Legislature(2015 - 2016)CAPITOL 120

03/10/2015 10:00 AM House FISHERIES

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10:06:11 AM Start
10:06:33 AM Presentation: Board of Fisheries (bof)
10:46:06 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Board of Fisheries
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON FISHERIES                                                                            
                         March 10, 2015                                                                                         
                           10:06 a.m.                                                                                           
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Louise Stutes, Chair                                                                                             
Representative Neal Foster                                                                                                      
Representative Bob Herron                                                                                                       
Representative Charisse Millett                                                                                                 
Representative Dan Ortiz                                                                                                        
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Craig Johnson                                                                                                    
Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins                                                                                          
OTHER LEGISLATORS PRESENT                                                                                                     
Representative Jim Colver                                                                                                       
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
PRESENTATION:  BOARD OF FISHERIES (BOF)                                                                                         
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
GLENN HAIGHT, Executive Director                                                                                                
Board of Fisheries (BOF)                                                                                                        
Boards Support Section                                                                                                          
Alaska Department of Fish & Game (ADF&G)                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided the presentation on the Board of                                                                
Fisheries (BOF).                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
10:06:11 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  LOUISE  STUTES  called  the  House  Special  Committee  on                                                             
Fisheries meeting to order at  10:06 a.m.  Representatives Ortiz,                                                               
Millett,  and  Stutes   were  present  at  the   call  to  order.                                                               
Representatives Herron and  Foster arrived as the  meeting was in                                                               
^PRESENTATION:  BOARD OF FISHERIES (BOF)                                                                                        
            PRESENTATION:  BOARD OF FISHERIES (BOF)                                                                         
10:06:33 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR STUTES announced  that the only order of  business would be                                                               
a presentation on the Board of Fisheries.                                                                                       
10:06:57 AM                                                                                                                   
GLENN  HAIGHT,  Executive  Director, Board  of  Fisheries  (BOF),                                                               
Boards  Support  Section,  Alaska   Department  of  Fish  &  Game                                                               
(ADF&G), directed  attention to  his presentation  outline, which                                                               
will cover  the purpose and  composition of the board,  the steps                                                               
in  the  board  process  and  legal and  policy  input  in  board                                                               
decisions [slide 2].                                                                                                            
MR. HAIGHT  described the board  structure which is  comprised of                                                               
three  separate  entities:  the  Board  of  Game,  the  Board  of                                                               
Fisheries,  and the  joint board  [slide 3].   He  said the  main                                                               
purpose  of the  Board  of Game  and Board  of  Fisheries is  the                                                               
conservation  and development  of game  and fisheries  resources,                                                               
with  conservation   defined  as  controlled  utilization   of  a                                                               
resource to prevent its exploitation, destruction, and neglect.                                                                 
MR. HAIGHT turned to a photograph  of last years' joint board and                                                               
indicated the  authority for the  joint boards is  established in                                                               
AS  16.05.221  [slide  4].    Development  has  been  defined  as                                                               
management  of a  resource to  make it  available for  use.   The                                                               
joint board's duties include defining  subsistence areas and non-                                                               
subsistence  areas,   and  developing  rules  for   the  advisory                                                               
committees, and for their own regulatory process [slides 5-6].                                                                  
10:10:27 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. HAIGHT said  the board is a seven-member  board, appointed by                                                               
the  governor and  confirmed by  the full  legislature.   Members                                                               
shall be appointed  on the basis of "interest  in public affairs,                                                               
good judgment, knowledge,  and ability in the field  of action of                                                               
the board,  and with  a view to  providing diversity  of interest                                                               
and  points of  view in  the membership."   In  addition, statute                                                               
indicates  that members  are to  be appointed  without regard  to                                                               
political affiliation  or geographic  location of residence.   He                                                               
listed  the  six  current  Board   of  Fisheries  members:    Tom                                                               
Kluberton,   Chair,    Talkeetna;   John    Jensen,   Vice-Chair,                                                               
