Legislature(2021 - 2022)BUTROVICH 205

03/03/2021 03:30 PM RESOURCES

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03:32:16 PM Start
03:33:30 PM SB29
05:06:32 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ SB 29 COOK INLET: NEW ADMIN AREA;PERMIT BUYBACK TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
        SB 29-COOK INLET: NEW ADMIN AREA; PERMIT BUYBACK                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:33:30 PM                                                                                                                    
ACTING CHAIR  BISHOP announced the  consideration of  SENATE BILL                                                               
NO. 29  "An Act relating to  the powers of the  Alaska Commercial                                                               
Fisheries Entry Commission; relating  to administrative areas for                                                               
regulation  of   certain  commercial   set  net   entry  permits;                                                               
establishing  a  buy-back  program  for  certain  set  net  entry                                                               
permits; providing  for the  termination of  state set  net tract                                                               
leases  under  the buy-back  program;  closing  certain water  to                                                               
commercial fishing; and providing for an effective date."                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:34:41 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MICCICHE, speaking  as  sponsor of  SB  29, stated  that                                                               
sport and  commercial fishing user  groups in Cook  Inlet brought                                                               
this  forward after  years of  work to  find a  solution for  the                                                               
overly dense  fishery on the  east side  of Cook Inlet.  The bill                                                               
provides the structure for a voluntary permit buyback.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
He detailed that  the bill allows the  Commercial Fisheries Entry                                                               
Commission to divide  the east side of Cook Inlet.  This is where                                                               
fish  return to  the Kenai  and Kasilof  rivers If  the fishermen                                                               
approve the voluntary  buyback program, they will  register for a                                                               
drawing to  be bought out.  The bill allows  registered fishermen                                                               
to participate in  a draw for a permit buyback.  Their names will                                                               
go on the  roster. If the bill passes and  the program is funded,                                                               
the fishermen  on the  roster will  be asked  (in order)  if they                                                               
want  their site  and  permit purchased  by the  fund  to not  be                                                               
fished again.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MICCICHE  explained the  goal is to  [voluntarily] reduce                                                               
the fishery  by about 50  percent. The [Eastside  Setnetters] did                                                               
their own  survey to address uncertain  legislative support. Each                                                               
east  side  Cook  Inlet  permitholder  received  the  survey,  95                                                               
percent of those who responded [supported the permit buy-back].                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  MICCICHE  said the  goal  is  to relieve  the  pressure,                                                               
provide more fish,  more king salmon in  rivers while maintaining                                                               
a  viable  fishery  for  Eastside   Setnetters  who  remain.  The                                                               
remaining setnetters will provide  enough fish for the processors                                                               
because right  now they  are getting almost  no fishing  time and                                                               
are "starving to death."                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
He noted the [Eastside Setnetters]  may finally have support from                                                               
[United Fishermen of  Alaska] (UFA) and the  other fishing groups                                                               
who realize  "We are at  the end  of our rope."  Fishing families                                                               
that  have  been  fishing  the   east  side  in  Cook  Inlet  for                                                               
generations are at the end of  their rope. The intent is for some                                                               
of those families  to remain viable and to give  those who choose                                                               
to  be voluntarily  bought out  an opportunity  to move  to other                                                               
fisheries or retrain for another line of work.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  MICCICHE stated  the [Eastside  Setnetters] do  not know                                                               
where the funding  comes from. However, until there  is a process                                                               
in  place,  they cannot  ask  some  of the  federal  conservation                                                               
buckets of dollars  that have bought out  other voluntary buyouts                                                               
in the Lower  48 or the private sector that  may be interested in                                                               
contributing. The  bill allows  those fisherfolk  to go  look for                                                               
funding to execute the program.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
He said Mr. Coleman will explain how the program works.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:40:47 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
[There were technical difficulties]                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:42:21 PM                                                                                                                    
ACTING CHAIR BISHOP called the committee back to order.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:42:32 PM                                                                                                                    
KEN  COLEMAN,  President,   Eastside  Consolidation  Association,                                                               
Kenai, Alaska,  testified in  support of  SB 29.  He said  he has                                                               
been a setnetter on the east side  of Cook Inlet for 49 years. He                                                               
explained  the  Eastside  Consolidation Association  (ECA)  is  a                                                               
qualified   salmon   association   recognized   by   the   State,                                                               
specifically formulated  as a vehicle  to explore  gear reduction                                                               
or permit  buybacks. The goal of  ECA is to reduce  the number of                                                               
set net permits and nets on  the east side of Cook Inletonly  the                                                               
east  sideand  there  are four  other districts  [in Cook  Inlet]                                                               
that are not included in the bill.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
He explained ECA  is trying to find  a way to return  to a viable                                                               
and sustainable set net fishery.  ECA still subscribesand  always                                                               
willto   have  sustainable  escapements   in  all  rivers  and  a                                                               
reasonable harvest opportunity for  all user groupsnot  just ECA                                                                
but sport,  guided sport, general  public, personal  use fishers,                                                               
everyone. ECA  would like to  work collaboratively with  all user                                                               
groups  to do  the right  thing  for the  fish and  to make  sure                                                               
everyone ends up with a reasonable opportunity to harvest.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:44:53 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  COLEMAN said  SB 29  asks the  legislature to  create a  new                                                               
administrative  area  and  provide  for a  permit  reduction  via                                                               
