Legislature(1997 - 1998)

04/09/1997 05:02 PM FSH

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
              HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON FISHERIES                             
                         April 9, 1997                                         
                           5:02 p.m.                                           
                                                                               
                                                                               
 MEMBERS PRESENT                                                               
                                                                               
 Representative Alan Austerman, Chairman                                       
 Representative Scott Ogan                                                     
 Representative Mark Hodgins                                                   
                                                                               
 MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                
                                                                               
 Representative Ivan Ivan, Vice Chairman                                       
 Representative Gene Kubina                                                    
                                                                               
 COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                            
                                                                               
 *HOUSE BILL NO. 198                                                           
 "An Act relating to regional dive fishery development associations            
 and to dive fishery management assessments; and providing for an              
 effective date."                                                              
                                                                               
      - MOVED CSHB 198(FSH) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                   
                                                                               
 *HOUSE BILL NO. 96                                                            
 "An Act relating to appointments to the Board of Fisheries or the             
 Board of Game."                                                               
                                                                               
      - MOVED HB 96 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                           
                                                                               
 (* First public hearing)                                                      
                                                                               
 PREVIOUS ACTION                                                               
                                                                               
 BILL:  HB 198                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: DIVE FISHERY MANAGEMENT ASSN. & ASSESSMENT                       
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) WILLIAMS, Hudson, Kookesh,                      
 Grussendorf, Elton                                                            
                                                                               
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG             ACTION                                        
 03/14/97       668    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 03/14/97       668    (H)   FSH, RESOURCES                                    
 04/09/97              (H)   FSH AT  5:00 PM CAPITOL 124                       
                                                                               
 BILL:  HB 96                                                                
 SHORT TITLE: BDS OF FISHERIES AND GAME QUALIFICATIONS                         
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) VEZEY                                           
                                                                               
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG             ACTION                                        
 01/29/97       168    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 01/29/97       168    (H)   FSH, RESOURCES, FINANCE                           
 04/09/97              (H)   FSH AT  5:00 PM CAPITOL 124                       
                                                                               
 WITNESS REGISTER                                                              
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BILL WILLIAMS                                                  
 Alaska State LEgislature                                                      
 Capitol Building, Room 424                                                    
 Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 465-3424                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided sponsor testimony on CSHB 198.                  
                                                                               
 EDWARD GREY                                                                   
 147 Price Street                                                              
 Sitka, Alaska  99835                                                          
 Telephone:  (907) 747-7880                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of CSHB 198.                        
                                                                               
 LARRY TRANI, Representative                                                   
 Alaska Harvest Divers, Sitka                                                  
 2008 Halibut Point Road                                                       
 Sitka, Alaska  99835                                                          
 Telephone:  (907) 747-8114                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of CSHB 198.                        
                                                                               
 HARLEY ETHELBAH, Representative                                               
 Southeast Alaska Dive Harvester                                               
 Petersburg Chapter                                                            
 P.O. Box 972                                                                  
 Petersburg, Alaska  99833                                                     
 Telephone:  (907) 772-2390                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on CSHB 198.                                   
                                                                               
 CHUCK THOMPSON, Owner                                                         
 F/V Darkstar                                                                  
 P.O. Box 2193                                                                 
 Kodiak, Alaska  99615                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 486-3034                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified against CSHB 198.                              
                                                                               
 VICTOR BUCHANAN                                                               
 202 Center Street                                                             
 Kodiak, Alaska  99615                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 485-1952                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on CSHB 198.                                   
                                                                               
 STERLING SLITER, Representative                                               
 Alaska Harvest Divers Association                                             
 Ketchikan Chapter                                                             
 P.O.Box 5581                                                                  
 Ketchikan, Alaska  99901                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 225-7188                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified against CSHB 198.                              
                                                                               
 MELINDA WEST, Harvest Diver                                                   
 P.O.Box 9493                                                                  
 Ketchikan, Alaska  99901                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 723-5022                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified against CSHB 198.                              
                                                                               
 RAY CAMPBELL, Harvest Diver                                                   
 P.O. Box 23216                                                                
 Ketchikan, Alaska  99901                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 247-3626                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified against CSHB 198.                              
                                                                               
 SCOTT THOMAS, Member                                                          
 Southeast Alaska Harvest Divers Association                                   
 945 Lincoln Street                                                            
 Ketchikan, Alaska  99901                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 225-3189                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of CSHB 198.                        
                                                                               
 RODNEY LINTON, Harvest Diver                                                  
 852 Harding Street                                                            
 Ketchikan, Alaska  99901                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 225-3025                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of CSHB 198.                        
                                                                               
 LANCE PHILMAN, Member                                                         
 Southeast Alaska Harvest Divers Association                                   
 P.O.Box 5322                                                                  
 Ketchikan, Alaska  99901                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 225-3868                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of CSHB 198.                        
                                                                               
 RYAN MORIN, Member                                                            
 Southeast Alaska Harvest Divers Association                                   
 P.O.Box 9493                                                                  
 Ketchikan, Alaska  99901                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 247-8555                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of CSHB 198.                        
                                                                               
 MICHAEL BANGS, President                                                      
 Harvest Association                                                           
 Petersburg Chapter                                                            
 P.O. Box 1733                                                                 
 Petersburg, Alaska  99833                                                     
 Telephone:  (907) 772-3720                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of CSHB 198.                        
                                                                               
 JIM DENNIS, Harvest Diver                                                     
 P.O. Box 591                                                                  
 Craig, Alaska  99921                                                          
 Telephone:  (907) 826-3237                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of CSHB 198.                        
                                                                               
 BRENT BAXTER, Harvest Diver                                                   
 P.O.Box 384                                                                   
 Craig, Alaska  99921                                                          
 Telephone:  (907) 826-3057                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of CSHB 198.                        
                                                                               
 DENNIS WATSON, Mayor                                                          
 City of Craig                                                                 
 P.O. Box 725                                                                  
 Craig, Alaska  99921                                                          
 Telephone:  (907) 826-3438                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of CSHB 198.                        
                                                                               
 GIG DECKER, Representative                                                    
 Wrangell Divers Association                                                   
 P.O. Box 2138                                                                 
 Wrangel, Alaska  99929                                                        
 Telephone:  (907) 874-3110                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of CSHB 198.                        
                                                                               
 STEPHEN LACROIX                                                               
 Norquest Seafood                                                              
 P.O.Box 5686                                                                  
 Ketchikan, Alaska  99901                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 225-6664                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of CSHB 198.                        
                                                                               
 PETER METCALFE, Representative                                                
 Kake Travel Corporation                                                       
 523 4th Street                                                                
 Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 586-1166                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of CSHB 198.                        
                                                                               
 CLAY BEZENEK,                                                                 
 Southeast Alaska Harvest Divers Association                                   
 P.O.Box 6464                                                                  
 Ketchikan, Alaska  99901                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 2253738                                                     
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of CSHB 198.                        
                                                                               