Petersburg;  Orville  Huntington,  Huslia; Sue  Jeffrey,  Kodiak;                                                               
Reed Morisky, Fairbanks; and Fritz Johnson, Dillingham.                                                                         
10:11:09 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. HAIGHT briefly reviewed the  proposal process, noting that it                                                               
was publically driven [slide 8].   He said that board members are                                                               
public  members  and  distance themselves  from  the  department.                                                               
Further, most of the proposals  come from the public.  Typically,                                                               
an  agency   drives  the  regulation   process,  but   the  BOF's                                                               
regulation process comes from the  public.  The process includes:                                                               
call for proposals, distribution  of proposals, public review and                                                               
comment, board regulatory meeting, and implementation.                                                                          
10:12:22 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE MILLETT,  regarding the proposal  process, related                                                               
her understanding that a bill  before the legislature would allow                                                               
some proposals to be submitted the day of the board meeting.                                                                    
MR. HAIGHT  responded that under  HB 103, the Board  of Fisheries                                                               
can introduce new  proposals on the day of the  cycle, during the                                                               
cycle,  but if  the  proposal  is not  something  related to  the                                                               
subject of  the meeting and  it hasn't been properly  noticed, it                                                               
will go through a 30-day  noticing period.  For example, recently                                                               
a technical  change was  made regarding the  name of  the defunct                                                               
Kake  Hatchery  to  make  it  "hatchery  operated"  so  it  could                                                               
continue  to function.   The  BOF has  also undertaken  two other                                                               
proposals,  one with  respect to  slight  changes to  subsistence                                                               
management on the Kuskokwim River;  and the other sets escapement                                                               
goals for Bristol Bay.                                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT asked  for further  clarification on  how                                                               
this  would work  in conjunction  with  advisory committees,  who                                                               
have  expressed concern  for being  heard  appropriately.   These                                                               
advisory committees have been providing  negative feedback on how                                                               
the  board  has  been  operating,  in  particular,  in  terms  of                                                               
transparency.  For  example, concern has been  expressed that the                                                               
board meets  privately, develops  proposals, and  these proposals                                                               
are not  vetted through  the advisory committees.   She  said the                                                               
committees  have suggested  if the  process is  not healthy,  the                                                               
advisory committees could be eliminated.                                                                                        
MR.  HAIGHT acknowledged  that  advisory  committees, although  a                                                               
critical aspect  of the  process, do  tend to  become frustrated.                                                               
However, he  said he was not  aware of a lack  of transparency on                                                               
the part  of the  board, or any  closed door  meetings occurring.                                                               
In terms of the foregoing  proposals - the Kuskokwim proposal and                                                               
Bristol Bay  escapement goals  - these proposals  were part  of a                                                               
fairly public,  long-standing effort,  of which he  provided some                                                               
details.   He  reiterated  that the  advisory committees  provide                                                               
appropriate  proposals  and are  highly  regarded.   For  another                                                               
example, eight  advisory committees ranging from  Mat-Su to Homer                                                               
considered  Upper Cook  Inlet  issues, but  BOF  votes on  issues                                                               
these committees  were most interested  in were often  split 4-4.                                                               
Thus, one  committee may  feel the  board listened  while another                                                               
would feel the board did not listen.                                                                                            
10:17:40 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT recalled  that  three advisory  committee                                                               
members recently quit  after 20 years of involvement.   She asked                                                               
whether there  were any  exit interviews  held to  understand why                                                               
they took  such action.   In the  feedback she has  received they                                                               
were extremely disgruntled.                                                                                                     
MR.  HAIGHT responded  that information  has  been received  that                                                               
members had  resigned, and although  it was regrettable,  he said                                                               
he has not had conversations with the individuals.                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT requested  that follow-up  information be                                                               
10:19:53 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  ORTIZ  asked  for further  clarification  if  the                                                               
legislature were  to adopt HB  103, whether it would  prevent the                                                               
BOF  from  taking necessary  action  or  if  the board  could  be                                                               
hampered in some situations.                                                                                                    
