Legislature(1995 - 1996)
03/06/1996 05:10 PM FSH
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON FISHERIES March 6, 1996 5:10 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Alan Austerman, Chairman Representative Carl Moses, Vice Chairman Representative Scott Ogan Representative Gary Davis Representative Kim Elton MEMBERS ABSENT All members were present. COMMITTEE CALENDAR * HOUSE BILL NO. 538 "An Act relating to the establishment of a moratorium for vessels participating in the Bering Sea Korean hair crab fishery; relating to a vessel permit limited entry system; and providing for an effective date." - HEARD AND HELD HOUSE BILL NO. 390 "An Act relating to the nonresident anadromous king salmon tag and the anadromous king salmon stamp; requiring nonresident alien sport fishermen to be accompanied by a sport fishing guide; and providing for an effective date." - HEARD AND HELD (* First public hearing) PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: HB 538 SHORT TITLE: VESSEL MORATORIUM FOR HAIR CRAB FISHERY SPONSOR(S): COMMUNITY AND REGIONAL AFFAIRS JRN-DATE JRN-DATE ACTION 03/06/96 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 03/06/96 (H) FISHERIES 03/06/96 (H) FSH AT 5:00 PM CAPITOL 124 BILL: HB 390 SHORT TITLE: KING SALMON TAGS & STAMPS/GUIDE FOR ALIEN SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) ELTON JRN-DATE JRN-DATE ACTION 01/05/96 2368 (H) PREFILE RELEASED 01/08/96 2368 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 01/08/96 2369 (H) STATE AFFAIRS, FSH, JUDICIARY, FINANCE 02/22/96 2861 (H) STA REFERRAL WAIVED 02/22/96 2861 (H) REFERRED TO FSH 02/28/96 (H) FSH AT 5:00 PM CAPITOL 124 02/28/96 (H) MINUTE(FSH) 03/06/96 (H) FSH AT 5:00 PM CAPITOL 124 WITNESS REGISTER 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: Presented sponsor statement for HB 538. JOHN WINTHER P.O. Box 509 Petersburg, Alaska 99833 Telephone: (907) 772-4754 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 538. GORDON BLUE P.O. Box 1064 Sitka, Alaska 99835 Telephone: (907) 747-7967 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 538. EARL KRYGIER, Program Manager Extended Jurisdiction Section Division of Commercial Fisheries Management and Development Department of Fish and Game P.O. Box 25526 Juneau, Alaska 99802-5526 Telephone: (907) 465-6112 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided department's position and answered questions regarding HB 538. FRANK HOMAN, Commissioner Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission 8800 Glacier Highway, Suite 109 Juneau, Alaska 99801-8079 Telephone: (907) 789-6160 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided commission's position and answered questions regarding HB 538. WILLIAM ARTERBURN Pribilof Bering Sea Food 1500 West 33rd, Suite 110 Anchorage, Alaska 99503 Telephone: (907) 278-3212 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 538 but wanted to ensure local participation. LARRY MERCULIEFF, General Manager Central Bering Sea Fishermen's Association 730 I Street, Suite 200 Anchorage, Alaska 998501 Telephone: (907) 279-6566 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 538. ROBERT OWENS, Attorney at Law for Scandies Limited Partnership Copeland, Landye, Bennett & Wolf 550 West Seventh, Suite 1350 Anchorage, Alaska 99501 Telephone: (907) 276-5152 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 538. LINDA KOZAK Kodiak Vessel Owners Association P.O. Box 135 Kodiak, Alaska 99615 Telephone: (907) 486-3781 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 538. PHILLIP LESTENKOF c/o Central Bering Sea Fishermen's Association P.O. Box 288 St. Paul, Alaska 99660 Telephone: (907) 546-2597 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 538; asked for consideration of local residents. SIMEON SWETZOF, JR. Wind Dancer c/o Central Bering Sea Fishermen's Association P.O. Box 288 St. Paul, Alaska 99660 Telephone: (907) 546-2597 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 538; supported moratorium only if it gave locals an opportunity to participate. MYRON MELOVIDOV, Owner/Skipper Aleut Crusader c/o Central Bering Sea Fishermen's Association P.O. Box 288 St. Paul, Alaska 99660 Telephone: (907) 546-2597 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported moratorium under HB 538 but wanted door left open for local residents. SPENCER DE VITO P.O. Box 317 Soldotna, Alaska 99669 Telephone: (907) 283-7437 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 390 but thought it needed work. GARY HULL P.O. Box 1964 Soldotna, Alaska 99669 Telephone: (907) 262-5661 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 390. VERN NOWELL P.O. Box 7062 Nikiski, Alaska 99635 Telephone: (907) 776-5803 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 390. MARVIN WALTER 1340 Fritz Cove Road Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 789-0942 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 390. MIKE BETHERS Juneau Charter Boat Association P.O. Box 210003 Auke Bay, Alaska 99821 Telephone: (907) 789-0165 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 390. MIKE DOBSON Nine Lives Charters P.O. Box 32563 Juneau, Alaska 99803 Telephone: (907) 780-4468 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 390. MIKE MILLAR Salmon Guaranteed Charters 4510 Prospect Way Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 789-9345 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 390. BENNY MITCHELL 103 Darrin Sitka, Alaska 99835 Telephone: (907) 747-5909 POSITION STATEMENT: Strongly supported HB 390. THERESA WEISER, Vice-President Sitka Charterboat Operators' Association P.O. Box 2300 Sitka, Alaska 99835 Telephone: (907) 747-8883 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed to HB 390 as written. ERIC STIRRIP, Owner Kodiak Western Charters P.O. Box 4123 Kodiak, Alaska 99615 Telephone: (907) 486-2200 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 390. WAYNE SANGER (No address available) Telephone: (360) 445-5308 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 390. BOB ANDERSON, Owner/Operator Fireweed Lodge P.O. Box 116 Klawock, Alaska 99925 Telephone: (907) 755-2930 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 390. PHILLIP L. GRAY 4410 North Douglas Highway Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 586-6913 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 390. MARK KAELKE Alaska Skiff Charters 3718 El Camino Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 789-3914 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 390. TRACY RIVERA Capital City Fishing Charters P.O. Box 020193 Juneau, Alaska 99803 Telephone: (907) 463-1529 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 390. DICK CAMERON, Owner/Operator Angler's Choice Outdoor Adventures and Angler's Choice Lodge 1950 Glacier Avenue Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 463-5572 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 390. DOUG UNRUH Angler's Choice Lodge P.O. Box 32214 Juneau, Alaska 99803 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 390. ED DERSHAM, President Anchor Point Charter Association P.O. Box 555 Anchor Point, Alaska 99556 Telephone: (907) 235-5555 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 390. FRANK LIBAL Fairweather Guides P.O. Box 1071 Homer, Alaska 99603 Telephone: (907) 235-8284 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 390. JIM PRESTON Big Jim's Charters and Board Member, Juneau Charterboat Operators Association P.O. Box 210336 Auke Bay, Alaska 99821 Telephone: (907) 789-0088 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 390. KEITH STEPHENS Juneau Charterboat Association / Snoopy's Adventures P.O. Box 32083 Juneau, Alaska 99803 Telephone: (907) 789-9740 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 390. JOJI OLIVER Prince of Wales Charter Association c/o Fireweed Lodge P.O. Box 116 Klawock, Alaska 99925 Telephone: (907) 755-2930 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 390. ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 96-10, SIDE A Number 0001 CHAIRMAN ALAN AUSTERMAN called the House Special Committee on Fisheries meeting to order at 5:10 p.m. Members present at the call to order were Representatives Austerman, Ogan, Davis and Elton. Absent was Representative Moses. HB 538 - VESSEL MORATORIUM FOR HAIR CRAB FISHERY Number 0068 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN noted that the first item of business would be HB 538. He called upon Amy Daugherty to present the sponsor statement on behalf of the House Community and Regional Affairs Committee, for which Representative Austerman is co-chairman. AMY DAUGHERTY, Legislative Assistant to Representative Alan Austerman, read the sponsor statement for HB 538: "In the 1980s, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game conducted an experimental fishery for Korean hair crab. Due to many unknowns at that time about this extremely fragile species and the delicate habitat in which it exists, the stocks were quickly depleted and the fishery was closed. "By 1991, stocks had rebounded and two Alaskan-owned vessels were able to conduct another experimental fishery in the immediate vicinity of the Pribilof Islands. "Alaska fishermen, working cooperatively with ADF&G, have since established permit guidelines pertaining to the configuration and size of the pots used, as well as handling techniques to ensure that these delicate animals are not harmed by the fishing effort. To limit the effort, ADF&G has ensured the fishery is opened simultaneously with other crab fisheries in the Bering Sea. "Recently, however, dramatic declines in the harvest guidelines for other crab stocks have resulted in additional effort entering the Korean hair crab fishery. The 15-20 vessels currently participating in the fishery have already marginalized the opportunities for the Alaskans who pioneered this fishery. "If this fishery, created by Alaskans, is to remain viable, entry must be limited as soon as possible." Number 0190 MS. DAUGHERTY noted that there was a small amendment, the insertion of one word, that had been provided in writing to the committee. Number 0201 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN briefly mentioned reasons for introducing the bill, including the small size of the fishery, the amount of effort going toward it and its fragility. "We knew we didn't have time this year to get in any kind of a limited entry or real control on that fishery," he said. "The concept of this bill before you is to basically put a moratorium on it to give us time to work on that ... fisheries." Number 0292 REPRESENTATIVE SCOTT OGAN asked if there were incidental catches in other crab fisheries or whether hair crab was a