Legislature(2015 - 2016)CAPITOL 120

02/04/2016 10:00 AM FISHERIES

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Audio Topic
10:00:49 AM Start
10:01:07 AM Presentation: the Role of Seafood in the Southcentral Economy - Alaska Salmon Alliance
10:32:53 AM HJR28
11:06:06 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Presentation: TELECONFERENCED
"The Role of Seafood in the Southcentral
Economy" by Arni Thompson, Alaska Salmon Alliance
*+ HJR 28 OPPOSING GM SALMON TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHJR 28(FSH) Out of Committee
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON FISHERIES                                                                            
                        February 4, 2016                                                                                        
                           10:00 a.m.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Louise Stutes, Chair                                                                                             
Representative Bob Herron                                                                                                       
Representative Craig Johnson                                                                                                    
Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins                                                                                          
Representative Dan Ortiz                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Neal Foster                                                                                                      
Representative Charisse Millett                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
PRESENTATION:  THE ROLE OF  SEAFOOD IN THE SOUTHCENTRAL ECONOMY -                                                               
ALASKA SALMON ALLIANCE                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 28                                                                                                   
Opposing  the  United  States   Food  and  Drug  Administration's                                                               
approval  of   AquaBounty  AquAdvantage   genetically  engineered                                                               
salmon; urging  the United States  Congress to  enact legislation                                                               
that   requires  prominently   labeling  genetically   engineered                                                               
products with  the words "Genetically Modified"  on the product's                                                               
packaging;  and  encouraging  the  restoration  of  wild,  native                                                               
populations of  salmon in areas where  development has negatively                                                               
affected salmon.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHJR 28(FSH) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HJR 28                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: OPPOSING GM SALMON                                                                                                 
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) TARR                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
01/19/16       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/19/16       (H)       FSH, L&C                                                                                               
02/04/16       (H)       FSH AT 10:00 AM CAPITOL 120                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
ARNI THOMPSON, Representative                                                                                                   
Alaska Salmon Alliance (ASA)                                                                                                    
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided the  presentation titled, "The Role                                                             
of Seafood in the Southcentral  Economy," on behalf of the Alaska                                                               
Salmon Alliance.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GERAN TARR                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Introduced HJR 28, as prime sponsor.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
LOUIE FLORA, Representative                                                                                                     
Alaska Center for the Environment (ACE);                                                                                        
Alaska Conservation Voters (ACV)                                                                                                
Homer, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HJR 28.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
ARNI THOMPSON, Representative                                                                                                   
Alaska Salmon Alliance (ASA)                                                                                                    
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HJR 28.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MATT ALWARD, Representative                                                                                                     
United Fishermen of Alaska (UFA)                                                                                                
Homer, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HJR 28.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
10:00:49 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LOUISE  STUTES  called  the  House  Special  Committee  on                                                             
Fisheries meeting  to order at  10:00 a.m.  Representatives Ortiz                                                               
and Stutes  were present at  the call to order.   Representatives                                                               
Johnson, Kreiss-Tomkins,  and Herron  arrived as the  meeting was                                                               
in progress.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
^PRESENTATION:  The  Role of Seafood in  the Southcentral Economy                                                               
- Alaska Salmon Alliance                                                                                                        
 PRESENTATION:  The Role of Seafood in the Southcentral Economy -                                                           
                     Alaska Salmon Alliance                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
10:01:07 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STUTES announced that the  first order of business would be                                                               
a  presentation  on  the  role of  seafood  in  the  Southcentral                                                               
economy by the Alaska Salmon Alliance.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
10:01:55 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
ARNI  THOMPSON,  Representative,  Alaska Salmon  Alliance  (ASA),                                                               
began by presenting  a picture of a generational  set net family,                                                               
to illustrate a typical scene  among Alaska's fisheries.  He said                                                               
