Legislature(2019 - 2020)GRUENBERG 120
03/05/2019 11:00 AM FISHERIES
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|Presentation(s): University of Alaska Fairbanks|
* first hearing in first committee of referral
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ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON FISHERIES March 5, 2019 11:05 a.m. DRAFT MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Louise Stutes, Chair Representative Bryce Edgmon Representative Chuck Kopp Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins Representative Geran Tarr Representative Sarah Vance MEMBERS ABSENT Representative Lance Pruitt COMMITTEE CALENDAR PRESENTATION(S): UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA FAIRBANKS - HEARD PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION No previous action to record WITNESS REGISTER S. BRADLEY MORAN, PhD, Dean College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences University of Alaska Fairbanks University of Alaska Fairbanks, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Co-provided a PowerPoint presentation entitled, "UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences: Building Alaska's Blue Economy," dated 3/4/19, and answered questions. MILO ADKISON, PhD, Chair Department of Fisheries Juneau Center College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences University of Alaska Fairbanks University of Alaska Juneau, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Co-provided a PowerPoint presentation entitled, "UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences: Building Alaska's Blue Economy," dated 3/4/19, and answered questions. ACTION NARRATIVE 11:05:30 AM CHAIR LOUISE STUTES called the House Special Committee on Fisheries meeting to order at 11:05 a.m. Representatives Edgmon, Kopp, Tarr, Vance, and Stutes were present at the call to order. Representative Kreiss-Tomkins arrived as the meeting was in progress. ^PRESENTATION(S): UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA FAIRBANKS PRESENTATION(S): UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA FAIRBANKS 11:07:22 AM CHAIR STUTES announced that the only order of business would be a presentation by the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks. 11:07:35 AM S. BRADLEY MORAN, PhD, Dean, College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), provided a PowerPoint presentation entitled, "UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences: Building Alaska's Blue Economy." Dr. Moran said the main message he seeks to convey is the value of the college and the return on investment (ROI) provided by the college to the state and its fisheries. In fact, the theme of the presentation, Building Alaska's Blue Economy, represents an opportunity to diversify the state's economy. The College of Fisheries and Ocean Science (CFOS) is the largest combined research and academic unit in Alaska with 12 locations and many partnerships statewide, nationally, and internationally. He pointed out in fiscal year 2018 (FY 18) $46 million in expenditures for the college were leveraged from $5.9 million in general funds, which equals an 8:1 ROI. Further, $22.8 million in research expenditures were almost entirely federally funded; also in FY 18, $11 million was budgeted for the operation of the research vessel (R/V) Sikuliaq (slide 2). Slide 3 listed research and economic drivers of the "blue economy" including the Alaska Sea Grant Program, a partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Department of Commerce, various institutes, and the R/V Sikuliaq, all of which enable CFOS to fulfil its mission to the state (slide 3). Slide 4 illustrated that CFOS partners with a large cooperative of industry - consisting of the Pollock Conservation Cooperative Research Center and four at-sea processors - which is the largest philanthropic donor to the University of Alaska (UA), contributing $16 million through 2019, and that also supports the Ted Stevens Distinguished Chair in Marine Policy, CFOS. Further partnerships that leverage federal funds are the Alaska Sea Grant partnership in the amount of $1.5 million annually and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Department of the Interior, funding to the Coastal Marine Institute in the amount of $1 million (slide 5). 11:12:02 AM DR. MORAN further explained building innovation and the commercialization of a blue economy is the applied side of CFOS's work: collaboration between CFOS and industry including the Blue Evolution company which processes kelp and the Blue Pipeline Incubator for ocean business and workforce development funded by industry; collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy; products such as pet treats (slide 6). Additional specific facilities, faculty, and active research in mariculture were listed on slide 7. Dr. Moran turned attention to the R/V Sikuliaq, the only ice-capable research vessel in the U.S. academic fleet. R/V Sikuliaq is owned by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and operated since 3/14 by CFOS with operating funds from NSF; CFOS renewed its $33 million cooperative agreement to continue vessel operations through 2023. Dr. Moran stressed the vessel is entirely operated by federal funds, including funding for certain shoreside staff, and is the largest research asset operated by UAF in the state. In 2023, the R/V Sikuliaq operating funds award will be open for competitive bidding and CFOS seeks to expand its shoreside facilities in Seward to demonstrate to NSF its commitment to the vessel. 