targeted, individual, specific fishery that only went after those particular crabs. CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN suggested that representatives from the Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) could be asked that question. He noted that the amendment mentioned by Ms. Daugherty was on page 2, line 25, and agreed to call it Amendment 1. Number 0370 REPRESENTATIVE KIM ELTON moved that Amendment 1 be adopted. There being no objection, it was so ordered. JOHN WINTHER testified that he was a Petersburg resident who got started in commercial fishing in 1964 in Juneau, moving in 1973 to the Bering Sea, where he built a crab boat and had fished ever since. He said his vessel became involved in the hair crab fisheries in 1994. Although there were 11 vessels at the time, there had only been three or four vessels a couple of years prior to that. "It's one of the few fisheries that's managed by the state of Alaska without a fisheries management plan under the council, so there's no jurisdiction under the council to do anything - it lies with the state of Alaska," he explained. He mentioned that the season started November 1; in 1995, 15-18 boats showed up. Mr. Winther indicated the fishery had a quota of 1.5 million pounds. The crabs, which were small and fragile, were usually caught one to three at a time, per pot. They were specially processed and marketed and required being taken to shore every few days. Number 0489 MR. WINTHER suggested that with the big influx of vessels, there would be management problems. The department had indicated if the effort could not be controlled, they would shut down the fishery because they could not manage it with the number of boats coming in. "So, those of us in the fisheries got together," Mr. Winther explained, "and see if we could do something about it through the state. And in the process, we learned that the current system in place allows only a license to go to an individual. And in the Bering Sea, the fisheries are probably 99 percent nonowner skippers on board those boats. So if that system went into place, then all these nonowner skippers would have the ticket to fish and there's nothing to keep them on board your boat. And they'd go someplace else and there you're stuck." Mr. Winther referred to the early days of the fishery and said, "the four or five boats that were in there were all Alaska residents." He added, "Now, there's still four or five boats in there and there's 15 Seattle boats." He emphasized that the dilution of Alaska participants was increasing rapidly. "We had a major share," he said, "but now we don't." They were therefore asking the legislature for a moratorium and to give the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission (CFEC) the authority to implement a vessel license program. "Because up there, it's not like other local fisheries where you're working out of your home all the time," he said. "Up there, when you leave home, you're gone for months at a time and it's just not conducive to a skipper- type of limited entry system," he said, referring to salmon and herring fishery management. Number 0609 MR. WINTHER emphasized that a key point of the bill was the 1996 cut-off date. "Because the season will open again November 1, 1996," he said, "and any more effort coming in - it'll probably double again, because our other fisheries that start on that date, namely, the red king crab fisheries, we don't have that anymore." For example, the bairdi crab fishery that usually opened at the same time would not happen this year due to decreased stocks. "So that's going to leave this one the only one to hit," he said. He expressed concern that with increased boats, the season would be short and uneconomical, whereas now, although it was marginal for the boats already there, it was economical. Number 0684 MR. WINTHER concluded by saying the fishery was slow and required careful handling of the crabs, which were specially marketed in Japan. "All these crabs are brought onshore in Alaska," he said, indicating crabs from some other fisheries were processed offshore. Number 0709 REPRESENTATIVE GARY DAVIS asked where the crab were found. MR. WINTHER referred to a wall map and said they were found in a "block around the Pribilof Islands," which was the only area with an amount to provide a fishery currently. "And the crabs are so fragile, you can't even fish in rough weather," he said. "You've got to stop. Where you would keep on fishing in the other fisheries, you stop because of the tossing around in the tank, the handling of them on the deck, things like that." Number 0769 GORDON BLUE testified he owned a vessel named the Ocean Cape that had been involved since the reopening of the Korean hair crab fishery around the Pribilofs in 1991. He was a participating partner and manager of a second vessel, which was also owned by the community development quota (CDQ) and Native village corporation for St. Paul. "So, we have strong local participation in that vessel," he explained. "It was put together largely to bring some real local participation to this fishery." Number 0831 MR. BLUE said, "I want to underscore John Winters' statements about the fragility of these crab." He explained there was a rapid build-up in the early 1980s from vessels displaced from Bristol Bay red king crab when that fishery collapsed. "We had, I think, 76 vessels in '82, something like that, in the fishery, all fishing with whatever pots they could use, and they delivered about two million pounds of product; and then the fishery collapsed. Now, the present fishery is sustaining nearly that much product. I believe the difference is that we handle the crab differently. We have a very limited type of gear that the Department of Fish and Game has worked to standardize for the industry. It's a small pot that's fished on long lines and it's specially designed for this fishery. It limits by-catch and it limits handling of the ... crab that we do retain. We land them on a sorting table that is specially cushioned and we just handle them very carefully. And I think that reduction in mortality is only possible with the relatively small amount of effort in vessels that are in the fishery now." Mr. Blue noted that the by-catch that occurred in the bairdi crab fishery in the area was relatively small. He said the Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) had allowed some by-catch landings after that fishery reopened; however, there was a lot of dead-loss and they were then outlawed. Number 0945 MR. BLUE emphasized the importance of the fishery to St. Paul residents, who had worked hard to establish a no-trawl zone around the islands, which ADF&G had helped with, to protect habitat for the Korean hair crab, as well as for king crab in the area. "And that seems to be paying off," Mr. Blue said. "There's a small fishery in each of those that's now allowed. If the vessels that are displaced by the closure of red king crab in Bristol Bay, which is expected to extend into at least the next season, continued to come into the fishery at the rate they have, it will be basically unmanageable." He noted that for the 1992-1993 season, the Ocean Cape had fished from November until March. "Last year," he said, "we fished for three weeks." He added that ADF&G had expressed doubt that the fishery could be managed in a sustainable fashion if the fleet increased further. "And I think this is the cleanest, simplest way that there is available to allow the number of vessels to be capped," he said, referring to HB 538. Number 1031 MR. BLUE continued, "It also allows that the community of St. Paul has some participation in the fishery." He noted that if licenses went through the normal CFEC process and were awarded to skippers, St. Paul's vessels would have four licenses that qualified, but the community would have nothing out of that. They would still have their share of the boat, but no rights to the fishery or licenses. Number 1059 MR. BLUE expressed it would be nice if the fishery were for small boats. Locals had been out in the early '80s in pioneering efforts to explore the waters around St. Paul for this resource. "Unfortunately, the biology of the crab is such that they are soft shell," he said. "When we were closed in March of '93, it was for soft-shell condition, and when we fished in the summer months and into the beginning of September, the crab were soft. So they're very fragile and with any effort at all, there's grave danger to the resource. So we're looking at what's basically a large-boat fishery. It's going to run no earlier than October for the condition, and the season opener is now November 1st until, at latest, March." He added that the people of St. Paul had told him they supported the moratorium. Number 1131 EARL KRYGIER, Program Manager, Extended Jurisdiction Section, Division of Commercial Fisheries Management and Development, Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G), explained he dealt with waters external to the three-mile limit. He pointed out that the bulk of the Korean hair crab stock was located outside state waters, inside what was known as the "EEZ." Number 1170 MR. KRYGIER said, "The problem that you might consider would be whether or not the state should be concerned in management of a fishery in federal waters." Under the Magnuson Act, which had authority over the zone from three to 200 miles offshore in the United States, a state could only expand its authority into federal waters outside the boundaries of the state to those vessels registered under the laws of the state. "So, if you have a state registration," he said, "we can externally manage that vessel's fishing activities." The most important exception to that was when a federal fisheries management plan existed for a fishery, with the bulk of the fishery occurring in federal waters. "Since there is no federal fishery management plan on hair crab," he said, "they're left without any management other than state." Number 1235 MR. KRYGIER explained that neither the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council (NPFMC), which set up regulations for the EEZ, nor the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), which implemented those regulations, was interested in bringing the hair crab fishery under their management. The hair crab fishery was small, with 12- 20 vessels at most, and required fairly intensive management. "The state has been managing this fishery since its inception," Mr. Krygier said. He mentioned the "Mr. Big" scallop vessel that fished in the Gulf of Alaska without any regulations and said, "There's kind of a hole in the Magnuson Act that allowed that action to occur