permit buybacks.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. COLEMAN referenced  slide 3 in his  presentation and detailed                                                               
ECA  is  a  non-profit  salmon  association  that  is  formulated                                                               
specifically  to explore  permit  reductions  or permit  buybacks                                                               
from  user-group   members  or  affected  partiesas    stated  in                                                               
statute.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
He  noted slide  4  specifies who  the  Eastside Setnetters  are:                                                               
fathers,  mothers, grandparents,  children, sons,  daughters, and                                                               
families;  a community  filled with  generations  of set  netting                                                               
families and an important part  of its local history. Set netting                                                               
is not  just a job,  set netting defines who  they are as  a user                                                               
group. He  said he  suspects all  commercial fisherfolk  and gear                                                               
groups in Alaska  feels much the same  way, "It is a  way of life                                                               
that is very much family oriented."                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. COLEMAN detailed his personal  history, noting his father was                                                               
a fisherman in  northern Cook Inlet and Bristol  Bay. He detailed                                                               
he started fishing  as a teenager, his sons grew  up fishing, and                                                               
his wife  helped him  fish. He  added his sons  grew up  on their                                                               
fishing  site   and  his   grandchildren  are   experiencing  the                                                               
setnetter life on the beach, "It's just nothing else like it."                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:47:02 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  COLEMAN referenced  slide 5,  Eastside  Setnet History.  The                                                               
east side  setnet fishery  takes its roots  back to  about 1880s.                                                               
There  were early  canneries in  the mouth  of Kasilof  and Kenai                                                               
Rivers. The east  side set net fishery has been  around as one of                                                               
the longest and historical fisheries in the state.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. COLEMAN addressed slide 6,  Upper Cook Inlet Setnet Area, and                                                               
detailed the Eastside  Setnetters do their fishing  in Upper Cook                                                               
Inlet. The  set net area  is one  of five different  districts in                                                               
Cook  Inlet.   The  Central  District   is  where   the  Eastside                                                               
Setnetters  reside. The  Northern Districtnorthern   end of  Cook                                                               
Inletis   closer  to Anchorage.  The  Kalgin  Island District  is                                                               
located around  the largest  islands in  Cook Inlet.  The Western                                                               
District runs on the westside of  Cook Inlet, all the way down to                                                               
Chinitna Bay. The Southern District is in the Kachemak Bay area.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
He  reiterated ECA  is strictly  talking about  the east  side of                                                               
Cook  Inlet, from  the Ninilchik  River up  to Northern  District                                                               
line.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. COLEMAN detailed  slide 7, 1973 Limited  Entry, and explained                                                               
limited entry  was promulgated in  1973, noting most  of Eastside                                                               
Setnetters are original permit owners  who are very supportive of                                                               
the program  within the  [Commercial Fisheries  Entry Commission]                                                               
(CFEC). Today  there are 735  permits throughout Cook  Inlet with                                                               
440 east side set net permitholders.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
3:49:37 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  COLEMAN  referenced slide  8  and  noted the  largest  river                                                               
systems and  the most harvests come  from both the Kenai  and the                                                               
Kasilof Rivers in the east side  set net fishery. The area became                                                               
even more popular for other Cook  Inlet set net fisherfolk in the                                                               
mid-1980s because  the area had tidelands  for populating permits                                                               
and nets;  that coincided with  record biomass and  record prices                                                               
which  resulted in  an influx  that  created a  fishery that  was                                                               
about twice as  big as its historical  sizewhich  continues today                                                               
resulting in difficulty for sustaining a business.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
He noted  [the current runs on  the east side of  Cook Inlet] are                                                               
somewhat smaller due no sockeye  enhancement and much larger user                                                               
groups that  includes sportfishing, dipnetters, and  another gear                                                               
groupdriftnetters.   There  is  a lot  of  competition,  and  the                                                               
"east-side  pie" has  become increasingly  smaller with  multiple                                                               
user groups  trying to  find a way  to continue  being viablethe                                                                
reason for the bill.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR.  COLEMAN referenced  slide  9, SB  29Cook   Inlet: New  Admin                                                               
Area: Permit  Buyback and Gear  Reduction Act, and  explained the                                                               
bill  is a  legislative  attempt  to find  a  way  to reduce  the                                                               
[Eastside Setnetters] in  its posture and footprint  to remain as                                                               
viable as they have been for the last 150 years.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:52:17 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. COLEMAN  referred to slide  10, Reducing Permits,  noting the                                                               
bill  is the  mechanism where  the [Eastside  Setnetters] request                                                               
their  size  reduction  from  440  permits  to  240  permits,  an                                                               
approximate  45-percent  reduction.  The  permit  reduction  will                                                               
significantly  close areas  of water.  Currently there  are 1,320                                                               
nets on the east  side of Cook Inlet, an area  spread out over 60                                                               
miles;  however,  viability  has become  increasingly  hard.  The                                                               
reduction of  nets and permits  will allow the people  who remain                                                               
behind to continue  doing what they love and remain  part of [the                                                               
state's] cash economy.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. COLEMAN  noted there are ways  for CFEC to reduce  permits in                                                               
particular fisheries, but none allow  for set net permits to have                                                               
self-determination  in particular  areas.  Sixty  percent of  the                                                               
nets in Cook Inlet are fishing on the east side of Cook Inlet.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
He pointed out if CFEC was  asked to do an optimization study for                                                               
