Legislature(2011 - 2012)CAPITOL 120

02/24/2011 05:00 PM FISHERIES


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Audio Topic
05:03:41 PM Start
05:04:02 PM Overview(s): Alaska Commercial Fishing Harvest Sector
05:42:32 PM HB121
05:49:09 PM HB144
06:06:43 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Industry Overview: Commercial Fishing Sector, TELECONFERENCED
Presented by United Fisherman of Alaska:
- Arni Thompson, President
- Mark Vinsel, Executive Director
- Jerry McCune, Government Relations Director
*+ HB 144 REPORT ON FISHING STREAM ACCESS TELECONFERENCED
Moved Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
+= HB 121 LOAN FUNDS:CHARTERS/MARICULTURE/MICROLOAN TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 121(FSH) Out of Committee
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON FISHERIES                                                                            
                       February 24, 2011                                                                                        
                           5:03 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                              
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Steve Thompson, Chair                                                                                            
Representative Craig Johnson, Vice Chair                                                                                        
Representative Alan Austerman                                                                                                   
Representative Lance Pruitt                                                                                                     
Representative Scott Kawasaki                                                                                                   
Representative Bob Miller                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Bob Herron                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
OVERVIEW(S):  ALASKA COMMERCIAL FISHING HARVEST SECTOR                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 121                                                                                                              
"An Act  establishing the commercial charter  fisheries revolving                                                               
loan fund,  the mariculture revolving  loan fund, and  the Alaska                                                               
microloan revolving  loan fund  and relating  to those  funds and                                                               
loans from those funds; and providing for an effective date."                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHB 121(FSH) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 144                                                                                                              
"An Act requiring the Department of Natural Resources annually                                                                  
to deliver to the legislature and the governor a report on                                                                      
fishing stream access."                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 121                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: LOAN FUNDS: CHARTERS/MARICULTURE/MICROLOAN                                                                         
SPONSOR(s): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
01/24/11       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/24/11       (H)       FSH, RES, FIN                                                                                          
02/08/11       (H)       FSH AT 5:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
02/08/11       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/08/11       (H)       MINUTE(FSH)                                                                                            
02/22/11       (H)       FSH AT 5:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
02/22/11       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/22/11       (H)       MINUTE(FSH)                                                                                            
02/24/11       (H)       FSH AT 5:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 144                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: REPORT ON FISHING STREAM ACCESS                                                                                    
SPONSOR(s): GARA                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
02/07/11       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/07/11       (H)       FSH, RES                                                                                               
02/24/11       (H)       FSH AT 5:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
ARNI THOMSON, President                                                                                                         
United Fishermen of Alaska (UFA)                                                                                                
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented an overview of the Alaska                                                                      
commercial fishing harvest sector.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MARK VINSEL, Executive Director                                                                                                 
United Fisherman of Alaska (UFA)                                                                                                
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Offered comments during the overview of the                                                              
Alaska commercial fishing harvest sector.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CURTIS THAYER, Deputy Commissioner                                                                                              
Office of the Commissioner                                                                                                      
Department of Commerce, Community & Economic Development (DCCED)                                                                
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented Amendment 1 to HB 121.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LES GARA                                                                                                         
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Introduced HB 144, as prime sponsor.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
ED FOGELS, Deputy Commissioner                                                                                                  
Department of Natural Resources (DNR)                                                                                           
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Responded to questions during the hearing                                                                
on HB 144.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MARK HUBER, President                                                                                                           
Alaska Fly Fishers                                                                                                              
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 144.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
5:03:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  STEVE  THOMPSON  called the  House  Special  Committee  on                                                             
Fisheries meeting to  order at 5:03 p.m.  Present  at the call to                                                               
order were Representatives Thompson  and Miller.  Representatives                                                               
Austerman,  Johnson,  Pruitt  and   Kawasaki  arrived  while  the                                                               