 AARON CUMMINGS, Representative                                                
 Southeast Alaska Harvest Divers Association                                   
 Petersburg Chapter                                                            
 P.O. Box 949                                                                  
 Petersburg, Alaska  99833                                                     
 Telephone:  (907) 7723409                                                     
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of CSHB 198.                        
                                                                               
 STEVEN DAUGHERTY, Assistant Attorney General                                  
 Natural Resources Section                                                     
 Department of Law                                                             
 P.O. Box 110300                                                               
 Juneau, Alaska  99811                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 465-3600                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on CSHB 198.                                   
                                                                               
 GERON BRUCE, Legislative Liaison                                              
 Office of the Commissioner                                                    
 Department of Fish and Game                                                   
 P.O. Box 25526                                                                
 Juneau, Alaska  99811                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 465-6143                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified on CSHB 198 and against HB 96.                
                                                                               
 GEORGE ELIASON                                                                
 102 Kuhnle Drive                                                              
 Sitka, Alaska  99835                                                          
 Telephone:  (907) 747-6817                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of CSHB 198.                        
                                                                               
 NANCY HILLSTRAND, Owner                                                       
 Pioneer Alaskan Fisheries and Coal Point Trading Company                      
 P.O. Box 170                                                                  
 Homer, Alaska  99603                                                          
 Telephone:  (907) 235-3877                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of CSHB 198                         
                      and testified against HB 96.                             
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE AL VEZEY                                                       
 Alaska State Legislature                                                      
 Capitol Building, Room 13                                                     
 Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 465-3719                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provide sponsor testimony on HB 96.                      
                                                                               
 NICK SZABO                                                                    
 P.O. Box 1633                                                                 
 Kodiak, Alaska  99615                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 486-3853                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 96.                                      
                                                                               
 NANCY MICHAELSON                                                              
 HC 5 BOX 6916 F                                                               
 Palmer, Alaska  99645                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 745-6673                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified against HB 96.                                 
                                                                               
 MARTHA LEVENSALER                                                             
 1921 Sunrise Drive                                                            
 Anchorage, Alaska  99508                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 277-6506                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified against HB 96.                                 
                                                                               
 SUZANNE PESCHIER, Volunteer                                                   
 Alaska Environmental Lobby                                                    
 P.O.Box 8867                                                                  
 Kodiak, Alaska  99615                                                         
 Telephone:  Not provided                                                      
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified against HB 96.                                 
                                                                               
 ACTION NARRATIVE                                                              
                                                                               
 TAPE 97-17, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 001                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ALAN AUSTERMAN called the House Special Committee on                 
 Fisheries meeting to order at 5:02 p.m.  Members present at the               
 call to order were Representatives Austerman, Ogan and Hodgins.               
 Members absent were Representative Ivan and Kubina.                           
                                                                               
 HB 198 - DIVE FISHERY MANAGEMENT ASSN. & ASSESSMENT                          
                                                                              
 Number 040                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN announced the first order of business is HB 198,           
 "An Act relating to regional dive fishery development associations            
 and to dive fishery management assessments; and providing for an              
 effective date."  He asked Representative Williams to introduce the           
 bill.                                                                         
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BILL WILLIAMS read the sponsor statement into the              
 record:  "Southeast Alaska dive fishermen have been attempting for            
 the past decade to establish orderly, consistent and stable                   
 fisheries capable of providing dependable economic opportunities              
 for themselves, their families and the communities of Southeast.              
 The urgency to create an economically viable fishery is highlighted           
 by the recent closure of the regions largest employer and other               
 related negative economic effects on the economy of Southeast                 
 Alaska.                                                                       
                                                                               
 "Substantial untapped dive fishery resources have been identified             
 through diver and Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G)                  
 underwater activities for over a decade.  Many of the Southeast               
 communities have placed the development of the fisheries as a                 
 priority item in economic development documents and locally                   
 developed legislative budget priorities.  The dive fishery                    
 resources appear to be abundant and diverse throughout the region.            
 The small sea cucumber and geoduck fisheries in Southeast have a              
 combined annual ex-vessel value of $2.0 million to $2.5 million.              
 In California, the urchin fishery has ranged in ex-vessel value               
 from $16 million to $39 million from 1990 through 1996.  Geoducks             
 range in price from $6 a pound, live to $3.50 a pound, processed.             
 Alaskan waters contain abundant amounts of these fishery resources            
 plus many others not currently harvested.  This legislation would             
 encourage the identification and development of these resources.              
 The potential for the future jobs for harvesters, processors and              
 support industries, is considerable.                                          
                                                                               
 "The commitment to work together is evidenced in the red sea urchin           
 fishery.  In 1996, the department, after a test fishery, was unable           
 to open the red sea urchin fishery because of lack of funding.                
 Based on positive results in the test fishery and a vision to                 
 diversify and develop their local economy, the Ketchikan Gateway              
 Borough provided funding for the department to conduct                        
 bioassessment surveys needed to open the fisheries.  The Borough              
 continued in its involvement by facilitating and participating in             
 a local task force comprised of Borough personnel, divers,                    
 processors and the department.  The resulting plan was for                    
 processors to "forward fund" the management costs of the fishery              
 with agreements to recoup their funding through a $.05 assessment             
 on divers.  Thus, in January 1997, a red sea urchin fishery opened            
 in districts 1 through 4 in the Ketchikan and Craig areas.                    
                                                                               
 "This temporary fishery opening is based on a one time source of              
 funding that will expire June 30, 1997.  In order to continue the             
 fisheries, and develop the other fisheries resources, a stable                
 source of funding is necessary.                                               
                                                                               
 "The August 1996 red sea urchin management plan states: 'Developing           
 a long-term program to fund the costs of stock assessment, research           
 and management remains an outstanding issue.  If sufficient funds             
 are not provided to the department each year, the fishery will not            
 open.'  This is the dilemma divers face and HB 198 provides a                 
 creative and progressive vehicle to move towards a solution.                  
                                                                               
 "House Bill 198 does not mandate but allows the creation of                   
 regional dive fishery development associations for the purpose of             
 developing dive fisheries and creating a working relationship                 
 between the divers and the department to develop annual operating             
 plans.  The legislation is permissive and once a regional                     
 association is formed, divers can hold a ballot election of all               
 interim permit holders to answer two questions: 1) shall we assess            
 ourselves, and 2) at what rate shall we assess ourselves.                     
                                                                               
 "If approved by election, divers would be assessed, the state would           
 collect, and the legislature may appropriate the assessment back to           
 the department.  The appropriation will be based on the mutually              
 developed annual operating budget and plan.  ADF&G would then fund            
 the specific purposes outlined in the legislation for the regional            
 dive fishery development association and the department.                      
                                                                               
 "All the appropriate checks and balances are in place and all                 
 parties are held accountable.  In addition, all other fisheries               
 business taxes are collected and deposited into the general fund.             
                                                                               