he has  been involved  in the  industry for 40  years and  gave a                                                               
brief  biography.    Alaska  Salmon   Alliance  is  dedicated  to                                                               
preserving  the  long-term  opportunities  for  all  user  groups                                                               
dependent  on the  salmon stocks  of Cook  Inlet in  Southcentral                                                               
Alaska.  The agency is  licensed as a 501(c)6 trade organization,                                                               
with a board comprised of four  processors and two fishermen.  To                                                               
a  question from  Chair Stutes,  he clarified  that the  board is                                                               
reforming  to include  a seventh  member,  due to  a new  company                                                               
joining the alliance.  He said  salmon have been exploited on the                                                               
Kenai Peninsula  since 1882, hosting  a sustainable  fishery that                                                               
is expected to  continue to produce into  the foreseeable future.                                                               
He projected  a chart, titled "Renewable,  Sustainable Resource,"                                                               
available in the  committee packet, to illustrate  the Cook Inlet                                                               
salmon harvest trend from 1895-2011.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
10:08:10 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ORTIZ  referred to the  chart and asked  about the                                                               
spikes  shown  in  the  mid  1980's  and  early  1990's  and  the                                                               
downswing that began in 2000.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  THOMPSON  conjectured  that  they  may  represent  anomalous                                                               
spikes,  pointing out  the average  trend,  and deferred  further                                                               
comment.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
10:09:27 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON said the McDowell  Group headed the project to study                                                               
the economic  impacts of  the harvest  at regional  and community                                                               
levels,  profiling  the  seafood   business  as  a  basic  sector                                                               
industry, and  examining the support sector  and businesses which                                                               
serve  and  supply the  industry.  Factoring  the support  sector                                                               
multiplies  the effect  of the  hundreds of  businesses operating                                                               
within the  regional economies.   When  the alliance  was formed,                                                               
2013, it was  determined that an economic analysis  was in order,                                                               
to quantify  the value  of the  fishing industry  in Southcentral                                                               
Alaska, and provide  a long overdue baseline study.   Providing a                                                               
baseline  is   important  for   justification  of   the  economic                                                               
contributions  being made  by the  industry, and  to substantiate                                                               
requests for state support when needed.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:12:28 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON  reported that  the McDowell  findings proved  to be                                                               
surprising  and  significant.   Pointing  out  that  the  seafood                                                               
processing labor is primarily filled  by out-of-state workers, he                                                               
reviewed the various sector labor  totals.  Considering the 8,130                                                               
total  number   of  jobs,  and  applying   the  McDowell  Group's                                                               
equation, the direct labor income  total shows $247 million.  The                                                               
total  represents  resident  income   within  the  region.    The                                                               
secondary  labor income  totaled $164  million, representing  the                                                               
indirect jobs.   The resulting  estimated labor income  total, in                                                               
2013, was $411 million.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:14:23 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ORTIZ  asked  what   percentage  of  the  overall                                                               
workforce in  the Southcentral area  is supported by  the seafood                                                               
industry.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON recalled the estimate to be about 3 percent.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
10:15:05 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON said seafood's regional  impact is realized via $1.2                                                               
billion  in economic  output, which  includes export  product and                                                               
economic  gain in  the support  sector of  the industry.   Twenty                                                               
communities within Southcentral  show an excess of  $1 million in                                                               
gross  fishing   earnings,  based   on  permit   holder  reports.                                                               
Approximately 25  billion pounds  of seafood  is exported  out of                                                               
the region  and provides each  household with a  backhaul savings                                                               
of $70;  the 165,000 Southcentral households  represent about $11                                                               
million  in  total  savings.   He  explained  that  when  freight                                                               
arrives  via air,  barge, or  land  carrier to  the region,  fish                                                               
products fill  the cargo  space on the  return versus  having the                                                               
container return empty; hence backhaul.   Industry related assets                                                               
held  in   Southcentral  total   $766  million,   which  include:                                                               
permits, boats, and processing plants.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
