SB96
04:34:31 PM SB113
05:09:59 PM HB197
05:24:38 PM SB170
05:58:37 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Confirmation Hearing:
AOCGG Member - Cathy Forester
Moved CSSB 96(RES) Out of Committee
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
Moved CSHB 197(RLS) Out of Committee
            SB 113-GULF OF ALASKA GROUNDFISH FISHERY                                                                        
CHAIR WAGONER announced SB 113 to be up for consideration.                                                                      
SENATOR BEN STEVENS moved to adopt CSSB 113(RES), version S.                                                                    
There were no objections and it was so ordered.                                                                                 
CHAIR WAGONER objected for an explanation.                                                                                      
SENATOR STEVENS briefed the committee on the changes in the CS                                                                  
as follows:                                                                                                                     
   1. On page 2, lines 24 and 25, "except for mechanical jigging                                                                
     machine fisheries"  is added.  This would  remove mechanical                                                               
     jigging fisheries within state  waters from consideration of                                                               
     a direct access privilege (DAP) program.                                                                                   
   2. On page 6, lines 3 - 7, "(2)"Gulf of Alaska groundfish                                                                    
     fishery" is added and regards  a fishery in which groundfish                                                               
     are  taken in  a  specified  administrative or  registration                                                               
     area using  a specific type  of fishing gear that  is either                                                               
     pelagic  trawl, non-pelagic  trawl, pot,  or longline  gear.                                                               
     "Gulf  of  Alaska  groundfish   fishery"  does  not  include                                                               
     mechanical  jigging machine  fisheries. This  clarified what                                                               
     fisheries  would be  available  for consideration  of a  DAP                                                               
   3. Page 6, lines 17 - 20, adds: "(d) Notwithstanding AS                                                                      
     16.05.815   and  AS   16.43.975,  the   commission  or   the                                                               
     Department of  Fish and Game may  release to the owner  of a                                                               
     vessel information on the vessel's  history of harvests in a                                                               
     fishery that is necessary to apply for a dedicated access                                                                  
     privilege issued under AS 16.43.530."                                                                                      
SENATOR STEVENS explained  that this provision was  added so that                                                               
managers have  access to the history  of a vessel when  a plan is                                                               
being developed. The information  would not be disseminated; it's                                                               
only  in the  event that  a direct  access privileged  program is                                                               
being  considered.   The  Board  of  Fisheries   and  the  Alaska                                                               
Commercial  Fisheries  Entry  Commission  have  a  Memorandum  of                                                               
Understanding  (MOU)   with  respect   to  the  Gulf   of  Alaska                                                               
groundfish fisheries.                                                                                                           
ART  NELSON, Chairman,  Board of  Fisheries,  said the  MOU is  a                                                               
strong statement about how the public process is going to work.                                                                 
BRUCE   TWOMLEY,   Commissioner,   Commercial   Fisheries   Entry                                                               
Commission (CFEC), emphasized that  the joint public hearings the                                                               
MOU  calls  for  provide  an  opportunity  to  sort  through  the                                                               
proposal before it  becomes a public proposal. It  ties the board                                                               
together with CFEC  during the process so that  they can consider                                                               
testimony together.                                                                                                             
ED DERSHAM,  Vice Chairman,  Board of  Fisheries, added  that the                                                               
MOU is the end result of a year  and a half of work and nine days                                                               
of public meetings at the Board of Fisheries.                                                                                   
4:34:31 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS  asked if he  could elaborate on paragraph  2 and                                                               
how the process for direct access privilege begins.                                                                             
4:35:18 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  TWOMLEY   explained  that  limited  entry   has  never  been                                                               
implemented  without being  asked  for by  the  fishermen in  the                                                               
fishery and that language is intended to reassure the public.                                                                   
4:36:17 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  WAGONER  asked  what  percentage  of  fishermen  would  be                                                               
required for them to consider implementing limited entry.                                                                       
MR.  TWOMLEY replied  that a  statutory duty  is set  out in  the                                                               
Administrative Procedures  Act stating  that any time  a petition                                                               
(of one  or more people) is  submitted, the agency has  a duty to                                                               
respond  to  it   within  30  days.  There   is  no  quantitative                                                               
requirement. The  initial step  outlined in the  MOU will  be the                                                               
Board of Fisheries pointing out  fisheries it regards as critical                                                               
to  the CFEC  and that  will trigger  CFEC into  doing the  basic                                                               
research to get  a good sense of what the  fishery looks like and                                                               
whether or  not it would  be a  likely candidate for  a dedicated                                                               
access privilege program.                                                                                                       
SENATOR STEVENS asked him to  highlight the public comment period                                                               