 "House Bill 198 is a positive step forward by the private sector to           
 support economic development and diversification without seeking a            
 general fund appropriation.  Time is of the essence.  I would                 
 appreciate your support of this legislation for passage this                  
 session to keep the economic development for Southeast moving                 
 forward."                                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 496                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAMS stated that there are letters in the packet           
 from the cities of Craig, Wrangell, the city and borough of Sitka,            
 Sitka Chamber of Commerce, Sitka Tribal Enterprises, Sitka Sound              
 Seafoods, Wrangel Fisheries Incorporated, Norquest Seafoods,                  
 Seafood Producers Cooperative and members of the Alaska Harvest               
 Divers Association, Sitka Chapter and Southeast Alaska Harvest                
 Divers Association, Ketchikan Chapter.                                        
                                                                               
 Number 549                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN stated that there is a committee substitute for            
 HB 198 and asked Representative Williams if CSHB 198 version T,               
 4/09/97, is the version he would like the committee to be working             
 off of.                                                                       
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAMS replied yes.                                          
                                                                               
 Number 591                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE MARK HODGINS made a motion to adopt CSHB 198,                  
 Version T, 4/09/97, as a work draft.                                          
                                                                               
 Number 606                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked if there was an objection, Hearing none,             
 it was so ordered.                                                            
                                                                               
 Number 643                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE HODGINS asked if Chairman Austerman planned to move            
 the bill out tonight.                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 652                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN stated that it is his hope that it would be                
 moved out this evening.                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 667                                                                    
                                                                               
 EDWARD GREY, testified via teleconference from Sitka, that he                 
 supports this bill and he is a diver in the Sitka area.  He stated            
 that since 1989 closure, divers have met with the ADF&G and had a             
 large number of unsuccessful bids to open up some of these areas.             
 What they have experienced since that time has been closure of                
 areas and quota reductions while there is large areas of                      
 unharvested product.  He stated that he is not here to bash ADF&G             
 but it has been a long time coming and the only feasible step is to           
 form this association.  He stated his committment to the                      
 association concept.  The groups in the Southeast have been able to           
 work very well together in the past to do some good.  He stated               
 that this bill is the most important and promising thing that has             
 happened to the dive fisheries in the ten years that he has been              
 involved.  He stated that it is key to have sustainable fisheries             
 in the future to do the work that we need to do.                              
                                                                               
 Number 874                                                                    
                                                                               
 LARRY TRANI, Representative, Alaska Harvest Divers, Sitka,                    
 testified via teleconference from Sitka, that the statement he is             
 about to give is based on the unanimous vote of the membership.  He           
 stated that for the past decade they have consistently tried to               
 expand existing fisheries and develop fisheries that aren't opened.           
 He stated that it has not happened due to budget constraints and              
 now as the oil well dries up, ADF&G is faced with more and more               
 decreased revenues and the fisheries are not going to be expanded             
 fisheries without some mechanism by which to do that.  He stated              
 that due to this reality the divers have put forth this bill.  He             
 stated that this is the only real way we can go about expanding               
 existing fisheries and develop new fisheries.  He encouraged the              
 committee to pass the bill.                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 956                                                                    
                                                                               
 HARLEY ETHELBAH, Representative, Southeast Alaska Dive Harvester,             
 Petersburg Chapter, testified via teleconference from Petersburg,             
 that this bill, if passed, gives the chance to expand the dive                
 fishery as wanted for a long time.  He stated that without this               
 bill it would take a long time to get things done through ADF&G,              
 since they are not able to come up with the funding that is always            
 needed.  The bill will allow things to get done at a faster rate,             
 expand new fisheries rather than watching them slide.                         
                                                                               
 Number 1047                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHUCK THOMPSON, Owner, F/V Darkstar, testified via teleconference             
 from Kodiak, that he represents, in the dive community, 30 to 40              
 percent of the product that is delivered in Kodiak.  He stated that           
 they have been managing the fishery with ADF&G through production             
 yearly, without the department or the fisherman having to put out             
 any funds, for any kind of association.  The department has been              
 sucessful with each area continuing to produce the poundage and the           
 amount of product that they have wanted to come out of the area.              
 He stated that he is against the bill and feels that there is too             
 much undercurrent where he may be forced to have some kind of                 
 assessment to perform the fishery.  He felt that he has been very             
 sucessful in the fishery as it stands and the money and time that             
 would be needed to put man hours on the bottom of the ocean would             
 take a major amount of funds away from the divers.  Most of the               
 major producers in Kodiak do not have the time to put in which                
 would result in bringing outsiders in to learn the grounds.  There            
 is too much that can happen to the fishery when it can be                     
 controlled by outside forces.  He stated that there could be a                
 hidden agenda by outside financing, by canneries that would like to           
 gain some control over this fishery.  He stated that they sometimes           
 sail two days to an area to get the production that they need to              
 get.  He stated that he does not think there needs to be any more             
 state laws made to control the fishery or effect the production.              
                                                                               
 Number 1239                                                                   
                                                                               
 VICTOR BUCHANAN, testified via teleconference from Kodiak, that he            
 tried to get an urchin fishery going for Southeast Alaska four                
 years ago.  The department denied him the chance even though he               
 offered to put up $150,000 because they did not have a management             
 plan.  He said, "they seem to feel, that now somebody else with               
 maybe some higher power, or higher dollars, decided that there is             
 a valuable urchin resource down in Southeast and I want to know why           
 we are not included in it."  He stated that he makes half his                 
 income off of the dive fishery, and at his expense he surveyed from           
 Kodiak Island to Cape Douglas to False Pass.  He stated that they             
 want to shut them out of the Southeast fishery and he does not                
 understand why they should be controlled when ADF&G wouldn't help             
 them when they asked for help.                                                
                                                                               
 Number 1420                                                                   
                                                                               
 STERLING SLITER, Representative, Alaska Harvest Divers Association,           
 Ketchikan Chapter, testified via teleconference from Ketchikan,               
 that the association is opposed to the bill because they believe              
 that the state should fund dive fisheries the same way it funds all           
 other fisheries in the state.  He stated that the he has heard that           
 the Senate will propose language to delete the word cooperative               
 from the phrase cooperative management, which is used over 50 times           
 in the original bill.  If that version of the bill is passed, it              
 will mean that divers will not have a say in the management of                
 their dive fishery, which they were led to believe that this tax              
 will allow for.  He stated that they will be taxing themselves to             
 fund a fishery that should be funded by the state of Alaska through           
 the Department of Fish and Game budget's process.  He stated that             
 the House budget included $171,000 for the management of the sea              
 urchin fishery for the next season.  The House passed the budget              
 last week and it was sent to the Senate.  He stated that they have            
 line itemed $91,600 of the Senate budget to manage the sea urchin             
 fishery for the next season.  He stated that these budgets have not           
 been passed but it looks like they will be funding the fishery for            
 the next year.  He stated that once the legislature and the                   
 governor realizes the economic boost this multi-million dollar                
 fishery will bring to the state of Alaska, the commissioner of fish           
 and game will move the urchin fishery from a emerging fishery to an           
 established fishery in the next year.  He stated that we need the             
 help of all divers to show a unified front by getting behind the              
 need for state funding, not state taxing.  He asked for letters or            
 faxes to be sent to the Representatives, Senators and the Governor,           
 letting them know that over 530 divers and the hundreds of jobs               
 that they create is economically good for Southeast Alaska.  He               
 stated that the jobs are important with the closing of the mills in           
 Sitka, Wrangell and Ketchikan.  He stated that these jobs do not              
 need to be created, they are here and only lack the appropriate               
 funding, which should come from the state of Alaska not by the                
 divers.  He stated it would be unconstitutional since no other                
 fishery pays a management tax.                                                
                                                                               
