Legislature(2019 - 2020)GRUENBERG 120

04/23/2019 10:00 AM FISHERIES

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ HB 116 AQUATIC FARM/HATCHERY SITE LEASES TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Testimony <Invited & Public> --
*+ HR 8 2019: INT'L YEAR OF THE SALMON TELECONFERENCED
Moved HR 8 Out of Committee
-- Testimony <Invited & Public> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON FISHERIES                                                                            
                         April 23, 2019                                                                                         
                           10:03 a.m.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
                             DRAFT                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Louise Stutes, Chair                                                                                             
Representative Bryce Edgmon                                                                                                     
Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins                                                                                          
Representative Geran Tarr                                                                                                       
Representative Sarah Vance                                                                                                      
Representative Mark Neuman                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Chuck Kopp                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 116                                                                                       
"An Act relating to the renewal or extension of site leases for                                                                 
aquatic farming and aquatic plant and shellfish hatchery                                                                        
operations."                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE RESOLUTION NO. 8                                                                                                          
Recognizing 2019 as the International Year of the Salmon and                                                                    
supporting an associated global initiative identifying the                                                                      
importance of wild salmon.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED HR 8 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 116                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: AQUATIC FARM/HATCHERY SITE LEASES                                                                                  
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) STORY                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
03/27/19       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/27/19       (H)       FSH, RES                                                                                               
04/12/19       (H)       SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE INTRODUCED                                                                          
04/12/19       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/12/19       (H)       FSH, RES                                                                                               
04/16/19       (H)       FSH AT 10:00 AM GRUENBERG 120                                                                          
04/16/19       (H)       -- MEETING CANCELED --                                                                                 
04/23/19       (H)       FSH AT 10:00 AM GRUENBERG 120                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HR   8                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: 2019: INT'L YEAR OF THE SALMON                                                                                     
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) TARR                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
04/10/19       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/10/19       (H)       FSH, RES                                                                                               
04/16/19       (H)       FSH AT 10:00 AM GRUENBERG 120                                                                          
04/16/19       (H)       -- MEETING CANCELED --                                                                                 
04/23/19       (H)       FSH AT 10:00 AM GRUENBERG 120                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ANDI STORY                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Introduced SSHB 116 as sponsor of the bill.                                                              
                                                                                                                                
GREG SMITH, Staff                                                                                                               
Representative Andi Story                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  On behalf of Representative Story, sponsor,                                                              
provided information and answered questions on SSHB 116.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
JULIE DECKER, Chair                                                                                                             
Alaska Mariculture Task Force                                                                                                   
Executive Director, Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation                                                                     
Wrangell, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions related to SSHB 116 and                                                               
provided invited testimony in support of SSHB 116.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
META MESDAG, Owner                                                                                                              
Salty Lady Seafood Company                                                                                                      
Board Member, Alaska Shellfish Growers Association                                                                              
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided invited testimony in support of                                                                 
SSHB 116.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MARGO REVEIL, President                                                                                                         
Alaska Shellfish Growers Association                                                                                            
Homer, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SSHB 116.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
TAMSEN PEEPLES, Alaska Mariculture Manager                                                                                      
Blue Evolution                                                                                                                  
Kodiak, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SSHB 116.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
NANCY HILLSTRAND                                                                                                                
Pioneer Alaskan Fisheries                                                                                                       
Homer, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified regarding SSHB 116 and urged that                                                              
a definition of "small" aquatic farm be included.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHRISTIANNA COLLES, Leasing Unit Manager                                                                                        
Southcentral Regional Land Office                                                                                               
Division of Mining, Land and Water                                                                                              
Department of Natural Resources (DNR)                                                                                           
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions related to SSHB 116.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MARKOS SCHEER, CEO                                                                                                              
Premium Aquatics, LLC                                                                                                           
Craig, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SSHB 116.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
THATCHER BROUWER, Staff                                                                                                         
Representative Geran Tarr                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Introduced HR 8 on behalf of Representative                                                              
Tarr, sponsor.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
TYSON FICK                                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Gave invited testimony in support of HR 8.                                                               
                                                                                                                                
ERIN HARRINGTON, Executive Director                                                                                             
The Salmon Project                                                                                                              
