Legislature(1995 - 1996)
02/21/1996 05:03 PM FSH
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON FISHERIES February 21, 1996 5:03 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Alan Austerman, Chairman Representative Scott Ogan Representative Gary Davis Representative Kim Elton MEMBERS ABSENT Representative Carl Moses, Vice Chairman OTHER HOUSE MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Gene Kubina COMMITTEE CALENDAR * HOUSE BILL NO. 118 "An Act relating to seafood marketing, to the definition of `seafood' for purposes of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, and to an aquatic farm product marketing tax; and providing for an effective date." - PASSED CSHB 118(FSH) OUT OF COMMITTEE HOUSE BILL NO. 175 "An Act relating to sport fish guides; and providing for an effective date." - PASSED CSHB 175(FSH) OUT OF COMMITTEE HOUSE BILL NO. 265 "An Act relating to the export of live dungeness crab." - PASSED CSHB 265(FSH) OUT OF COMMITTEE (* First public hearing) PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: HB 118 SHORT TITLE: SEAFOOD MARKETING / AQUATIC PRODUCT TAX SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) AUSTERMAN JRN-DATE JRN-DATE ACTION 01/25/95 131 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 01/25/95 131 (H) FSH, L&C, FIN 02/07/96 (H) FSH AT 5:00 PM CAPITOL 124 02/07/96 (H) MINUTE(FSH) 02/21/96 (H) FSH AT 5:00 PM CAPITOL 124 BILL: HB 175 SHORT TITLE: SPORT FISH GUIDE LICENSING SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) AUSTERMAN, Ivan JRN-DATE JRN-DATE ACTION 02/10/95 303 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 02/10/95 303 (H) FSH, RESOURCES, FINANCE 02/27/95 511 (H) COSPONSOR(S): IVAN 03/13/95 (H) FSH AT 5:00 PM CAPITOL 124 03/13/95 (H) MINUTE(FSH) 03/29/95 (H) FSH AT 5:00 PM CAPITOL 124 03/29/95 (H) MINUTE(FSH) 01/31/96 (H) FSH AT 5:00 PM CAPITOL 124 01/31/96 (H) MINUTE(FSH) 02/07/96 (H) FSH AT 5:00 PM CAPITOL 124 02/07/96 (H) MINUTE(FSH) 02/21/96 (H) FSH AT 5:00 PM CAPITOL 124 BILL: HB 265 SHORT TITLE: EXPORT OF DUNGENESS CRAB SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) WILLIAMS JRN-DATE JRN-DATE ACTION 03/17/95 778 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 03/17/95 778 (H) FSH, RESOURCES 03/22/95 (H) RES AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 124 03/22/95 (H) MINUTE(RES) 03/29/95 (H) FSH AT 5:00 PM CAPITOL 124 03/29/95 (H) MINUTE(FSH) 04/05/95 (H) FSH AT 5:00 PM CAPITOL 124 04/05/95 (H) MINUTE(FSH) 02/21/96 (H) FSH AT 5:00 PM CAPITOL 124 WITNESS REGISTER TOM MEARS, Executive Director Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association HC 2, Box 849 Soldotna, Alaska 99669 Telephone: (907) 283-5761 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 118. DON AMEND, General Manager Southern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association 2721 North Tongass Avenue Ketchikan, Alaska 99901 Telephone: (907) 225-9605 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 118. DAVE COBB, Business Manager Valdez Fisheries Development Association P.O. Box 125 Valdez, Alaska 99686 Telephone: (907) 835-2637 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 118. TED ACHILLES, President Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corporation P.O. Box 1110 Cordova, Alaska 99574 Telephone: (907) 424-7511 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 118. BRUCE SCHACTLER P.O. Box 2254 Kodiak, Alaska 99615 Telephone: (907) 486-4686 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 118. BRUCE BACHEN, Operations Manager Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association 1308 Sawmill Creek Road Sitka, Alaska 99835 Telephone: (907) 747-6850 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 118. RODGER PAINTER, President Alaska Shellfish Growers Association; and Board Member, Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute P.O. Box 20704 Juneau, Alaska 99802 Telephone: (907) 463-3600 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of provisions of HB 118 relating to aquatic farming. CHRIS BERNS P.O. Box 26 Kodiak, Alaska 99615 Telephone: (907) 486-5091 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 118. DWAYNE PEEPLES, Administrative Officer Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute 1111 Eighth Street Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-5560 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 118. AMY DAUGHERTY, Legislative Assistant to Representative Alan Austerman Alaska State Legislature State Capitol Building, Room 434 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-4230 POSITION STATEMENT: On behalf of sponsor, discussed changes in committee substitute to HB 175. CHERYL SUTTON, Legislative Assistant to Representative Bill Williams Alaska State Legislature State Capitol Building, Room 128 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-3424 POSITION STATEMENT: On behalf of sponsor, discussed changes in committee substitute to HB 265. SHERRI WOHLHUETER P.O. Box 1312 Petersburg, Alaska 99833 Telephone: (907) 772-9248 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 265. DON HASELTINE P.O. Box 7682 Ketchikan, Alaska 99901 Telephone: (907) 247-1336 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 265. ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 96-7, SIDE A Number 0001 CHAIRMAN ALAN AUSTERMAN called the House Special Committee on Fisheries meeting to order at 5:03 p.m. Members present at the call to order were Representatives Austerman, Ogan, Davis and Elton. Absent was Representative Moses. HB 118 - SEAFOOD MARKETING / AQUATIC PRODUCT TAX Number 0099 REPRESENTATIVE GARY DAVIS moved to adopt for discussion purposes the committee substitute for HB 118, version M, dated 2/15/96. There being no objection, it was so ordered. Number 0160 TOM MEARS, Executive Director, Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association, testified via teleconference from Kenai. He indicated the 1percent marketing tax on fish they sold was not a financial burden, as it would amount to only $10,000 per year. On the other hand, as a private nonprofit corporation, they currently paid no income tax and were exempt from property and sales taxes in both the Kenai Borough and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. Therefore, it 2would be "new ground" to be paying taxes. Number 0208 MR. MEARS said secondly, if they paid the 1 percent tax, they would simply pass it along to the fishermen. "We'll just have to catch more fish in our special harvest areas in order to be able to pay the tax," he said. He suggested the fisherman probably would not think that was a good idea, as they would pay additional amounts to the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI). Finally, if they and the oyster growers were to be subject to a tax, Mr. Mears thought they should be entitled to representation on the ASMI board. He suggested that the political difficulties of doing that would make it not worth the small amount of revenue created by their participation. Mr. Mears reiterated that it was "not that big a deal to us one way or the other," and added that they could live with whatever was decided. Number 0292 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS, in response to Mr. Mears, mentioned that representation on the ASMI board was spelled out and that there were fishermen on that board. He noted that "under the statute, you're considered something other than a fisherman, even though you are fishing," and asked Mr. Mears if that was correct. MR. MEARS replied that was correct. Their special limited entry permits allowed the harvest of fish just in a special harvest area. "We're clearly not commercial fishermen," he said. "Those are all individual persons ... and what we are is corporations. Our ability to catch fish is limited to just that very small place in the special harvest area." Number 0389 MR. MEARS explained they established a cash goal for the year, based primarily on operating expenses for the year. If operating costs increased by 1 percent because of this tax, they would correspondingly increase their cost-recovery cash goal by 1 percent. They would then need to catch more fish in the special harvest area for purposes of paying for the aquaculture association, leaving less fish of the total net return available to fishermen. Number 0465 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS asked if that cash goal was established by Mr. Mears and his board. MR. MEARS replied that was correct. Number 0479 REPRESENTATIVE KIM ELTON expressed ambivalence about the provision. He suggested an assumption had been made that hatchery production, as well as other production, was contributing to the market problem and in fact added "a couple of wrinkles to the market problem." He said, "the assumption may have been that since there's a contribution to the market problem, there may need to be a contribution to help address the market problem." Representative Elton thought it was a good point that the aquaculture association was "neither fish nor foul," being neither a fisherperson nor a processor. He indicated the ASMI board had been vexed by that in the past. Because of some of those questions and the need to get hatchery representation on the board, he noted, the Governor had appointed a public member who at the time was affiliated with the Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corporation (PWSAC), but who no longer had that affiliation. Representative Elton said there was a sensitivity to the need that "if you're going to be contributing, you ought to have some representation." He reiterated to Mr. Mears that he felt some ambivalence about it. Number 0599 DON AMEND, General Manager, Southern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association (SSRAA), testified via teleconference from Ketchikan, saying he echoed some of the comments by Tom Mears. He briefly discussed SSRAA's situation, which he suggested was the same as for Cook Inlet. If SSRAA were to