Cook  Inlet, their  study would  analyze the  connected economics                                                               
and  sociology, but  their optimization  number may  not be  less                                                               
than  what currently  exists. However,  if  CFEC came  up with  a                                                               
number  that  required  permit reductions,  the  reduction  would                                                               
apply to the  entire Cook Inlet. The Eastside  Setnetters have to                                                               
find  a way  to exclude  itself from  the rest  of Cook  Inlet to                                                               
reduce its  numbers and fix its  issues. The buyback is  the only                                                               
vehicle ECA has come up with that does that.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:55:52 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. COLEMAN  noted the 200-permit reduction  requires the closure                                                               
of the  tidewater associated with the  permits. Tidewater closure                                                               
allows for  individuals who  retain their  sites to  benefit from                                                               
increased fish  availability. Closed  water is a  primary feature                                                               
of SB 29.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
He  addressed slide  12, Voluntary  Reduction Approved  by Fleet.                                                               
The voluntary  program allows permitholders to  register their "A                                                               
permit" and  its associated  site to  participate in  the lottery                                                               
that  CFEC  would  run.  No   commercial  fisherfolk,  agent,  or                                                               
unassociated third  party with the  fishing community  would have                                                               
control of the lottery processwhich is the right thing to do.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  COLEMAN noted  ECA  conducted a  number  of fleet  reduction                                                               
program polls. The two polls  he was involved with indicated over                                                               
80 percent  of set net  fisherfolk approved a gear  reduction and                                                               
permit buyback; that number continues  to grow for allowing self-                                                               
determination and moving forward.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:58:42 PM                                                                                                                    
He  referenced slide  13 and  explained  the $260,000  [estimated                                                               
buyout value] was  derived by looking at how much  Cook Inlet set                                                               
net permits annually  grossapproximately  $20,000 per permitover                                                                
10-years.  The [estimated  value] also  includes $60,000  for tax                                                               
implications.  The lottery  buyout would  allow permitholders  to                                                               
close their business in  perpetuity. Many permitholders expressed                                                               
to  him a  desire  to  move to  other  commercial fishing  areas                                                                
Bristol Bay or Prince William Soundif they were bought out.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. COLEMAN noted permit reductions  addresses the "fish wars" by                                                               
conserving some  of the  stocks that are  desirable by  the other                                                               
user groups.  ECA has had  discussions with other user  groups to                                                               
allow everyone  to thrive and  survive. The bill would  allow for                                                               
securing non-state funding for the buyback.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
4:02:56 PM                                                                                                                    
ACTING  CHAIR BISHOP  thanked Mr.  Coleman for  the comprehensive                                                               
overview.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MICCICHE commented that the  bill should say "by request"                                                               
because the  proposal was brought  to him  by two user  groups in                                                               
Cook  Inlet that  have  been struggling  for  solutions for  many                                                               
years.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
He stated  the eastside setnetters are  up against a wall  and he                                                               
believes  the buyback  is the  only  option that  will provide  a                                                               
future for half of the fishermen  on the east side of Cook Inlet,                                                               
as well  as provide an opportunity  for those who are  willing to                                                               
move  on  to other  options.  SB  29  is  a win-win  option  that                                                               
provides a future.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR   MICCICHE  said   for  Kenai   River  sportfishing   and                                                               
setnetters to walk into his office  to present what they think is                                                               
a solution that will benefit all  the user groups is unusual, and                                                               
that occurred  about five years  ago. He expressed hope  that the                                                               
eastside setnetters formally support  the buyback program. Recent                                                               
polls indicate the  level of support is 95 percent,  but that has                                                               
been after  two more  years of consistent  closures and  almost a                                                               
complete absence of opportunity for  fishing families on the east                                                               
side of Cook Inlet.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
4:05:22 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS  asked Mr. Coleman to  explain the prioritization                                                               
process for the permit buybacks when the funding is unknown.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. COLEMAN explained people would  put themselves into a lottery                                                               
process done by  the state. People will have the  option to leave                                                               
the program  prior to the  consummation where the next  person in                                                               
line could opt into the program.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
He has discussed  the potential to solicit  federal grant funding                                                               
through  the  National  Oceanic  and  Atmospheric  Administration                                                               
(NOAA) Fishing  Capacity Reduction Program with  Senator Micciche                                                               
and  the Alaska  federal delegation,  and ECA  has also  explored                                                               
private  funding. However,  people are  reluctant to  participate                                                               
unless there  is a  work product such  as SB 29.  The bill  has a                                                               
sunset clause and  ECA will try mightily to  secure funding prior                                                               
to the sunset, he said.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:08:12 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  STEVENS  asked  the  sponsor   if  the  set  net  owners                                                               
themselves could invest money to help fund permit reduction.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  MICCICHE  explained  the  setnetters  have  evaluated  a                                                               
tariff on  themselves, but  they opted to  explore buyouts  via a                                                               
program  that  Konrad  Jackson  will  explain  in  the  sectional                                                               
analysis.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