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Gave invited testimony in support of HR 8.                                                               
                                                                                                                                
JILL WEITZ, Campaign Director                                                                                                   
Salmon Beyond Borders Campaign                                                                                                  
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Gave invited testimony in support of HR 8.                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DEBRA LEKANOFF                                                                                                   
House District 40, Washington State Legislature                                                                                 
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HR 8.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KEN HELM                                                                                                         
House District 34, Oregon State Legislature                                                                                     
Salem, Oregon                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HR 8.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MARK SAUNDERS, IYS Director - North Pacific Region                                                                              
North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission                                                                                        
Vancouver, British Columbia                                                                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HR 8.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
DOUG MECUM, Deputy Regional Administrator                                                                                       
Alaska Region                                                                                                                   
National Marine Fisheries Service                                                                                               
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)                                                                          
U.S. Department of Commerce                                                                                                     
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HR 8.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHRIS SERGEANT, Research Scientist                                                                                              
University of Montana                                                                                                           
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HR 8.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
10:03:24 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LOUISE  STUTES  called  the   House  Special  Committee  on                                                            
Fisheries meeting to  order at 10:03 a.m.  Present  at the call to                                                              
order  were  Representatives  Vance,   Tarr,  Kreiss-Tomkins,  and                                                              
Stutes.    Representatives  Edgmon   and  Neuman  arrived  as  the                                                              
meeting was in progress.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
            HB 116-AQUATIC FARM/HATCHERY SITE LEASES                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
10:04:10 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STUTES announced  that the first order of  business would be                                                              
SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE  FOR HOUSE  BILL NO. 116,  "An Act  relating to                                                              
the renewal  or extension of site  leases for aquatic  farming and                                                              
aquatic plant and shellfish hatchery operations."                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
10:04:14 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ANDI STORY, Alaska  State Legislature,  introduced                                                              
SSHB 116  as the sponsor.   She said  SSHB 116 would  simplify the                                                              
Department  of   Natural  Resources  (DNR)  renewal   process  for                                                              
aquatic farms  that grow such things  as oysters, kelp,  and other                                                              
shellfish.   If enacted,  the bill would  help small  Alaska based                                                              
aquaculture   businesses   succeed  by   reducing   administrative                                                              
burdens and  expediting the  lease renewal  process.   Aquaculture                                                              
is  an  industry with  a  lot  of  promise  and Alaska  with  more                                                              
coastline  than  all  the  other  states  combined  has  bountiful                                                              
potential  as a  site  for aquatic  farms  of  oysters, kelp,  and                                                              
other shellfish.   The  Alaska Mariculture Task  Force set  a goal                                                              
of making this a $100 million industry in the next 20 years.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STORY drew  attention  to the  flow  chart in  the                                                              
committee packet  and noted  that the  requirements to  permit and                                                              
receive  regulatory  approval  to   operate  an  aquatic  farm  or                                                              
related  hatchery are  complex.   She said the  most rigorous  and                                                              
time-consuming  portion  of  the   approval  process  is  the  DNR                                                              
aquatic farming  site lease  for both the  original lease  and the                                                              
lease renewal.   Because of the  recent increase in the  number of                                                              
aquaculture farm lease  applications - one for a  new aquatic farm                                                              
in 2016,  17 in 2017, and  16 in 2018    coupled with  recent cuts                                                              
to agency  staff, it  now takes  on average 18  months or  more to                                                              
approve an  aquatic farm lease.   Simplifying the  renewal process                                                              
for  aquatic  farm leases  would  reduce  the burden  on  division                                                              
staff,   allowing  them   more  time   to  focus   on  new   lease                                                              
applications.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STORY  pointed  out  that an  aquatic  farm  lease                                                              
renewal must  undergo the  same lengthy  approval process  similar                                                              
to an  original lease.   This  is not  required of numerous  other                                                              
DNR  lease types,  and  SSHB 116  would  align  the lease  renewal                                                              
process for aquatic  farms to the lease renewal  process for other                                                              
DNR leases.   This  change would  significantly shorten  the first                                                              
renewal  process  while  still   allowing  appropriate  regulatory                                                              
oversight,  public  engagement,   and  appeal  of  any  DNR  lease                                                              
decision.   She emphasized  that the bill  does not  affect leases                                                              
for salmon hatcheries.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STORY  stated that  as  a  new legislator  she  is                                                              
pleased  with  how  SSHB  116 began  and  how  it  was  developed.                                                              
Shortly after  taking office  she was  contacted by a  constituent                                                              
who was in  the process of  transferring an aquatic farm  lease, a                                                              
process that would  not be affected by SSHB 116.   The constituent                                                              
shared  the   experience  of  the   lease  transfer   process  and                                                              
suggested  a few  possible  changes  that might  help  applicants.                                                              
After subsequent  conversations with DNR, DNR staff  mentioned the                                                              