 Number 1542                                                                   
                                                                               
 MELINDA WEST, Harvest Diver, testified via teleconference from                
 Ketchikan, that she and her husband, also a diver, are against the            
 bill.  She stated that they have collected over 40 signatures of              
 the working divers who also oppose the bill, she stated that a lot            
 of them are diving and can not testify.  She stated they are                  
 opposed to the bill, on the grounds that the bill is                          
 unconstitutional and discriminatory against one user group.  She              
 stated that she has calculated the numbers on current quotas                  
 allocated to the dive fisheries.  A tax amounting to 14 percent               
 would be required to manage and enforce the dive fishery and                  
 support the dive association that is attached to the bill.  She               
 stated that this is the makings of a special interest money,                  
 possibly bribery and racketeering.  In order to make this a fair              
 playing field, this tax should be across the board, to the salmon,            
 halibut, crab and other fisheries.  She stated that there will                
 always be the quotient that who ever has the most money gets the              
 attention of ADF&G.  She believes that this is why the state has              
 always funded ADF&G through the raw fish tax, not special interest,           
 and should be continued to be funded by this method.  She stated              
 that the dive fisheries will be paying a 3 percent raw fish tax               
 next year, which means that they will be paying for the management            
 of the fishery twice.  She stated that if these dive fisheries were           
 to expand and stabilize the three percent raw fish tax would                  
 generate more than enough revenue to be self sustaining.  If the              
 bill does go through she would like the following to be done:  The            
 user paid tax be implemented across the board to all fisheries;               
 cooperative management remain in the bill; delete the ability to              
 use the tax for the dive association management funding; delete the           
 90 days on the purchase of permits prior to voting because we do              
 not feel there will be a large enough group voting on this self               
 tax.  She stated that she would like to ear mark this tax so that             
 the divers do not need to retain a lobbyist to get the tax back,              
 which is an added expense.  She stated that if the divers pay the             
 cost for management then the divers are paying the price to be the            
 boss, therefore, we would like to see the competitive bids for                
 management of the dive fisheries.  She stated that no consideration           
 should be given to any kind of unproven method of self tax, that              
 singles out a certain user group to fund the management of this               
 fishery.                                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 1710                                                                   
                                                                               
 RAY CAMPBELL, Harvest Diver, testified via teleconference from                
 Ketchikan, that he got cut out of most of the dive fisheries due to           
 the moratorium last year, the reason being that the dive fisheries            
 could not develop without an moratorium to take an assessment.  He            
 stated that since he was in one dive fishery he is going to have to           
 pay for the development of a fishery that he is not involved in.              
 He stated that he opposes the bill.  He stated that he does not               
 like to see four fisheries lumped under one heading, they should be           
 managed individually.                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 1775                                                                   
                                                                               
 SCOTT THOMAS, Member, Southeast Alaska Harvest Divers Association,            
 testified via teleconference from Ketchikan, in support of the                
 bill.  He stated that it would not be his first choice but it is              
 clear from the test fishery last year that there was no money to              
 manage and develop these fisheries.  He stated that this is really            
 the only viable way that the dive fisheries are going to be able to           
 assess, manage and develop these fisheries.  He stated it is                  
 contingent on getting good, active people in the association that             
 want to dedicate there time to develop these fisheries.                       
                                                                               
 Number 1899                                                                   
                                                                               
 RODNEY LINTON, Harvest Diver, testified via teleconference from               
 Ketchikan, in support of the bill.  He stated that it is really               
 imperative that we have proper funding to keep the fishery viable             
 and alive.  He stated that it would enable expansion into the new             
 fisheries that do not exist.  He stated that he is concerned about            
 the cooperative management clause being taken out of the bill and             
 would not support that.                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 1942                                                                   
                                                                               
 LANCE PHILMAN, Member, Southeast Alaska Harvest Divers Association,           
 testified via teleconference from Ketchikan, in support of the                
 bill.                                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 1960                                                                   
                                                                               
 RYAN MORIN, Member, Southeast Alaska Harvest Divers Association,              
 testified via teleconference from Ketchikan, in support of the                
 bill.                                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 1990                                                                   
                                                                               
 MICHAEL BANGS, President, Harvest Association, Petersburg Chapter,            
 testified via teleconference from Craig, that the association voted           
 unanimously in support of the bill.  He stated that in future it              
 can be cancelled by a vote of all the permit holders if the                   
 assessment is not needed.  He stated that when ADF&G does the                 
 surveys to develop a dive fishery it is a lot more expensive than             
 it is for salmon or any other fishery because of having to dive.              
 He stated that an increase in budget would still not cover the cost           
 and that is why the divers need to play an active part in the co-             
 operative management plan.  He stated that there is no other                  
 option.                                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 2081                                                                   
                                                                               
 JIM DENNIS, Harvest Diver, testified via teleconference from Craig,           
 that he has been diving since 1982.  He stated that he is in                  
 support of the bill because the state does not have the money, it             
 is the only option.                                                           
                                                                               
 Number 2123                                                                   
                                                                               
 BRENT BAXTER, Harvest Diver, testified via teleconference from                
 Craig, in support of the bill.                                                
                                                                               
 Number 2134                                                                   
                                                                               
 DENNIS WATSON, Mayor, City of Craig, testified via teleconference             
 from Craig, in support of the bill.  He stated that there are a lot           
 of economic benefits from the jobs in the dive fishery.                       
                                                                               
 Number 2182                                                                   
                                                                               
 GIG DECKER, Representative, Wrangell Divers Association, stated               
 that the two people in Kodiak who testified that the bill had                 
 discriminatory wording are taking over half of the resource.  Three           
 of the people from Ketchikan that testified were involved in the              
 test fishery that took over 3 million pounds, there was only one              
 company buying, of which he was excluded from.  He stated that he             
 has been a full time commercial fisherman in Alaska for 25 years              
 and a commercial diver for nine years.  He stated that he totally             
 supports the legislation.                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 2239                                                                   
                                                                               
 STEPHEN LACROIX, Norquest Seafood, stated that they have bought and           
 processed over 450,000 pounds of urchins.  He stated that to                  
 demonstrate the support of the divers they currently have a 5 cent            
 a pound voluntary assessment, and so far they have collected                  
 $23,000, the indication is strong diver support.  He stated that              
 this resource allows the company to turn 70 people from being                 
 seasonal help to being full time employees and members of the                 
 community.  He stated for every diver on the water there are                  
 between five or six workers in the plant.                                     
                                                                               