He  noted the  proposed buyout  program eliminated  the potential                                                               
for people  to speculate because  they think there  will suddenly                                                               
be a higher  value. The program also eliminated  the potential to                                                               
jump a  place in line by  getting in early. The  buyback is based                                                               
totally by lotteryno  one has a  jump on order. People would send                                                               
their  interest in  to participate  and based  on the  scientific                                                               
survey showing  95 percent are  interested, there might  be close                                                               
to 400 people  applying. The CFEC would draw the  name order, but                                                               
only 200 would be part of  the voluntary buyout system to provide                                                               
a viable remaining fishery.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  MICCICHE explained  drawing more  than 200  names allows                                                               
for  people   to  change   their  mindsespecially    with  multi-                                                               
generational  fishing familiesand   the next  name in  line drops                                                               
down.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
He asked Senator Stevens to repeat his last question.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
4:10:20 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS said he asked about private funding.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MICCICHE  explained that  ECA initially thought  about an                                                               
assessment,  but they  were not  sure there  would be  additional                                                               
product  available  for  the  remaining  setnetters  due  to  the                                                               
competition and allocation  issues in Cook Inlet.  ECA will first                                                               
try  to  secure  funding  from   agencies  and  private  entities                                                               
involved in gear reduction operations.  If funding is inadequate,                                                               
ECA  would have  to come  back  for another  discussion with  the                                                               
setnetters and the legislature.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR KAWASAKI  commented that set  net permits must  have some                                                               
value.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  MICCICHE  replied they  do  and  it varies  dramatically                                                               
depending on  location. Permits from  very productive  sites have                                                               
sold for over $1 million.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
He pointed out  ECA does not care which permits  sell when taking                                                               
200 permits  out of the  water. If there  is a lower  value site,                                                               
the  hope is  that  those individuals  will  reinvest in  another                                                               
fishery or take  the money and go elsewhere. However,  the key is                                                               
some of the lower value  sites actually catch a larger proportion                                                               
of king salmon because the nets  are in the water longer, but the                                                               
sites are just  not the high volume later in  the season when the                                                               
sockeye salmon are really hitting sites.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MICCICHE  noted some people  might say there is  a permit                                                               
site for $35,000;  however, the buyout intent is to  take set net                                                               
businesses out  of existence in  perpetuity and reduce  the fleet                                                               
to give the fisherfolk something to move on to via the funding.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
4:13:16 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KAWASAKI asked  if the  200 permit  buybacks of  the 735                                                               
permits  artificially  inflates  the  prices  for  the  remaining                                                               
permits.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MICCICHE  explained the  buyback pertains to  440 permits                                                               
for the Eastside Setnetters, not 735 permits.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
He  said the  sectional analysis  will address  a cutoff  date so                                                               
that there is no speculation. The  permits would not be worth the                                                               
buyout  amount to  anyone else  because permitholders  are either                                                               
going to be bought  out or not, then the permits  will go back to                                                               
their   traditional  value.   Whether  the   buyout  results   in                                                               
additional volume is unknown, but the  hope is it does and leaves                                                               
a more viable fishery.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MICCICHE explained that limited  entry permit values on a                                                               
graph may  look like a  rollercoaster ride. The value  of Bristol                                                               
Bay  permits has  ranged from  $15,000 to  almost $200,000.  Cook                                                               
Inlet  permitsnot  long  ago for  drifterswere   in the  $200,000                                                               
ranges, now  the permits are  worth about $50,000.  Permit values                                                               
will increase  when several  good years  occur in  a row  and the                                                               
reverse happens when  there are several down years in  a row. The                                                               
reason for  basing the  buyout on average  earnings for  10 years                                                               
was to smooth out the value versus the "rollercoaster ride."                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR KAWASAKI expressed hope that  the bill does not create an                                                               
awkward secondary market as it has with liquor licenses.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:16:26 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS asked  the sponsor if the  bill precludes someone                                                               
from  selling   their  site  outside  of   the  buyback  program,                                                               
especially for  someone that had a  $1 million site who  wants to                                                               
sell that on the open market.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MICCICHE  answered sites on  "North Beach" are  not going                                                               
to  sell  for   $200,000  plus  tax  protection,   but  the  less                                                               
productive sites  will more  likely sell.  However, the  value of                                                               
less productive sites is greater  passage of king salmon which is                                                               
really the biggest rub. There is  a "sockeye thing" right now due                                                               
to  low returns,  the  10-year  average is  down  with  a lot  of                                                               
competition that has grown dramatically.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
He said  when thinking  about the allocation  shift to  the other                                                               
groups,  the  buyback plan  is  unfortunately  the only  response                                                               
[Eastside Setnetters]  see left  that reduces the  take-out while                                                               
allowing viability for the remaining setnetters.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR KIEHL asked him why he  chose a value number versus using                                                               
a  hybrid of  the methods  that allows  CFEC to  come up  with an                                                               
optimization  number  or  buyout  value with  the  other  methods                                                               