meeting was in progress.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
^OVERVIEW(S):  Alaska Commercial Fishing Harvest Sector                                                                         
     OVERVIEW(S):  Alaska Commercial Fishing Harvest Sector                                                                 
5:04:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR THOMPSON announced  that the first order  of business would                                                               
be an overview of the Alaska commercial fishing harvest sector.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
5:05:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ARNI THOMSON,  President, United Fishermen of  Alaska (UFA), said                                                               
that UFA  represents 38 member organizations,  comprised of every                                                               
gear  type and  fishery available.   United  Fisherman of  Alaska                                                               
also has 400  individual lifetime and crew members.   Each of the                                                               
vessel  owners  represents  a small  business  and  is  conducted                                                               
accordingly.    The  association  members  range  throughout  the                                                               
coastal regions  of the state.   He provided the UFA  mission and                                                               
policy statements, which read [original punctuation provided]:                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     The Mission:                                                                                                               
         To promote and protect the common interests of                                                                         
        Alaska's commercial fishing industry as a vital                                                                         
     component of Alaska's social and economic well-being.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Policy Statement:                                                                                                          
     Promote positive relations between industry sectors                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
      Support all commercial gear types and remain neutral                                                                      
     on allocative issues between commercial gear groups                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Promote industry safety                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
        Promote healthy fishery resources by supporting                                                                         
     research and habitat protection                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
         Support adequate funding for fishery research,                                                                         
     management and enforcement                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Educate industry, government and the public                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Oppose fish farming in Alaska                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Support development of new fisheries                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
       Support efforts to increase consumption of Alaska                                                                        
     seafood                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Promote quality standards - harvester to consumer                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
       Protect industry from attacks through initiatives,                                                                       
     legislation, etc                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
      Protect consumer access to seafood by maintaining a                                                                       
     stable supply of product to processors                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  THOMSON  said  the  management policies  of  the  state  are                                                               
mirrored  by those  of  UFA,  which are  to  achieve healthy  and                                                               
sustainable  management of  salmon  fisheries through  escapement                                                               
goal  management (Biological  Escapement Goal);  local management                                                               
that is  adaptive and abundance  based; use of  Commissioner's EO                                                               
[emergency  order] authority  on an  active basis  for the  local                                                               
management of  a fishery; and  mixed stock management.   Further,                                                               
he  said  UFA's  core  function  priorities  are  to  maintain  a                                                               
legislative presence;  provide a  forum for  communication within                                                               
the  fishing industry;  maintain a  statewide trade  organization                                                               
with  staffed   offices;  and   maintain  public   relations  and                                                               
educational programs targeting members,  the seafood industry and                                                               
other  industries,  as well  as  the  general  public.   He  then                                                               
provided a slide which listed the 38 member organizations.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR.  THOMSON  presented  a  series  of  slides  to  indicate  the                                                               
economic  impact   of  the  seafood   industry  in   Alaska,  and                                                               
paraphrased from  the accompanying  script, which  read [original                                                               
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
       If Alaska were a nation, it would place 14th among                                                                       
     seafood producing countries.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     In the  list of  top 50 U.S.  ports based  on ex-vessel                                                                    
     value, Alaska had 13 in the  top 50 US seafood ports by                                                                    
     value; 8 of them were in the top 20.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     These  ports   include  Dutch   Harbor-Unalaska  (2nd);                                                                    
     Kodiak  (3rd); Naknek-King  Salmon (4th);  Sitka (5th);                                                                    
     Homer (12th); Seward  (17th); Ketchikan (18th); Cordova                                                                    
     (19th).   Three other  Alaska ports, Akutan,  King Cove                                                                    
     and Sand Point, would also make  the top 20 were it not                                                                    
     for confidentiality requirements.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     The  seafood  industry,  through direct,  indirect  and                                                                    
     induced effects,  contributed a  total of  $4.6 billion                                                                    