 Number 2320                                                                   
                                                                               
 PETER METCALFE, Representative, Kake Travel Corporation, which owns           
 Kake Fisheries and Pelican Seafoods and employs hundreds of people            
 in seafood processing as well as, processes millions of pounds of             
 seafood a year.  He stated that last winter the corporation                   
 employed over 45 villagers processing sea urchins.  He stated that            
 the corporation supports the intent of the bill, as understood to             
 create a funding mechanism for emerging fisheries.  He stated that            
 the corporation sees a lot of potential in the fisheries and a lot            
 of potential employment opportunities for rural and urban                     
 residents, especially in the winter months.  He stated that the               
 corporation has a strong problem with the dive fishery association            
 being 100 percent divers.  He stated that there should be broader             
 representation on the association and processors have a lot to add            
 to this, it is a cooperative association with divers, as they are             
 in charge of the dive program.  He stated that other gear types               
 should be represented on this association because these emerging              
 fisheries are not necessarily dive fisheries.  He stated that there           
 is the possibility of different harvesting techniques in sea                  
 urchins alone and there is the possibility of the pot fishery.  He            
 stated that their position is one of support in the intent of the             
 bill which is to find a funding mechanism.  He stated that the bill           
 would be very much strengthened if the association were opened up             
 to a broader representation than just permitted to dive fishermen.            
 He stated that to his knowledge there are no commercial divers in             
 Kake and feel that this small community would not be heard in such            
 an association.                                                               
                                                                               
 Number 2439                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked if his understanding was correct he was              
 suggesting that the processing industry have representation in the            
 association.                                                                  
                                                                               
 Number 2442                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. METCALFE replied that the corporation would be supportive of              
 this bill if it was non-exclusive and open to processors.  He                 
 stated that Representative Williams expressed the concern that such           
 an association understand the challenges and dangers of the dive              
 fishery.  If the corporation were to nominate anyone to serve on              
 that dive fishery he would be certain it would be someone who                 
 understood dive fisheries.  He felt that they offer a perspective             
 that it is not represented on the proposed association.                       
                                                                               
 TAPE 97-17, SIDE B                                                            
 Number 001                                                                    
                                                                               
 CLAY BEZENEK, Southeast Alaska Harvest Divers Association, stated             
 that he has been fishing in Alaska for fifteen years.  He stated              
 that he is in full support of the bill.  The bill gives divers a              
 reliable funding source for all developing fisheries it also gives            
 a direct link for a co-operative working relationship with ADF&G.             
 He stated that the dive fisheries are unique in that the gear used            
 is a human being, resulting in special considerations, which the              
 bill addresses.  It gives the assurance of a funding source for               
 years to come.  He stated that as a commercial salmon fisherman he            
 is completely satisfied with the job our aquaculture associations             
 are doing with their assessment.                                              
                                                                               
 Number 052                                                                    
                                                                               
 AARON CUMMINGS, Representative, Southeast Alaska Harvest Divers               
 Association, Petersburg Chapter, stated that the chapter of 25                
 divers is unanimously in support of the bill.  He stated that every           
 time he has left and returned from participating in various other             
 fisheries as far as the International Dateline, not even 10-15                
 miles away from his home town, he was crossing volumes of product             
 there for harvesting, which has been so undeveloped it has                    
 impossible for him to make a living entirely in that region.  This            
 bill would expand the fishery to a point where it would be                    
 profitable so he would not have to go to waters outside Alaska to             
 fish.                                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 128                                                                    
                                                                               
 STEVEN DAUGHERTY, Assistant Attorney General, Natural Resources               
 Section, Department of Law, stated that he is not testifying                  
 because they are any legal problems with the bill but because he              
 was requested to testify on a possible proposed amendment.  He                
 stated that there was some impetus for a provision in the bill that           
 would provide an incentive for instate processing.  He stated that            
 there are some constitutional problems with that.  There is a U.S.            
 Supreme Court case based on an Alaskan processing requirement for             
 timber, that was found to be in violation of the Commerce Clause of           
 the United States.  He stated that there was also a case dating               
 back to 1947, in which South Carolina attempted to require                    
 fisherman to dock at a South Carolina Port, unload, pack and stamp            
 their catch, before transporting it out of state, which was also              
 found to be unconstitutional in violation of the Commerce Clause.             
                                                                               
 Number 214                                                                    
                                                                               
 GERON BRUCE, Legislative Liaison, Office of the Commissioner,                 
 Department of Fish and Game, stated that Alaska underutilized                 
 species like the urchins, offer the opportunity to create new                 
 fisheries the right way, avoiding some of the problems that have              
 plagued the traditional fisheries in their historic development.              
 He stated that the timing of this new opportunity coincides with a            
 time of reduced funding for fisheries management and development.             
 This is what prompted the introduction of this legislation to try             
 an provide a creative mechanism to fund the development of new                
 fisheries.  He stated that there are no new general fund dollars              
 which are the dollars which fund commercial fisheries that are                
 being added to the budget, in fact the House budget proposes to               
 reduce the Department's funding by about $1 million, the Senate a             
 $2.4 million reduction, $1.7 million of that is specifically                  
 targeted at the Commercial Fisheries Management and Development               
 Division.  He stated that this has been going on for five or six              
 years, the money has not been provided by the legislature to manage           
 new fisheries.  He stated that the department does applaud the                
 efforts involved in the bill, however, the bill is narrow in its              
 focus and is directed specifically at the funding issue and does              
 not address the broader policy issues that need to be addressed if            
 these new fisheries are to be sucessful.  He stated that when a               
 fishery is developed it will be a fishery that Alaskans will be the           
 primary beneficiaries of and is sustainable.                                  
                                                                               
 Number 266                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. BRUCE felt that just the funding issues can not just be focused           
 on, if it is going to be successful in developing these new                   
 fisheries.  He stated that the concerns are that the bill takes a             
 piece meal approach to the new developing fisheries.  He stated               
 that there are a number of species that could be developed, and the           
 mechanism proposed in the bill does not necessary lend itself to              
 the broad range.  He stated that the impetus is coming from the               
 Southeast fishermen but what they develop here to solve their                 
 problems could become a precedent for other parts of the state                
 since it is statewide legislation.                                            
                                                                               
 Number 422                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN stated that there has to be a starting point.              
 He stated that it can be expanded if there are other emergency                
 fisheries that we want to add into the concept.  He asked if the              
 legislature waited for the each fishery to emerge in order to put             
 the whole package together where would we be.                                 
                                                                               
 Number 445                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. BRUCE replied that it is a good point, buy the legislature                
 should look at a means of developing these fisheries that could be            
 applied in a wide variety of circumstances.  He stated that he is             
 not making the point that we should wait until the fishery comes              
 along in order to develop it.  He stated the point he is making is            
 that we do not want to be so specific and focused that it is not              
 broad enough or flexible enough to deal with other situations.                
                                                                               