10:16:51 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  THOMPSON   provided  a  pie   chart  to  indicate   the  job                                                               
distribution   in    Southcentral,   pointing   out    that   the                                                               
Anchorage/Matanuska-Susitna  area hosts  the  highest number,  at                                                               
2,880.   He  followed with  a listing  of the  commercial fishing                                                               
earnings  by  community  for  2013,   followed  by  the  resident                                                               
commercial fishermen  employment and earnings for  the region, as                                                               
well.  The report concludes  that Anchorage and Matanuska-Susitna                                                               
areas  are: home  to  more commercial  fishermen  than any  other                                                               
Alaska community;  serves as the  hub for  transportation, goods,                                                               
research, finance, and  management; provides significant benefits                                                               
for the local visitor industry and  consumers; and is the base of                                                               
operations for community development quota (CDQ) groups.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
10:20:17 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  THOMPSON   elaborated  on  the   five  CDQ  groups   in  the                                                               
Anchorage/Matanuska-Susitna area, stating  that the organizations                                                               
have been allocated 10 percent  of all groundfish and crab quotas                                                               
for  the Bering  Sea.   The CDQ  holds nearly  $1 billion  in net                                                               
assets.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:21:05 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON listed statistics that  are key to the Anchorage and                                                               
Matanuska-Susitna  areas, including:   host  to 1,540  direct and                                                               
2,880  total industry  related  jobs;  2,223 resident  commercial                                                               
fishermen, including  crew members; 819 resident  held commercial                                                               
fishing permits; one  dozen processing/distribution companies and                                                               
facilities;  $228  million  in   valued  assets;  host  to  1,340                                                               
secondary  industry related  jobs; and  provides $149  million in                                                               
total labor income.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
10:22:05 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON  highlighted the life  of a commercial  fisherman in                                                               
Eagle  River  as  a  typical  participant  in  the  report.    He                                                               
paraphrased  from the  slide,  which  read [original  punctuation                                                               
provided]:                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Eagle River  resident Bruce Gabrys and  his family have                                                                    
     fished in  Cook Inlet for  more than 30 years.   Active                                                                    
     in both salmon driftnetting  and halibut longlining, he                                                                    
     works  as a  Certified  Public Accountant  in the  off-                                                                    
     season.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     In  a typical  year his  fishing operation  spends more                                                                    
     than  $120,000  on  expenses  in  Southcentral  Alaska.                                                                    
     Nearly  60 businesses  received payment  from Bruce  in                                                                    
     2013 for fuel,  groceries, hotels, supplies, equipment,                                                                    
     and other expenses.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
10:22:45 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  THOMPSON provided  information regarding  the areas  support                                                               
sector,  which  is  comprised  of  over  84  businesses.    These                                                               
companies  depend on  all Alaskan  resource industries  for their                                                               
success and  retention.  Included  in the list  are organizations                                                               
that   providing   transportation  and   logistical   assistance.                                                               
Support sector  businesses include  companies involved  in retail                                                               
trade, fuel  delivery, storage, rental services,  and banking, as                                                               
well  as manufacturing,  boat building,  and material  providers.                                                               
Additionally,  a myriad  of support  agencies  and companies  are                                                               
located   in   the  Anchorage/Matanuska-Susitna   area   directly                                                               
connected  to  the  fishing industry,  which  include:    fishery                                                               
management,  information  services,  research,  conservation  and                                                               
regulatory   agencies,  with   banking,   finance,  legal,   boat                                                               
brokerages and insurance companies.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON moved onto the  community profiles, and said each of                                                               
the six communities  are detailed in the report.   The Kenai area                                                               
key  figures,   include:     37,400  population;   1,030  seafood                                                               
dependent jobs;  3,310 total direct seafood  workers; 1,204 local                                                               
resident  commercial  fishermen;  910 processing  workers;  $10.3                                                               
million paid in wages; 946  commercial, resident fishing permits;                                                               
10  processing plants;  $90 million  in fishing  assets; and  $51                                                               
