Legislature(2017 - 2018)GRUENBERG 120
02/01/2018 11:00 AM FISHERIES
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|Presentation by John Jensen, Chairman, Board of Fisheries|
* first hearing in first committee of referral
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ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON FISHERIES February 1, 2018 11:07 a.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Louise Stutes, Chair Representative David Eastman Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins Representative Mike Chenault MEMBERS ABSENT Representative Geran Tarr Representative Mark Neuman Representative Zach Fansler COMMITTEE CALENDAR PRESENTATION: BOARD OF FISHERIES PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION No previous action to record WITNESS REGISTER JOHN JENSEN, Chairman Alaska Board of Fisheries (BOF) Alaska Department of Fish & Game (ADF&G) Petersburg, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Provided a presentation on the Board of Fisheries' (BOF) role and process. ACTION NARRATIVE 11:07:45 AM CHAIR LOUISE STUTES called the House Special Committee on Fisheries meeting to order at 11:07 a.m. Representatives Eastman and Stutes were present at the call to order. Representatives Chenault and Kreiss-Tomkins arrived as the meeting was in progress. ^Presentation by John Jensen, Chairman, Board of Fisheries Presentation by John Jensen, Chairman, Board of Fisheries 11:08:47 AM CHAIR STUTES announced that the only order of business would be a Presentation by John Jensen, Chairman of the Alaska Board of Fisheries (BOF), on the board's role and its general process. 11:09:20 AM JOHN JENSEN, Chairman, Alaska Board of Fisheries, Alaska Department of Fish & Game, turned to slide 2, titled "Presentation Outline" which read as follows [original punctuation provided]: Function and composition of Board ?Steps in board process ?Input on board decisions ?Public ?Agency ?Legal and policy factors ?Statutes and regulations ?Policies and findings ?Getting involved 11:10:03 AM REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN asked about the Board of Fisheries' (BOF) workload. Based on Mr. Jensen's experience, he asked if he thought the board's workload has recently increased or has stayed the same. MR JENSEN answered that the workload has "pretty much" stayed the same during the 15 years he has served on the board. He explained that the BOF considers a different area of the state every three years with the Upper Cook Inlet area meeting taking 12 to 14 days to complete. The board recently met in Sitka to consider Southeast Alaska shellfish and finfish and that meeting also took 14 days to complete, he said. He concluded that board meetings seem to be holding steady. 11:11:11 AM REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN commented that a meeting ranging from 7 to 14 days can be fatiguing for anyone. He asked if the BOF has discussed the possibility of regional boards to reduce the workload. MR. JENSEN answered that he has not heard much about that idea. He recalled that it was previously discussed. He thought perhaps Governor Hammond had suggested regional boards to assist the board, but the idea never went anywhere. 11:11:58 AM REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN asked about the idea of having the BOF operate on a five-year cycle as opposed to the current three- year cycle. MR JENSEN said he has heard a lot about that idea; however, he thought it would cause more emergency petitions and agenda change requests. 11:12:38 AM REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN asked which of the following two options would be better: changing to a 5-year cycle or establishing regional boards. MR. JENSEN answered that he does not like either of the two options. He said he thinks that the regional board concept is a good one to consider; however, he would have to know more about it before he could form an opinion. 11:13:17 AM MR. JENSEN reviewed slide 3, titled "Main function of the Board: Allocation" which read as follows [original punctuation provided]: The third element of Alaska's fisheries management model is the Alaska Board of Fisheries?The Board members?appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the legislature, represent a broad array of fishing groups and other interests. By taking on the task of resolving fishery disputes, the Board takes the politically-charged issue of allocation away from the fishery managers and politicians.?.The separation of allocation and conservation decisions is critical for achieving sustainable fisheries in the state and elsewhere ? MR. JENSEN said the Alaska Department of Fish & Game (ADF&G) does not want to allocate fish in its fisheries' management role. Further, the [state's] founding fathers decided to remove it from the legislature's authority, he stated. REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN said he was curious about the meaning of the board's determination that "a stock has been fully allocated." MR. JENSEN answered that when "a stock is fully allocated" it means that all the user groups, including commercial, subsistence, personal use, and sport fishery groups are catching the amount available to catch. 