streamlining  of  the  aquatic  farm  renewal  process  to  reduce                                                              
regulatory burden  on applicants  while also reducing  workload on                                                              
an understaffed  state  agency.   She said her  staff person,  Mr.                                                              
Greg Smith, is  available to explain the four  proposed changes to                                                              
the statute included in the bill.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
10:08:20 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  STUTES  requested  the  sponsor   to  explain  the  changes                                                              
between the root version of the bill and the sponsor substitute.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STORY  replied that  the  only  change  is in  the                                                              
title.   She explained  that after talking  with people  about the                                                              
bill, she  wanted to  make it  very clear  what the bill  affected                                                              
and that it did not affect salmon hatcheries.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VANCE observed  that time  for public comment  and                                                              
testimony is  provided for  an initial lease.   She  asked whether                                                              
public  comment would  still be  taken under  the renewal  process                                                              
proposed by SSHB 116.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STORY  responded yes and  deferred to Mr.  Smith to                                                              
elaborate.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
10:09:21 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
GREG  SMITH,  Staff,  Representative   Andi  Story,  Alaska  State                                                              
Legislature,   on  behalf   of   Representative  Story,   sponsor,                                                              
explained there  would still  be public  notice and public  appeal                                                              
during the  renewal process.   He said  someone who  is personally                                                              
affected  would be  able  to reach  out to  the  director and  the                                                              
commissioner to request a review or an appeal of the decision.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS requested  a review  of the  bill's                                                              
mechanics.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. SMITH  explained Section 1  of SSHB 116, Version  31-LS0696\U,                                                              
would  add  AS  [38.05.083],  the   section  of  law  specific  to                                                              
aquaculture   farm   and   related    hatchery   leases,   to   AS                                                              
[38.05.070(e)],  which is the  subsection empowering  the director                                                              
to renew a lease  under this section.  Section 2  would remove the                                                              
words  "or renew" from  two places  so that  those sections  would                                                              
then focus  on the requirements  of only a new  lease application.                                                              
Section  3  would  do  the same  thing  of  removing  the  renewal                                                              
process  from  AS  38.05.083(b).    Section 4  would  [add  a  new                                                              
subsection]  that explicitly  states the  commissioner may,  under                                                              
AS 38.05.070(e)-(g),  extend or renew a lease  under AS 38.05.083,                                                              
which is the aquaculture farm and related hatcheries section.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS referenced  a letter in  support of                                                              
the  bill  from   the  Alaska  Fisheries   Development  Foundation                                                              
(AFDF), dated 4/15/19.   He observed that page 2,  paragraph 2, of                                                              
the  letter states  the bill  would allow  for one  renewal of  an                                                              
aquatic farm  site through  a simpler  internal process  that does                                                              
not   require  public   comment   [if  the   lease   is  in   good                                                              
standing/compliance].    He  inquired whether  that  is  basically                                                              
what this bill does.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. SMITH  responded  yes, it aligns  the renewal  process  for an                                                              
aquatic  farm or  related hatchery  lease  to a  process that  DNR                                                              
follows for many  other types of leases that  the department does,                                                              
such  as hydroelectric  facilities, fish  processing docks,  power                                                              
lines,  telecommunication  sites,  grazing,  cabins,  hunting  and                                                              
fishing lodges, and other uses.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
10:13:12 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS   further  observed  that  page  2,                                                              
paragraph  2,  of AFDF's  letter  of  support  goes on  to  state,                                                              
"However,  the  second  renewal  would still  be  required  to  go                                                              
through the  extended process similar  to a new application."   He                                                              
asked whether  there is a  section of law  that would  provide for                                                              
that more exhaustive  process with the second renewal  that is not                                                              
excerpted in SSHB 116.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SMITH answered  that the  language  not being  changed in  AS                                                              
38.05.070(e)  can be  seen  on page  1, lines  8-9,  of the  bill,                                                              
which state  that the lease may  be renewed only once  [for a term                                                              
not longer  than the initial term  of the lease].  For  the second                                                              
attempt  at  a  renewal  the applicant  would  have  to  again  go                                                              
through the original  lease application process.  So,  if the bill                                                              
were to pass,  the original lease  for an aquatic farm  would have                                                              
a  more exhaustive  process,  less  so on  the  renewal, and  then                                                              
after  a period  of 20 years  total there  would  again be a  very                                                              
exhaustive process for the third period.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS said  this  information is  helpful                                                              
and he  will read  that section  of law  to become more  familiar.                                                              
He commented that  he has heard from across Southeast  Alaska that                                                              
it is a  royal headache getting  these leases and trying  to get a                                                              
site  up and  running  even  when a  person  has the  capital  and                                                              
energy to  do it.   He stated he  is glad  to see the  bill coming                                                              
forward and  inquired whether there  are other things  that should                                                              
be done to make this easier.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STORY replied there  have been other  suggestions,                                                              
but it was thought that this was a good place to start.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS  suggested  to the  committee  that                                                              
there might  be a receptive audience  to doing even more  if there                                                              
are other "cut and  dry changes" that could be added.   He said he                                                              
has his  differences with  this governor, but  he thinks  there is                                                              
probably alignment in streamlining things as much as possible.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