million in total  labor income.  He  reviewed similar information                                                               
for  Homer,  which indicate:    5,100  population; 1,670  seafood                                                               
dependent jobs;  ranked 2nd for  gross fishing income  by Alaskan                                                               
residents; 1,086  local resident  commercial fishermen;  603 home                                                               
ported  commercial  fishing  vessels;  5  processing  plants  and                                                               
buyers; $185 million in fishing  assets; and $84 million in total                                                               
labor income.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
10:26:09 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  THOMPSON  continued  with  the  Seward  profile,  reporting:                                                               
2,500 population; 390 seafood dependent  jobs; 148 local resident                                                               
commercial fishermen; 67 home  ported commercial fishing vessels;                                                               
6 processing plants and buyers;  $50.7 million in fishing assets;                                                               
and  $19.3 million  in total  labor income.   The  Valdez figures                                                               
include:    4,100 population;  340  seafood  dependent jobs;  102                                                               
local resident  commercial fishermen;  56 home  ported commercial                                                               
fishing vessels;  3 processing plants;  $19.6 million  in fishing                                                               
assets; and  $16.7 million  in total labor  income.   He finished                                                               
with  the Cordova  profile, reporting:   2,300  population; 1,470                                                               
seafood dependent jobs; 619  local resident commercial fishermen;                                                               
603 home ported commercial fishing  vessels; 6 processing plants;                                                               
$157 million  in fishing assets;  and $73 million in  total labor                                                               
income.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:27:40 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  THOMPSON summarized  the Southcentral  report, stating:  the                                                               
industry  directly   employs  7,600  residents;   provides  3,300                                                               
secondary job; appears  to have a bright future;  and can coexist                                                               
with,  and complement,  other regional  industries,  such as  the                                                               
Bristol  Bay fishery.    He  added that  the  Cook Inlet  sockeye                                                               
fishery  has a  high percentage  of Alaska  resident involvement,                                                               
providing  opportunities for  commercial, subsistence,  sport and                                                               
personal use harvest.   Sockeye out of Cook  Inlet are considered                                                               
a premium market fish.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
10:28:56 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HERRON returned to the  Seward slide, to ask about                                                               
the   potential  for   additional  port   and  repair   services,                                                               
particularly in light of the  activities involved in the emerging                                                               
Arctic.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON  responded that the emerging  Arctic activities have                                                               
not  been addressed  in  the  report.   However,  a major  marina                                                               
expansion  has been  underway, which  will allow  several hundred                                                               
more moorages  for sport and  commercial fishermen.  Seward  is a                                                               
particularly popular sport fishing  base, and few conflicts exist                                                               
between  the  commercial  and  sport  fleet,  providing  a  good,                                                               
working model of cooperation.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HERRON  inquired what effects the  home porting of                                                               
a CDQ  fleet, currently  based in Seattle,  would have  on Alaska                                                               
and specifically Seward; does the report cover this scenario.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON responded  no, the report does not  include that CDQ                                                               
scenario.   Neither are  CDQ fleets home  porting in  Seward, but                                                               
the ship yard has not yet been fully developed.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HERRON  commented that  there appears to  be major                                                               
potential and benefit for further development along those lines.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR.  THOMPSON  said  once  expansion  is  finished  more  of  the                                                               
commercial fleet  will be present,  and a large  processing plant                                                               
is also being completed.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
The committee took a brief at-ease at 10:32 a.m.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
                   HJR 28-OPPOSING GM SALMON                                                                                
                                                                                                                              
10:32:53 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STUTES announced that the  final order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE JOINT  RESOLUTION NO. 28,  Opposing the United  States Food                                                               
and  Drug Administration's  approval  of AquaBounty  AquAdvantage                                                               
genetically engineered salmon; urging  the United States Congress                                                               
to   enact  legislation   that   requires  prominently   labeling                                                               
genetically  engineered  products  with  the  words  "Genetically                                                               
Modified"  on  the  product's   packaging;  and  encouraging  the                                                               
restoration of wild, native populations  of salmon in areas where                                                               