 Number 473                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. BRUCE continued that his comments should be taken as                      
 constructive criticism as the department is trying to look at it              
 from a policy standpoint to make sure it is going in the right                
 direction.   He stated that in the urchin fishery there is the                
 characteristic that a lot of the product is being processed out of            
 state.  There may be incentives that can be created to keep the               
 industry in Alaska.                                                           
                                                                               
 Number 558                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. BRUCE stated that it was the department's view that all of the            
 stake holders effected by this fishery should be in this                      
 association, not just the divers.  He stated that the sponsor has             
 included a representative of the processing sector and a                      
 representative of the local government, which has resolved that               
 concern.  He stated that the private sector should not manage the             
 public resource itself and it is best done through dialogue between           
 the two groups but when, where, how large quota is, should be made            
 by people who don't have a vested interest in the industry.  He               
 stated that this change was also made and that the sponsor is                 
 willing to work on the other issues in the next committee.                    
                                                                               
 Number 661                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. BRUCE stated that the department is committed to sound                    
 development of the state's fisheries resources that provide a                 
 maximum benefit to Alaskans and is going to launch a major effort             
 to work with all involved to lay out various options that could be            
 used to develop the underutilized species in a way that considers             
 the board range of policy issues that we think are important.  He             
 stated that they are committed to maintaining the urchin fishery              
 and seeing that the fishery goes on and has some level of                     
 operational funds to support its management.                                  
                                                                               
 Number 748                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. BRUCE stated that even though this is a self assessment tax               
 that fisherman are placing on themselves, it will go into the pot             
 of money and the legislature will determine whether or not that               
 money comes back into the department.  He stated that there is no             
 guarantee, outside of the appropriation process, that the                     
 department will ever see a dime of the money.  He stated that if              
 the general fund for the department is capped or decreases, the               
 general fund includes program receipts which would be this category           
 of money.  He stated that if there is $250,000 in general fund                
 program receipts associated with the urchin fishery, paid by the              
 fisherman, and the legislation places a cap, the department would             
 have to find $250,000 worth of cuts in order to stay within the               
 cap.  Therefore other fisheries would receive reduced funding in              
 order to fund the other option.  He stated that a solution would be           
 the Governor's bill which would create a new category of funding              
 called a designated program receipt, which would be made up of                
 money contributed for specific programs in government and would not           
 be considered as part of the general fund appropriation.  He stated           
 that if the legislature decided to cut the department's general               
 fund it leaves the designated program receipt category to rise and            
 would allow it to fund the programs.  He stated he would like to              
 encourage the supporters of this legislation to get behind the                
 bill, to enable the funds to go to the fisheries that it was                  
 intended to manage.  He stated that if over time this is proven to            
 not be the best way to manage the fishery, the issue can be                   
 revisited.                                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 933                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. BRUCE stated that both the legislative research agency and the            
 Department of Fish and Game have conducted studies looking at the             
 revenues and expenditures that come to the state's treasury from              
 fish and wildlife users and the expenditures made by state                    
 government on fish wild life activities, whether it is management,            
 law enforcement or development activities.  It was found that the             
 seafood industry contributes more money to the state treasury than            
 what is spent by the state government on the seafood industry which           
 has been especially true with the addition of the landing tax.  He            
 stated that in 1996 the fisheries business tax was about $40                  
 million, the other contributions made by the industry totaled about           
 $60 million, the fishery management general fund expenditures made            
 to the Department of Fish and Game was $20 million.  He stated that           
 there is money being contributed by the seafood industry to pay for           
 the management of the state fisheries, the problem is that the                
 money is not appropriated to do the job, it is going to other                 
 places.                                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 1063                                                                   
                                                                               
 GEORGE ELIASON, testified via teleconference from Sitka, that he is           
 here representing himself, two other divers and his two sons.  He             
 stated that they all in are support of the bill.  He stated that              
 they do not see another means to create the development of the dive           
 fisheries being that there are no funds available.  He stated that            
 the dive seasons have been extremely short.  He stated that passage           
 of the bill will create a long term viable and orderly dive fishery           
 for today's divers and for future generations.                                
                                                                               
 Number 1128                                                                   
                                                                               
 NANCY HILLSTRAND, Owner, Pioneer Alaskan Fisheries and Coal Point             
 Trading Company, testified via teleconference from Homer, that she            
 supports the bill.  She stated that the Department of Fish and Game           
 does not have the money to gather data on new and emerging                    
 fisheries and without this data, management is lacking deeply.  She           
 gave the example of the sea cucumber fishery in Kachemak Bay that             
 was opened with very little information to do so and the species is           
 closed from over harvest.  Securing funding to gather information             
 is of the utmost importance and will protect the sustained yield              
 principle on these species by understanding these species more                
 fully.  She felt that it might need to be amended to a broader                
 representation to assure all the user groups are included in the              
 fishery, not just the divers.                                                 
                                                                               
 Number 1195                                                                   
                                                                               
 UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER, testifying via teleconference from                 
 Craig, stated that there are six individuals who did not want to              
 testify, but did want to add their support to the bill.                       
                                                                               
 Number 1229                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE HODGINS made a motion to move CSHB 198(FSH), 0-                
 LS0415, Version T, with individual recommendations and the attached           
 fiscal note.                                                                  
                                                                               
 Number 1238                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked if there were any objections.  Hearing               
 none CSHB 198(FSH), Version T was moved out of the House Special              
 Committee on Fisheries.                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 1276                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN called for a brief at ease at 6:21.                        
                                                                               
 HB 96 - BDS OF FISHERIES AND GAME QUALIFICATIONS                            
                                                                               
 Number 1276                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN called the meeting back to order at 6:24 and               
 announced the next order of business to be HB 96, "An Act relating            
 to appointments to the Board of Fisheries or the Board of Game."              
 He asked Representative Al Vezey to introduce the bill.                       
                                                                               
 Number 1303                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE AL VEZEY stated that the bill is intended to do                
 something positive on the issue of subsistence.  The issue of                 
 subsistence is one of the biggest issues and problems facing                  
 Alaska.  The bill recognizes that we are going to provide for the             
 subsistence needs for all of Alaska's citizens and we have to                 
 manage our fish and game resources on a sustained yield basis,                
 towards the needs of consumptive users.  He stated that if we are             
 not willing to manage our fish and game resources for consumptive             
 users than we are saying that it is not our policy to recognize               
 subsistence as one of our top priorities.  The intent of the bill             
 is to do something positive about subsistence at the state level.             
                                                                               