described in the bill, and then fund the program.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
4:18:48 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MICCICHE  explained the  permit numbers  in the  bill are                                                               
returning   the  east   side   to  the   appropriate  number   of                                                               
participants prior to the move  east during the really large runs                                                               
in the  1980sa  more traditional number.  If CFEC where to  do an                                                               
optimization study, it would be  Cook Inlet wide. The Bristol Bay                                                               
districts are divided  but Cook Inlet setnetters  are not divided                                                               
in that way; they are regulated  in different areas, but they are                                                               
all treated the same.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  MICCICHE said  the bill  allows  CFED to  break off  the                                                               
east-side  area  which  is the  one  dramatically  impacted.  The                                                               
individuals on the far west  sidewhere  they are open pretty much                                                               
all season  long on a huge  swath because there is  not really an                                                               
allocationis  not a  fishery that has a lot of  demand from other                                                               
user  groups. The  east side  is  a localized  issue between  the                                                               
Kenai and  Kasilof Rivers  that the bill  divides out  and treats                                                               
differently.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
4:20:46 PM                                                                                                                    
KONRAD  JACKSON,  Staff,  Senator Peter  Micciche,  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, Juneau,  Alaska, referenced a sectional  analysis of                                                               
SB 29 as follows:                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Section 1:  Amends the uncodified  law of the  State of                                                                  
     Alaska by  adding a new section  which establishes that                                                                  
     this legislation may be known  as the East Side of Cook                                                                    
     Inlet Set Net Fleet Reduction Act.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Section 2:  Amends the uncodified  law of the  State of                                                                  
     Alaska by  adding new  Legislative findings  and intent                                                                  
     relating to the bill.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Section  3:  Amends  AS  16.43.200(b),  clarifying  the                                                                  
     Alaska   Commercial    Fisheries   Entry   Commission's                                                                    
     (commission) specific  authority to divide  an existing                                                                    
     commercial  fishing  administrative  area into  two  or                                                                    
     more separate areas.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Section  4:  Amends  AS  16.43.200   by  adding  2  new                                                                  
     subsections:                                                                                                               
        (c) Establishes an area of the Upper Subdistrict of                                                                     
            the Cook  Inlet Central  District as  a distinct                                                                    
            administrative area separate from the Cook Inlet                                                                    
            Central District on December 31, 2019. This area                                                                    
            is made up  of the statistical  areas identified                                                                    
            on January 1,  2019 as 244-21, 244-  22, 244-31,                                                                    
            244-32, 244-41 and 244-42.                                                                                          
        (d) Provides that an individual who has a set net                                                                       
            permit for  the Cook  Inlet Central  District on                                                                    
            December 31, 2019 is not entitled  to set net in                                                                    
            the  administrative  area   created  under  this                                                                    
            section as of January 1,  2020 unless the permit                                                                    
            has been  reassigned to that  new administrative                                                                    
            area.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Section 5:  Amends the uncodified  law of the  State of                                                                  
     Alaska by adding  a new section which  provides how the                                                                  
     commission  will determine  whether  an individual  who                                                                    
     holds a set net entry  permit in the Cook Inlet Central                                                                    
     District  on January  1, 2022  is  reassigned an  entry                                                                    
     permit  for the  administrative area  established under                                                                    
     AS 16.43.200(c)  (added by sec.  4 of the bill)  or the                                                                    
     portion  of the  Cook Inlet  Central District  that was                                                                    
     not assigned  into the administrative  area established                                                                    
     under AS 16.43.200(c).                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Section 6:  Amends the uncodified  law of the  State of                                                                  
     Alaska  by  adding  a new  section  which  defines  the                                                                  
     appeals process  in the  new administrative  area. This                                                                    
     section provides  that Senator.Peter.Micciche@akleg.gov                                                                    
     a   provisional   license   will  be   issued   pending                                                                    
     resolution  of an  appeal  and  the provisional  permit                                                                    
     holder may  cast a provisional  ballot in  the election                                                                    
     established under section 7.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Section 7:  Amends the uncodified  law of the  State of                                                                  
     Alaska by adding a new  section which requires on April                                                                  
     1,  2022 an  election  be conducted  by the  commission                                                                    
     among    persons   holding    permits   in    the   new                                                                    
     administrative  area, to  affirm support  or opposition                                                                    
     to a buy-back program.  Requires the commission provide                                                                    
     public  notice of  the election,  hold public  meetings                                                                    
     concerning  the election,  and clarify  the details  of                                                                    
     the  buy-back program  to  those  participating in  the                                                                    
     election.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
4:25:31 PM                                                                                                                    
     Section 8:  Amends the uncodified  law of the  State of                                                                  
     Alaska by  adding a new  section which  establishes the                                                                  
     set  net  entry  permit buy-back  program  for  certain                                                                    