and the reason is that that vessel wasn't registered under the laws of the state." Number 1288 MR. KRYGIER continued, "In the Bering Sea, that problem really doesn't exist, and particularly in this fishery, that problem does not exist. Because the vessels need to come to shore to drop off their product and also because they need to support their activities with fuel and crew changes and everything else, they need to use the state's docks and the state's waters to mount their fishing operations. And once they do that, they also need ... to be registered under the laws of the state." He noted that the state was actively working with Senator Stevens to get new wording in the reauthorization language for the Magnuson Act, which should occur in the next few months. That would give the state authority directly to manage fisheries that either were delegated from NPFMC to the state or which did not have a fishery management plan. "In other words, it will clear up the Mr. Big loophole," he said. He added, referring to HB 538, "For those reasons, I think this is probably a reasonable thing for you to consider." Number 1346 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked what ADF&G's position was as to the need for the moratorium. MR. KRYGIER referred to the small size of the fishery. "When there was a lot of activity in that fishery before," he said, "the fishery did collapse. Obviously, if you can have control over the amount of access into a fishery, you don't have the problem of controlling the harvest." He indicated most of the major crab fisheries were currently undergoing very significant and precipitous stock declines, resulting in a lot of crab vessels in the Bering Sea / Aleutian Islands area with little else to do. "The Bristol Bay red crab fishery hasn't opened for two years," he said. "We had a very poor showing of the tanner crab fishery in Bristol Bay this last year; whether that fishery even opens next year ... we'll know after the summer survey. The Opilio stocks, which have been kind of running the fishery for quite awhile, ... are at a much lower level than they've been." Mr. Krygier noted that whereas the Opilio harvest had been almost 300 million pounds a few years earlier, just over 50 million pounds were harvested this year. Number 1433 MR. KRYGIER pointed out that 350 - 400 crab vessels fished in the Bering Sea. "Their main source of income is very restricted right now," he said. "So, they are going to be looking for other things to do. And certainly, from an economic standpoint, it makes a lot of sense for the fleets to protect that. The council itself has passed a license limitation program for the rest of the crab fisheries. So, this is sitting out there with no limitation under it. Because it isn't under a fishery management plan, the council didn't deal with it. But all the rest of the crab fisheries will now have a license limitation program under them. From a biological standpoint, when you get too many people fishing, and people who are forced to fish because of economic reasons, it makes the fishery unmanageable." Number 1484 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked about the collapse that occurred before from overfishing. MR. KRYGIER replied he was not the manager for that fishery and thought it occurred in the mid-1980s. MR. BLUE suggested it was 1984. Number 1509 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS asked about the need to bring hair crabs to a processing site a couple of days after being caught. MR. KRYGIER responded, "My understanding of the fishery, as far as the actual product that they sell in Japan that has the high-value price, is that it comes directly in within a few days and is flown over to Japan whole." REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS clarified he was thinking about what would happen if other fisheries collapsed and someone with a Seattle ship, for instance, wanted to come in. "This will get Alaska- registered ships," he said, "and you think you're catching the problem because they have to come to a local port," requiring them to fall under state regulations. He suggested there might be a loophole there. Number 1576 MR. KRYGIER explained the scenario being described was the "Mr. Big" scenario, fishing directly out of Seattle and not coming into state waters. "The whole Bering Sea crab fishery technically is open to that loophole," he said, "where a vessel could come in and fish anywhere without seasons or limits. Number one, I think the whole fleet has learned very clearly that we will shut the whole waters down, as we did with the scallop fishery - and now, we're stuck and we can't reopen them, and so, everyone is suffering. And even the people who were the bad guys in that situation are trying to get us to reopen the fishery and we can't because they put us in a technical nightmare. So, that's one problem, that's one issue. The second is, the vessels fishing in the Bering Sea, they need support with fuel and crew." He suggested they would have to go back through Seattle to get those. Number 1628 MR. KRYGIER said that third, for vessels fishing in Alaska out of Washington, every insurer of those vessels required them to be registered so the vessels could have access to Alaska ports in the event of a breakdown. "If a vessel went out there and was a bandit and they broke down, if they came into port, we'd seize them. And their insurance companies don't want to have that happen," he said. "So, those kinds of things lead us to believe that we're not going to have those types of problems in the Bering Sea area." Number 1657 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN asked if there had been a precedence for this type of action before, in other fisheries, by the legislature. FRANK HOMAN, Commissioner, Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission (CFEC), stated this was an important piece of legislation. He pointed out CFEC had as a model the Southeast dungeness crab fishery, for which the legislature had instituted a moratorium. During that four-year moratorium, CFEC had worked with the fleet and ADF&G to design a program that CFEC then instituted to limit that fishery last year. "So, the model does work and it has been very successful in including all of the major participants in the fleet," he said. Number 1727 MR. HOMAN discussed aspects of HB 538 that CFEC thought were important. First, it stopped expansion. Under the current limited entry law, CFEC was not able to establish a vessel license program; they only had an individual license program. "So, in the time it would take to come through the legislature with a major piece of legislation," he said, "there would probably be a disaster in that fishery out there if no action was taken to put a moratorium or a restriction on the amount of catch." By this legislation, he explained, the CFEC would be directed to draft a vessel license program during the moratorium. They would work with the fleet and ADF&G and bring it back to the legislature before the moratorium would expire; the new program would therefore be put through the public process. "So, you'd have plenty of opportunity to see this new system take shape over the next few years if this passes," he concluded. Number 1797 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS asked about a fiscal note. MR. HOMAN replied there was a zero fiscal note because the fishery was small and the minor increase in licensing for the moratorium could be absorbed; their best guess was that two to three dozen vessels would be dealt with. If they subsequently designed a vessel limitation program, that would be put in future budgets. Number 1857 WILLIAM ARTERBURN, Executive Vice-President, Pribilof Bering Sea Foods, testified via teleconference from Anchorage, explaining that the company was a subsidiary of a local village corporation, with offices in Anchorage and St. Paul. "We're very supportive of this effort to limit the hair crab fishery," he said. "I think under the conditions that it's probably the only thing to do to maintain a resource out there." However, he wanted to make a case for local participation in the fishery. Number 1899 MR. ARTERBURN mentioned that the Central Bering Sea Fishermen's Association had lobbied the NPFMC for a five-year bottom trawl closure in Area 4C, primarily to protect hair crab and blue king crab resources so that there would be an opportunity of a local fishery out there. That action predated the current fishery by several years, he said. He suggested that in the next four years, the Pribilof community should have the opportunity to introduce a minimum number of vessels into that fishery that would involve some local ownership. "We don't know how or have anything specific to offer at this time," he said, "but we think they should be afforded that opportunity." Number 1959 MR. ARTERBURN referred to AS 16.43.901, which discussed replacement of vessels lost due to sinking or other causes, and recommended that ADF&G adopt the management goal of 12-15 vessels, with re- entries after dropping out, for whatever reason, being limited until the management goal was achieved. "We think this management objective is well justified for conservation purposes," he added. Number 1993 MR. ARTERBURN indicated local St. Paul Island fishermen had a history of experimentation in the hair crab fishery dating back to 1979. While several local vessels had made landings, it was uncertain whether those vessels would be credited. "We think that the department should make extra efforts - and the CFEC - in designing this program to work with the local fishermen and find some ways to afford these local Aleut fishermen out there an opportunity to get involved in this fishery." He further asked that the state work with the local community to set up a shellfish advisory board, as the area was one of the few in the Bering Sea without such a board to advise ADF&G. Mr. Arterburn emphasized the hair crab fishery was local, with local resources in extremely close approximation to the community. "These guys don't have to leave home in order to catch these fish," he said. "They're literally an hour or two off their shores." He reiterated the desire to place a few local vessels in the fisheries over the next several years. Number 2084 LARRY MERCULIEFF, General Manager, Central Bering Sea Fishermen's Association, testified via teleconference from Anchorage, explaining the association, a CDQ organization in Western Alaska, had 200 members including fishermen and their families from St. Paul. He stated support for efforts involving commercially prized fish and crab stocks in the Bering Sea, including the Pribilof hair crab stocks which they