MR. HAIGHT  answered yes; it would,  as there is a  need to bring                                                               
proposals forward on the day of  a meeting.  When controversy was                                                               
realized,  constraints were  put  on the  practice  by the  joint                                                               
board  who  created  criteria  that must  be  followed  to  bring                                                               
proposals forward.   There has  been some question as  to whether                                                               
it may impact the board's  ability to provide substitute language                                                               
for proposals,  which has  been a  standard practice.   Sometimes                                                               
proposals are  conceptual and  as the  idea gathers  support from                                                               
the public, the department, and the  board, the board will put it                                                               
into  regulatory  language.    Often the  board  brings  the  new                                                               
language forward,  even if the  proposal wasn't seen as  a board-                                                               
generated proposal, but has conceptually  been brought forth from                                                               
the public or another source.                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE ORTIZ said  the goals of the board  are to reflect                                                               
a  diverse group  of people  from  diverse interest  groups.   He                                                               
asked whether  it was a  fair assessment that the  diverse groups                                                               
are being heard through the board.                                                                                              
MR.  HAIGHT  answered  that  was  a  fair  assessment.    In  his                                                               
experience  board  members  work  hard  to  provide  balance  and                                                               
consensus.  He  suggested that it was important  to recognize and                                                               
understand whether the issue or  problem was about the process or                                                               
the  outcome  of a  debate  or  action.    There will  always  be                                                               
controversy and  question over the  board's outcome on  any issue                                                               
since  they relate  to allocation  and  allocation decisions  are                                                               
10:24:06 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR STUTES asked whether the BOF  has the ability to insert the                                                               
appropriate language,  whether the process changes  the intent or                                                               
MR.  HAIGHT  answered  no;  that  the board  works  hard  not  to                                                               
completely change  position on any  proposal.  He  suggested that                                                               
legal representatives from  the Department of Law  are present at                                                               
board  meetings to  ensure that  intent  of the  proposal is  not                                                               
altered.   In  addition, public  input is  received prior  to the                                                               
meeting and during  the meeting, which tends to  shape and impact                                                               
how the proposal will be changed.                                                                                               
10:25:20 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE MILLETT asked how many advisory committees exist.                                                                
MR. HAIGHT answered 84, but not all are active.                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT asked  for further  clarification on  the                                                               
member count for the advisory committees.                                                                                       
MR. HAIGHT answered approximately  900, which he characterized as                                                               
a massive voluntary effort.                                                                                                     
10:25:45 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE HERRON,  with respect  to board action,  said that                                                               
changes of intent  may not be a complete turnaround  but spin may                                                               
occur, which  is the concern.   He asked whether the  boards were                                                               
subject  to the  Open  Meetings  Act.   He  referred to  previous                                                               
testimony  in a  prior hearing  in  which three  BOF members  and                                                               
staff have reportedly met behind closed doors.                                                                                  
MR. HAIGHT  recalled that a meeting  was held by a  user group at                                                               
the department and  one Board of Game member  apparently met with                                                               
group.   He clarified that  up to  two board members  can legally                                                               
10:27:10 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. HAIGHT reviewed a proposal  form, [slide 9].  These proposals                                                               
are typically due  April 10 of each year to  the department, with                                                               
approximately  300-400 proposals  submitted.    He reported  that                                                               
this year the number was 278;  they can be a specific approach or                                                               
be fairly technical.                                                                                                            
10:28:26 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. HAIGHT directed  attention to a pie chart to  show the source                                                               
of 376 proposals received last year  [slide 10].  He reviewed the                                                               
composition,   with   many   proposals  from   individuals,   the                                                               
department,    businesses,     groups,    associations,    tribal                                                               
organizations.  Last year the BOF generated a single proposal.                                                                  
10:29:14 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. HAIGHT reported that the  BOF meets on a predetermined three-                                                               
year meeting cycle.  In  2014/2015 topics covered included Prince                                                               