10:16:21 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VANCE said  it  seems like  this  is a  regulatory                                                              
issue  that  the department  could  do  internally to  reduce  the                                                              
regulation.   But, she  continued, it seems  the bill  would clear                                                              
up  a statutory  obligation  that  would clean  up  the process  a                                                              
little  to allow  [aquaculture farm  owners] to  get that  renewal                                                              
quicker and easier.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STORY  responded  yes  and  related  that  through                                                              
conversation DNR  suggested that  simplifying the renewal  process                                                              
would be one thing that could be done for those exact reasons.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
10:17:05 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  STUTES  asked  what  the  length of  time  is  between  the                                                              
inception  of  starting   a  shellfish  farm  and   producing  and                                                              
generating revenue from that farm.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STORY answered  that the  process has been  taking                                                              
18 months,  but there are people  online who have been  living and                                                              
breathing this  and could  answer the question.   She  deferred to                                                              
Mr. Smith to answer further.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. SMITH suggested it might be better to have DNR clarify.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STUTES  specified she  is talking about  the length  of time                                                              
between  deciding to  have an aquatic  or shellfish  farm  and the                                                              
time  where that  product is  taken to  market.   She invited  Ms.                                                              
Julie Decker to respond.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
10:18:43 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
JULIE  DECKER, Chair,  Alaska  Mariculture  Task Force;  Executive                                                              
Director, Alaska  Fisheries Development  Foundation, replied  that                                                              
as far as  revenue production once  a lease is issued  it can take                                                              
one year for seaweed,  an annual crop; seven to eight  years for a                                                              
species like  geoducks, a longer  lived animal; and three  to four                                                              
years for  oysters.  That  time span, she  pointed out,  is before                                                              
the initial  $1 is  generated.   There is  much investment  and it                                                              
will take even longer before the farm operator is in the black.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STUTES opened invited testimony.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
10:19:40 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
META  MESDAG, Owner,  Salty Lady  Seafood  Company; Board  Member,                                                              
Alaska Shellfish  Growers  Association, on  behalf of herself  and                                                              
the association,  provided  invited testimony  in support  of SSHB                                                              
116.   She said she  has a farm  site in  Juneau with a  lease for                                                              
oysters, kelp,  and geoduck, and  for which she submitted  a lease                                                              
transfer  last year.   She currently  has oysters  and is  getting                                                              
ready to  seed geoduck.  The  oysters will take about  three years                                                              
to  grow before  they are  ready for  the market  and the  geoduck                                                              
will take seven.   Unfortunately, she only has five  years left on                                                              
her  lease so  will not  see any  revenue from  her geoduck  sales                                                              
before she  must go  through the renewal  process all  over again.                                                              
The intention  with her  very small  family farm  in Juneau  is to                                                              
grow  food for  the community.   Ms.  Mesdag said  SSHB 116  would                                                              
allow DNR  to renew a  lease one time so  people like her  who are                                                              
in good standing  have an opportunity to actually  earn revenue at                                                              
the farm  site.  The  bill means  a lot to  her and her  family as                                                              
well as to the other growers in the state.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
10:21:25 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   KREISS-TOMKINS  offered   his  belief   that  Ms.                                                              
Mesdag's  husband   is  the  lobbyist,   so  to  speak,   that  he                                                              
previously spoke  with.  He thanked  Ms. Mesdag for  her testimony                                                              
and  for being  in the  vanguard  of mariculture  in  Alaska.   He                                                              
inquired  whether  there are  statutory  changes  on Ms.  Mesdag's                                                              
wish list  beyond what is presently  in the bill that  are onerous                                                              
or don't create value.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. MESDAG  responded that  the bill  is a  great place  to start.                                                              
She said another  change that has been talked  about is regulatory                                                              
and is  about changing  the lease terms.   To get  that done  is a                                                              
bit more  tedious, so this approach  was taken first as  the place                                                              
to  start  that would  alleviate  some  of  the burden  on  people                                                              
looking to  invest in the  industry as  well as the  agencies that                                                              
must  regulate it.   During  that  period new  businesses are  not                                                              
being  put to  work.   A lot  of people  are lined  up waiting  to                                                              
start with  capital in line  and the gumption  to do this,  but it                                                              
is  going to  take them  up to  two  years before  they see  their                                                              
lease  and  then they  start  the  build-out  process.   It  takes                                                              
people with vision.   She isn't exactly sure  what other statutory                                                              
changes could  be made to  help the process,  but she  knows there                                                              
is  room for  improvement.   There needs  to be  due process,  she                                                              
advised,  when  talking  about tideland  leases.    She  suggested                                                              
looking to DNR for ways that would help the department.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS said  he  realizes that  regulatory                                                              
changes  are outside  the scope  but asked  what those  regulatory                                                              
changes are.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. MESDAG answered  it would be the duration of  the lease terms,                                                              
changing it  from a 10-year lease  to match the other  DNR leases,                                                              
which are  20-25 years  on average  for a  tideland lease  or land                                                              
leases.  This  congruence for mariculture is desirable  because of                                                              
the length  of time  that it  takes to  have a marketable  product                                                              
and  before farmers  start seeing  any  revenue, and  this is  not                                                              
even talking about profit.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