     permits fished  in the administrative  area established                                                                    
     under AS  16.43.200(c) (added by  sec. 4 of  the bill).                                                                    
     This section  will only take  effect if approved  in an                                                                    
     election by  the set  net entry  permit holders  in the                                                                    
     administrative area established  under AS 16.43.200(c).                                                                    
     If  it is  approved, the  buy-back program  will become                                                                    
     law 30 days following  notification of the Lt. Governor                                                                    
     (see  secs.   10  and  12).  Sets   qualifications  for                                                                    
     participation  in the  program,  provides the  buy-back                                                                    
     price for permits, requires  that the purchased permits                                                                    
     be cancelled  and not re-issued, provides  that certain                                                                    
     waters that  were fished  with permits  purchased under                                                                    
     the program will be closed  to future commercial salmon                                                                    
     fishing, and  specifies other  details of  the buy-back                                                                    
     program.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Section 9:  Amends the uncodified  law of the  State of                                                                  
     Alaska  by  adding a  new  section  which requires  the                                                                  
     commission  to   provide  a   written  report   to  the                                                                    
     Legislature  on the  status of  the  program not  later                                                                    
     than January 15, 2028.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Section 10: Amends  the uncodified law of  the State of                                                                  
     Alaska  by  adding a  new  section  which requires  the                                                                  
     chair  of  the  commission  to  notify  the  Lieutenant                                                                    
     Governor and the Revisor of  Statutes of the outcome of                                                                    
     the election held under section 7.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Section 11: Repeals sections 1, 2,  8 and 9 on June 30,                                                                  
     2028.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Section 12: Amends  the uncodified law of  the State of                                                                  
     Alaska  by adding  a new  section  which provides  that                                                                  
     secs. 1,  2, 8,  and 9  take effect  only if  notice is                                                                    
     provided  under section  10 that  the buy-back  program                                                                    
     established under section 8 was approved.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Section  13: Effective  Date Clause.  Section 4  of the                                                                  
     bill takes effect January 1, 2022.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Section   14:  Effective   Date  Clause.   Provides  if                                                                  
     sections 1, 2, 8 and,  9, take effect under section 12,                                                                    
     they  take effect  30 days  following the  date of  the                                                                    
     notice provided in section 10  that the buyback program                                                                    
     was approved.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Section 15:  Effective Date Clause. Except  as provided                                                                  
     in sections  13 and 14,  the bill takes effect  July 1,                                                                    
     2021.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:28:45 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS referenced Section 9 and asked why the report on                                                                
the status of the program is not until 2028 instead of annually.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. JACKSON  answered there might not  be much to report  in 2021                                                               
or 2022. It is intended as a final  wrap up on the success of the                                                               
program  and  how many  nets  were  ultimately removed  from  the                                                               
water.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
ACTING  CHAIR   BISHOP  turned  the  gavel   over  to  Vice-Chair                                                               
Micciche.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
4:29:52 PM                                                                                                                    
VICE-CHAIR MICCICHE opened public testimony on SB 29.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
4:30:27 PM                                                                                                                    
GARY DEIMAN,  representing self, Ninilchik, Alaska,  testified in                                                               
support of SB 29. He noted  he is a long time Eastside Setnetter.                                                               
He asked that the bill not use the term "lottery."                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
4:31:18 PM                                                                                                                    
SHARON  DEIMAN, representing  self, Ninilchik,  Alaska, testified                                                               
in support  of SB 29. She  noted her family has  four generations                                                               
of setnetters.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
4:31:56 PM                                                                                                                    
JEFF  DENT,  representing  self,   Kenai,  Alaska,  testified  in                                                               
support of SB  29. He noted he has been  Cook Inlet setnetter for                                                               
35  years. He  said  the  proposed buyback  will  take  a lot  of                                                               
pressure off of the Kenai River to allow more fish to spawn.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
4:33:09 PM                                                                                                                    
DEVIN  EVERY,  representing  self, Kenai,  Alaska,  testified  in                                                               
support for SB 29. He  noted he is 20-year-old, fourth generation                                                               
Cook Inlet  setnetter. He said  the bill is the  best opportunity                                                               
to keep the fishery available for future generations.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
4:34:57 PM                                                                                                                    
RUSSEL  CLARK, representing  self,  Kenai,  Alaska, testified  in                                                               
support of SB 29. He said  he has been a commercial setnetter for                                                               
20 years. He noted the Alaska  Department of Fish and Game Alaska                                                               
(ADF&G) has used emergency orders  to reduce gear for king salmon                                                               
conservation;  however, implementing  SB 29  will accomplish  the                                                               
ADF&G order.  He stated  the bill  is a  win-win because  he will                                                               
come out favorably whether he is chosen or not.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  KAWASAKI  asked  him  if he  would  participate  in  the                                                               
lottery if SB 29 passed.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. CLARK answered yes.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:37:28 PM                                                                                                                    
GARY  HOLLIER, representing  self,  Kenai,  Alaska, testified  in                                                               