William Sound  finfish, Southeast  and Yakutat  finfish/crab, and                                                               
statewide Dungeness  crab, and shellfish.   He reviewed  the next                                                               
three years agendas.                                                                                                            
10:30:03 AM                                                                                                                   
MR.   HAIGHT   relayed   a  typical   meeting,   which   includes                                                               
introductions,  ethic  disclosures  and   staff  reports  by  the                                                               
department,   followed   by    the   public   testimony   period.                                                               
Individuals are  given 3-5 minutes to  speak, advisory committees                                                               
and  regional advisory  councils are  given 10-15  minutes [slide                                                               
12].  Next, the board  committees consider specific subject areas                                                               
and proposals,  which may include stakeholder  participation.  He                                                               
characterized this as a great way  to delve into the issues.  The                                                               
board will meet  as a committee of the whole  (COTW) and consider                                                               
each   proposal,  deliberations   are  held,   and  miscellaneous                                                               
business wraps up the meeting.                                                                                                  
10:31:18 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. HAIGHT said the sources of  public input come from many areas                                                               
including:   general public  comment; industry  and associations;                                                               
local,  state,   federal  governments;  tribal   governments  and                                                               
village councils; legislators; fish  and game advisory committees                                                               
[slide 13].   The  BOF sets  its schedule  two years  in advance,                                                               
proposals are  bound and distributed  in August, with  a deadline                                                               
of two  weeks prior  to the meeting  for on-time  public comment.                                                               
Comments are  distributed to board  members; however,  the public                                                               
has been encouraged  to submit up to 10 pages  of written comment                                                               
until deliberations are complete.   Thus the board always accepts                                                               
more information on proposals.                                                                                                  
10:32:22 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. HAIGHT  indicated the  current local  fish and  game advisory                                                               
committees consist of 84 volunteer  groups from around the state.                                                               
The advisory committees  receive state support to  help serve the                                                               
board  and  attend  meetings.    These  advisory  committees  are                                                               
considered  integral  to  the  board  process  to  provide  local                                                               
knowledge.   The state  also funds  advisory committee  travel if                                                               
members wish to present to the full board.                                                                                      
10:33:54 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. HAIGHT briefly  reviewed agency input at  the meetings, which                                                               
includes  the  Alaska Department  of  Fish  & Game  (ADF&G),  the                                                               
Department of  Law, the  Department of  Public Safety  and Alaska                                                               
Wildlife  Troopers,  the  Commercial Fisheries  Entry  Commission                                                               
(CFEC), the  North Pacific Fisheries Management  Council (NPFMC),                                                               
and the US Office of Subsistence Management [slide 15].                                                                         
10:34:59 AM                                                                                                                   
MR.  HAIGHT explained  the legal  framework for  decisions [slide                                                               
16].    The   board  decisions  are  influenced   by  the  Alaska                                                               
Constitution,  international  treaties,   including  the  Pacific                                                               
Salmon Treaty and  the Yukon River Salmon  Treaty, court rulings,                                                               
statutes,  regulations,  and policies.  In  terms  of the  Alaska                                                               
Constitution, the  board looks to the  natural resources section,                                                               
Article  8,  Section  4,  which speaks  to  the  sustained  yield                                                               
principle  that  provides  the cornerstone  to  the  concepts  of                                                               
conservation  and  development.    Article 8,  Section  4  reads,                                                               
"Fish,  forests, wildlife,  grasslands, and  all other  replenish                                                               
able  resources  belonging  to   the  State  shall  be  utilized,                                                               
developed,  and  maintained on  the  sustained  yield  principle,                                                               
subject to preferences among beneficial uses" [slide 17].                                                                       
10:35:47 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. HAIGHT  said the BOF  was also  guided by Alaska  Statutes AS                                                               
16.05.050, 16.05.221 and 16.05.251,  relating to board authority,                                                               
and the powers and duties of  the commissioner.  In addition, the                                                               
Alaska Administrative Procedures Act,  the Open Meetings Act, and                                                               
the Executive Branch  Ethics Act provide further  guidance to the                                                               
board  [slide  18].    He emphasized  that  the  board  committee                                                               
meetings, including  the advisory committee meetings  must follow                                                               
the  Open Meetings  Act.   The  board members  must disclose  any                                                               