10:23:51 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   VANCE   referenced  the   goal   of  the   Alaska                                                              
Mariculture  Task Force  to grow  a  $100 million  industry in  20                                                              
years.   She asked  Ms. Mesdag  to speak  to how  much capital  it                                                              
takes to start this  type of venture and the amount  of capital it                                                              
takes each year.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MESDAG replied  her small  family farm  has half  an acre  of                                                              
oysters  and half  an acre  of geoducks.   She  will be  investing                                                              
upwards of  $150,000 with the  hope of  making an income  of about                                                              
$70,000  a year  working full  time with  her kids.   She and  her                                                              
husband want to  provide their kids with an opportunity  unique to                                                              
Alaska  where they  can grow  up as  part of  the family  business                                                              
working outside.   As a  micro-scale farm,  she is not  looking at                                                              
making hundreds  of thousands of  dollars; rather, she  is looking                                                              
at making  a livable  wage that  provides intrinsic  value  to her                                                              
family.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE  offered her  understanding that it  is labor                                                              
intensive  and that  the $70,000  would not be  just Ms.  Mesdag's                                                              
wage, but her  entire family's wage.  Given the  contribution that                                                              
aquaculture makes to  Alaska, she said it makes sense  to ease the                                                              
regulatory  and  statutory  burden   and  she  sees  SSHB  116  as                                                              
necessary for all aquaculture farmers.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
10:26:52 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS.  DECKER  on   behalf  of  the  Alaska   Fisheries  Development                                                              
Foundation  (AFDF) and  the Alaska  Mariculture  Task Force  (MTF)                                                              
provided invited  testimony in support  of SSHB 116.   She related                                                              
that members  of AFDF  comprise  a broad spectrum  of the  seafood                                                              
industry and  the board of  directors is comprised  of harvesters,                                                              
processors,  and support  sector  businesses  from across  Alaska.                                                              
Founded  in 1978,  AFDF's  mission  is to  identify  opportunities                                                              
common  to the  Alaska  seafood  industry and  develop  efficient,                                                              
sustainable  outcomes  that  provide   benefits  to  the  economy,                                                              
environment, and communities.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. DECKER stated  that the mariculture initiative  is spearheaded                                                              
by AFDF  and grew  into the  Alaska Mariculture  Task Force.   She                                                              
drew attention  to the  2018 Alaska  Mariculture Development  Plan                                                              
included in  the committee packet, which  has a goal of  growing a                                                              
$100 million  industry in  20 years.   A result  of MTF's  work is                                                              
increased interest  by the  private sector  in aquatic  farming in                                                              
Alaska.   This has  led to  a backlog  of lease applications  with                                                              
DNR and SSHB 116 would help alleviate some of that backlog.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. DECKER  explained the bill was  yet to be written  at the time                                                              
of  MTF's last  meeting, but  attendees  did conceptually  discuss                                                              
what is contained  in SSHB 116 plus had thorough  discussions with                                                              
DNR.   Conceptually  MTF agrees  with  SSHB 116  as a  piece of  a                                                              
broader solution  to reduce  the backlog and  focus DNR's  time on                                                              
new permit applications so those folks can get up and running.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. DECKER  noted that  another possible  change discussed  by MTF                                                              
and DNR was potentially  changing the lease term from  10 years to                                                              
20 years.  She  offered her understanding that this  could be done                                                              
via regulation  but  that it also  has broader  impacts, which  is                                                              
why [MTF]  has not  yet moved  this forward.   Going  to a  longer                                                              
lease term  automatically kicks  in DNR's  requirement for  a site                                                              
survey, but  surveys on the  water in some  of these  remote areas                                                              
might be  expensive and  would also  slow down  the process.   So,                                                              
given  the  possible  complications,   the  easiest  and  simplest                                                              
solutions were started with first and this bill is that.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS.  DECKER  said SSHB  116  would  reduce  the workload  for  DNR                                                              
staff;  prioritize   DNR  staff  time   on  the  new   farm  lease                                                              
applications, which  would help grow  the industry; and  give more                                                              
certainty  to farmers  who have  invested  in site  infrastructure                                                              
for those  first  10 years.   She pointed  out that  DNR has  many                                                              
other leases  that are anywhere from  20 to 50 years in  terms, so                                                              
this would remain a very conservative leasing program.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
10:31:41 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STUTES inquired  whether Paula Cullenberg is  still involved                                                              
in the Alaska Mariculture Task Force.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS.  DECKER replied  no, Ms.  Cullenberg has  retired from  Alaska                                                              
Sea  Grant and  Heather Brandon  is now  the director  and on  the                                                              
task force.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STUTES  [closed invited  testimony] on  SSHB 116  and opened                                                              
public testimony.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
10:32:24 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MARGO  REVEIL, President,  Alaska  Shellfish Growers  Association,                                                              
testified in  support of SSHB 116.   She said it is  a modest bill                                                              
that  would bring  the aquaculture  lease process  more into  line                                                              
with other leases.   Her farm is one of 13 in Kachemak  Bay and is                                                              
coming up  for its second renewal  because she bought  an existing                                                              
farm   that  had   already  been   through   the  first   renewal.                                                              
Therefore, the bill  would not directly impact her  farm except in                                                              
that it might free  up the staff time and allow  more effort to be                                                              
put into  the building  of a stronger  blue economy  and achieving                                                              
economic diversification  of Alaska.   As well, she would  like to                                                              
see DNR putting more effort into running the program.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