and  the   process  for  a  normal   application  under  existing                                                               
4:39:01 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  TWOMLEY  replied in  the  existing  system, the  CFEC  would                                                               
receive a petition. In most  instances to comply with the statute                                                               
they  say  no, but  continue  to  look  at  the fishery.  If  the                                                               
commission can  satisfy the constitutional requirements  and if a                                                               
proposal would  promote conservation  and economic health  of the                                                               
fishery, it has a duty to go  forward with it at that point. That                                                               
proposal has  to be  reviewed by  the Attorney  General's office.                                                               
Then  it goes  out to  the public  for comment  and that  time is                                                               
often  quite  generous  because  you  must  work  around  fishing                                                               
seasons. At  the end of  the process  there is an  opportunity to                                                               
make a decision  and that, again, has to be  reviewed by the AG's                                                               
4:40:21 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS asked how long that takes.                                                                                      
MR. TWOMLEY replied a minimum of 90 days, but longer usually.                                                                   
4:41:42 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS  asked Mr.  Dersham how  long the  public comment                                                               
period on the Chignik fishery took.                                                                                             
MR.  DERSHAM replied  that  the people  pursuing  the co-op  came                                                               
forward  about eight  months before  the  regulatory meeting  and                                                               
informal discussion took  place over that period.  When the board                                                               
actually took  up the Chignik  Co-op for regulatory  action, that                                                               
happened  within a  nine-day period.  The  proposal had  actually                                                               
been on the books from the prior April 10.                                                                                      
SENATOR  STEVENS  asked how  the  inclusion  of a  joint  hearing                                                               
process would change their normal hearing process.                                                                              
4:44:32 PM                                                                                                                    
ART NELSON, Chairman, Board of  Fisheries, answered that it could                                                               
lengthen  the  hearing  process.  If  the  CFEC  comes  out  with                                                               
preliminary regulations, the board  could take exception to them,                                                               
for instance. Although, he hoped  there wouldn't be disagreements                                                               
between the two  bodies. They didn't want to give  one agency the                                                               
power to trump the other in terms of statutory authorities.                                                                     
4:45:09 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  ELTON said  that  paragraph  (5) mandates  communication                                                               
between CFEC and the board on  written comments that may be given                                                               
to  CFEC. He  anticipated the  board would  also receive  written                                                               
comments, but nothing mandates that  the board's comments need to                                                               
be shared with CFEC. He asked if that is a structural issue.                                                                    
4:46:13 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. DERSHAM  replied that it  is their intent  to go back  to the                                                               
work group  that had been  working for the  past year and  a half                                                               
and make additions  to that membership for  more inclusive public                                                               
participation in the affected areas.                                                                                            
4:47:17 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. TWOMLEY explained  the point is that when the  two groups are                                                               
together, they  will be getting  all the information at  the same                                                               
time, but  because the proposal  and notice will come  from CFEC,                                                               
it will have to share its information with the board.                                                                           
4:47:47 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  ELTON  said  that CFEC  commissioners  would  understand                                                               
that, but the public might not.                                                                                                 
4:48:13 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  STEVENS asked  Mr. Dersham  how efforts  on the  federal                                                               
level would impact  existing participants on the  state level and                                                               
which fisheries would apply for a direct access program.                                                                        
MR. DERSHAM  replied that  the board  and the  department haven't                                                               
yet defined what a separate fishery  is, but the cod fisheries on                                                               
the south peninsula in Kodiak,  and more recently Cook Inlet, and                                                               
the pollock fisheries  from Prince William Sound  out through the                                                               
Aleutians came to his mind first as candidates.                                                                                 
4:51:23 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS  asked how  a DAP would  the impact  the Shumigan                                                               
Islands  pot  cod  fishery and  parallel  pollock  pelagic  trawl                                                               
4:52:00 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. DERSHAM replied:                                                                                                            
     Under current regulations in state  waters, if we had a                                                                    
     rationalized federal Gulf  groundfish fishery next door                                                                    
     to those,  it would greatly increase  the potential for                                                                    
     additional  pressure during  the times  when the  state                                                                    