support of SB 29. He noted  he has been an Eastside Setnetter for                                                               
50 years and his  family has 9 permits. He said  SB 29 would help                                                               
the  setnetters  who  want out,  make  the  fishery  economically                                                               
viable, and help the end-river  usersespecially  for king salmon.                                                               
He added he  contacted 48 other setnetters, all were  in favor of                                                               
gear reduction, and 75 percent would participate in the lottery.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
4:39:44 PM                                                                                                                    
ANDY  HALL, President,  Kenai Peninsula  Fishermen's Association,                                                               
Chugiak, Alaska, testified in support  of SB 29. He stated trying                                                               
to make  a living from setnetting  has been a struggle.  Taking a                                                               
portion of  the east side set  nets out will result  in a healthy                                                               
fishery.  The closed-waters  piece  in the  bill  is crucial  for                                                               
[fishery  viability]. He  noted 55  percent of  east side  permit                                                               
holders   have  responded   to  the   poll  Vice-Chair   Micciche                                                               
referenced with 95 percent supporting the buyback.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
4:42:56 PM                                                                                                                    
MELISSA  DEVAUGHN  HALL,  owner,  Hall  Family  Salmon,  Chugiak,                                                               
Alaska, testified  in support of SB  29. She noted her  family is                                                               
not  sure  whether  they  will  take part  in  the  buyback,  but                                                               
hopefully  the  program  will  result  in  a  conclusion  to  the                                                               
fighting among all user groups.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
4:44:26 PM                                                                                                                    
TIM  DONER, representing  self, Anchorage,  Alaska, testified  in                                                               
support of  SB 29. He  noted he is a  setnetter in the  area that                                                               
the  bill  was written  for.  He  stated  the  bill is  the  best                                                               
solution to  address the ongoing  issues that the east  side has.                                                               
He said whether  he participates or not, the  [buyback] will make                                                               
the fishery more viable for those who remain in the fishery.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
4:45:37 PM                                                                                                                    
BRUCE  MANLEY, representing  self,  Kenai,  Alaska, testified  in                                                               
support of  SB 29. He  noted he has set  net fished north  of the                                                               
Kasilof River  since 1975.  He said  over the  years he  has been                                                               
affected by the encroachment of other setnetters.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
4:46:53 PM                                                                                                                    
JOANNE   WICKERS,  representing   self,   State  of   Washington,                                                               
testified in support  of SB 29. She said she  and her family have                                                               
been east side setnetting for 35  years. She noted the Cook Inlet                                                               
fishery  has changed  over the  years due  to increased  pressure                                                               
from all user groups. She stated  her family wants the fishery to                                                               
remain viable for all user groups for generations to come.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:47:59 PM                                                                                                                    
SCOTT  SUMMERS, representing  self, Kenai,  Alaska, testified  in                                                               
support of  SB 29. He  said his  family has fished  their current                                                               
site since  1958; however,  the fishery is  no longer  viable for                                                               
his family  and the fishery needs  to change. He stated  the bill                                                               
will provide more  fish to the setnetters that are  left and give                                                               
people the option of getting out.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
VICE-CHAIR MICCICHE  noted his appreciation to  his staff member,                                                               
Mr.  Jackson,  for   putting  his  "heart  and   soul"  into  the                                                               
legislation in addition to other individuals.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
4:51:01 PM                                                                                                                    
JOHN  MANLEY,  representing  self, Kenai,  Alaska,  testified  in                                                               
support  SB 29.  He detailed  he has  been fishing  north of  the                                                               
Kasilof  River for  40  years.  He stated  the  drift fleet  will                                                               
benefit from  the bill as well.  He said the legislation  is fair                                                               
for everybody.  He noted those who  are left can gain  and people                                                               
who take the buyout receive a fair compensation.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
VICE-CHAIR  MICCICHE   disclosed  he   is  a  Cook   Inlet  drift                                                               
fishermanhe   has  not  figured  a   way  that  the  drift  fleet                                                               
benefits, but that would be nice, too.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
4:52:15 PM                                                                                                                    
NANCY TAYLOR, representing self,  Anchorage, Alaska, testified in                                                               
support  of SB  29.  She  said her  family  has  fished near  the                                                               
Kasilof  River for  39  years.  She stated  the  buyout, and  the                                                               
closed-water provision in the bill,  is good for everybodya  win-                                                               
win.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
4:52:56 PM                                                                                                                    
GEORGE TOWNSEND,  representing self, Kenai, Alaska,  testified in                                                               
support  of SB  29. He  noted he  has set  net fished  in Kasilof                                                               
since 1984.  He stated having  a buyback  plan is the  only thing                                                               
that makes sense going forward  and having fewer permits, leases,                                                               
and  nets  in   the  water  will  help  make   the  fishery  more                                                               
profitable. He stated the fight  between different user groups is                                                               
not  going   to  solve  itself  and   having  solidarity  amongst                                                               
fisherfolk for a change is kind of a rarity.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
4:54:46 PM                                                                                                                    
RANDY  MEIER, representing  self, Kasilof,  Alaska, testified  in                                                               
support of  SB 29. He said  his family has five  permits and fish                                                               
north of the  Kasilof River. He stated the  restrictions in place                                                               
have  led  to  less  fishing  time,  less  funds,  and  increased                                                               