     to Alaska's economic output in 2009.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     In  2009, $1.6  billion  dollars worth  of seafood  was                                                                    
     exported directly  from Alaska to destinations  such as                                                                    
     Japan, China, South Korea, Canada, and Europe.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Alaska's  community  development  quota  (CDQ)  fishery                                                                    
     entities generated  more than  $180 Million  in revenue                                                                    
     in 65 Bering Sea communities.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     CDQ  [community  development quotas]  entities  provide                                                                    
     jobs to 1,600 individuals,  with total payroll over $22                                                                    
     Million.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     1.84  million metric  tons (over  4 billion  lbs) total                                                                    
     seafood harvest (2009).                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     With  U.S. average  yearly consumption  of  16 lbs  per                                                                    
     person = 255,000,000 people's seafood.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     In 2009,  Alaska accounted for  over 52 percent  of the                                                                    
     volume  of  the  commercial seafood  harvested  in  the                                                                    
     United States.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Fishing/Seafood  Industry is  Alaska's Largest  Private                                                                    
     Sector Employer  Source.  With an  estimated harvesting                                                                    
     and  processing   workforce  of  70,548   persons,  the                                                                    
     seafood industry  employs more  workers than  any other                                                                    
     non-government  industry  sector in  Alaska,  including                                                                    
     oil  and   gas  and   mining  combined.     The  trade,                                                                    
     transportation  and  utilities  sector follows  with  a                                                                    
     workforce of 63,300.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Harvesting Workforce & Gross  Earnings for 2009:  Total                                                                    
     Individuals who  fished -permits-10,529; 77  percent of                                                                    
     permits are  held by Alaska residents;  Total Workforce                                                                    
     (skippers  and crew)-40,192;  Total Gross  Earnings for                                                                    
     the  permit  holders $1.2  billion  dollars.  One in  7                                                                    
     rural  residents  over  the  age  of  15  was  directly                                                                    
     employed in the seafood industry during 2009.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMSON listed  the top Alaska municipalities  and the number                                                               
of fishing permit holders and  crew members as:  Anchorage 1,700;                                                               
Juneau 1,100;  Homer 1,100; Kodiak 1,400;  Bethel 341; Dillingham                                                               
593; Petersburg 1,029; Wrangell 510; and Sitka 1,305.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMSON directed  attention to the committee  packet to point                                                               
out the  fishing calendar by  region and an explanation  of types                                                               
of  fishing gear;  both  of  which are  available  on the  Alaska                                                               
Department of Fish & Game (ADF&G) website.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
5:14:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  THOMSON  described  the Seafood  Revenue  Components,  which                                                               
include a  complex matrix of  taxes, as well as  industry imposed                                                               
assessments  that   contribute  $59   million  to   the  economy,                                                               
specifically presented as:                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Fisheries Taxes FY 2010:                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Fisheries Business shared with communities $31,945,400                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Fishery  Resource   Landing  shared   with  communities                                                                    
     $12,552,075                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Seafood Marketing Assessment of .5 percent $7,812,697                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Salmon Enhancement $4,877,106                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Seafood Development $1,578,861                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Dive Fishery Management $523,024                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
5:15:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMSON  said the seafood  contribution to the  state general                                                               
fund  in  the last  six  years  has  totaled over  $151  million.                                                               
Further,  he said  the  transport costs  of  south bound  seafood                                                               
exports are a benefit to  all Alaskans, as it effectively reduces                                                               
the rates  of north bound  freight; an estimated reduction  of 10                                                               
cents per  pound.   He then explained  that the  Alaska fisheries                                                               
management   practices  are   imbedded   in   the  Alaska   State                                                               
Constitution,  requiring sustainable  management  of the  natural                                                               
resources.  He highlighted the  important aspects that assure the                                                               
sustainability  of  the resource,  actions  that  are not  always                                                               
popular,  which are:  imposing  a  predetermined total  allowable                                                               
catch (TAC);  time and area  closures; restrictions on  boat size                                                               
and gear types  as well as gear prohibitions; limited  entry to a                                                               
determined  number of  harvesters; departmental  EO authority  to                                                               
close or  open a fishery in  mid season; and in-season  and long-                                                               
term  management  goals,  established  by  ADF&G,  the  Board  of                                                               