pay an additional 1 percent tax, it would increase its revenue goal, resulting in harvesting more fish. Mr. Amend indicated this would be counter to the objectives of SSRAA of providing the maximum amount of value and revenue to the fishermen, who, if they were allowed to catch those fish, would pay that 1 percent tax, as well. He concluded by saying that SSRAA would not be in favor of the additional tax for the same reasons outlined by Tom Mears. Number 0738 DAVE COBB, Business Manager, Valdez Fisheries Development Association, testified via teleconference, explaining that his nonprofit association was not a regional hatchery. He wished to echo the same things said by Tom Mears and by SSRAA. Having budgets set by the board of directors, based on revenue goals, any taxes would result in taking more fish from the fishermen. Mr. Cobb said it had been the goal of his board to provide as many fish to the commercial fishing fleet and sport fishery as possible. A 1percent tax would be about $28,000 per year. "It certainly won't break us up in business," he said, "but there certainly is a distinction between ... us as a corporation and us as a fisherman. We're certainly not a fisherman. We're a producer. We're producing a product out there," he said. "And for this reason, we're opposed to the additional language." Number 0847 TED ACHILLES, President, Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corporation (PWSAC), testified via teleconference from Cordova, saying he also wanted to echo Tom Mears's thoughts. He explained that PWSAC operated a little differently, as they had no revenue goal. Instead, they tried to make ends meet "within 40 percent of the catch," he said. They would not be passing the tax along; it would simply come out of the operating budget. Although it would not break PWSAC, it would limit their ability to accomplish goals in terms of raising salmon for Prince William Sound. From PWSAC's point of view, it would probably be a counter-productive assessment. Number 0918 BRUCE SCHACTLER testified via teleconference from Kodiak, saying he did not agree with anyone who had spoken thus far. "I don't think they're looking at it from the point of view of the rest of the fishermen in Alaska that are supporting the products that those guys are selling to keep themselves in business," he stated. He noted that the aquaculture associations were going to cost-recover and put onto the open market approximately $16 million worth of fish. This was in competition or in addition to the rest of the fish from Alaska and the world. Mr. Schactler said that was more than the entire pack was worth in the Kodiak area this summer, and was a significant amount of fish being put on the market. Right now, fishermen were subsidizing the selling and marketing of those $16 million worth of fish. Number 0980 MR. SCHACTLER emphasized that the aquaculture associations worked for a group of fishermen who had formed a corporation to raise fish for profit. "This is not just some company that's doing charitable work here," he said. Mr. Schactler explained that the associations put fish on the market and ASMI was marketing those fish, just as ASMI marketed the rest of the fish in the state, increasing demand for fish worldwide through their efforts. This theoretically increased prices, resulting in the aquaculture associations having to cost-recover less fish. "It's all part of the same business. They're in the business of catching fish and selling them to keep themselves in business. This 1percent is the cost of doing business," he added. Number 1100 MR. SCHACTLER concluded that it was a fair way of doing business. The approximately $160,000 would enable ASMI to continue to do its job. He added that fishermen in the different aquaculture associations had a position on ASMI's board. Number 1160 BRUCE BACHEN, Operations Manager, Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association (NSRAA), testified via teleconference from Sitka. He emphasized that NSRAA operated hatcheries for the benefit of the public, including commercial, sport and subsistence fishermen. He indicated NSRAA had provided to the sport fishery 65,000 Chinook salmon in Juneau and Sitka, as well as 2,500 coho for sport fishermen in northern Southeast Alaska. When NSRAA's fish left the hatchery, they were available to anyone interested in catching them. Mr. Bachen explained that NSRAA received its funding from the enhancement tax collected from fishermen, as well as from the sale of returning fish. "Our expenditures are strictly to cover our costs," he said, including the year's operations, repaying state loans and, in good years, putting away some reserves to provide stability. Number 1223 MR. BACHEN explained that NSRAA tried to keep costs to an absolute minimum, resulting in minimum cost-recovery needs. He suggested this provided the greatest benefit to the public. He expressed concern about anything that raised costs, as this tax would do. It would force NSRAA to take