development has negatively affected salmon.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
10:34:43 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GERAN TARR,  Alaska  State  Legislature, said  an                                                               
effort was mounted,  in 2013, to oppose  the federal government's                                                               
approval  of  genetically modified  (GM)  salmon.   However,  the                                                               
Federal  Drug   Administration  (FDA)  ruling,   dated  11/19/15,                                                               
announcing  its  decision for  approval  of  GM salmon  products,                                                               
created  the impetus  for  introducing HJR  28.   The  monumental                                                               
decision marks the  first time a genetically  modified animal has                                                               
received  FDA  approval  for  human consumption.    The  fish  is                                                               
modified  by  utilizing  combined   genetics  from  the  Atlantic                                                               
Chinook salmon  and the ocean pout.   The chinook lends  size and                                                               
type, while  the pout  provides a  continuous growth  hormone for                                                               
rapid maturity.   She provided  a series of slides  to illustrate                                                               
the  physical  differences between  the  GM  Atlantic salmon  and                                                               
other farmed salmon.   The sole motivation for  GM enhancement is                                                               
economic  gain for  those  involved, she  opined,  which casts  a                                                               
shadow  of extreme  contrast on  Alaska's  focus for  sustainable                                                               
wild  salmon harvests.    She paraphrased  a  statement from  the                                                               
AquaBounty   website,   which    states   [original   punctuation                                                               
provided]:                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     The AquaBounty founding idea - modern genetics + land-                                                                     
     based aquaculture.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     In 1993, AquaBounty's  CEO had the idea  of pairing the                                                                    
     two revolutionary technologies.   The innovative faster                                                                    
     growing  AquAdvantage   Salmon,  which   would  shorten                                                                    
     production cycles  by half and drastically  reduce feed                                                                    
     costs,  could  finally  make  land-based  fish  farming                                                                    
     economically viable.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR   said  Alaska  is  a   leader  in  resource                                                               
management  and  represents  a  model  for  healthy,  sustainable                                                               
fisheries.   Concerns continue  to exist  about GM  salmon, which                                                               
include: threats  to wild  salmon, risks to  human health,  and a                                                               
risk to  Alaska's economy.   She pointed  out that these  are the                                                               
same concerns  that initially arose,  when the  discussion began,                                                               
and which the  FDA has still not addressed.   Despite safeguards,                                                               
she  said  escapement   does  occur  from  holding   pens.    The                                                               
escapement  factor  was   a  noted  concern  by   both  the  U.S.                                                               
Department  of  Fish  and  Wildlife   Service  (USFWS),  and  the                                                               
National  Oceanic and  Atmospheric Administration  (NOAA), during                                                               
risk assessment studies.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
10:39:18 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TARR explained that  the genetically modified eggs                                                               
would be  produced in a  facility on Prince Edward  Island (PEI),                                                               
shipped to Panama  for rearing, harvested, and  imported for sale                                                               
in the United States; fully  involving three countries.  In 2013,                                                               
her visit to Prince Edward  Island, provided a firsthand look at,                                                               
and understanding of, the project.   The PEI facility is close to                                                               
a large bay,  Bay Fortune, which provides a direct  outlet to the                                                               
Atlantic Ocean.  She reported  meeting with the Premier of Prince                                                               
Edward Island, as  well as speaking with residents,  many of whom                                                               
objected to the  facilities GM project.  The  primary industry on                                                               
PEI is tourism,  which is being supplanted  by its identification                                                               
with the "frankenfish"  facility, a direct result  of the budding                                                               
industry.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
10:40:49 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR said  GM salmon  pose additional  threats to                                                               
wild salmon,  which include: spread  of disease, similar  to what                                                               
occurs with  hatchery fish;  food chain  competition, due  to the                                                               
aggressive  behavior  of  the  GM  salmon;  and  cross  breeding.                                                               
Multiple  scientific journals  and papers,  have been  published,                                                               
regarding the ability to cross  breed, she reported, and provided                                                               
headline  illustrations for  a number  of  articles regarding  GM                                                               
salmon hybridizing  with trout.   Further, the  studies confirmed                                                               