Fisheries, and the Commercial Fishery  Entry Commission (CFEC) in                                                               
concert   with   other   state  departments   and   federal   and                                                               
international  agencies.    Continuing,  he said  that  the  CFEC                                                               
issues permits  and manages a  comprehensive fishing  permit data                                                               
base tracking species, gear, and area.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
5:18:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  THOMSON moved  on to  the area  of marketing  and said  that                                                               
sustainability   is  a   major   factor  influencing   purchasing                                                               
decisions.  As  a concept long held in  Alaska, sustainability is                                                               
integral  in  the  Alaska Seafood  Marketing  Institute's  (ASMI)                                                               
global  advertising  program.    The  words  "Wild,  Natural  and                                                               
Sustainable" make  the ASMI logo  unique and a sought  out symbol                                                               
by  discerning   purchasers.     As  Alaska's   official  seafood                                                               
promotion arm, ASMI supports the  Alaska seafood industry through                                                               
promotion in  the domestic and  international markets.   A survey                                                               
of  the U.S.  domestic market  reported  that 82  percent of  the                                                               
respondents indicated a preference  for products bearing the ASMI                                                               
logo, and  said it increases  their likelihood to purchase.   The                                                               
success  of  the logo  has  lead  to  its  illegal use  by  other                                                               
countries,  particularly  Russia.    He  read  the  ASMI  mission                                                               
statement,  which  is to  "increase  the  economic value  of  the                                                               
Alaska seafood resource."   He then projected a  series of slides                                                               
that  ASMI  uses  for  marketing   purposes  to  demonstrate  the                                                               
institute's effectiveness.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMSON  said that the  seafood industry  contributes landing                                                               
tax revenue to  state and local municipal  governments, is second                                                               
only  to the  oil  industry in  contributions  to Alaska's  state                                                               
general fund, and  generates over $2 billion  in annual ex-vessel                                                               
income,  and more  than  $100 million  in taxes  and  fees.   The                                                               
salmon  industry has  shed what  was an  arcane image  and become                                                               
revitalized  in  the last  decade.    Responding to  an  existing                                                               
salmon crisis, the  legislature took action in  2000, appointed a                                                               
salmon task force, and affected  a reformation of the industry by                                                               
successfully passing  over 50 fishery related  bills between 2002                                                               
and 2010;  a list was provided.   He said that  state funding has                                                               
encouraged  and  provided  a  means  for  processing  plants  and                                                               
fishermen to upgrade product handling  and equipment with a focus                                                               
on creating  premium, value added,  and marketable products.   He                                                               
projected a series of slides  with charts indicating the economic                                                               
surge  realized   in  the  industry,   due  to   the  legislative                                                               
betterment.  The 2010 ex-vessel  value has exceeded $530 million,                                                               
which is Alaska's largest, valued, salmon harvest in 18 years.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
5:25:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  THOMSON stated  that, looking  forward,  UFA has  identified                                                               
needs  of the  Alaska fishing  industry, and  paraphrased from  a                                                               
bulleted list, which read [original punctuation provided]:                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Not looking to reduce taxes or weaken regulations                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Regulatory stability equals business stability                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Recognition of fisheries as integral to the social and                                                                     
     economic fabric of the state                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Maintain   ADF&G   Budget   equals   sustainability   equals                                                               
     personnel retention                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Continued State support for ASMI budget                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Support opportunities for increased & enhanced salmon and                                                                  
     other seafood harvests for all user groups                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Fill the pipeline based on sound economic and environmental                                                                
     policies                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Support    for    regional   energy    and    transportation                                                               
     infrastructure initiatives                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
5:26:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR THOMPSON  referred to the  statement that some  ports could                                                               
be ranked in  the top twenty were it not  for the confidentiality                                                               
requirements, and asked for an explanation.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  THOMSON responded  that  certain  processing plants  operate                                                               
under  state  and  federal  confidentiality  requirements,  which                                                               
inhibit public reporting.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
5:27:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLER  noted  the high  number  of  non-resident                                                               
workers  in  the  fishing  industry, and  asked  for  an  opinion                                                               