additional fish away from what was available to the users of those fish, he said. Rather than harming NSRAA, he suggested the tax would harm the fishery and the people who participated in it. He said that ran counter to the goals established by NSRAA. Number 1282 MR. BACHEN acknowledged the need for marketing and provided an example. He concluded by saying, "We'd ask you not to include the cost-recovery harvest as part of the revenue generator for ASMI." Number 1320 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN noted that Representative Gene Kubina had joined the meeting. RODGER PAINTER, President, Alaska Shellfish Growers Association, and Board Member, Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, noted that he was also an oyster farmer. He spoke in favor of the provisions of HB 118 relating to aquatic farming. He provided the committee with hand-outs from the Department of Fish and Game which reported data on aquatic farm permits, operations, sales and inventory. He said, "We'd really like to see the assessment in place." He mentioned that when the subject had been brought before membership for the past two years, members had voted unanimously in favor of the marketing assessment. Number 1410 MR. PAINTER explained that ASMI was currently promoting oysters, and doing a pretty good job of it, even though oyster farmers were not subject to the marketing assessment. Since oysters were being promoted, the growers felt it was only fair to pay their own way. They were keenly interested in keeping ASMI interested in oysters because there would be lots of them to sell. He discussed inventory figures from the Department of Fish and Game hand-out. Aggressive promotion was needed, he said, and ASMI was the best vehicle they had. Mr. Painter urged the committee to move CSHB 118, at least the provisions relating to aquatic farming, out of committee. Number 1495 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS asked Mr. Painter if there were problems marketing the 866,000 oysters they had. MR. PAINTER replied, "I wouldn't say that we're not having any problem marketing it." They had been aggressively promoting oysters for the past four years. For example, the last year, ASMI had contributed $10,000 towards the Alaska Oyster Festival in Anchorage, which had helped immensely in moving the product. Number 1543 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS asked how many years it would take to reach 10 million. MR. PAINTER responded that it took two to three years to grow the product to market size. He explained that a number of farms had started up but not made it. In addition, some oysters in inventory might never see the marketplace. Looking at reports over the past few years, there had been a lot in inventory but a much smaller number reaching the marketplace. With oysters, there was also a high mortality; probably half of the oysters planted did not make it to market size or were misshapen or otherwise unmarketable. Out of 10 million, only 5 million would reach market size. Mr. Painter referred to the chart provided and said in terms of sales, there was a steady growth curve. He expected the chart to "jump up" significantly in the next two years. For example, in 1996, there would probably be twice as many farms selling product as there were the previous year. Therefore, they should see a big jump in sales this year. Number 1659 CHRIS BERNS testified via teleconference from Kodiak. He suggested that fishermen from Bristol Bay, Kodiak and the peninsula were in direct competition with and paying for marketing of cost-recovered fish. He suggested that aquaculture associations should share the burden of trying to market those fish. Number 1765 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON moved that CSHB 118, version M, dated 2/15/96, move from committee with attached fiscal note. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS objected for the purpose of asking a question. He wanted to know what ASMI's current budget was and where those funds came from. Number 1787 DWAYNE PEEPLES, Administrative Officer, Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI), explained that ASMI had three sources of revenue, one of which was receipts from assessments from the processors, calculated at .3 percent on all products sold on shore. There was also a 1 percent assessment on all salmon at ex-vessel value. In addition, the export program was supported by a United States Department of Agriculture grant and some state matching funds. In relation to assessments for FY 1996, Mr. Peeples projected approximately $4.5 million from the 1 percent salmon marketing tax, plus approximately $3 million from the processor tax. As for HB118, he said, the ASMI board had not addressed the proposed legislation but was meeting in Juneau the following two days, at which time they would address the board's position and discuss HB118. Number 1850 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS asked Mr. Peeples if he knew