Legislature(2019 - 2020)GRUENBERG 120
03/14/2019 11:00 AM FISHERIES
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|Presentation: Salmon Hatcheries, the Alaska Hatchery Research Program, and Being a Wise Consumer of Science.|
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON FISHERIES March 14, 2019 11:09 a.m. DRAFT MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Louise Stutes, Chair Representative Bryce Edgmon Representative Chuck Kopp Representative Geran Tarr Representative Sarah Vance Representative Mark Neuman MEMBERS ABSENT Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins COMMITTEE CALENDAR PRESENTATION: SALMON HATCHERIES, THE ALASKA HATCHERY RESEARCH PROGRAM, AND BEING A WISE CONSUMER OF SCIENCE. - HEARD PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION No previous action to record WITNESS REGISTER SAM RABUNG, Director Division of Commercial Fisheries Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) Juneau, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Provided testimony on fish hatcheries. BILL TEMPLIN, Chief Salmon Fisheries Scientist Division of Commercial Fisheries Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) Anchorage, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Provided testimony on fish hatcheries. ACTION NARRATIVE 11:09:09 AM CHAIR LOUISE STUTES called the House Special Committee on Fisheries meeting to order at 11:09 a.m. Representatives Kopp, Edgmon, Tarr, Vance, Neuman, and Stutes were present at the call to order. 11:10:20 AM ^PRESENTATION: SALMON HATCHERIES, THE ALASKA HATCHERY RESEARCH PROGRAM, AND BEING A WISE CONSUMER OF SCIENCE. CHAIR LOUISE STUTES announced that the only order of business would be a presentation on Salmon Hatcheries, The Alaska Hatchery Research Program, and Being a Wise Consumer of Science. 11:11:40 AM SAM RABUNG, Director, Division of Commercial Fisheries, Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG), started his presentation by asking, Why do we have a fisheries enhancement program in the state of Alaska?" He shared that the state assumed control of fisheries management in 1960 and instituted a new system of in- season escapement management. Between 1972 and 1975 Alaska experienced the lowest number of commercially harvested salmon of the century. In response to the dwindling number of salmon, Alaska's fisheries managers allowed for adequate escapement of spawning salmon and formed a new division called Fisheries Rehabilitation Enhancement and Development (FRED) Divison. The FRED Division was tasked with developing the knowledge, infrastructure, and support systems necessary for rehabilitation and enhancement of salmon fisheries. In 1973 the Limited Entry Act was enacted to allow for the efficient development of aquaculture" in Alaska. In 1976 the Magnuson-Stevens Act restricted foreign fishing to outside of the 200-mile limit, which Mr. Rabung said "no doubt contributed" to improving our fisheries. MR. RABUNG presented information referencing [the Private Nonprofit (PNP) Hatchery Act], passed by the Alaska State Legislature in 1974. He showed a slide that indicated the intent of the Act was to authorize the private ownership of salmon hatcheries by qualified nonprofit corporations for the purpose of contributing, by artificial means, to the rehabilitation of the state's depleted and depressed salmon fishery. Mr. Rabung said it is surprising to some people that the [private nonprofit hatchery] program is not about fish, but rather its about fisheries. He went on to say the hatchery program is stakeholder driven and the users of the resource determine what fishery enhancement is desired while the department determines the appropriate actions needed to accomplish the task. Mr. Rabung shared that the mechanism for this cooperative effort is the Regional Aquaculture Association (RAA) working with ADFG within the Regional Planning Team (RPT) process to develop the regional salmon plan. The RPT advises the ADFG commissioner on salmon fisheries enhancement planning and permitting within their regions. The primary function of the RPT is to create regional comprehensive salmon plans. MR. RABUNG presented a slide which showed salmon production in the North Pacific by all nations. North Pacific hatchery salmon release numbers were shown to have increased from less than half a billion in 1952 to over five billion in 2017. He presented information that showed the Alaska hatcheries are primarily located in Southeast Alaska and the Cook Inlet/Prince William Sound area. Another graph showed the Alaska hatchery salmon release numbers from 1973 to 2018 that indicated the number of hatchery salmon released grew from zero in 1973 to over 1.8 billion in 2018. Mr. Rabung's final slide stated, "Alaska's contemporary salmon fishery enhancement program has operated since the mid-1970s, and through 2018 has provided over 1.8 billion salmon to the fisheries of the State, resulting in substantial economic value without any obvious negative effects on natural salmon production." 11:21:51 AM CHAIR STUTES thanked Mr. Rabung for his presentation. 