regarding how to remedy the situation.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  THOMSON  reported  that  many vessels  come  north  for  the                                                               
season,  originating  out of  Washington  and  Oregon, and  bring                                                               
their own  crews.  Additionally,  a critical need exists  to hire                                                               
experienced  workers;  however,  he assured  the  committee  that                                                               
there is a desire to hire more Alaskans.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
5:29:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARK  VINSEL,  Executive  Director, United  Fisherman  of  Alaska                                                               
(UFA), interjected that  the loan programs, offered  by the state                                                               
targets  Alaskan   residents,  and  are  key   to  retaining  the                                                               
generational permits.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 5:32 p.m. to 5:42 p.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
       HB 121-LOAN FUNDS: CHARTERS/MARICULTURE/MICROLOAN                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
5:42:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR THOMPSON  announced that the  next order of  business would                                                               
be  HOUSE  BILL NO.  121,  "An  Act establishing  the  commercial                                                               
charter fisheries revolving loan  fund, the mariculture revolving                                                               
loan  fund, and  the  Alaska microloan  revolving  loan fund  and                                                               
relating  to  those  funds  and   loans  from  those  funds;  and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
5:43:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON moved  Amendment 1, labeled 27-GH1728\1.2,                                                               
Kane, 2/24/11, which read:                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Page 8, line 15, following "principal":                                                                                    
          Insert "and interest"                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Page 8, line 17:                                                                                                           
          Delete "does not accrue during"                                                                                       
          Insert "may be deferred for a period of not more                                                                      
     than"                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON objected for discussion.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
5:44:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CURTIS THAYER,  Deputy Commissioner, Office of  the Commissioner,                                                               
Department   of  Commerce,   Community  &   Economic  Development                                                               
(DCCED),  explained  Amendment  1,   reading  the  deletions  and                                                               
insertions.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
5:44:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   JOHNSON  noted   that   by  including   language                                                               
stipulating "may be", options can  be considered and interest can                                                               
be accrued.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. THAYER affirmed that understanding.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  removed his objection,  expressed support                                                               
for  the bill,  and said  it is  important legislation  that will                                                               
provide  opportunities  to offer  residents  a  hand-up versus  a                                                               
hand-out.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  THOMPSON, hearing  no  further  objection, announced  that                                                               
Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
5:47:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON moved to  report committee substitute (CS)                                                               
for  HB 121,  27-GH1728\I, Kane,  2/16/11, out  of committee,  as                                                               
amended,  with individual  recommendations  and the  accompanying                                                               
fiscal  notes.   There  being  no  objection, CSHB  121(FSH)  was                                                               
reported from the House Special Committee on Fisheries.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 5:47 p.m. to 5:49 p.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
             HB 144-REPORT ON FISHING STREAM ACCESS                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
5:49:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR THOMPSON announced  that the final order  of business would                                                               
be  HOUSE BILL  NO.  144,  "An Act  requiring  the Department  of                                                               
Natural Resources annually to deliver  to the legislature and the                                                               
governor a report on fishing stream access."                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
5:49:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LES  GARA, Alaska  State Legislature,  speaking as                                                               
the prime  sponsor, introduced  HB 144,  stating that  it directs                                                               
the  Department  of  Natural  Resources   (DNR)  to  provide  the                                                               
legislature with assessments of public  access and in the process                                                               
scrutinize,  and  identify  fishing   streams  that  may  require                                                               
easement negotiations.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
5:52:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  AUSTERMAN clarified  that the  bill requires  the                                                               
department to  provide a report,  but does not require  action be                                                               
taken regarding access to fishing streams.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA  explained that it  is a request to  have the                                                               
department  report on  whatever plans  exist for  maintenance and                                                               
enhancement of public access.  Basically,  it is a gentle prod to                                                               
the agency to perform a statutory duty.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN  opined that  the bill should  contain a                                                               
request  to  have  the  department  identify  areas  of  concern,                                                               
regarding  stream access,  and  purchase  private property  where                                                               
applicable.    He  noted  that   the  Copper  River  area  is  of                                                               