the amounts of the federal and state shares. MR. PEEPLES replied yes, the state match right now was $890,000, with the federal money being $3.9 million. Number 1866 REPRESENTATIVE GENE KUBINA asked Mr. Peeples whether ASMI received anything over and above the fish tax for the eggs. He suggested the eggs were the "high-value product" from the fish being marketed by the hatcheries. MR. PEEPLES asked if Representative Kubina was referring to cost- recovery and hatcheries. REPRESENTATIVE KUBINA clarified that he was referring to eggs taken from fish sold by the processors. Number 1883 MR. PEEPLES replied that for most fish sold to the processor, ASMI collected on the ex-vessel value at the time of the sale. Once the product had been sold one time, there was no further assessment. Number 1895 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN noted that there was a motion on the table and asked if there was still an objection. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS recalled when the state had been getting rid of hatcheries and given up state funding, turning it over to the nonprofits to handle themselves. Now, he said, we were going back and charging them. It had been a fairly short time since telling them, "Go out and make it on your own," and Representative Davis thought it was counter-active. Now, the aquaculture associations were funded, with their dollars coming from commercial fishermen, who were already part of ASMI. Now, the cost-recovery and the fish that they caught were being charged. It seemed like they were being cut short. Something just did not seem proper, Representative Davis said. He indicated it was like giving an assignment and then making it tougher. Number 1991 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON responded that another way of looking at it was to say, "Okay, this is a tax assessed against the fish. And if we have a salmon marketing problem and we're assessing this tax against one portion of the salmon pack - and that's the portion that's caught by the commercial fishermen and the portion bought by the processing industry - and so, without this provision, we're allowing some of those fish that are going to end up in the market to compete with fish that have paid their share toward the marketing costs." Number 2051 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON said, "it's no secret that we have a real problem." Production was rising faster than consumption. The previous year, production exceeding consumption by 3 million metric tons. A large portion of Alaska's production was from the hatchery component. "We have a lot of people on the ropes in this industry, in the salmon segment of the commercial fishing industry," he said. He suggested the Division of Investments might be able to testify as to the dimensions of the problem. Some of the people on the ropes were processors, he said. For cost-recovery fish, the solution was to catch a few more. Number 2099 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON expressed that he did not feel strongly about the issue. However, if there was going to be hatchery production contributing to the market problems, it also ought to contribute to the market solution. "It will be less onerous for them to contribute to the market solution than it is for the fisherman or the processor," he said, "because all they do is increase their cost-recovery catch." Number 2114 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS wondered how much this would contribute to the solution. He thought it seemed to be a very small portion of the problem. He withdrew his objection to the motion to move CSHB 118 out of committee. Number 2134 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN noted that there was a motion on the floor to move CSHB 118 out of committee, with accompanying fiscal note, to the next committee of referral. There being no objection to the motion, it was so ordered. HB 175 - SPORT FISH GUIDE LICENSING Number 2143 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN pointed out that the committee would not take testimony on HB 175 that evening. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS moved to place CSHB 175, work draft R, on the table for discussion. There being no objection, it was so ordered. Number 2217 AMY DAUGHERTY, Legislative Assistant to Representative Austerman, sponsor of HB 175, explained the changes made since the last work draft for the bill. She mentioned there were a lot of little changes but only two main ones. First, they had pulled out the "transporter" section. She said this was removed to avoid complications and future problems, and could possibly be addressed in other legislation. Second, in response to requests by small business operators, the language had been changed so that an operator/guide license could be obtained without going to more than one agency location. In addition, Ms. Daugherty explained, all the language referring to physically being on a vessel had been moved to