11:17:28 AM CO-CHAIR STUTES inquired as to UAF's competitors in its bid to operate the R/V Sikuliaq. DR. MORAN explained there was no open competition for the current 2018-2023 award, however, in 2023, the award will be subject to an open competition. He surmised there will be interest in the vessel from many institutions such as the University of Washington, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the University of California at San Diego, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Currently, the R/V Sikuliaq is used by CFOS to support the Northern Gulf of Alaska Long-term Ecosystem Research (NGA LTER) program - one of four long-term research studies - which garners $2.5 million in research and ship time annually. Similar LTER programs are highly sought in order to understand the ecosystems that support commercial fisheries in the northern Gulf of Alaska (slide 9). Another aspect to building Alaska's blue economy is the European Union (EU) Arctic Research Icebreaker Consortium, which includes the R/V Sikuliaq, and that receives funding from EU for ship days at sea in support of joint research activities (slide 10). Dr. Moran provided statistics on Alaska's commercial, sport, and subsistence fisheries and noted CFOS graduate students work in industry and in [ADFG] in support of commercial and inland fisheries, and he gave two examples (slide 11). He pointed out 47 percent of the CFOS faculty are women, and 70 percent of the students are women. Finally, he informed the committee CFOS, through the School of Management, is offering a new online program, UAF Blue MBA, that is unique in the nation and is a fully accredited MBA program to address fisheries management, ocean technology, and business solutions for the changing Arctic (slide 12). 11:23:25 AM CO-CHAIR STUTES asked for additional information about the Alaska Sea Grant program. DR. MORAN explained the [National Sea Grant College Program Act] requires a 50 percent match of federal funds, thus NOAA's contribution of $1.5 million annually to UAF must be matched by a minimum of $800,000; in fact, UAF pays about $1.2 million in support of the program. REPRESENTATIVE VANCE questioned who would gain financially by operating the R/V Sikuliaq. DR. MORAN said CFOS receives about $12 million annually to operate the vessel and the indirect cost recovery (ICR) is almost $1 million to the college; in FY 18, CFOS has accumulated about $2.6 million in ICR which is used to pay for college operations. He observed any entity would want to operate the vessel because of the ICR benefits to the entity. Furthermore, operating big facilities such as the R/V Sikuliaq are highly desired to leverage state investment and support a larger mission. REPRESENTATIVE VANCE asked whether CFOS conducts research on fisheries that would indicate a 10-year ROI from Alaska's fisheries resources. For example, if the fisheries resources diminish, what the impact of that loss would be to the economy, subsistence, and personal use. 11:27:16 AM DR. MORAN advised CFOS is a resource for state agencies and for those who manage fisheries inland and offshore. For many years, faculty members have been instrumental in setting policy management by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council [established by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1967], and he opined the North Pacific fishery is managed as well or better than any in the world. He remarked: If that were all to go away, ... we would have serious challenges in managing those fisheries. ... We are a resource, for that, for that purpose. REPRESENTATIVE KOPP commended CFOS and the critical research it does to sustain Alaska's fisheries. He observed over the past five to six years UAF has developed an exemplary partnership with NSF which, along with the operation of the R/V Sikuliaq, are significant successes. 11:30:29 AM MILO ADKISON, PhD, Chair, Department of Fisheries, Juneau Center, CFOS, UAF, pointed out most of the research referred to in the presentation is done through graduate student theses and dissertations; subsequent to the completion of their research, many students go to work at ADFG and federal agencies. In response to Representative Vance's earlier question, he advised faculty are studying the economic implications of potential downturns in [fisheries] on subsistence issues and on rural communities. Slide 13 illustrated an example of industry-funded research in the Beaufort Sea on fish communities, bioenergetics, and growth, which is valuable to the oil and gas industry in support of impact analysis. Slide 14 illustrated an example of research in the problem of economic losses to longline commercial fisheries due to depredation by whales; graduate students are conducting research on stock assessment and on methods to deter this behavior. Slide 15 illustrated research into trends in the size of Pacific halibut and the effects of changes in fisheries yield that may be permanent or environmentally driven. Slide 16 illustrated analyses of the Tanner crab limit which suggested the existing limit may not be optimal for the fishery. Dr. Adkison noted analyses are reviewed by students and faculty; faculty also serve on numerous advisory committees where they also review and guide research. Slide 17 illustrated a study of the fate of hatchery salmon that are released and reside in near-shore waters. 11:35:00 AM DR. ADKISON continued to slide 18 on fishery management research into the decline of Chinook salmon returns. Although survival of salmon cohorts is usually determined early in life, research at sea revealed a sudden increase in temperature that may indicate predation of salmon by salmon shark. Another student study on the effects of hatchery fish on wild stocks found hatchery fish may not be as successful at reproducing than wild fish; in fact, about one-half of the hatchery fish died before releasing their eggs (slide 18). DR. MORAN closed, noting both UAA and UAS conduct fisheries research, such as research on shark cartilage with biomedical applications, and there are programs for fisheries economists and policymakers throughout the UA system (slide 19). REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON asked whether the aforementioned improvements to shoreside facilities for the R/V Sikuliaq would be funded through the state's capital budget. 11:39:47 AM DR. MORAN said CFOS would seek funding in the amount of $40 million from NSF for replacement of the pier and warehouse facilities. He pointed out $31 million has been allocated to Seward by the U.S. Department of Defense for shoreline support of a new icebreaker and four cutters, and suggested there may be [funding] sources from the "civilian side." He clarified that renewal of the operating agreement is not contingent upon improved shoreside facilities; the agreement is based upon the successful operation of the vessel. 11:42:26 AM ADJOURNMENT There being no further business before the committee, the House Special Committee on Fisheries meeting was adjourned at 11:42 a.m.