financial interest  they or their  close family members  have per                                                               
the Executive Branch Ethics Act, he said.                                                                                       
10:37:46 AM                                                                                                                   
MR.  HAIGHT  said  additionally, the  Allocation  Criteria  helps                                                               
board  members  focus   on  the  criteria  as   they  go  through                                                               
deliberations [slide 19].                                                                                                       
MR. HAIGHT  directed attention to subsistence  determinations and                                                               
reviewed  the steps  the board  takes when  reviewing subsistence                                                               
regulations,  including   whether  there   is  a   customary  and                                                               
traditional  use,  and if  so,  whether  there is  a  harvestable                                                               
surplus [slide 20].  If  there isn't, other consumptive uses will                                                               
not  be allowed.    If there  is, the  board  will consider  what                                                               
constitutes  reasonable opportunity  for  subsistence, which  has                                                               
the  first priority,  and  to the  extent  additional surplus  is                                                               
available it  would go to  other uses.   At that point  the board                                                               
will deliberate on allocation issues, he said.                                                                                  
10:39:22 AM                                                                                                                   
MR.  HAIGHT said  other regulations  and policies  that influence                                                               
the  board  include  the  sustainable  salmon  fisheries  policy,                                                               
escapement  goal  policy,  mixed   stock  salmon  fisheries,  and                                                               
emerging fisheries [slide 21].                                                                                                  
10:40:21 AM                                                                                                                   
MR.  HAIGHT turned  to the  procedures for  out-of-cycle actions,                                                               
which are  possible through  a BOF  agenda change  request [slide                                                               
22].   In  doing  so, the  board would  consider  the action  for                                                               
conservation  purposes,  whether  it  corrects  an  error,  if  a                                                               
regulation has  an unforeseen  effect, and  if it  constitutes an                                                               
allocative issue.  The BOF  typically will not take up allocative                                                               
issues  out  of  cycle.    The BOF  will  receive  agenda  change                                                               
requests in August, which is  vetted at the October work session.                                                               
The joint  board receives several  emergency petitions  each year                                                               
and considers whether an unforeseen  event threatens the resource                                                               
or  preclude  harvest.    The   BOF  has  the  ability  to  bring                                                               
subsistence proposals  in out of  cycle to examine fish  and game                                                               
populations not  previously considered, or  if there is  a change                                                               
in the federal fisheries management  plan for Bering Sea/Aleutian                                                               
Island King/Tanner crab fishery.                                                                                                
10:42:17 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. HAIGHT said  the last slide presents ideas for  people to get                                                               
involved.  He said that anyone  can submit a proposal.  The board                                                               
encourages  the  public  to attend  board  meetings  and  present                                                               
testimony [slide  23].  Further,  people can join the  board's e-                                                               
mail  list,  submit a  written  comment  on proposals,  submit  a                                                               
proposal, attend a  board meeting and present  testimony, join or                                                               
attend a local fish and  game advisory committee meeting, or join                                                               
an industry or stakeholder group.                                                                                               
10:43:04 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE ORTIZ asked  for a description of  how the ADF&G's                                                               
management staff interacts with the BOF.                                                                                        
MR. HAIGHT  answered that  the primary  interface with  the board                                                               
happens at the BOF meetings.   Outside of the board meetings, the                                                               
BOF Chair  may meet  with ADG&G  officials.   The BOF  Chair will                                                               
authorize  the release  of  proposals.   In  terms of  management                                                               
though,  the meetings  are intense  and a  substantial amount  of                                                               
interface  happens.   The Department  staff provides  comments to                                                               
the  advisory  committees  and  the board  to  assist  in  agenda                                                               
discussions,  and to  the  extent that  decisions  are made,  the                                                               
basis for  them needs to be  discussed and vetted during  the BOF                                                               
meetings.   As  the BOF  gets into  tricky issues,  board members                                                               
will work  with area managers, and  constituents discussing their                                                               
10:46:06 AM                                                                                                                   
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Special Committee on Fisheries meeting was adjourned at 10:46                                                                   

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
BOF Overview.pdf HFSH 3/10/2015 10:00:00 AM
Board of Fisheries