believed to be threatened. He discussed the no-trawl zone mentioned in previous testimony and the pioneering of the hair crab fishery in 1979. There had been several local boats, which he listed by name, that had all made landings in that experimental fishery. "And of course, once word got out," he said, "the outside boats came in and overfished the stocks in the early '80s and it crashed." Until the hair crab fishery opened again in 1991, locals had to focus exclusively on the halibut fishery, which was fully capitalized. "We need to expand and we need to focus, since it's a day boat fishery, on resources that are on our doorstep, and hair crab is one of them," he said. Number 2193 ROBERT OWENS, Attorney at Law, Copeland, Landye, Bennett & Wolf, testified via teleconference from Anchorage, on behalf of Scandies Limited Partnership, against HB 538. He referred to earlier mention of the hair crab fishery being fragile and said that in the sense of how the crab need to be handled, there was no dispute in that. However, in the sense of the health of the fishery itself, Mr. Owens asserted that the population was growing, with increased landings. He suggested the analogy of the fishery in the 1980s, when it crashed, failed to take into account that at that time, no guidelines on harvest amounts were imposed. It was an unrestricted fishery then, whereas ADF&G now imposed limits. He said references to overfishing were merely recognizing the theoretical possibility that if a lot of boats entered the fishery, it could become unmanageable by virtue of sheer numbers. "That is not the case today," he said. He thought the special requirements for the fishery made it expensive to enter. "The economics are such that it is not likely to create a land rush type of approach by the other boats in the Bering Sea," he suggested. MR. OWENS said, "In general, this procedure does not follow the recognized procedure that the legislature otherwise set out." He thought there was a risk of denying opportunity "by creating a very exclusive club of people that had participated in this fisheries. Reducing the number to 12 to 14 is a very small number." He only knew of one local boat that had been fishing and said the others were not from that area. "So, it's not going to create opportunity for the local residents," he said. "It closes a fishery and if this model is followed further, it's going to deny the flexibility necessary for crabbers to maintain an economic viability. They need the ability to move around among areas and among species to keep their investments busy. And, therefore, by creating little pigeonholes of investment and development, in the long run, there's a greater likelihood of calamitous financial disaster to those fishermen who are pigeonholed, limited to where they can go and what they can do." REPRESENTATIVE MOSES joined the meeting at 5:55 p.m. Number 2386 LINDA KOZAK, Kodiak Vessel Owners Association, testified via teleconference. She emphasized that although the association had historically been opposed to any form of limited entry and in support of opportunities to diversify in the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea, they nonetheless supported HB 538. Number 2407 MS. KOZAK indicated she had been informed by a representative from ADF&G that due to current overcapitalization in the Korean hair crab fishery, any further increase would result in closure of the fishery. Alaskan vessel owners who were members of the association had expressed concern about being left out of a fishery they had helped to pioneer and which they depended on. Members of the association subsequently voted to support any efforts to ensure the hair crab fishery remained viable for Alaskans. The only way they saw to do that was to stop new entry into the fishery. Ms. Kozak indicated the association had 12 vessels that participated in the fishery. They wanted to see the moratorium occur as soon as possible and she emphasized the importance of the July 1, 1996 date. "There are individuals in the Seattle fishing fleet, in particular, which are looking at this fishery," she said, "as it possibly is the only viable fishery remaining in the Bering Sea." TAPE 96-10, SIDE B Number 0007 MS. KOZAK reiterated that while her group had historically opposed limited entry in most forms, at this point in time, they saw there was no other option in this fishery and urged passage of the legislation. Number 0044 PHILLIP LESTENKOF testified via teleconference from St. Paul, saying he was a local small-boat owner. He emphasized that whatever limited entry system was put in place should allow for local residents to be considered and not be left out. Mr. Lestenkof indicated he long-lined for hair crab in 1982 on a 24- foot vessel and also delivered in 1986. He also crewed on a 26- foot boat, running a string of 150 pots. "At that time, our harbor wasn't developed," he said. "The harbor was right in the middle of construction and we always had to pull our boats out," he added, noting that they were also trying to develop a halibut fishery for local boats at that time. "The only economy we have here is right in our back yard," he said, indicating the hair crab were close to shore. "We don't live on a very large island. We don't have any other kind of natural resources like timber or oil or anything else that we can count on to develop a local economy." He expressed there had not been time to really get things going with the hair crab. Mr. Lestenkof reiterated that they did not want to be cut out of the limited entry system and again asked that locals be considered. Number 0218 SIMEON SWETZOF, JR., testified via teleconference from St. Paul, saying he owned a boat, the Wind Dancer. He supported the moratorium only if locals would have an opportunity to participate in the fishery. "It's very difficult to come up with financing to be a participant in it," he said. He expressed that if he could not participate, he wanted for his children to be able to do so. "You all know, we don't fish salmon, we don't do herring," he said, adding that the only thing they fished was halibut. "And we always talk about wanting to participate in other fisheries," he said. "I don't want the doors slammed on this island as far as being a participant in the fisheries around the Pribilofs, the Bering Sea." Number 0301 MYRON MELOVIDOV, Owner/Operator, F/V Aleut Crusader, testified via teleconference from St. Paul that he participated in the experimental fishery in the 1980s. He supported the moratorium but wanted for the door to remain open for local residents to be part of the fishery. Number 0364 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS referred to earlier testimony alleging there was no current need for regulation. He asked, if there was no need, what regulations or laws were in place that allowed the state to act. Number 0398 MR. KRYGIER replied that ADF&G basically managed the fishery through their local area biologist, who kept track of the landed catch. As fishermen brought in the crab, fish tickets were filled out. This provided total harvest and rate, allowing the performance in that fishery to be viewed. Mr. Krygier explained that when the number of participants increased, the ability to predict fishery performance and what was actually occurring in the fishery population became difficult. "You either way overshoot or way undershoot a quota when you have excessive participation," he said, "because there's no way to in-season manage a crab fishery." Number 0463 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said, "The department does not seem to have a real good track record with anticipating crab stock crashes." He asked Mr. Krygier to relate his perspective on reasons why crab fisheries had come and gone through the years. MR. KRYGIER responded, "That's a loaded question." He indicated that crab fisheries were difficult to predict as far as upswings and downswings. "A lot of it has to do with oceanographic conditions and recruitment," he said. "Whereas you'll have a spawning event year after year, it's how successful is the progeny to make it in to the proper habitat and then grow through the successive early age classes, so that it can recruit to the harvestable portion of the population. And a lot of that has to do with oceanographic conditions." He added, "The other factor is that in previous years, we really didn't manage as conservatively as we should have. We now recognize that a lot of the management strategies that we had in past years were probably incorrect and probably had some effect on allowing overharvest to occur. The department is becoming more and more conservative in its management approach to any crab management, because those stocks are so volatile in their ability just to survive the normal recruitment events." Number 0557 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN asked if fish politics had anything to do with it. MR. KRYGIER asked for clarification. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN expressed discouragement at "the urge to fish today and to heck with tomorrow because we'll make the bucks now, and then there we are, we don't have a fishery." REPRESENTATIVE CARL MOSES suggested that the situation as Mr. Krygier had explained it, regarding crab management, was the same for pretty much all the fisheries, with too many boats chasing too few fish. Number 0620 MR. KRYGIER agreed. "It's certainly difficult to manage any resource when the amount of capacity is so large that the ... time it takes in which the fishery occurs is shorter and shorter," he said, "because it doesn't allow you to get the in-season assessment of fishery performance." He added that for almost all of the stocks, ADF&G was underfunded in its ability to get out and assess those stocks. They had a pre-season estimate of the resource, but without the in-season fishery performance, they could not really determine whether the pre-season guess was correct and adequate to reflect the actual health of that resource. MR. KRYGIER continued, "In the Bering Sea, we take one trawl sample every 400 square miles to make our population estimates. And over a number of years, as we crisscross the Bering Sea and every 400 square miles take one little sample, we get a picture of what that is in relationship to the size and the health of that particular stock. But it's only a guess. And it's that in-season harvest that goes on and how fast that goes in relationship to the number of participants that allows us to say, `yes, this is a good pre- season guess' or `no, it's a bad pre-season guess.' And if it's a bad one, we'll stop the fishery and close it off early." Number 0698 