that  the  GM fish  could  out-compete  both  the trout  and  the                                                               
Atlantic salmon  for food,  also a major  concern.   Expanding on                                                               
the  risk to  human health,  she  said the  approval was  handled                                                               
under FDA veterinary rules and  standards, bringing into question                                                               
the  appropriateness of  the ruling.    The AquaAdvantage  salmon                                                               
represent a trademarked product and,  as such, AquaBounty is able                                                               
to  restrict,  and  is   legally  protected  against,  unfettered                                                               
research conducted  by outside agencies.   Although  motivated by                                                               
economic gain, the company can  be selective in choosing to share                                                               
its information.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:42:49 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TARR  recalled the  depressive effect  on Alaska's                                                               
economy when farmed  salmon were introduced on  the world market.                                                               
Due  to major  efforts,  undertaken by  Alaska Seafood  Marketing                                                               
Institute  (ASMI),  the  Wild  Alaska   Salmon  brand  is  widely                                                               
recognized  as an  industry standard.   However,  there could  be                                                               
confusion  among  consumers,  if  GM salmon  products  enter  the                                                               
market without appropriate labeling.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
10:43:33 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR   said  Alaska's   congressional  delegation                                                               
supports pushback  on the  GM salmon ruling.   She  reported that                                                               
U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski has  been holding up the confirmation                                                               
of an FDA official in an  effort to leverage control for labeling                                                               
requirements  and  marketing  standards on  GM  salmon  products.                                                               
Additionally,  another 40  members  of congress  also oppose  the                                                               
FDA's  actions.    Over  2  million  public  comments  have  been                                                               
submitted to  the FDA and  65 retailers have stated  their intent                                                               
to refuse to shelve the product  when it becomes available in the                                                               
market place.   Furthermore, international opposition  is strong.                                                               
The  local  PEI protest  efforts  have  resulted in  restrictions                                                               
being placed on egg production  and isolating the activity to one                                                               
facility.  Finally  she said that the AquaBounty  efforts are not                                                               
isolated  to  salmon.   Information  regarding  its  interest  in                                                               
applying GM  technology to other seafood/shellfish  products, and                                                               
establishing facilities  in other locales, has  been outlined and                                                               
available  on its  website; some  information  has recently  been                                                               
removed.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
10:46:53 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON moved  to  adopt  the proposed  committee                                                               
substitute (CS) for HJR 28, Version 29-LS1213\W, Nauman, 2/3/16.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STUTES objected for discussion.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
10:47:26 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS stated  support  for  HJR 28,  and                                                               
lauded the well drafted resolution.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
10:47:41 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HERRON  noted the sponsor's comment  regarding the                                                               
blocked  congressional  confirmation  of  the  FDA  official  who                                                               
authorized  the  GM   salmon.    He  asked   about  amending  the                                                               
resolution to  including another whereas to  support U.S. Senator                                                               
Lisa Murkowski's efforts to holdup the confirmation.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
10:49:32 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR said  an amendment  would  be welcomed,  and                                                               
forwarded  her understanding  that the  senator would  appreciate                                                               
the support.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
10:49:46 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  opined that innovation for  profit is not                                                               
inherently a  bad motivator; however,  in this  specific instance                                                               
it creates an  issue regarding the profitability  of Alaskans. He                                                               
asked whether  state statutes exist that  apply to identification                                                               
of genetically modified fish.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR  said  that Alaska's  labeling  statute  was                                                               
passed in  2006; however, it's now  out of step with  the federal                                                               
requirements and  it remains unclear  whether state law  could be                                                               
enforced given the federal overrides in place.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  inquired about  modification requirements                                                               
for state law.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR  stated   her  understanding  and  assurance                                                               
received from  legislative legal  services that  the laws  can be                                                               
synchronized.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