11:14:30 AM REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN related his understanding that "fully allocated" would mean all the fish have been broken down to various user groups. MR. JENSEN answered yes; that was an appropriate way to put it. He acknowledged that salmon runs fluctuate, with big years and small years. He said that if the available surplus is harvested it means it has been fully utilized. 11:15:14 AM MR. JENSEN reviewed slide 4, titled "Board Composition" which read, in part, as follows: The Board of Fisheries composed of seven members appointed by the Governor, subject to confirmation by a majority of the members of the legislature in joint session. The Governor shall appoint each member 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. The appointed members shall be residents of the state and shall be appointed without regard to political affiliation or geographical location of residence. MR. JENSEN referred to the graphics on the slide and stated that the governor appoints board members by April 1, the legislature confirms members after conducting joint session hearings, with the BOF comprised of seven members who serve staggered 3-year terms starting July 1. 11:15:50 AM MR. JENSEN reviewed slide 5, titled "Major Steps in Proposal Process" which read as follows [original punctuation provided]: 1. Call for Proposals 2. Distribution of Proposals 3. Public Review and Comment 4. Board Regulatory Meeting 5. Implementation MR. JENSEN explained that individuals must submit proposals by April 10 or the closest weekday to that date. The proposals are then compiled, booklets are distributed, and the board's support staff oversees the public review and comment period. The board typically holds three to four meetings per year. It takes up to 90 days to implement any regulations [adopted by the board], he said. 11:16:42 AM CHAIR STUTES asked whether proposals are accepted at the meeting or must they be made in advance. MR. JENSEN answered that the proposals must be submitted by April 10, in advance of the October board meeting, which is considered a "work session." The board meets officially in December. He recalled that this year the board took up Prince William Sound proposals in Valdez. He described an "agenda change request (ACR)" as another way to submit proposals for board consideration. The ACRs must be submitted by August and each is reviewed during the board's October work session to determine whether the proposal meets the board's criteria and if so, the board subsequently schedules the proposal in the meeting cycle for that year. CHAIR STUTES asked how far in advance the board's agenda is posted. MR. JENSEN answered that typically the board plans its venues and schedules two years in advance. 11:18:21 AM REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN asked for further clarification as to the reason why a proposal would be due by April but not be considered until the October meeting. MR. JENSEN answered that this allows time for the board's support staff to compile and organize the proposals for the following year; and to allow the public an opportunity to submit comments. 11:19:03 AM REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN asked for the number of ACRs and if they are typically frequent or rare. MR. JENSEN recalled that this year the board considered 15 ACRs during its October work session meeting and this year perhaps six emergency petitions were acted on. 11:19:40 AM MR. JENSEN reviewed slide 6, titled "Board of Fisheries 3-Year Meeting Cycle" which read as follows [original punctuation provided]: Meeting Cycle: 2017/2018, 2020/2021, etc. Area (Species): Southeast/Yakutat Areas (All Finfish, Shellfish) Prince William Sound Area (All Finfish) Dungeness Crab, Shrimp, and Miscellaneous Shellfish (Statewide) Meeting Cycle: 2018/2019, 2021/2022, etc. Area (Species): Alaska Peninsula/Aleutian Island/Chignik/Bering Sea Areas (All Finfish) Arctic/Yukon/Kuskokwim Areas (All Finfish) Bristol Bay Area (All Finfish) Statewide Provisions (Finfish) Meeting Cycle: 2019/2020, 2022/2023, etc. Area (Species): Cook Inlet Area (All Finfish) Kodiak Areas (All Finfish) King and Tanner Crab (Statewide) Board of Fisheries 3-Year Meeting Cycle MR. JENSEN commented that the board holds its statewide meeting in Anchorage in mid-March. 