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON referred to testimony that the optimum fleet size for the hair crab fishery should be 12-15, which was significantly lower than would result under HB 538. He asked whether Mr. Krygier agreed with the 12-15 figure. MR. KRYGIER replied that he was not the manager of that fishery and did not know the fishery well enough to answer the question. REPRESENTATIVE ELTON referred to the local, small-boat fleet and asked, "Do you manage fisheries now where you have -- if the quota, say, is 1.8 million pounds -- where `x' number of pounds are for a small-boat fishery or local fishery and `x' number of pounds for a large-boat fishery?" Number 0750 MR. KRYGIER replied, "I believe that if the Board of Fisheries wanted to develop a fishery management plan which would set aside a portion of the harvest for various size[s] of vessels, they could do that." Number 0766 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS asked if the legislature could, constitutionally, mandate and legislate local support or preference. MR. KRYGIER responded that was a little out of his field. He then explained that in the NPFMC process, "they have the ability to set up, by vessel size categories, certain types of allocations." He added, "I believe that the board can probably also, by certain size of vessel category, probably do some allocations within that. That's my guess. I'm not an expert on that." Number 0815 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN said, "I think there's been enough questions raised here that we don't have answers to that we may want to hold this bill for a few days and then come back to it." He expressed that he desired to see the bill move on but wanted to address those questions. REPRESENTATIVE MOSES said, "One of my concerns is, if you're talking about 15 100-foot boats, it's probably a fishery that would support maybe 30 or 40 50-foot boats. So that's hard to stipulate how many boats." REPRESENTATIVE ELTON asked what other committees of referral there were for the bill. CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN responded, "This is the only committee." He added, "I guess that's one of the reasons I'm kind of hesitant to moving it out tonight, because it is the first hearing we've had on it. This is the only committee of referral to this. And there have been a number of questions raised here that maybe some of the members don't feel comfortable with yet." Number 0873 MR. HOMAN stated, "I know there were a number of questions raised about how things might work. And what the legislation directs the commission to do during the period of the moratorium is to develop a piece of draft legislation that would come to the legislature. And in the development of that draft, we would solicit information from the local people and those participating in the fleet. And then once the legislation was developed ... it would go through the legislative process, where you would have public input. And then, if that was successful, it would still go through another stage; when the commission would develop regulations, they would also go back to the public for comment." Number 0941 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS noted that it would be a moratorium for four years. CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN said, "It does have a sunset on it." With concurrence of the members, he left the bill in committee. HB 390 - KING SALMON TAGS & STAMPS/GUIDE FOR ALIEN Number 0962 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN introduced HB 390, noting it was a bill sponsored by Representative Elton that had been heard once and had gone to subcommittee. He asked subcommittee chairman Representative Davis for a report. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS indicated there had been a meeting that morning addressing the key items in the legislation. He referred to page 2, lines 27-31, and said, "We eliminated subparagraph (e). If they pay for a tag, we just took away the refund. They pay for it in hopes of catching one. If they don't catch one, we make money." He explained that the discussion had been that it was done that way in other venues. Representative Ogan noted that the subcommittee meeting had included Representatives Ogan and Elton. Number 1068 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN suggested that each of the four recommendations could be treated as an amendment on its own. He said, "If there's no objection, I'll entertain that as Amendment Number 1 for sake of discussion." REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said, "In part of the discussion that we had, it was felt that many guides or lodges would probably be vendors. And if someone, for example, was fishing at a fishing lodge, he might pick up one or two tags and by golly, if fishing was hot and they thought their chance of getting a third one was pretty good, then they'd lay out the money for the third one. But again, with big game hunting tags, you pay your tags and if you get the animal, you fill your tag, and if you don't, you don't get a refund." Number 1144 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked if there was any further discussion on the amendment; he then asked if there was opposition to it. Hearing none, he noted that Amendment Number 1 was approved. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS referred to the second amendment, regarding page 5, line 29, relating to the nonresident anadromous king salmon tag, and said, "Subparagraph (A) is there's no charge for the first tag. As you recollect, there was considerable discussion relating to the charges last meeting. And line 29 in this amendment is changed to $50 dollars - from $100 to $50. And in discussion overall with the fees, that is the only change that is ... recommended." Number 1193 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN said, "I'll accept that as Amendment Number 2, unless there's any objection." REPRESENTATIVE OGAN indicated there had been discussion of maybe increasing, after two fish, the fees for the third and subsequent fish. "But I think that it was the consensus of the committee that possibly it would be getting too expensive," he said. "The general conclusion was $50 for the second one." CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN said, "If I understand you correctly, then, that second tag becomes $50 instead of a $100. And if they do want a third one, they'll pay $200 more, the way you've done this." Number 1241 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS replied, "I think some of the most meaningful discussion there was that if someone in Southeast landed in Juneau and was on a tour of Southeast and some areas, and they were in Juneau and they caught a king salmon, and then they went up to Haines or Skagway and there was opportunity to go fishing up there, that $100 would probably be a little steep and would probably eliminate a lot of visitors from fishing the second one. But we didn't want to maybe restrict the opportunity of some guides and lodges ... from that second opportunity. So we thought that $50 was still within the means of most people but $100 was a little strong, and yet we didn't want to be too free with our king salmon and have no charge on that. I think, additionally, that there's probably room for some additional discussions; I'm sure additional testimony will address this area of the legislation." CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked if there was further discussion or any objection to Amendment Number 2. Hearing none, he noted that Amendment Number 2 had passed. Number 1329 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS indicated the next area of discussion was on page 9, line 31, continuing on to page 10. He said, "It deletes the `or'; it ends the sentence after 08.54 - it ends that sentence there with a period. So it adds a period there and it deletes a semicolon and the word `or' and then eliminates subparagraph (3). So ... what this was doing was requiring that nonresident aliens -- it's mandating that they use a guide. And again, the discussion centered around how it's done in other venues in statute. We didn't want to complicate things by having things differently in fisheries, as related to hunting." Number 1391 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN said, "I'm going to accept both items 3 and 4 of your recommendations as Amendment Number 3, placing the period on line 31 and eliminating the words `colon, or', and deleting, on page 10, lines 1 through 4." REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS said, "That's correct." CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked if there was any objection to that as an amendment. He then asked if there was discussion. Number 1408 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN noted the amendment singled out nonresident aliens. He pointed out that, for example, with hunting guides, nonresident aliens were not singled out, but rather, all nonresidents. He expressed that people not living in this country should not be discriminated against. "It should be people that don't live in this state," he said, adding he thought that might be an issue for a separate bill. CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked if there was further discussion on Amendment Number 3 or any objection to it. Hearing none, he noted that Amendment Number 3 was adopted. Number 1490 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS indicated that had been the extent of what the subcommittee had felt it could address. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN recalled that the subcommittee had discussed that the commission may adopt regulations on page 2, lines 19 through 26. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS agreed that was correct and thanked Representative Ogan for pointing that out. He said, "What that relates to, I think, is page 3, line 3, would add a new section to indicate that the commissioner would have authority to draft regulations relating to this section. And that ... dealt with the discussion we had over if you catch a king and apply a tag ... how do you show that the tag is valid and after the fish is butchered, how do you prove that that's your fish and that's your tag. So, we couldn't come up with anything concrete ... even relating to hunting regulation, as to how that would fit. So we pawned it off on the commissioner, through regulations, to come up with how to deal with that." Number 1595 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked if that was an amendment the subcommittee wished to make by adding wording on page 3. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS replied, "I believe so, with concurrence of the rest of the subcommittee; I think that was a consensus." He said, "(f) would become (e) and then we would have a new (f) stating - I didn't have it written out here - the commissioner shall adopt regulations -- shall draft regulations relating to this section." REPRESENTATIVE ELTON noted that part of the deleted language was, "the department may charge a fee set by regulation." He suggested that instead of saying "the commissioner", they may want to say "the department". Number 1673 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN suggested, "the department shall determine by regulation what relevant information is requested." REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS noted that there was standard language in almost all statutes. CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked if the bill had another committee of referral. REPRESENTATIVE ELTON indicated it would go to the House Resources Committee and the House Finance Committee. CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN suggested "maybe a letter of intent or something written up by the subcommittee here and passed along with the bill, and having the next committee make that change. As long as we don't have it in writing, it's kind of difficult to do it here. So, I would suggest that we just make it part of the record here that we will forward to the next committee of referral this amendment suggestion." Number 1736 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON said, "We can get in touch with the department. They may have the appropriate language elsewhere." He pointed out there had been a good memo distributed to the members of the subcommittee by Representative Gary Davis that should become part of the packet if and when the bill left the current committee. "I think it's a good statement of intent," he said. "And so, I would move that the memo dated March6, 1996, from Representative Gary Davis to the members of the subcommittee, become part of the record." CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN noted there had been a motion and asked if there was an objection. There being no objection, the memo from Representative Gary Davis, dated March6, 1996, became part of the record. Number 1782 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON reiterated, for the benefit of testifiers, the changes made by the subcommittee. "The first change takes away the ability to be reimbursed for tags that are purchased but not used. The second change sets the tag fee for the second tag at $50 instead of $100. And then the third change ... deletes the requirement that nonresident aliens must be accompanied by a registered guide in the state of Alaska." Number 1830 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN asked about moving a conceptual amendment that the commissioner may adopt regulations. CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN replied that he thought it was already put as part of the record just by the discussion and by sending a letter of intent along to the next committee. Number 1939 SPENCER DE VITO testified via teleconference from Kenai that he was known as the very first fishing guide on the Kenai River, although he had been retired since 1980. He thought HB 390 was headed "somewhat in the right direction." He expressed that the needs of residents must be met as a priority, saying, "HB 390 offers not only the best game in town but the only game in town." Because of large numbers of nonresident and alien fishermen on the Kenai River, "something must be done," he said, "even though it's a little late." He said, "HB 390 appears to be the very first serious bit of legislation coming from Juneau that might set a precedent, especially for the troubled Kenai River and Cook Inlet. It's a fishery where nonresidents take thousands of pounds of king salmon out of the state annually." He expressed a regret about the need the cut back on the king salmon fishery. Number 2051 MR. DE VITO said the time was long overdue to regulate king salmon as a trophy fish. "One thing is for certain," he said. "Resident Alaskans have to fight hard for every bit of space and every fish these days. By promoting the king as a trophy fish and curtailing nonresidents, no matter where they come from, from engaging in sport fishing for king salmon with such gluttonous intensity, our state would place more value on our fish and assure more security and longevity for the guiding industry. I support HB 390 until someone comes up with something better. It needs some work but you're on the right track." Number 2200 GARY HULL testified via teleconference from Kenai that he was a guide, saying, "I can't support this bill as it is right now. We need something like this but I think there's some real problems with it." His suggested, "change the limit for nonresidents but don't get into their pockets. These people spend a lot of money as it is. Instead of five fish a year, let them only have three." He thought the complementary license that the Governor could give away should be stricken from the bill. "I don't think the people who would receive these licenses deserve them; they can afford to buy them. And I know he's not going to give any to a poor boy that couldn't afford to buy them that's been dreaming all his life to come up here and hunt or fish." As for nonresident aliens, he said, "I do believe that nonresident aliens should have to have a guide." He recalled experiences with foreign fishermen who were "gluttonous with the fish," rude and hard to fish with on the bank. He suggested guides could aid them and help them understand the laws. He concluded, "If you can work this bill over a little bit, I could probably support it. But the way it is, right now, I can't." Number 2362 VERN NOWELL testified via teleconference from Kenai, saying he had been an Alaska resident since 1959. He believed that personal use for Alaska residents should be the number one priority. "I do believe it's time to put the king salmon in a trophy category," he said. He thought the bill was a good step in the right direction. "The first tag should come with the license," he said. "The second tag should be a minimum of $50 or $75 and then go to the $200 fee, and so forth. There should be a maximum amount of kings that can be taken. Just because you can afford to keep buying tags at a higher price, I do not believe you should be able to do that." He suggested, for example, for a person fishing on the Kenai River and also in Southeast Alaska, maybe a total of four kings. Number 2463 MR. NOWELL said he did not go along with the handling of the money taken in by each tag [part of testimony cut off -- end of tape]. TAPE 96-11, SIDE A Number 0001 MR. NOWELL talked about enforcement, saying in years of fishing, he had never had his bag limit checked. He believed more protection was needed in high-volume areas. "There are hundreds more fish being taken out than the state is aware of," he said. "And the protection end of this bill is going to have to really come into play." He concluded, "If you could work something in for protection with these fees, I could go along with 390. But we definitely have to do something." Number 0844 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN commented that unfortunately, funds could not be dedicated to anything except the fish and game fund. As he recalled, the only way the commissioner could use that fund was if there was proof of a serious threat to the resource. "I'd like nothing better than to get more protection," he added. "It's going to have to be done through appropriation in the ... legislative process. We can't dedicate this money to protection. It's unconstitutional." Number 0147 MR. NOWELL replied, "Whatever means you do [it], you're going to have to put some money toward protection." He said he had personally witnessed people catching fish to send to Europe to sell for $75 per pound. He referred to nonresidents coming up with a motor home and sitting by the Kenai River, fishing and canning all summer long and then selling it or bartering it. "That's going to have to stop," he said. "I think there should be a seasonal limit put on kings for nonresidents, a seasonal limit on reds and silvers for nonresidents." Number 0218 MARVIN WALTER testified that he was a charter boat operator in the Juneau area. He thought HB 390 was based on opinion, not fact. He was concerned that charter boat clients might not want to fish in Juneau because of the cost of the trophy fish. He discussed catch rates, saying in May his 13 clients caught 7 fish, for a 53 percent catch rate. In June, 76 clients caught 24 kings, for a 31 percent rate. In July, 102 clients caught 24 kings, for a 23 percent rate. In August, 123 clients caught 15 kings, for a 12 percent rate. For the summer, for king salmon, he had a total of 70 kings for 314 clients, for a catch rate of 22 percent. Even though the rate of success was higher on his charter boat than for the ADF&G weekly reports, Mr. Walter considered the success rate low. He questioned whether commercial interests were being voiced under HB 390 at the expense of charter operators. He wondered if the king salmon were a trophy fish, why it was being sold commercially. He noted that ADF&G had classified the 50-pound king a trophy fish in Southeast Alaska, a size that neither Mr. Walter nor any of his clients had ever caught. Number 0570 MIKE BETHERS, Juneau Charter Boat Association, indicated his testimony represented the views of 20-25 active operators in the Juneau area. He read the following: "First of all, the ADF&G currently has a box full of tools to manage the recreational king salmon fishery in Southeast. The Board in 1992 directed the Department of Fish and Game to manage the recreational king fishery so as to allow for uninterrupted fishing throughout the season and to minimize the regulatory restrictions on unguided anglers. At the same time, the fishery management options to obtain these goals were provided, and they're currently written in the Southeast/Yakutat Chinook Salmon Management Plan. HB 390 would dramatically increase the costs of king salmon fishing for visiting nonresident friends and relatives, some of which make annual visits. We feel a good portion of these anglers would likely return to Alaska, at least to fish for king salmon. "HB 390 would have a very detrimental impact on our sport fishing guiding, charter boat and lodging industry, and all associated travel services. King salmon are available in British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California and the Great Lakes System. If this legislation