10:33:42 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
TAMSEN  PEEPLES,  Alaska  Mariculture   Manager,  Blue  Evolution,                                                              
testified  in support  of SSHB  116.   She stated  the bill  would                                                              
improve the permitting  and leasing process.  Blue  Evolution, she                                                              
related,  has  worked  closely  over  the  last  four  years  with                                                              
independent farmers  across Alaska to pioneering  and establishing                                                              
commercial seaweed  mariculture in  a sustainable and  responsible                                                              
fashion.   Over this time  Blue Evolution has witnessed  firsthand                                                              
the challenges and  frustration of this entire  permitting process                                                              
and has  seen the direct  impact that this  glacial pace  can have                                                              
on individual farms  and the entire industry.   There is currently                                                              
a large amount of  interest in the industry.  She  has talked with                                                              
several  individuals  who are  prospective  kelp  farmers and  the                                                              
inability to bring  farms online quickly is a huge  issue and most                                                              
likely  will  hamstring  further  development and  growth  of  the                                                              
industry.   Changing  and improving  the entire  lease process  is                                                              
paramount for  this industry  to grow, and  the hope is  that this                                                              
amendment will lighten the load for DNR.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. PEEPLES  strongly urged  the committee  to consider  that farm                                                              
size is not  accounted for in the  bill.  She reported  that there                                                              
have been multiple  100-plus acre farms applied  for and approved,                                                              
some of  which are scheduled  to begin  operation this fall.   The                                                              
impacts of  these farms are  unknown, and  it can only  be assumed                                                              
that larger  farms will  have larger  impacts on the  environment,                                                              
the ecosystem,  and communities,  but to  what degree  is unknown.                                                              
Currently  there are  no additional  state  regulations for  these                                                              
larger farmers  and Blue Evolution  believes there is going  to be                                                              
a need  for strong  agency and public  insight during  the initial                                                              
years of  operation, including that  initial renew process.   Blue                                                              
Evolution believes  it is unfair and unwise to  regulate farms the                                                              
same regardless  of their size.   A single farmer with  an acre or                                                              
less is  going to be underneath  the exact same  regulation, cost,                                                              
and  leasing process  as  a huge  corporate  entity  with lots  of                                                              
personnel  and money  at its  disposal.   Blue Evolution  believes                                                              
this is especially  true given the current regulations  that allow                                                              
large  leases to  be  held  but are  only  charged  for the  small                                                              
percentage  of the  area  of that  farm  that  is currently  being                                                              
farmed; certain  farmers  across the state  are already  utilizing                                                              
this.   Blue Evolution  believes this  will lead  to a  land grab,                                                              
which will inundate DNR even further with more applications.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. PEEPLES  said Blue  Evolution is glad  progress is  being made                                                              
and  that these  amendments are  happening.   However, she  added,                                                              
more needs to be done to continue to develop the industry.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
10:36:48 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
NANCY HILLSTRAND,  Pioneer Alaskan  Fisheries, testified  that her                                                              
company  is a  processing business  that helped  start the  oyster                                                              
farms  in Kachemak  Bay by  building  an oyster  cooler to  assist                                                              
them in  getting started.   She  said she  is concerned  about the                                                              
very  large sized  oyster farms.   She  wants to  help the  small,                                                              
Alaska based  businesses, but is  also concerned for  the affected                                                              
stakeholders.    Problems have  been  seen  in Kachemak  Bay  when                                                              
people  want to  expand, or  new  people come  in, because  people                                                              
live in these  remote areas and  these are navigable waters.   The                                                              
April issue  of National Fisherman  included a full-page  ad about                                                            
the  East Coast's  problems  between  fishermen and  these  larger                                                              
mariculture businesses.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. HILLSTRAND inquired  about a definition for  "small" farms and                                                              
suggested consideration  be given as to  how big it is  wanted for                                                              
these  farms  to get.    She urged  that  the  bill be  for  small                                                              
businesses  as indicated  by the  sponsor.  Some  of the  proposed                                                              
farms are  150 acres or  more, which is  a blanket  over navigable                                                              
waters.  She  suggested the committee  look at a [size]  cap or at                                                              
densities  within   regions  or  bays.    She   advised  that  the                                                              
notification  system  is  archaic,   so  people  don't  even  know                                                              
permits  have  been  applied  for  and  suddenly  an  oyster  farm                                                              
appears  in  their  area.   Unforeseen  issues  arise  and  become                                                              
evident after  initial permits are  required; therefore,  a strong                                                              
renewal  process  is needed  so  affected stakeholders  can  voice                                                              
their concerns.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. HILLSTRAND reiterated  that it is important  to define "small"                                                              
Alaska based businesses  because oyster farming can  be noisy with                                                              
a lot of added  traffic.  She said it is important  to protect the                                                              
common good, which is the waters of the state of Alaska.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
10:39:48 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR acknowledged  the concerns  expressed by  the                                                              
last two  witnesses regarding  farm size.   She asked  whether Ms.                                                              
Hillstrand had in mind a specific size or density restriction.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. HILLSTRAND  replied that  34 percent of  all the  oysters from                                                              
Alaska come  out of  Kachemak Bay,  yet there  is pressure  to put                                                              
more  and more.   When is  enough and  how large  should they  be?                                                              
She advised  that even  farms of  half an  acre or  an acre  are a                                                              