11:20:14 AM MR. JENSEN reviewed the "proposal form" on slide 7. He explained that the submitter must identify the regulation he/she would like changed, the user type, the area, the issue the submitter would like addressed, the reason why, and any recommended solution. He explained that the form can be submitted by individuals or groups. 11:20:50 AM CHAIR STUTES asked whether the form is available online. MR. JENSEN answered yes. 11:20:54 AM MR. JENSEN discussed slide 8, titled "Source of Proposal for the 2017/2018 Meeting Cycle" which consisted of a pie-chart graph depicting the percentage of proposals submitted by group for the 2017/2018 meeting. He reported the number of proposals submitted to the board, including fishery groups and associations, 47; federal regional advisory councils, 2; tribal governments or organizations, 9; and BOF, 5. The BOF proposals refer to the ACRs considered during the board's work session that resulted in proposals. He continued identifying the numbers of proposals submitted, including the ADF&G, 37; individuals, 112; and local fish and game advisory committees, 20. 11:21:34 AM MR. JENSEN referred to slide 9, titled "Board Regulatory Meeting" which read as follows [original punctuation provided]: Typical agenda for board meetings ?Introductions ?Ethics disclosures ?ADF&G staff reports ?Oral public testimony (up to two days) ?Committee of the Whole or committees ?Deliberation on proposals ?Miscellaneous Business 11:21:48 AM CHAIR STUTES referred to the previous slide . She asked for an example of an "individual proposal." MR. JENSEN recalled an individual proposal considered at the Sitka hearing, that a woman requested that the board put annual limits on non-residents for black cod in Southeast Alaska. The board deliberated and adopted the proposal, which will limit non-residents to eight black cod annually, he said. CHAIR STUTES remarked that the board clearly has a public process and the public can make a difference. MR. JENSEN answered yes. He remarked that he likes to allow everyone an opportunity to speak twice and encourages user groups to work out solutions. He recalled a meeting in which the board had anticipated it would be "really in a battle over the user groups" of seine, troll and gillnet fisheries. By the time the board got to deliberations, the groups had already met, resolved issues, dropped some proposals, and had agreed on the approach to take for the next three years. He remarked that since he lives in that area, he cannot participate in the deliberations on any proposals from Sitka. 11:23:36 AM CHAIR STUTES asked whether board members find conflict of interest issues difficult. She related her understanding of why the member declaring a conflict of interest cannot vote; however, she wondered if excluding board members during discussions was counterproductive. MR. JENSEN agreed, noting that his expertise is the reason he serves on the board. He suggested that Chair Stutes was the sponsor of a bill that would allow board members who declared a conflict to deliberate and not vote, which would be beneficial to the board [if the passed]. He said he was excluded from participating in 53 of 145 proposals before the board this year since either he or his family members participate in fisheries affected by the proposals. MR. JENSEN continued to the discuss slide 9 and directed the committee's attention to the fifth bullet "Committee of the Whole process or committees." He stated that the committee of the whole process was new during his time on the board and that it is working well. He continued that the committee of whole process allowed everyone to speak again, but that it is limited to new information and intended for the resolution of complex issues. He recalled at the last meeting eight groups of proposals were discussed and deliberated. The last item would be to discuss miscellaneous business, which could be carried over to the next meeting, if necessary. 11:26:07 AM MR. JENSEN referred to slide 10, titled "Proposal Outcomes," and to a chart titled "Board of Fisheries Proposal Outcome 2016/2017 Meeting Cycle." This chart shows the outcome of proposals, including that approximately 36.2 percent passed, 27 percent had no action since similar proposals were acted on, and some were amended, [or failed]. MR. JENSEN referred to slide 11, titled "Sources of Public Input" which read as follows [original punctuation provided]: ?General public ?Local governments ?Tribal groups, village councils ?Fishery groups and associations ?Industry groups ?Local fish and game advisory committees (84 statewide) MR. JENSEN said he advises everyone who testifies that their testimony provides the most valuable input for the board. He characterized public participation as being paramount for good outcomes. 