 Number 1392                                                                   
                                                                               
 NICK SZABO, testified via teleconference from Kodiak, that he                 
 served on the Board of Fisheries for seven years.  He stated that             
 he supports the concept of the bill but some of the conflicts that            
 arise with the present board is that sometimes members only have a            
 limited experience in a relatively specific areas of interest.  He            
 stated that the best situation is not to have seven specialists but           
 to have seven people with broad experience for many years in                  
 several area of interest to the board.  He stated serving on the              
 local advisory committee is an excellent way to achieve knowledge             
 and experience in the issues which the board deals with, but using            
 this as the only qualification may exclude some potential                     
 candidates that are otherwise just as qualified.  He stated a point           
 system may want to be considered with a minimum number of points              
 necessary to qualify for a seat on the board.  Points would be                
 gained for each year on a local fish and game advisory committee,             
 for residency in the state, for years as a sport fishing or                   
 commercial fishing license holder, for years in sport fish guiding,           
 for sport fish area experience, for each commercial fishery                   
 involved in, for each commercial fishing area, for fish processing            
 or tendering, for years in fish and game research and management              
 and points for years as a fishing industry representative.  He                
 stated that he thinks the concept is great but there needs to be              
 some qualifications in place to have a seat on the board.                     
                                                                               
 Number 1580                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked if he could send a copy of his testimony             
 to him so he could forward it on the next committee of referral.              
                                                                               
 Number 1600                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. SZABO replied that he would.                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
 Number 1604                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY stated that he would research the category of            
 a licensed fish processor because that is a category of experience            
 in consumptive use that he had not thought of and would like to               
 look into it.  He also stated he would look into licensed charter             
 boat operators.                                                               
                                                                               
 Number 1653                                                                   
                                                                               
 NANCY MICHAELSON, testified via teleconference from Matsu, strongly           
 opposed to the bill.  She stated that the requirement to have all             
 members of the Board of Game and Board of Fisheries to have held              
 hunting and trapping licenses and/or fishing licenses for five of             
 the last seven years, will not provide good boards in the state.              
 The job of the Board of Game, as stated in this bill, is to manage            
 the wildlife and its use by hunters and trappers, it is important             
 and good to have hunters on the board, but it is important and good           
 to have knowledgeable people who are informed about the management            
 of Alaska's game on the board.  She stated that Section 2,                    
 paragraph b, states that the purposes are the conservation and the            
 development of game resources.  She stated that the new underlined            
 text in line 13, that says "each member on the basis of interest in           
 resource issues, support of the sustained yield principle, good               
 judgement, knowledge of the game resources of the state".  She                
 stated that following this will provide a wise board.                         
                                                                               
 Number 1748                                                                   
                                                                               
 MS. MICHAELSON stated that Section 1, lines 13 through 14, the                
 appointed members must have held an Alaska fishing license during             
 each of the five years, could create the situation that just                  
 because someone could get a fishing license it does not mean that             
 they would understand all the intricacies of the management that is           
 needed for fisheries in Alaska.  She questioned if a disability or            
 growing old, eliminates knowledge and experiences.  She felt that             
 the bill is discriminatory toward women, the elderly and the                  
 disabled.  She stated the bill is not fair legislation as written             
 and urged the deletion of Section 1 lines 12 through 14 and Section           
 2, lines 17 through 18, or oppose the bill if it goes on as                   
 written.  She would like the bill to be passed in a way that would            
 constitute boards which will fulfill their duties to the utmost               
 while more fairly representing all Alaskans, with members who are             
 highly knowledgeable and informed about Alaskan wildlife, whether             
 they have fishing, hunting, or trapping licenses or not.  She                 
 stated that in order for the resources to remain healthy, having              
 people who are knowledgeable about the management is just as                  
 important as having something in their wallet.                                
                                                                               
 Number 1903                                                                   
                                                                               
 MARTHA LEVENSALER, testified via teleconference from Anchorage,               
 referred to Section (b) of the bill and stated that having a                  
 hunting or trapping license during each of the five years                     
 immediately proceeding appointment to the board is not the best               
 requirement for a board member.  Having people that are                       
 knowledgeable about wildlife and game management is a far broader             
 and more important requirement and does not know if having a                  
 hunting and trapping license ensures that.  She stated that she               
 finds this section to be discriminatory against women in that more            
 than 85 percent of Alaskans do not hold hunting and trapping                  
 licenses and women hold 6 percent of the licenses and make up 48              
 percent of the population.  She stated that women have strong                 
 interest and management experience in game issues.  She felt that             
 this bill goes against the constitution which states that fish,               
 wildlife, and waters are reserved for the people for common use and           
 that the laws and regulations governing the use or disposal of                
 natural resources shall apply equally to all persons.  She stated             
 that by restricting membership to both of these boards by people              
 who hold licenses goes against what is written in the constitution.           
                                                                               
 Number 2065                                                                   
                                                                               
 NANCY HILLSTRAND, testified via teleconference from Homer, that she           
 really liked Mr. Szabo's idea of a point system.  She stated that             
 she has been very active in both fishing and wildlife issues.  She            
 owns three fishing vessels, her husband has fished for 40 years,              
 her five sons are all in the fishing industry, and have all trapped           
 and hunted.  She has been the secretary of the Homer Advisory                 
 Committee for nine years but yet she does not have a hunting or               
 fishing license so this would eliminate her.  She stated that they            
 own a seafood processing plant and have a mail order retail seafood           
 business, but with all this experience she still not would be able            
 to be on the boards.  She stated that the bill does not notice                
 people who have devoted their lives to fishing and hunting issues.            
 She felt that a point system that emphasizes information that                 
 people have gathered throughout their life time, will give a                  
 broader and more diverse board than just one that is directed                 
 towards one idealogy.  She stated that being on the Homer Advisory            
 Board, the men on it knew how to pull a trigger but when it came to           
 habitat issues, genetics, or any of the important issues providing            
 for the sustained yield principle, they did not have a good enough            
 background to be on the board.  She hoped that the committee would            
 rethink and amend the bill and would like to see a point system.              
                                                                               
 Number 2293                                                                   
                                                                               
 MS. HILLSTRAND stated that she has worked on legislation in the               
 last eight years to try and form a conservation tag and hoped that            
 maybe some legislation would be introduced so that people that do             
 not use the resource consumptively could have a place to put their            
 money.                                                                        
                                                                               
 Number 2380                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked how long did she say she served on the               
 advisory board.                                                               
                                                                               
 MS. HILLSTRAND replied that she had been on the board as secretary            
 for nine years.                                                               
                                                                               
 Number 2398                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN thanked her for her service to the state and              
 stated that a secretary of anything is a big service to people.               
                                                                               