the definitions section. Number 2272 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS expressed appreciation for the stack of letters that had been received. One thing that had struck him involved concerns over insurance requirements. He asked if there had been a history of claims and problems driving the issue. He noted that in the testimony received, there did not seem to be a history of claims. He wondered if light could be shed as to the need for that provision. Number 2316 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN responded that originally, the insurance provision was for $500,000, with a $1 million aggregate. After receiving testimony, they had lowered the requirement to $300,000. Chairman Austerman explained the language had been drafted from the big game license procedures, which originally contained an insurance clause that had been eliminated. Chairman Austerman said the committee had received a couple of remarks in reference to dropping it from the bill entirely. On the other hand, they had received comments from industry people saying it was a good thing to have, as it made the industry responsible and provided a certain level of comfort to tourists and people coming to the state to use the services. He pointed out that he himself had no argument either way. However, another argument was that there was no requirement, for example, that doctors have certain levels of insurance. Number 2370 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS referred to the language coming from big game regulations or statutes; he thought going after a fish was different from going after a bear or moose. He mentioned letters received from Fairbanks that indicated there was no problem there and that regionalization would be nice. He said, "I probably disagree with that, having lived on the Kenai River for thirty years. You can see that thirty years ago, there wasn't a problem there, either. And probably twenty years ago, there wasn't. So get ready, because these sport fishermen love to fish and streams are drying up all over the world." He wondered if Alaska might be accommodating the whole world soon. He indicated that people in his area were not opposed to the legislation. "I think we're on the right track," he said, adding that he was not sure the legislation could not be improved somehow. He noted that a lot of work and a lot of testimony had gone into the legislation. He said he looked forward to the House Resources Committee "hashing it out a little more." Number 2455 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN replied that indeed, in the Fairbanks area there was concern about the bill. In interior Alaska, there was concern by guides on the rivers, as well. TAPE 96-7, SIDE B Number 0001 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN suggested that if the Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) later felt that fish other than salmon and halibut needed to have reports done on them, they could later come back and do that. He pointed out that some requirements had been removed from the legislation. For example, there had been concern over the Coast Guard license. People had been worried they would need that license to run a raft down a river, and there had been changes made so that was no longer required. Number 0033 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN continued, explaining that with changes made to HB 175, both required licenses could now be obtained through ADF&G, instead of having to go two places. "We've got it down now to where we basically want it, and that's just to register and to report their catch so that the department has some kind of justification for what's going on," he said. Number 0044 REPRESENTATIVE SCOTT OGAN indicated he thought it was a wise move to drop the transporters out. He said it had been a constant problem with hunting guides and a "major, major point of contention." He acknowledged he had some problems with CSHB 175. He wanted the record to reflect that he would not be objecting to passing it out. However, his recommendation was to amend it. He thought it needed to be simplified. He also had philosophical problems with "one branch of government enforcing two or three other branches of the governments' regulations and licensing." He noted that hearings were scheduled the following day in Kenai, which he thought would be productive. He also thought the legislation should move along so that the House Resources Committee could consider it. Number 0089 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN noted that HB 175 moved to the House Resources Committee next. There was also a scheduled House Resources Committee meeting in Kenai on Thursday and Friday, with HB 175 being heard there Friday afternoon. Number 0103 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON said, "I think the problems that we may have philosophically and practically with this are probably the licensing provisions and how you do that in the least onerous