11:22:55 AM BILL TEMPLIN, Chief Salmon Fisheries Scientist, Division of Commercial Fisheries, Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG), started his presentation, titled Enhancement Related Research, by talking about the sustained yield principle which was intended to provide continued production from the state's natural resources. He went on to discuss the ADFG mission statement and how it aligns with the constitutional mandate of the sustainable yield principle. He read a quote from R.A. Cooley, which stated, "It must be recognized that the welfare of people and not fish is the reason for a management program, and that if maximum sustained yield has any validity, it is as a means to important human ends rather than as an end itself." MR. TEMPLIN presented a United Nations definition for sustainable development which read, "Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." He explained how "fishery" could be substituted for "development" in that definition which would then become a definition for sustainable fisheries. MR. TEMPLIN went on to explore part of the policy for management of sustainable salmon fisheries. He explained that the policy was written to recognize there are uncertainties in managing salmon fisheries. He opined that in the face of uncertainties the State of Alaska needed to manage its fisheries conservatively. Mr. Templin then asked, "What does that mean?" before he shared information regarding the precautionary principle and the precautionary approach. He told the committee how the precautionary principle's rules or standards get applied: "When human activities may lead to morally unacceptable harm that is scientifically plausible but uncertain, actions shall be taken to avoid or diminish that harm." Mr. Templin explained that if the precautionary principle was the rule, or standard, then the precautionary approach was the method that should be applied. He stated the precautionary approach is: "A set of agreed upon cost-effective measures and actions, including future courses of action, which ensures prudent foresight, reduces or avoids risk to the resources, the environment, and the people to the extent possible, taking explicitly into account existing uncertainties and potential consequences of being wrong." He added that the precautionary approach involves the application of prudent foresight that considers the uncertainties in salmon fisheries and habitat management, as well as the biological, social, cultural, and economic risks, and the need to take action with incomplete knowledge. 11:29:47 AM MR. TEMPLIN asked, "Why are we doing this?" then answered that the presentation so far had been a long preamble to discuss why hatchery fish stray and why Alaskan's care. He stated Alaska has taken on hatchery management as a means to economically benefit the state but there is also the requirement to sustain natural production of salmon. MR. TEMPLIN started a slide by saying, "Let's talk about straying." He explained in specific salmon, straying and homing are part of the salmon's natural lifecycle. He then shared that homing salmon are better fit to their specific environment but there are also benefits to straying, such as access to new habitat. Mr. Templin shared that sockeye salmon have strong homing needs. They spend long periods of their lives in freshwater which leads to higher variability and stability in habitat. He described how sockeye in freshwater lake systems tend to have variable year life cycles, which means they could be anywhere between two and five years old before they return. Mr. Templin gave several examples of how different pink salmon's homing behavior is from that of sockeye. Pink salmon spend almost no time in freshwater and tend to prefer low gradient and rocky streams. He said pink salmon head out of freshwater almost immediately upon emerging from the gravel and tend to have two-year life cycles. They stray more from stream to stream than sockeye do. MR. TEMPLIN explained that stray rates mean different things to different people and depend on a person's perspective to define what kind of stray rate he/she might be discussing. He said that "stray-in" rate is the portion of fish that spawn but did not come from the location where they spawned while the "stray- out" rate are the portion of fish that do not return to the stream of their birth. He mentioned that the rest of the presentation would pertain to the stray-in rate to a given stream or lake, because what people are concerned about is hatchery fish in wild spawning streams. MR. TEMPLIN said he would not go over the ADFG, Special Publication No. 18-12, but it was a review of Alaska's precautionary approach. He said there are structures in place that recognize the risks that exist [when hatchery fish spawn in wild stock streams] and try to control those risks for the benefit of Alaskans. He went on to discuss management, fish health, and genetics as the relevant policy elements of ADFG, Special Publication No. 18-12. 11:38:09 AM MR. TEMPLIN stated there needs to be assessment of hatchery and wild salmon stock interaction and impacts. He referenced two ongoing studies, one in Lower Cook Inlet and another study looking at Prince William Sound and Southeast Alaska's pink and chum salmon. Mr. Templin said the Lower Cook Inlet pink salmon project was designed to gather baseline data of harvest and escapement in Lower Cook Inlet as two recently reopened hatcheries began releasing marked fry. The studies objectives were to estimate hatchery wild composition of commercial harvest to evaluate any benefits, as well as to monitor escapement to pink salmon streams. Mr. Templin pointed out that pink salmon index streams still meet their escapement goals as often as they normally would. He shared the final conclusion of the study, which was that interpretation of the study's data is limited since there were so few years sampled. 