large  size  in the  middle  of  navigable  waters.   She  further                                                              
advised that  10 acres is  huge, and 150  acres is gigantic.   One                                                              
farm  in  Kachemak Bay  wants  to  enlarge  to  10 acres  and  she                                                              
understands  that  about  50 comments  were  submitted  requesting                                                              
this  not be  done because  it pretty  much closes  off that  bay.                                                              
The  farm  in  the National  Fisherman  article  that  is  causing                                                            
controversy  is 40  acres.  She  suggested this  be addressed  and                                                              
figured   out   by   the   committee,    the   shareholders,   the                                                              
stakeholders, and DNR  because the scale and magnitude  of what is                                                              
being  done is  often  forgotten about  and  suddenly these  farms                                                              
located  in   the  common   waters  of   the  state  are   causing                                                              
controversy.   Because this  is still new,  care must be  taken to                                                              
not  make  mistakes  at the  beginning  to  prevent  problems  and                                                              
controversies.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR  offered  her  understanding  that  SSHB  116                                                              
relates  to the step  after the  initial tideland  lease has  been                                                              
issued by  DNR; a renewal  would be something  on which  the local                                                              
community has already  weighed in.  She offered  her understanding                                                              
that the  [initial] part of the  process would not be  changed and                                                              
Ms.  Hillstrand's concern  would  be addressed  under that  review                                                              
and  public comment,  and so  there  wouldn't be  a lease  renewal                                                              
that  would  be  of  the size  or  production  level  that  became                                                              
overwhelming of that particular area.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
10:43:23 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE NEUMAN  observed the aquatic farm  application flow                                                              
chart states  that the leases go  through a 10-year term  and will                                                              
then  be looked  at,  and what  is  looked at  is  extensive.   He                                                              
surmised Ms. Hillstrand's  concerns about farms growing  too large                                                              
would be  addressed by this being  checked every 10  years because                                                              
the check  would include  how the operation  is going  and whether                                                              
the waters  are  staying clean  and such.   He noted  20 years  is                                                              
being  considered, but  10 years  seems practical.   He  requested                                                              
Ms. Hillstrand's opinion in this regard.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. HILLSTRAND responded  that that allows people to  see what did                                                              
happen during that  time and voice their concerns.   Things happen                                                              
during the year;  for example, power washers running  all day long                                                              
to clean  gear.  People  who have  spent a lot  of money  on their                                                              
homes didn't  realize there would be  loud noise and lots  of boat                                                              
traffic created  by the farm.   She is  concerned because  she has                                                              
dealt with many  people and seen these problems arise.   Ten years                                                              
is a long  time for the opportunity  to address any  problems, but                                                              
at least  it isn't a  whole generation,  which would be  20 years.                                                              
In  the past  the magnitude  of  what is  being  done hasn't  been                                                              
looked at  and suddenly it  grows out of  control.   She expressed                                                              
her hope  that this can be  kept for the small  Alaskan businesses                                                              
and local  communities and  not let  it become huge  international                                                              
sales where the state receives little or no money.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  NEUMAN stated  that a  company needs  at least  10                                                              
years to establish  itself before being put under  the microscope.                                                              
He  concluded  that  the  proposal  is  accurate,  practical,  and                                                              
addresses concerns.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VANCE  inquired  whether  a farm  that  wanted  to                                                              
expand in size after  the 10 years would have to  start with a new                                                              
application or could do so through the renewal application.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
10:46:28 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHRISTIANNA  COLLES, Leasing Unit  Manager, Southcentral  Regional                                                              
Land Office,  Division of  Mining, Land  and Water, Department  of                                                              
Natural Resources  (DNR), answered that  a farm wanting  to expand                                                              
in size at  any time during  its operation would have  to re-apply                                                              
and the application  would go back  out for public notice.   It is                                                              
not  automatic, she  continued; for  example, a  farm in  Kachemak                                                              
Bay that wanted  to expand in size is currently  going through the                                                              
public notice process.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE  asked whether there  is a limitation  on the                                                              
size and scope of a farm in the current permitting process.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. COLLES replied  yes, regulations require that a  farm not take                                                              
up more  than one-third  of a bight  or bay, so  DNR looks  at the                                                              
placement  of where these  leases are  going to  be located.   She                                                              
said  DNR also  works with  the National  Oceanic and  Atmospheric                                                              
Administration (NOAA)  and the Alaska Department of  Fish and Game                                                              
(ADF&G)  on  where  a  site  might   be  located  to  see  whether                                                              
complications might be caused for navigation or marine mammals.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   VANCE  inquired  whether   Ms.  Colles   has  any                                                              
recommendations  on how  to  ease or  address  the concerns  about                                                              
larger corporations coming in and taking up extensive acreage.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. COLLES  responded  that new  farms of this  magnitude  in size                                                              
are  new to  Alaska, so  there hasn't  been much  chance to  think                                                              
about how to address  them.  She said they are  usually located in                                                              
areas  that are  much larger  and aren't  in a bay  or bight  that                                                              
might  cause navigation  issues.    Regarding a  size  restriction                                                              
that says  if it is  over a  certain size it  must go  through the                                                              
full process,  she is  unsure and doesn't  have any  clear answers                                                              