11:27:33 AM MR. JENSEN referred to slide 12, titled "Local Fish and Game Advisory Committees," and to the table listing local fish and game advisory committees (advisory committees) by community. He reported that the 84 advisory committees stretch throughout the state, including  committees in the Arctic region, and  in the Interior region. He commented that he considers the advisory committees as very valuable resources. 11:27:52 AM MR. JENSEN referred to slide 13, titled, "Sources of Agency Input" which read as follows [original punctuation provided]: Alaska Dept. of Fish & Game Commercial Fisheries Division Sport Fish Division Subsistence Division Dept. of Law Dept. Public Safety/Division of Alaska Wildlife Troopers Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission North Pacific Fishery Management Council (federal) Office of Subsistence Management (federal) MR. JENSEN remarked that the board also manages a crab fishery in the Bering Sea for the federal government. 11:28:30 AM MR. JENSEN referred to slide 14, titled, "Legal and Policy Considerations (for Board decisions)" which listed the authorities for board decisions, including the Alaska Constitution, international treaties, court rulings, board regulations and policies, and Alaska statutes. 11:28:49 AM MR. JENSEN referred to slide 15, titled "Alaska Constitution" which read as follows [original punctuation provided]: Fish, forests, wildlife, grasslands, and all other replenishable resources belonging to the State shall be utilized, developed, and maintained on the sustained yield principle, subject to preferences among beneficial uses (Article 8, Section 4) 11:29:01 AM MR. JENSEN reviewed slides 16-17, titled "Alaska Statutes" and "Alaska Statutes (cont.)" which read as follows [original punctuation provided]: ?Board of Fisheries Authority (AS 16.05.221; AS 16.05.251) "Conservation and Development" ?Powers and Duties of the Commissioner (AS 16.05.050 ?Alaska Administrative Procedures Act (AS 44.62) Open Meetings Act (AS 44.62.310) ?Executive Branch Ethics Act (AS 39.52) Alaska Statutes (cont.) ?Allocation Criteria (AS 16.05.251(e) and #91-129-FB), including - ?history of each fishery ?number of participants ?importance for personal and family consumption ?availability of alternative resources ?importance in local, regional, and state economy ?importance for providing recreational opportunity ?Management of Wild and Enhanced Stocks (AS 16.05.730) ?State Subsistence Law (AS 16.05.258) MR. JENSEN pointed out that the board frequently uses the allocation criteria in AS 16.05.251(e) for guidance. 11:29:53 AM MR. JENSEN directed attention to the flowchart on slide 18, titled "Determining Subsistence Uses," which describes the decision process for determining subsistence uses. He said that the board uses the flowchart to ensure that the subsistence laws are applied appropriately. MR. JENSEN reviewed the first item, which read, "Is the fish stock or game population in a Nonsubsistence Area?" If the answer is no, it leads to the next block, which read "Is there a Customary and Traditional use?" He said there is almost always customary and traditional use. If yes, it leads to the next block that read, "Is there a harvestable surplus?" He explained that the board considers the health of the stock and determines whether a harvestable surplus is available. The next step is "What is the amount reasonably necessary for subsistence uses?" The board makes that finding with the assistance of the [Division] of Subsistence, noting that the board uses a range instead of setting a specific amount. He added that subsistence users were usually within the established range. He read the next three flowchart boxes, "Harvestable surplus allows for all or some uses;" "Harvestable surplus allows for only subsistence uses;" and "Harvestable surplus not sufficient to allow for all subsistence uses." He directed attention to the third one, "Harvestable surplus not sufficient to allow for all subsistence uses," which means that the board must [adopt] a Tier II use. He recalled that since he has served on the board this has happened once, in Nome. 11:31:34 AM REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN referred to the last slide, [slide 17] and asked what it takes to reallocate a harvest to personal use. MR. JENSEN said that happens whenever the board makes a regulation or when ADF&G opens or closes a fishery by emergency order (EO). He explained that generally individuals who are eligible for a sport fishing license are also eligible for personal use and subsistence in Alaska. He did not recall specifically taking that action, to reallocate a harvest to personal use. 11:32:45 AM REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN asked what the biggest "roadblock" would be if the board were to go through the process to reallocate a harvest to personal use; for example, would the department recommend not doing it or would it be more likely that the board would decide not to do so. MR. JENSEN answered that the department would probably weigh in on it, although, typically the department has "no opinion" on allocation issues; thus, the board would decide. He explained that it essentially means taking the resource from one user group and giving it to another user group, which is the reason the board developed the eight allocation criteria. 