way. I understand and I sympathize with Representative Ogan's concerns there, but I hope when it gets to the Resources committee they also recognize the main thrust of this is to gather the data to help manage the different resources wisely. And it's unfortunate that the only way you can do that is through a registration program, because it does bring up philosophical problems and practical problems." He concluded by saying the data component of this was where the real value came in. He expressed appreciation for the sponsor's efforts. Number 0146 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS moved that CSHB 175 move out of committee, with individual recommendations and accompanying fiscal notes, to the House Resources Committee. There being no objection, it was so ordered. HB 265 - EXPORT OF DUNGENESS CRAB CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN noted that the next item of business was HB 265. He introduced Cheryl Sutton to present the bill. Number 0185 CHERYL SUTTON, Legislative Assistant to Representative Bill Williams, sponsor of the bill, explained that HB 265 had been heard the previous year. Before the committee was a substitute which she felt confident would address any concern stated in the past. She briefly summarized the sponsor statement, saying HB 265 was an economic development bill introduced by Representative Williams in response to constituents who were developing a live crab market in British Columbia. Currently, there was a prohibition against any kind of transport except by air. This bill, in the committee substitute form, would allow dungeness crab to be exported from the state both by air, as currently allowed, or by "surface transportation if the crab are taken at a time and location in the state for which the Department of Environmental Conservation does not require seafood processors to test dungeness crab for the presence of marine toxins." Number 0234 MS. SUTTON explained the bill pertained mostly to Southeast Alaska, especially the southern regions. She said there had been concerns raised about issues of crab coming onshore. In the Kodiak dungeness fishery, she noted, "it tests hot all the time. This would not even fit into this model at all," she said. She referred to documents provided to the legislature by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and explained that in the Bering Sea, where there were no dungeness, there was a fishery for Opilio Tanner crab that had been certified in winter. There would be no Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) testing for that fishery, but spot-checking only. "It really narrows down the focus," she said, "and what it will allow is an opportunity for some fishermen who are now doing air transport and have found that it's very costly and also not very efficient." She explained there were lots of dead crab because they got "bumped" or had other problems being transported by air. To transport by vessel, all the reporting requirements were in place. All the taxes would be paid. All the catch statistics would be reported to the department. Ms. Sutton noted that Geron Bruce was present from ADF&G and Janice Adair from DEC was on line to answer questions. Ms. Sutton indicated that the agencies were happy with the bill. Number 0298 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN noted that it would be proper to accept the work draft for CSHB 265, version F. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS moved to accept the draft. There being no objection, it was so ordered. Number 0317 SHERRI WOHLHUETER testified via teleconference from Petersburg, 2saying she was a dungeness fisherman. She expressed support for HB 265, saying as she understood it, it offered fishermen the ability to diversify in the transportation of dungeness crab to market. She thought it could only be an improvement. Number 0340 DON HASELTINE testified via teleconference from Ketchikan. He said there was a "good, solid market" in British Columbia. He noted that a third of what he got paid for crab went into air freight. He said there were buyers in Prince Rupert and tenders already running that direction carrying shrimp. He thought the legislation provided a good opportunity to "put some guys back to work and keep the money in Alaska instead of going to out-of-state transportation." He concluded by stating his support of the bill. Number 0440 MS. SUTTON pointed out that there were two zero fiscal notes. While she had been unable to obtain updated ones, both ADF&G and DEC had affirmed with the committee substitute that there were still zero fiscal notes, she said. Number 0453 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS moved that CSHB 265 be passed out of the committee, with attached fiscal notes. There being no objection, it was so ordered. ADJOURNMENT There being no further business to conduct, CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN adjourned the House Special Committee on Fisheries meeting at 6:01 p.m.