10:52:00 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  STUTES removed  her  objection.   There  being no  further                                                               
objection, Version W was before the committee.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STUTES opened public testimony.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
10:52:25 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
LOUIE FLORA, Alaska  Center for the Environment  (ACE) and Alaska                                                               
Conservation  Voters  (ACV),  testified  in support  of  HJR  28,                                                               
speaking as follows:                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     I'm  working  here  in Juneau  ...  speaking  today  on                                                                    
     behalf of  Alaska Center for the  Environment (ACE) and                                                                    
     Alaska Conservation Voters ACV),  and also on behalf of                                                                    
     myself  as  a  Bristol  Bay drift  fisherman.    Alaska                                                                    
     Center for the Environment  and Conservation Voters are                                                                    
     working to  protect Alaska wild salmon  and Alaska wild                                                                    
     salmon  habitat.   And they  work to  promote positive,                                                                    
     clean  energy, [and]  job  creating,  solutions to  the                                                                    
     climate change issue.   And they also  are supporting a                                                                    
     reinvigoration of  local and  public comment  in Alaska                                                                    
     on resource permitting issues.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Alaska  Center for  the  Environment  supports HJR  28.                                                                    
     Their concerns with  GMO [genetically modified organism                                                                    
     (GMO)]  salmon are  justifiably  based  on the  unknown                                                                    
     risks  to our  wild ocean  stocks.   The impact  of GMO                                                                    
     cross   pollination,   unintentional    or   not,   and                                                                    
     [weakening]  of wild  genetics  is  well documented  in                                                                    
     American agriculture.  Alaska  wild salmon is unique as                                                                    
     a  thriving and  genetically varied  population.   Wild                                                                    
     stock, genetic  variance, and diversity  is one  of the                                                                    
     hallmarks  of  the  survival of  the  different  salmon                                                                    
     species.   The potential  that genetic  diversity could                                                                    
     be compromised by  the introduction of GMO  fish is not                                                                    
     some farfetched notion.  If  this GMO fish takes off in                                                                    
     the market, anything is possible.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     That was my testimony on  behalf of [ACE], but I wanted                                                                    
     to speak  directly as a  gillnet fishermen who  has ...                                                                    
     seen  what the  market  changes have  been since  1983.                                                                    
     And  my fear  with genetically  modified salmon  on the                                                                    
     market  is that  there  would be  a  problem of  market                                                                    
     perception, which  could drive the  price down.   And a                                                                    
     problem  of market  saturation  of  new species,  which                                                                    
     could  drive the  price down.   We  saw the  problem of                                                                    
     market  perception  in   1989-90,  following  the  [oil                                                                    
     tanker] Exxon Valdez spill.   ...  Fishermen have a lot                                                                    
     of opinions  on why markets  are changing, so  this may                                                                    
     be apocryphal.  ...  One  of the opinions out there was                                                                    
     that the market perception  that all Alaska salmon were                                                                    
     tainted, had the ability to  leverage a decrease in our                                                                    
     Bristol Bay price ..., which  was at $2.35 per pound at                                                                    
     that point;  [the price]  has fallen  ever since.   ...                                                                    
     That a  genetically modified  salmon could  ... instill                                                                    
     fear in the  global salmon markets, I think  could be a                                                                    
     real  potential   and  ...  have  long   term  economic                                                                    
     implications for all of Alaska.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     As far  as market  saturation:  We  got $.50  per pound                                                                    
     this  year for  our price.   ...   One  of the  [price]                                                                    
     factors  is the  increased  resurgence  of the  Chilean                                                                    
     farmed, and other farmed, salmon  populations.  I think                                                                    
     that  there's  a  potential that  if  this  genetically                                                                    
     modified salmon can be produced  cheaply, can flood the                                                                    
     market ...  that in combination with  the global farmed                                                                    
     salmon  populations could  have  a further  compounding                                                                    
     effect  on  our  price.    ...    For  the  reasons  of                                                                    
     perception   and   market   saturation,  as   a   drift                                                                    