and its price structure were passed, we feel that a great portion of nonresident anglers would pass right on by Alaska and fish in other places where kings are more available at a lesser cost. "The `one free king salmon with a stamp' provision may satisfy some short-stay visitors. However, we feel that most cruise ship anglers catching a king on their first stop in Alaska would not likely fish again in another community. In this regard, this legislation would have a detrimental impact on even half- and whole-day trips in every community in Southeast Alaska. Keep in mind that in Juneau, the average charter boat trip leaving the dock generates from $10 to $30 in local sales tax. Given the approximately 40 boats we have here, that figures out to better than $100,000 a year that our little, puny charter boat fleet generates for our local sales tax. Also, the sport fishing in Juneau generates tens of millions of dollars to the local economy, over a $100 million to the Southeastern economy and hundreds of millions to the state of Alaskan economy. "In all likelihood, we feel that the effect of this legislation if passed would be a reallocation of catch rather than any savings in catch. In most instances, the king salmon not caught by a nonresident sport angler would likely be taken by some sort of commercial gear and sold for 60 cents to $2 or $3 a pound. Given that the average king salmon caught by a nonresident sport angler already generates well over $1,000 to our local and state economy, it would make really the best sense to get as many kings as possible caught by nonresident anglers. "In regard to the allocation issue, the sport allocation of king salmon has not been taken since it was established in 1992, even though the sport allocation is less than 20 percent of the total Southeast allocation and there have, in fact, been increases in the number of charter boats and nonresident anglers. "There may in fact be a reduced allocation of king salmon to Southeast this season. However, we don't feel this is justification to put a permanent law on the books which would forever restrict harvest by a segment of our sport fishery. This year, the Board of Fisheries has already indicated they will take necessary action, if required, should Southeastern allocations turn out to be unmanageable. "In conclusion, we request you to take no action on HB 390 for the above reasons. Once again, we do appreciate your interest in king salmon; however, suggest that efforts be directed toward achieving an adequate allocation to Southeast Alaska, rather than reducing public access to a public resource and crippling an industry that adds hundreds of millions of dollars annually to our local and state economy. Further, we would request the legislature to leave fisheries issues to the Board of Fisheries." Number 0844 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN asked Mr. Bethers how many of his clients had caught more than one king salmon. MR. BETHERS responded, "We target kings sometimes. Most often, we target what's most available. And last year, when we had cohos available, we targeted them. On the few trips that we targeted kings, we generally caught kings." The previous year, his first season, he had 48 paying days. On three of those days, they had "limited" on two or three people on king salmon. Additionally, they had released legal-size king salmon on those days. "Chartering this last summer, I'd estimate I killed under 30 kings," he concluded. Number 0906 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON clarified that any fish not taken by the charter fleet would not be reallocated to the commercial fleet. "The Board of Fisheries does set the allocation for the sport fleet," he said. "Part of that allocation is caught by nonresidents, part of it is caught by residents. So anything not caught by nonresidents would be reallocated only toward resident sport fishermen and not toward the commercial fleet." Number 0957 MR. BETHERS responded that the king salmon stocks seemed to be fully utilized. In the last few years, the commercial fishery had been allocated over 80 percent of the king salmon. Given the efficiency of the gear and the number of hooks in the water, he thought fish not taken by a recreational angler would probably "swim a couple of hundred yards the other way and run into a troll hook or a gillnet." Number 1016 MIKE DOBSON, Nine Lives Charters, testified that Alaska spends millions of dollars on tourist recruitment every year. "This bill will negate much of this goal," he said. "This bill will actually promote Canadian king fishing. We already are more expensive than Canada; this will make it far more expensive than Canada." He thought the king salmon were not trophies. In twenty years of fishing in the Juneau area, he had never caught one in excess of fifty pounds, he said. He noted that a brown bear, which was a trophy, cost $585 for tags and license. He felt a 20-30-pound king salmon was hardly a trophy of such proportions. He suggested that king salmon fishermen were already paying an estimated $1 million to $1.2 million in tags, with half going to the creel study census and half going to king salmon enhancement. Mr. Dobson said there had not been an overharvest in that branch of the fishing industry to date. Number 1157 MIKE MILLAR, Salmon Guaranteed Charters, read some excerpts from a letter he said he had sent to Representative Elton a few months ago. He had chartered for nine years. He countered the idea of king salmon being unique and in short supply by saying they were available from California to Alaska, as well as in the Great Lakes. He suggested king salmon were currently "feeling the impacts of poor ocean survival due to el nino, hydroelectric dams and federally sanctioned gillnets." He pointed out that until last year, British Columbia took, by their estimate, 100,000 sport- caught kings annually, with a limit of four per day, which were not counted against their quota allocated by the North Pacific Salmon Treaty. On the other hand, Alaska had for several years voluntarily counted its sport-caught kings against its treaty allocation. Number 1240 MR. MILLAR said, "My customers for the most part are middle-income America and, as such, are on a budget. I grant you that there are some high-rollers who can afford HB 390, but they really are the exception." He cited a study commissioned by ADF&G in the mid- 1980s, which found a sport-caught king salmon was worth $923 to the economy of Southeast Alaska. "Sport fishermen have the least impact on the resource of all the user groups and spend the most money per fish in pursuit of their sport," he said. "HB 390 will not only hurt the sport fishing but every business that relies on the tourist dollar." As an alternative to HB 390, he suggested establishing freezer limits for sport fish, not only for king salmon. He further suggested bringing pressure on ADF&G to invoke area management for king salmon. "King salmon we catch in Juneau are different from those in Ketchikan," he said, asserting that the fish passing by on the outside coast were the ones in contention. Number 1380 BENNY MITCHELL testified via teleconference in strong support of HB 390. "I see an awful lot of frozen fish moving through the Sitka airport each day during the summer," he said. "I see massive amounts of fish brought into Sitka's docks each evening by guided sport fishing charters." He thought it possible that some of the fish shipped south as sport-caught might enter the commercial market elsewhere. He urged swift passage of the bill. Number 1430 THERESA WEISER, Vice-President, Sitka Charterboat Operators' Association, testified via teleconference, saying she also had a fishing lodge operation in Sitka. The association was opposed to HB 390 as written, fearing the high dollar amounts proposed would put king salmon charter boat operators out of business. "I know that very few of my clients would be willing to pay the exorbitant fee that is proposed," she said. She pointed out that there was no commercial hunting or harvesting of Alaska trophy big game. "So, I would ask, why is the state and Southeast Alaska giving away this very valuable king salmon resource to the commercial fishery, i.e., the 20,000 current allocation to the net fishing and then an 80 percent allocation to the commercial troll fleet?" She said, "at least nonresident sport anglers come here to the state and leave a very high and significant amount of monetary value here in exchange for the privilege of the sport fishing experience and taking some of our precious natural resource back home with them." In closing, she noted that 200 million salmon were caught in Alaska annually, with two million caught by sport anglers. Number 1647 ERIC STIRRUP, Owner, Kodiak Western Charters, testified via teleconference that many of his objections to HB 390 had been voiced already. He suggested reducing both the nonresident and resident bag limits for king salmon, which he thought would be equitable. "If king salmon are so valuable, then they're valuable to all sport fishermen," he said. "We all live in the United States. We all live under the Constitution of the United States. And I don't see a difference between a person coming to the state of Alaska from the state of Washington to fish versus somebody coming from Fairbanks, coming to Kodiak to fish." He thought HB 390 set a bad precedent. Number 1768 WAYNE SANGER testified via teleconference from Washington state, saying he had owned and operated a small, full-service sport charter fishing business out of Craig since 1987. He said there had been a quota placed on sport harvest of king salmon in 1992, as a result of efforts by commercial interests. Since 1992, he said, the sport charter fleet had increased by more than 50 percent. "Resident and nonresident sportsmen alike are feeling the effects of allowing uncontrolled growth in the charter industry after placing a cap on the resource," he said, "due to restrictions placed on all sportsmen by Fish and Game to avoid overharvesting. Limited entry of charter licenses should have happened in 1992 when the resource was capped. HB 390 will undermine the vitality of the sport charter industry in Alaska." Mr. Sanger expressed that the fees, which he felt were excessive, would discourage nonresident sportsmen from traveling to Alaska. MR. SANGER noted that currently, 25 percent of the charter operators in Alaska also held commercial licenses, a trend which he said was on the increase. "Commercial fishermen are expanding into the charter industry without increasing the sport allocation," he said. "King salmon stocks should be reallocated between commercial and sport interests