     waters  were opened.  So, people's  past practices  and                                                                    
     their past history would be  very much at risk with the                                                                    
     same set  of regulations,  because the freed  up effort                                                                    
     from  the federal  side could  encroach on  what's been                                                                    
     taking place in the state waters in the past.                                                                              
4:54:51 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. TWOMLEY  agreed, and said the  function of DAPs should  be to                                                               
help secure the place of Alaskan fishermen in their fishery.                                                                    
     It should  also aid  enforcement by  putting individual                                                                    
     limits  on their  ability to  take  resources from  the                                                                    
     fishery.   It  should   also  enhance   their  economic                                                                    
     opportunities   by  excusing   them  from   what  would                                                                    
     otherwise be a  race for the fish. There is  more of an                                                                    
     opportunity to be rational and  to plan. In the absence                                                                    
     of that, the fishery would  be just as vulnerable as Ed                                                                    
     has indicated.                                                                                                             
4:55:34 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR WAGONER  asked him  to compare the  DAP process  to halibut                                                               
IFQs in terms of its affect on processors in the marketplace.                                                                   
MR.  TWOMLEY  replied  that  there  are  sound  opportunities  to                                                               
increase the  value of the product  simply by being able  to fish                                                               
when it's opportune  to do so - when the  markets are right, when                                                               
prices are right  and along with the safety  benefits of avoiding                                                               
bad weather. With more marketable  fish, it is an opportunity for                                                               
processors as well.                                                                                                             
4:56:20 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR SEEKINS  asked why the  department and the board  need to                                                               
have an MOU.                                                                                                                    
MR.  DERSHAM replied  that  the public  needs  definitions and  a                                                               
clear understanding of how the process will work.                                                                               
SENATOR  SEEKINS  said   they  are  not  trying  to   set  up  an                                                               
exclusionary process, but to just manage the real resource.                                                                     
MR. DERSHAM replied that is correct.                                                                                            
4:59:38 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS  directed members to  page 5,  line 5, of  the CS                                                               
that  lists  the nine  key  elements  that  the developers  of  a                                                               
program  must address.  He asked  anyone to  comment if  they saw                                                               
omissions from  the guidelines for development  of regulations to                                                               
implement a program.                                                                                                            
5:01:14 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  TWOMLEY  commented  that  these   are  basic  and  essential                                                               
elements of a  DAPS program as advised by  Lance Nelson, Attorney                                                               
General's Office.                                                                                                               
5:01:57 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS asked  if this list is a product  of the hearings                                                               
held over the last several years.                                                                                               
5:02:21 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. DERSHAM replied yes, definitely.                                                                                            
SENATOR STEVENS  said that he  was trying to highlight  that this                                                               
list is a product of public  hearings that have been conducted by                                                               
the  Board   of  Fisheries  and   the  North   Pacific  Fisheries                                                               
Management Council as a joint planning team.                                                                                    
5:02:34 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. DERSHAM  added that it  was part of  the nine days  of public                                                               
hearings  the Board  of Fisheries  conducted over  a period  of a                                                               
year and  a half with a  work group of public  panel advisors and                                                               
input   from   the   general  public   and   participation   from                                                               
representation from the CFEC and the Department of Law.                                                                         
5:02:59 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS asked if their work was posted and reviewed.                                                                    
MR. DERSHAM replied yes.                                                                                                        
5:04:36 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS  highlighted that  the material  in this  bill is                                                               
the  evolution  of  an extensive  public  process  among  fishing                                                               
participants  and the  fisheries managers.  He thought  there had                                                               
been adequate public review.                                                                                                    
5:05:28 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  STEVENS moved  to  adopt the  MOU to  be  included as  a                                                               
letter of  intent with SB  113. There  were no objections  and it                                                               
was so ordered.                                                                                                                 
CHAIR WAGONER  noted there were  no further questions  and stated                                                               
that he would have another hearing on this bill on Saturday.                                                                    

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