     fisherman,  I   would  really,  really   encourage  our                                                                    
     congressional delegation,  and congress as a  whole, to                                                                    
     enact   whatever   labeling,    and   whatever   market                                                                    
     mechanisms they  can apply,  to differentiate  wild ...                                                                    
     Alaska salmon from the rest  of the world markets.  ...                                                                    
     I  know  a   lot  of  good  work  has   gone  into  the                                                                    
     differentiating   process   by   the   Alaska   Seafood                                                                    
     Marketing Institute (ASMI), and  other marketers, but I                                                                    
     think  labeling on  a national  scale is  paramount for                                                                    
     the health of our fisheries.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
10:57:38 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
ARNI  THOMPSON,  Representative,  Alaska Salmon  Alliance  (ASA),                                                               
stated support for HJR  28 and said ASA adds its  name to all who                                                               
support  HJR 28  and who  oppose the  development of  genetically                                                               
modified  salmon  products.     Additionally,  ASA  supports  the                                                               
congressional mandates for labeling  of genetically modified food                                                               
products, including salmon.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
10:59:10 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MATT ALWARD,  Representative, United  Fishermen of  Alaska (UFA),                                                               
testified in  support of  HJR 28 citing  the UFA's  long standing                                                               
position to  oppose genetically modified salmon  production.  The                                                               
organization   also  supports   the  requirement   to  have   any                                                               
genetically  modified  seafood  to  be clearly  labeled  for  the                                                               
market place.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  STUTES  closed public  testimony  after  ascertain no  one                                                               
further wished to testify.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
11:00:15 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 11:00 a.m. to 11:02 a.m.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
11:02:37 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HERRON moved  to  adopt  Conceptual Amendment  1,                                                               
provided  to the  committee in  handwritten form,  which read  as                                                               
follows:                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Page 3, Line 5, Insert:                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     FURTHER  RESOLVED  that  the Alaska  State  Legislature                                                                    
     fully  supports our  Congressional delegation  in their                                                                    
     efforts to hold up the  confirmation of a new [Food and                                                                    
     Drug  Administration  (FDA)]   Commissioner  until  the                                                                    
     agency  agrees  to  require labeling  for  [genetically                                                                    
     engineered] salmon.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STUTES objected for discussion.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
11:02:58 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS stated  support for  the amendment                                                               
and  said  a  thorough  understanding  of  how  the  confirmation                                                               
process is  handled by congress  would be good knowledge  to have                                                               
when making this type of request.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HERRON  acknowledged  the  member's  concern  and                                                               
commented that  the action of  approving the GE salmon  carries a                                                               
huge potential for harming Alaska.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
11:04:56 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STUTES removed  her objection.  With  no further objection,                                                               
Conceptual Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
11:05:21 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS moved  to report  the proposed  CS                                                               
for  HJR 28,  Version  29-LS1213\W, Nauman,  2/3/16, as  amended,                                                               
from   committee   with   individual  recommendations   and   the                                                               
accompanying fiscal notes.  Without  objection, CSHJR 28(FSH) was                                                               
reported from the House Special Committee on Fisheries.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
11:06:06 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Special Committee on Fisheries meeting was adjourned at 11:06                                                                   
a.m.                                                                                                                            

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Seafood in Southcentral - McDowell Study, Arni Thompson.pdf HFSH 2/4/2016 10:00:00 AM
Arni Thompson Alaska Salmon Alliance
HJR 28 Sponsor Statement.pdf HFSH 2/4/2016 10:00:00 AM
HJR 28
HJR 28 Explanation of Changes between Version W and Version A.pdf HFSH 2/4/2016 10:00:00 AM
HJR 28
HJR 28 Version W (CS).pdf HFSH 2/4/2016 10:00:00 AM
HJR 28
HJR 28 Version A.PDF HFSH 2/4/2016 10:00:00 AM
HJR 28
HJR 28 Support Alaska Dispatch News Article.pdf HFSH 2/4/2016 10:00:00 AM
HJR 28
HJR 28 Support Reps. Young and Defazio.pdf HFSH 2/4/2016 10:00:00 AM
HJR 28
HJR 28 Support NY Times Article.pdf HFSH 2/4/2016 10:00:00 AM
HJR 28
HJR 28 Support Sen. Murkowski.pdf HFSH 2/4/2016 10:00:00 AM
HJR 28
HJR 28 Support Tarr Frankenfish.pdf HFSH 2/4/2016 10:00:00 AM
HJR 28
HJR 28 Support PVOA.pdf HFSH 2/4/2016 10:00:00 AM
HJR 28
HJR 28 Support USAG.pdf HFSH 2/4/2016 10:00:00 AM
HJR 28
HJR 28 Support UFA.pdf HFSH 2/4/2016 10:00:00 AM
HJR 28
HJR 28 Oppose ITIF.pdf HFSH 2/4/2016 10:00:00 AM
HJR 28
HJR 28 Oppose AquaBounty Testimony.pdf HFSH 2/4/2016 10:00:00 AM
HJR 28
HJR 28-Fiscal Note LAA.pdf HFSH 2/4/2016 10:00:00 AM
HJR 28 Fiscal Note
HJR 28 Support Weathers.pdf HFSH 2/4/2016 10:00:00 AM
HJR 28
HJR 28 Support SAFA.pdf HFSH 2/4/2016 10:00:00 AM