 TAPE 97-18, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 006                                                                    
 SUZANNE PESCHIER, Volunteer, Alaska Environmental Lobby, stated               
 that the resource provides exceptional opportunities for hunting,             
 trapping, photography, research and recreation as well as income to           
 businesses that are related to these activities.  She stated that             
 since Alaska's wildlife is so important to all these diverse                  
 interest groups both economically and aesthetically.  All these               
 interests should be allowed representation on the Board of Game,              
 the bill would prevent this from happening because it discriminates           
 against a large segment of Alaska's population.  The intent of the            
 bill is to have a board that only represents consumptive users.               
 She stated that more than 80 percent of all Alaskans do not have              
 hunting or trapping licenses and would not qualify to serve on the            
 board.  She stated only 5 percent of Alaskan women have licenses              
 even though they make up 48 percent of the population.  She stated            
 that the bill contradicts the original wording of the statute,                
 which states that "Board members shall be appointed with the view             
 to providing diversity of interest and points of view in the                  
 membership."  It also ignores Article 8, Section 3 of the                     
 constitution, which states "Wildlife shall be managed for the                 
 common use of all Alaskans."  She stated that if the intent of the            
 bill is to put the authority to manage Alaska's wildlife in the               
 hands of hunters and trappers because they contribute the most                
 money to the budget of the Division of Wildlife Conservation, it              
 would be more constructive to seek common ground between different            
 interests rather than passing such a devisive bill.  She stated               
 that the Division reserves all its funds from two sources,                    
 dedicated funds from hunting and trapping licenses and the other              
 source, which contributes over 50 percent of the money, is the                
 federal excise tax on ammunition and firearms.  She stated that               
 under the Federal Aid and Wildlife Restoration Act, all firearms              
 and ammunition are taxed, not just those for hunting purposes,                
 therefor there is money that comes from sources other than hunters.           
 For instance, a kayaker, a musher or a photographer who carries a             
 weapon for protection would be contributing.  She stated it does              
 seem plausible to increase the funds that other interest groups pay           
 into wildlife management and give them the voice that they seem so            
 eager to have.  There is a history of conservation groups seeking             
 to create such a program but has not had the support of the                   
 legislature.  She stated that there is a federal proposal that is             
 being drafted called teaming with wildlife, which has the                     
 endorsement of the Governor and a variety of hunting, fishing and             
 recreational organizations in Alaska.  This program would raise a             
 substantial amount money which would be contributed to wildlife               
 management.  She stated that by allowing the consumptive and non-             
 consumptive users to sit at the management table, would give the              
 Board of Game the balance that the public is seeking.                         
                                                                               
 Number 368                                                                    
                                                                               
 GERON BRUCE, Legislative Liaison, Office of the Commissioner,                 
 Department of Fish and Game, stated that the department does not              
 support the bill.  He referred to the history of Alaska,                      
 particularly the relationship between the citizens of Alaska and              
 the federal government during territorial days.  Alaskans felt that           
 their natural resources were dominated by certain special interest            
 groups especially the out of state canners which propelled                    
 statehood.  As a result in the state constitution and in the                  
 statutes that establish the board system, the people of Alaska                
 provided for the most open, most participatory fish and game                  
 decision making process possible, so that all citizens could                  
 participate in this process.  Mr. Bruce stated that although he               
 understood Representative Vezey's thinking it is a departure from             
 the historic philosophy that has guided Alaska up to this point.              
 He stated that the present system has served the state well, there            
 is abundant fish and wildlife, as well as abundant opportunities to           
 hunt and fish with strong economies based around wildlife guided              
 hunting, viewing, sport fishing and commercial fishing.  He stated            
 that the subsistence issue is a dilemma facing the state but it is            
 his understanding that the boards can not solve the subsistence               
 problem, it is a basic conflict between federal law, state                    
 constitution and state law.  He stated that changing the                      
 representation on the board to solely consumptive users will not              
 result in any change in the subsistence dilemma.                              
                                                                               
 Number 666                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. BRUCE stated that even if consumptive use is the priority use             
 of the state, it would be a leap to say that the only people that             
 should be able to make decisions about these resources are                    
 consumptive users.  Other users need to be respective and be                  
 allowed to participate in the process.  He stated that they should            
 not be excluded from the process.                                             
                                                                               
 Number 725                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. BRUCE stated that catch and release fisherman even though they            
 do not consume the resource should have a seat at the table.  He              
 stated that anybody can get a hunting or fishing license and it               
 does not give a measure of qualification.   He stated that                    
 participation in the local advisory committees is a good measure of           
 commitment to being involved in the issues and does give a good               
 indication but there are other ways to get the experience.  He                
 stated that a lot of people would be excluded from the board if               
 they had to participate on an advisory committee, because although            
 they may attend the meetings most of them are not on the board.  He           
 stated that it would be equivalent to saying that in order to serve           
 on the legislature one would have had to serve on a city council or           
 borough assembly.                                                             
                                                                               
 Number 914                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY stated that he agreed with a lot that was said           
 but he disagrees with the fact that he does think the subsistence             
 problem in Alaska can be addressed.  He stated that he does not see           
 how the subsistence issue can be addressed with out recognizing               
 that consumptive uses are the highest priority.  He stated that if            
 consumptive uses are not the highest priority for Alaska's fish and           
 game resources than subsistence isn't the highest priority in the             
 state either.                                                                 
                                                                               
 Number 972                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE HODGINS stated that on line 13, page 1, if they must           
 be a resident and have held fishing license for five years that               
 would indicate that would had to lived in the state for five years.           
 He wondered if there was a better way of portraying that and felt             
 that he wouldn't hold the bill in this committee if he was assured            
 that there would be some changes made in the next committee.                  
                                                                               
 Number 1032                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY replied that he would be very interested in              
 hearing from one of the testifiers in Kodiak who made some                    
 interesting comments.  He stated that they may have been some                 
 licenses that they have inadvertently not included.  He stated that           
 he is not sure about the point system but would be willing to look            
 at it.  He stated that the bill recognizes the existing standard              
 that the governor appoints and the legislature confirms.  He stated           
 that the bill states that "The appointed members must be residents            
 of the state."  He believed that would require one year residency.            
 He stated that it probably could be argued legally that it was only           
 30 days but his interpretation would be that it would require one             
 year of residency.  He stated that in the case of Section 1, they             
 would have to have five years of holding an Alaskan fishing                   
 license.  He stated that nonresident licenses are not excluded from           
 that category.  He found it difficult to believe that the Governor            
 would appoint a nonresident or that the Legislature would confirm             
 a non resident but there may be a case where they would.                      
                                                                               
 Number 1117                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE HODGINS made a motion to move HB 96, 0-LS0398,                 
 Version E, with individual recommendations and the attached fiscal            
 note.                                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 1135                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN objected to make a statement.  He stated that              
 while there is some credibility to the bill, he shares some of the            
 concerns that were expressed.  He stated that by moving the bill              
 forward to the House Resources Standing Committee, some of the                
 issues can be discussed, and he would be looking at the amendments            
 that result.  He stated that he is not sold that he would vote for            
 this bill on the Floor but it should move forward in the system and           
 have more discussions at other committees.                                    
                                                                               
 Number 1181                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN withdrew his objection.                                    
                                                                               
 Number 1187                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY stated that he would have no objection to the            
 committee working on the bill.                                                
                                                                               
 Number 1216                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN replied that although it has a direct impact on            
 the fisheries and the Board of Fish, it also has the impact on the            
 game and Board of Game, and it would be natural for the House                 
 Resources Standing Committee to spend some time on this bill.                 
                                                                               
 Number 1245                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked if there were any further objections.                
 Hearing none HB 96, 0-LS0398 was moved out of the House Special               
 Committee on Fisheries.                                                       
                                                                               
 ADJOURNMENT                                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 1251                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN adjourned the House Special Committee on                   
 Fisheries at 7:00 p.m.                                                        
                                                                               

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