11:33:49 AM CHAIR STUTES asked for a definition of subsistence use and how it differs from personal use. MR. JENSEN answered that he did not think it was defined in Alaska unless the board has decided on a Tier II subsistence allocation. He explained that residents are treated the same unless they live in a non-subsistence area like Juneau. In those instances, residents must go outside their area to participate in subsistence fishing. CHAIR STUTES further asked whether those residents are eligible for personal use fishing. MR. JENSEN answered yes. In further response, he agreed that it depends on the location; for example, Juneau, Ketchikan, and Cook Inlet are non-subsistence areas. Residents in those areas can still engage in personal use fishing; however, he was not clear on the specifics. 11:34:50 AM CHAIR STUTES asked for a comparison between fish limits for personal use as compared to subsistence limits. MR. JENSEN answered that subsistence fishing requires a permit; for example, if individuals want to subsistence fish on the Kenai River, they would apply for a subsistence or personal use permit, that the limit by permit is 50 salmon per household. In further response, he offered his belief that the permit would fall under personal use. 11:35:38 AM REPRESENTATIVE CHENAULT offered clarification on personal use fisheries for the Kenai and Kasilof rivers. Currently in Kenai, a household is allowed 25 salmon for personal use. He further stated that the head of household is allowed a limit of 25 [sockeye] salmon and each additional family member is allowed a limit of 10 [sockeye] salmon. Further, this year participants can keep a king salmon. In years in which the king salmon run is weak, [personal use permit holders] are not allowed to keep king salmon and must release any they catch. In addition, the personal use permit allows a certain number other species of fish, such as flounder. 11:36:41 AM CHAIR STUTES recalled that a bill was introduced for legislative consideration that would have prioritized personal use fisheries over any other fisheries, including subsistence. She wondered if that would have been based on the individual's geographic location. MR. JENSEN responded that it could be so. He recalled that Southeast Alaska has limits for black cod for personal use fishing, including limits for gear and for family members participating in the fishery. In fact, in Petersburg, in Southeast Alaska, families can participate in a personal use gillnet fishery for [sockeye] salmon with a limit of 30 fish. The participants fill out permit cards to inform the department how many fish they caught in the personal use fishery, he said. 11:37:52 AM REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN asked how much information the board has when it determines the harvest allocation. For example, many people in the Matanuska-Susitna area (Mat-Su) who cannot participate locally in personal use fisheries drive to other areas in Alaska to fish, he said. MR. JENSEN answered yes; the board tries to take into consideration participants from areas not eligible for personal use fishing who will travel to fish in other personal use fisheries. He pointed out that the board recently increased the gillnet sockeye allocation [for personal use] on the Taku River. 11:40:00 AM REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN asked whether the board has specific data on Mat-Su residents who travel elsewhere to participate in personal use fisheries. MR. JENSEN responded that the board obtains its data from the department. Further, the board listens to the advisory committees and takes into consideration information from other sources. 11:40:51 AM REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN asked how specific the data would be, for example, how many people from the Mat-Su fish in a different area. MR. JENSEN responded that information is available; however, it is likely data from the prior two years. The information would include the area the permittee fished in and the number of fish taken. He commented that members of the advisory committees also participate in the fisheries. 