particular concern.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA said  the intention of the bill  is stated on                                                               
page 1, line 11, and paraphrased the language, which read:                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     (2) stating the department's objectives for enhancing                                                                      
     and maintaining access to and along fishing streams by                                                                     
     the public in the upcoming year.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA  stated  that the  department  is  currently                                                               
authorized to make easement purchases;  however, a previous bill,                                                               
which mandated  that the department negotiate  access acquisition                                                               
proved  to be  too  cumbersome.   The  goal  is  the purchase  of                                                               
easements,  and some  lands are  covered  by the  1970 law  which                                                               
requires DNR to maintain public  easements along, and to, rivers;                                                               
however, a significant category of  land is not included, such as                                                               
the  Alaska National  Interest  Lands  Conservation Act  (ANILCA)                                                               
disbursements.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
5:56:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR THOMPSON  asked how  much right-of-way  is allowed  along a                                                               
river between the high watermark and the bank.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA responded  that HB  144 does  not contain  a                                                               
mandated measure,  and he deferred  to the department  to comment                                                               
on the existing law.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
5:56:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ED FOGELS,  Deputy Commissioner, Department of  Natural Resources                                                               
(DNR), said  that the 1970  "too and  along" statute allows  a 50                                                               
foot  easement, and  said that  parcels  exist without  specified                                                               
easements.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
5:57:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  AUSTERMAN   questioned  the   use  of   the  term                                                               
"enhancing" and what meaning it conveys to the department.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. FOGELS  stated his understanding  that enhancing  connotes an                                                               
action for purchase, acquisition, and negotiation of easements.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
5:58:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARK HUBER, President, Alaska Fly  Fishers, stated support for HB                                                               
144,  indicating that  the  bill will  benefit  all Alaskans  who                                                               
desire to  gain access  to fishing resources.   He  reported that                                                               
stream access  has been an  issue throughout the  western states,                                                               
and has resulted in court  battles, some of which have progressed                                                               
to the  U.S. Supreme  Court.  The  bill is a  pro active  step to                                                               
provide stream access, at no additional cost to the state.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
6:01:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON asked for  the department's position on HB                                                               
144.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. FOGELS replied  that DNR has not taken  an official position.                                                               
In response to a committee  member, Mr. Fogels said the reporting                                                               
costs will not be significant, hence the zero fiscal note.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
6:03:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  AUSTERMAN  noted   that  access  enhancement  may                                                               
include  the purchase  of land,  and questioned  the zero  fiscal                                                               
note.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA   clarified  that  the  bill   requests  the                                                               
department to identify  access areas.  However, if  a purchase is                                                               
necessary  to  ensure that  access,  a  request will  be  brought                                                               
before the legislature for approval and funding.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR THOMPSON closed public testimony.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
6:05:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON pointed out the  letters of support in the                                                               
committee packet.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA highlighted the  written endorsement from the                                                               
Kenai River Sportfishing Association.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
6:06:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  moved to report  HB 144 out  of committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  fiscal                                                               
notes.   There being no  objection HB  144 was reported  from the                                                               
House Special Committee on Fisheries.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
6:06:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Special  Committee on  Fisheries  meeting was  adjourned at  6:07                                                               
p.m.                                                                                                                            

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Industry Overview - Commercial Fishing - Fishing Seasons.pdf HFSH 2/24/2011 5:00:00 PM
Industry Overview - Commercial Fishing - What Kind of Boat.pdf HFSH 2/24/2011 5:00:00 PM
HB 144 - Version A.PDF HFSH 2/24/2011 5:00:00 PM
HB 144
HB 144 - Sectional Analysis.pdf HFSH 2/24/2011 5:00:00 PM
HB 144
HB144-Fiscal Note - ADF&G-SFD-02-17-11.pdf HFSH 2/24/2011 5:00:00 PM
HB 144
HB 144 - ADF&G Memo - Stream Access - Anchor, Montana and Salcha Creeks.pdf HFSH 2/24/2011 5:00:00 PM
HB 144
HB 144 - Kenai River Sportfishing Assn. Ltr - Support.pdf HFSH 2/24/2011 5:00:00 PM
HB 144
HB 144 - Alaska Fly Fishers - Support.pdf HFSH 2/24/2011 5:00:00 PM
HB 144
HB 144 - Women's Flyfishing Ltr - Support.pdf HFSH 2/24/2011 5:00:00 PM
HB 144
HB 144 - Churchill Ltr - Support.pdf HFSH 2/24/2011 5:00:00 PM
HB 144
HB 144 - Stockwell Ltr - Support.pdf HFSH 2/24/2011 5:00:00 PM
HB 144
Industry Overview - Commercial Fishing - United Fishermen of Alaska Presentation - Feb 24 2011.pdf HFSH 2/24/2011 5:00:00 PM
HB 144 - Fiscal Note - DNR-LATD-2-23-11.pdf HFSH 2/24/2011 5:00:00 PM
HB 144
HB 144 - Sponsor Statement - 3-1-11.pdf HFSH 2/24/2011 5:00:00 PM
HB 144