difficulty  in hiring  crew.  He  noted he  and  his family  will                                                               
participate  in the  lottery and  those  who remain  will have  a                                                               
viable fishery.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
4:56:05 PM                                                                                                                    
JEREMY   NOET,   representing   self,   Bellingham,   Washington,                                                               
testified  in support  of SB  29. He  noted he  has been  fishing                                                               
since 1991.  He said there needs  to be a solution  and he thinks                                                               
the bill could be an excellent solution for all those involved.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
4:56:45 PM                                                                                                                    
TED  CROOKSTON, representing  self, Kenai,  Alaska, testified  in                                                               
support of SB  29. He noted he  has been fishing in  Kenai for 56                                                               
consecutive  seasons.  He  said  the  legislation  is  a  win-win                                                               
situation that  puts the  fishery into  its tradition  state that                                                               
existed prior to the 1980s.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
4:57:53 PM                                                                                                                    
TIM  OSMAR,  representing  self, Kasilof,  Alaska,  testified  in                                                               
support of  SB 29.  He noted he  is a  third-generation fisherman                                                               
and  has been  fishing  Cook  Inlet for  50  years.  He said  the                                                               
legislation is a no-brainer.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
4:58:28 PM                                                                                                                    
ROBERT  WILLIAMS, representing  self, Kasilof,  Alaska, testified                                                               
in support of  SB 29. He pointed out the  State will realize very                                                               
little cost  to implement  SB 29. He  noted other  fisheries have                                                               
done  [permit  reductions]  and  the proposed  bill  is  not  new                                                               
ground.  He said  the remaining  fisherfolk will  realize a  more                                                               
viable fishery. He noted the  proposed buyback is voluntary and a                                                               
permit holder  does not have to  participate if they do  not want                                                               
to.                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
4:59:41 PM                                                                                                                    
MARILYNN KEENER,  representing self, Soldotna,  Alaska, testified                                                               
in support  of SB 29.  She said she and  her family have  set net                                                               
fished since the  1970s and set net fishing has  been a wonderful                                                               
way of life.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
5:00:43 PM                                                                                                                    
MELVIN JOHNSON, representing self,  Cook Inlet, Alaska, testified                                                               
in support of SB 29.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
5:01:18 PM                                                                                                                    
TIM  KEENER, representing  self, Soldotna,  Alaska, testified  in                                                               
support of  SB 29.  He said the  bill is going  to work  and will                                                               
benefit anybody  and everybody that  has been in the  "fish wars"                                                               
for far  too long.  He stated the  legislation will  make history                                                               
and do something right that is  going to benefit a lot of people,                                                               
help  a lot  of families,  and  secure the  future for  a lot  of                                                               
families.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
5:02:44 PM                                                                                                                    
VICKI NELSON,  representing self,  Kasilof, Alaska,  testified in                                                               
support of  SB 29. She  said the [set  net] fishery has  not been                                                               
viable. She stated her family  will participate in the lottery so                                                               
others around their site will catch more fish.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
5:04:03 PM                                                                                                                    
VICE-CHAIR MICCICHE closed public testimony on SB 29.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
He  explained when  the buyback  project started  there was  much                                                               
more  resistance than  what is  currently heard.  Several hundred                                                               
years  of experience  just testified  before the  committee. Some                                                               
permitholder cases  have five generations  who have no  desire to                                                               
sell their permits  because they want to fish;  however, that has                                                               
become impossible at this time.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
He noted one thing no one mentioned  is in some cases the set net                                                               
families  invest tens  of thousands  of dollars  to get  ready to                                                               
fish, only  to be left  on the  beach without an  opportunity. He                                                               
reiterated he sees no other viable alternative.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
VICE-CHAIR  MICCICHE stated  setnetting is  "our history  and our                                                               
culture" in  his and Senator  Steven's districts.  The setnetters                                                               
are proud families that see no  other way, but he thinks they are                                                               
willing  to take  a chance.  The day  a family  is asked  to sell                                                               
their permit is going to be a really tough decision.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
He said he thinks  SB 29 is a solid bill  that has some solutions                                                               
that could  finally bring the  different user groups  together on                                                               
something, and he hopes the bill can move along.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
5:06:22 PM                                                                                                                    
VICE-CHAIR MICCICHE held SB 29 in committee.                                                                                    

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 29 UCI_Districts_Subdistricts_Sections ADFG Map 2.pdf SRES 3/3/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 29
SB 29 Supporting Documents-ADFG Upper Cook Inlet Management Area Central District Statistical Areas Map 1.pdf SRES 3/3/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 29
SB 29 Sectional Summary ver A.pdf SRES 3/3/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 29
SB 29 Sponsor Statement ver A 2.22.21.pdf SRES 3/3/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 29
SB 29 DNR Shore Fishery Leasing Fact Sheet.pdf SRES 3/3/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 29
SB 29 ECA Presentation to SRES 3.3.21.pdf SRES 3/3/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 29
SB 29 Fiscal Note DNR 2.26.21.pdf SRES 3/3/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 29
SB 29 Fiscal Note DPS 3.3.21.pdf SRES 3/3/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 29
SB 29 Fiscal Note DF&G CF 2.26.21.pdf SRES 3/3/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 29
SB 29 Fiscal Note DF&G CFEC 3.2.21.pdf SRES 3/3/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 29
SB 29 Support Letters 3.2.21.pdf SRES 3/3/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 29