and a moratorium should be placed on the registration of new charter boats. If this was done, there would be enough salmon and the nonresident angler would still find Alaska an attractive fishing destination." Number 1856 BOB ANDERSON, Owner/Operator, Fireweed Lodge, testified via teleconference from Klawock, saying he was a lifelong Alaska resident who had owned the lodge for six years and had chartered prior to that. He indicated it took marketing effort each year to maintain the charter industry. He suggested the biggest competition they had was with British Columbia; he thought HB 390 would encourage people to go there instead. Most of his guests were on a budget and were middle-income people, he emphasized. Number 1936 PHILLIP L. GRAY testified that he sport fished locally for king salmon for food for himself and his family, out of a small skiff. He testified in support of HB 390, saying he thought it was a good idea to protect the residents of Alaska from the increasing harvest of king salmon by nonresidents. "I've lived in Alaska for over 30 years and it's getting much more difficult to get a few fish to eat," he said. "Our family of four uses maybe about 12 king salmon a year. But greatly increased competition for the fish by charter boats and nonresidents are making it difficult for residents to get fish. We are told that nonresidents are taking two-thirds of the sport catch of king salmon in Southeast Alaska now, and the catch rate of king salmon by the charter boats is twice that for the residents. The charter boats fish every day. They have sophisticated electronic gear, down-riggers, and are on the fish constantly. Charter boats are really just another commercial fishery." MR. GRAY discussed the difficulty of catching bottomfish near Juneau. He related how a friend had watched "nonresidents bringing in ping-pong-paddle-size fish and cleaning them and packaging them up to take back home rather than releasing them to grow up." He concluded, "There's increasing competition for everything out there that can be sold or eaten and I agree with some reasonable restrictions so that our residents can get more fish to eat. I think the wise use of the resource would be allow more sport catch so that charter boat anglers can help to contribute to the economy, there. But until we get more fish and the commercial fishermen are getting a few less, I think I support HB 390," he said. Number 2020 MARK KAELKE, Alaska Skiff Charters, said most of his opposition to HB 390 had already been voiced. He thought HB 390 would impact fisheries on a statewide basis, whereas the fishery and its problems varied by area. "I believe that ADF&G should continue to manage king fisheries by area," he said, "and not have legislation such as 390 in the way of that." Number 2060 TRACY RIVERA, Capital City Fishing Charters, spoke against HB 390, saying he agreed with most of the testimony in opposition. He said, "I think we're getting into the point of fish politics rather than looking at the science behind it and having Fish and Game manage the resource." He thought management should be done by area, rather than for the state as a whole. Number 2097 DICK CAMERON, Owner/Operator, Angler's Choice Outdoor Adventures and Angler's Choice Lodge, said most of his views had been voiced. He suggested there was a 100,000-person-per-year increase in Southeast Alaska visitors, with no allowance to the economic value of those people coming to this region. "If we put this kind of economic sanction on the king salmon fishery," he said, "those people will not be dumping that money into this economy." He referred to by-catch in the coho fishery and suggested more fish were killed during that fishery than would account for the entire sport allocation. He asked, "Where are we going to find people to enforce this bill?" He thought the economic ramifications of enforcement needed looked into. He further noted that the sport harvest quota for the previous year was unfilled, suggesting amounts caught were 7,000-8,000 fish shy of the quota. "The burden of that should not be on the charter boat industry if someone didn't put forth the effort to go out and catch the fish," he said, "because they were there." Number 2188 MR. CAMERON suggested king salmon could not be compared to large game species, saying, "There's not anything similar to it. Even residents of this state in some areas are only allowed one brown bear per every five years, four deer per year. It's not the same as a two-king-salmon-a-day bag limit for a resident versus someone only economically being able to take one king salmon out a year." He further thought regional differences were so great that "this blanket bill isn't logical." He thought priorities should be geared towards resident sport fishermen, then "on down the line, with sport being the focus and take what's left and give that to the commercial guys." Number 2247 DOUG UNRUH, Angler's Choice Lodge, stated, "Everybody's said everything. I'm not in support of this house bill. I am a lodge owner. And charging people up to another $1,200-$1,500 for a three-days' bag limit, I think, is just way, way out of line." To slow catch rate, he preferred to see a bag limit of some type. He referred to the established trophy sizes and suggested, "if you want to start charging those increments of prices of fish over those weights, I wouldn't have a problem with that because I don't catch them anyway." Number 2293 ED DERSHAM, President, Anchor Point Charter Association, testified via teleconference from Homer in opposition to HB 390, saying, "I'd like to echo all the comments that have gone before me, particularly those of Theresa Weiser in Sitka." He added that the bill could have potentially disastrous effects on the charter industry and a large segment of the economy of the Kenai Peninsula. He referred to recent meetings with the Board of Fisheries, the results of which HB 390 could undo. He thought the matter should be left to the Board of Fisheries and should be addressed areawide, rather than for the entire state. Number 2379 FRANK LIBAL, Fairweather Guides, testified via teleconference from Homer in opposition to HB 390. He pointed out that some charters were for family groups, to whom the fee rates would be prohibitive. Number 2404 JIM PRESTON, Big Jim's Charters and Board Member, Juneau Charterboat Operators Association, testified about the fee structure under HB 390. "I would like to remind the committee what happened a couple of years ago," he said. "When the $35 blanket fee was put on the initial king salmon stamp, that fee did not even last the season. On July 1 of that year, that fee structure was completely changed because of the devastating impact it had on the nonresidents choosing, once they got here, `another $35, forget it, I'll go -- not spend my money catching the fish.'" He feared the fee would drive clients away from Southeast Alaska. "And they will go down to British Columbia," he said, "where they can still catch their four king salmon per day." Mr. Preston suggested removing sport-caught king salmon from the allocation. TAPE 96-11, SIDE B Number 0005 MR. PRESTON referred to the export limit. He noted that British Columbia had an export limit of 40 kilograms, approximately 88 pounds. "If we put a similar type of export limit," he said, "we're going to deal with the issues that cause the residents to be so angry about the nonresidents catching king salmon, that is, the `Winnebago warriors' up there on the Kenai just canning them on the spot, sending them home, case after case of them. Or the box after box after box that goes through our airports. If there was, say, a 100-pound or 120-pound limit on that, that would reduce that." Number 0058 MR. PRESTON mentioned the notion of trophy fish. "What's not been mentioned," he said, "is that when you talk about the other trophy animals ... these animals are taken by sportsmen. They're none of them taken commercially. Yet, over 80 percent of the king salmon are being allocated to commercial interest. Then you're saying that less than 20 percent we're now going to have to consider as trophy?" Mr. Preston expressed that the idea behind HB 390, of wanting to do something about the king salmon, he liked. "But 390 doesn't do it," he concluded. Number 0101 KEITH STEPHENS, Juneau Charterboat Association and Snoopy's Adventures, testified that he was born in the Juneau area and grew up commercial fishing, having owned ten boats. For the past eight years, he had been in the charter business. He noted there were 2,900 commercial fishing permits and 115,000 licensed resident anglers, yet the resident sport fishermen were allocated only 17 percent of the total. He indicated that in 1994, charters took 48 percent of the sport fish allocation and private boats took 52 percent. In that same year effort and angler days for charters were 27 percent, whereas for private fishermen, they were 73 percent. "So," he said, "the problem isn't that charters are taking fish away from resident fishermen." He expressed that HB 390 was detrimental to state efforts towards tourism. MR. STEPHENS suggested that HB 390 was totally unenforceable. "It's true that king salmon is a trophy fish," he said, "if caught in the over-50-pound range. But generally, these kings in Southeast and the rest of the state cannot be compared to those mature fish in the Kenai River and other river fisheries. Therefore, game tags for tagging big game and fish tags have no comparison whatsoever. After all, game hunters are not allocated." He thought king salmon belonged to everyone nationwide. Number 0262 JOJI OLIVER, Prince of Wales Charter Association, testified that he operated Prince of Wales Charter Service and had been guiding for 15 years. He expressed opposition to HB 390. He said, "We suggest dealing with the problem with, maybe, bag limits and, obviously, the allocation issue." Number 0306 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN thanked everyone for their patience and their testimony. He noted that due to the late hour, two of the committee members were no longer in attendance. He suggested holding the bill until everyone was present. Number 0337 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN noted for the record that few people from the general public had been present to testify. "People primarily that came out to testify are people that have an interest in making money off the resource," he pointed out. "The average Alaskan didn't show up tonight off the street." ADJOURNMENT There being no further business to conduct, CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN adjourned the House Special Committee on Fisheries meeting at 7:41 p.m.