11:41:52 AM REPRESENTATIVE CHENAULT asked whether there was a specific figure of salmon allotted for personal use on the Kenai or Kasilof fisheries. He said he had not specifically heard that a figure is set aside for personal use, such as designating 600 [sockeye] salmon for personal use fishing on the Kenai River. MR. JENSEN answered that the personal use fisheries are based on the amount of time allotted for the opening. He acknowledged that it is sometimes very difficult to tell when the fish will be available [in the river]. REPRESENTATIVE CHENAULT remarked that he wished the board would pass something because people get upset. He [joked] that he wished the board could teach the fish to show up late on Friday and stay through Sunday afternoon. That way, everyone would be happy, he said. 11:43:26 AM MR. JENSEN referred to slide 19, titled "Board Regulations and Policies" which read as follows [original punctuation provided]: Sustainable Salmon Fisheries Policy (5 AAC 39.222) Escapement Goal Policy (5 AAC 39.223) Mixed Stock Salmon Fisheries (5 AAC 39.220 and #93- 145-FB) Emerging Fisheries (5 AAC 39.210) MR. JENSEN commented that the sustainable salmon fisheries policy under 5 AAC 39.222 is lengthy. Although the board has considered various proposals, it has been difficult to change the policy. He pointed out that the mixed stock salmon fisheries policy basically sets the policy to determine "whose fish are whose" and the timing of the fisheries. It is difficult to manage fisheries to ensure adequate escapement and still provide an opportunity for all the user groups to catch fish. Turning to the bullet point on emerging fisheries, he said that a fishery for market-type squid in Southeast Alaska has been developing but it has not yet evolved. Some issues have arisen, for example, how a winter net [seining] fishery for squid might also catch king salmon and affect the king salmon stocks, he said. 11:45:51 AM MR. JENSEN reviewed slide 20, titled "Procedures for out-of- cycle actions" which read as follows [original punctuation provided]: Board of Fisheries Agenda Change Request Policy (5 AAC 39.999) Allows for out of cycle action for: 1. Conservation purpose 2. Correct errors 3. Unforeseen effect 4. Not mostly allocative (form available) And for coordination with federal agencies, programs, and laws Joint Board Emergency Petition Policy(5 AAC 96.625(f)) Allows for out of cycle action for: 1. Unforeseen event that threatens resource 2. Unforeseen situation that would preclude biologically allowable resource harvest Subsistence Proposal Policy(5 AAC 96.615(a)) Allows for out of cycle action: 1. For fish and game populations not previously considered 2. If expedited review required Category 2 measures in BS/AI King/Tanner crab fishery(5 AAC 39.998) Allows for out of cycle action: 1. For achieving consistency with federal Fishery Management Plan 11:46:51 AM MR. JENSEN referred to slide 21, titled "Getting Involved" which read as follows [original punctuation provided]: 1) Get on Boards mailing list http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=fisheriesboa rd.main 2) Submit written comments on proposals 3) Submit own proposal 4) Attend Board meetings and present testimony 5) Join or attend local fish and game advisory committee 6) Join an industry or stakeholder group MR. JENSEN urged people to participate and said one way is to sign up to be on the board's mailing list. People can submit comments to the board, and comments submitted 15 days prior to the meeting are considered on-time comments; comments submitted during the meeting are considered record comments (RC). He remarked that the board set a record by having over 400 comments submitted at its Southeast Alaska meeting. 11:47:59 AM MR. JENSEN referred to slide 22, titled "Things to Remember" which read as follows [original punctuation provided]: Be respectful of the people and process Facts to support opinions and new information Be objective Avoid adversarial debate MR. JENSEN referred to slide 23, titled "Summary" which read as follows [original punctuation provided]: Structured process Credibility critical High level of public participation MR. JENSEN offered that public participation was the key element of the board process. 11:48:23 AM CHAIR STUTES remarked that she admires board members because this is a voluntary board. She asked how many days per year Mr. Jensen spends on board matters. MR. JENSEN answered he spends 365 days per year on board matters. CHAIR STUTES acknowledged the significant amount of time members must dedicate to the board. She expressed her gratitude to board members for their service. 11:49:10 AM REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS asked to echo that comment. He thanked Mr. Jensen for his service as board chair. CHAIR STUTES thanked Mr. Jensen for his presentation. MR. JENSEN offered to assist the committee in the event a matter arises. 11:50:15 AM ADJOURNMENT There being no further business before the committee, the House Special Committee on Fisheries meeting was adjourned at 11:50 a.m.
|Board of Fisheries Presentation by John Jensen.pdf||
HFSH 2/1/2018 11:00:00 AM
Board of Fisheries