11:45:40 AM MR. TEMPLIN introduced the Alaska Hatchery Research Program (AHRP), a collaborative research program between ADFG and private nonprofit hatchery operators, processors, and other entities. The AHRP was designed to come up with some information that would help interpret observations of hatchery stray fish in wild streams and establish what could or should be done. Private nonprofit hatchery operators proposed that ADFG organize a science panel of experts to design and implement a long-term research project to inform future resource management decisions that would be funded by the state, operators, and industry. The science panel would be tasked with examining the extent of potential impacts of hatchery fish straying into wild stocks. The focus would be on pink and chum salmon in Prince William Sound and chum salmon in Southeast Alaska. The panel would be made up of thirteen members from ADFG, National Marine Fisheries Service, University of Alaska and aquaculture associations. It would be tasked with answering: What is the genetic stock structure of pink and chum in Prince William Sound and Southeast Alaska, what is the extent and annual variability of straying, and what is the impact on fitness of natural pink and chum stocks? MR. TEMPLIN discussed the extent and amount of straying of pink salmon in Prince William Sound. Straying averaged between 4.4 percent to 14.8 percent during the study period while chum salmon strayed between 2.8 percent and 3.2 percent. In Southeast Alaska chum salmon strayed between 5.4 percent to 9.2 percent during the same time period. Mr. Templin explained that by using information gathered, estimated harvest rates of hatchery salmon and natural run salmon could be determined. MR. TEMPLIN discussed the impact on the fitness of natural stocks while explaining how the study would take offspring and trace them back to their parents. He said tracing genetic salmon generations in the wild has never been done. The process would be to collect parents then return to the stream to collect the child fish as it returns two years later. Through genetic testing the study would match offspring back to the parent fish. Using the ear bone, the study could determine whether the fish was natural or hatchery stock. Using gathered information, the study would show the relative productivity of hatchery fish versus a wild fish in a wild stream. MR. TEMPLIN explained the results from the first generation of the study. It showed that in the limited returns of the study, a hatchery fish was about half as productive as a wild fish. Mr. Templin made it clear that the results are only one data point in many. The preliminary results of the study showed that hatchery-origin fish spawned and produced adult offspring; they spawned with both wild and other hatchery-origin fish. Hatchery-origin fish produced fewer adult offspring and there are potentially important differences in the relative returns between spawning male and female hatchery-origin fish. Mr. Templin stated there would be questions that would not be addressed by the AHRP, such as what the competition and predation effects of hatchery fish are. 12:02:23 PM MR. TEMPLIN said, "It is important for of us to be wise consumers of science." He shared the principles of the scientific method: Make Observation, Think of Interesting Questions, Formulate Hypotheses, Develop Testable Predictions, Gather Data to Test Predictions, Refine Hypothesis, and Develop General Theories. He shared there are ramifications of incomplete scientific processes that are not always negative but can put the burden on the reader to understand limitations of the science and don't move science forward. As an example, he shared a paper describing pink salmon effects on orcas in Puget Sound that indicated the orca population was declining due to fluctuations in the pink salmon population. Mr. Templin explained that the paper was flawed because the hypotheses were not falsifiable, so the scientific method was not followed. Even though there was one line in the paper explaining the need for further data, most people would only see the title, which was sensationalistic. Mr. Templin summarized that scientists need to communicate clearly and effectively and readers need to evaluate the strength of the evidence presented to them. 12:10:42 PM CHAIR STUTES said the information in the presentations would serve as the foundation for coming meetings. She went on to advocate for more data regarding straying of salmon to help understand the affects on salmon populations. 12:12:22 PM ADJOURNMENT There being no further business before the committee, the House Special Committee on Fishers meeting was adjourned at 12:12 p.m.
|(H)FSH Hatchery Statutes & Regs Overview 3.14.19.pdf||
HFSH 3/14/2019 11:00:00 AM
|(H)FSH Overview of Hatchery Related Research 3.14.19.pdf||
HFSH 3/14/2019 11:00:00 AM