to the question.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:48:58 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STUTES  surmised that there  really isn't a  size limitation                                                              
because  if it was  a huge  bay the  farm could  not take  up more                                                              
than one-third of that bay.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. COLLES answered correct.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
10:49:27 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MARKOS SCHEER,  CEO, Premium Aquatics,  LLC, testified  in support                                                              
of SSHB 116.  He  said his farm is located south  of Craig and has                                                              
127 acres  for kelp and shellfish  mariculture.  He noted  he sits                                                              
on  the  board of  the  Alaska  Fisheries  Development  Foundation                                                              
(AFDF) and  Southeast Conference  but is  testifying on  behalf of                                                              
Premium Aquatics.   He  supports SSHB  116 as a  good step  in the                                                              
right direction,  one reason being  the kind of capital  and grow-                                                              
out time that are  needed.  Committing to that kind  of capital on                                                              
a  10-year  lease  materially  increases  the  risk  to  potential                                                              
investors.   Longer lease  terms provide  more opportunity  to get                                                              
an operation up and running, particularly when farming longer-                                                                  
lived  shellfish species  like geoduck,  which take  7-9 years  to                                                              
reach market  size.  The  capital and labor  cost must  be carried                                                              
until that product reaches market size.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. SCHEER  maintained it is  incorrect that  a lease fee  is paid                                                              
only for  the area that  is being  used.  He  said a lease  fee is                                                              
paid for the whole  area regardless of whether it  is used.  Under                                                              
a revenue  production requirement, the  lease will be lost  if, by                                                              
year five, a farm  is not producing the minimum  amount of revenue                                                              
on an  annual basis.   The regulation  already provides  an avenue                                                              
that if something isn't being used the lease will be lost.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. SCHEER further  maintained that the idea that  these sites are                                                              
large is an inaccurate  assessment.  For example,  he said, Taylor                                                              
Shellfish  Farms on  the  West Coast  is 17,000  acres.   His  own                                                              
operation  has 25  acres  allocated to  shellfish,  which is  like                                                              
other farms, and  the rest is kelp production.  Only  so much kelp                                                              
can  be   produced  on  a  particular   acreage.    In   a  global                                                              
marketplace  where  the  world  production  of  kelp  is  some  30                                                              
million tons,  a farm must have  some space to do  that production                                                              
to be  relevant.  Although  this is a  new transition  for Alaska,                                                              
the relative scale of what is being done here is modest at best.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:53:49 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STUTES  closed public  testimony after  ascertaining  no one                                                              
else wished to testify.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE NEUMAN  observed the bill's original  title stated,                                                              
"aquatic farming  and hatchery  site leases",  while the  title of                                                              
the  sponsor  substitute  (SS) states  "site  leases  for  aquatic                                                              
farming  and aquatic  plant  and shellfish  hatchery  operations."                                                              
He  requested the  sponsor  to explain  why  the differences  were                                                              
included in the title.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STORY  replied to make  more clarity.   She related                                                              
that with  the original title  there were questions  about whether                                                              
hatcheries included  salmon hatcheries and  she wanted to  make it                                                              
clear it was aquatic and not salmon.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
10:55:05 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   TARR  asked  whether   it  is  correct   that  an                                                              
expansion would  fall outside  of this  renewal process  and would                                                              
require another  public process  that would allow  the opportunity                                                              
for concerns to be raised.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. SMITH  responded that  for granting of  the initial  lease DNR                                                              
reaches out  heavily, sends out  postcards to neighbors,  and must                                                              
respond to every  question and comment.  Currently,  as well as in                                                              
the  proposed renewal  process,  a renewal  is publically  noticed                                                              
and  there  is  a  grievance  process  if  someone  is  personally                                                              
affected,  but [the  proposed process]  is not  as broad and  time                                                              
consuming and  the notice is  not as great.   However,  a proposed                                                              
change in footprint  or size would require a  broader and involved                                                              
public process.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
10:57:22 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STUTES invited the sponsor to make closing comments.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STORY  said SSHB  116  would  be an  advantage  to                                                              
streamline the renewal process and help this business grow.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STUTES held over SSHB 116.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
             HR   8-2019: INT'L YEAR OF THE SALMON                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
10:58:02 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STUTES  announced that the  next order of business  would be                                                              
HOUSE  RESOLUTION NO.  8, Recognizing  2019  as the  International                                                              
Year  of   the  Salmon   and  supporting   an  associated   global                                                              
initiative identifying the importance of wild salmon.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
10:58:03 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
THATCHER BROUWER,  Staff, Representative Geran Tarr,  Alaska State                                                              
Legislature,  introduced HR  8 on behalf  of Representative  Tarr,                                                              
sponsor, and  noted the sponsor  has done collaborative  work with                                                              
other  states  on  the  resolution.     He  explained  that  HR  8                                                              
recognizes  2019 as  the International  Year of  the Salmon  (IYS)                                                              
and  supports  an associated  global  initiative  identifying  the                                                              
importance  of wild  salmon.   It  is a  project  launched by  the                                                              
North Pacific  Anadromous  Fish Commission  (NPAFC) and the  North                                                              
Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO).                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. BROUWER  said he  first learned  about the International  Year                                                              
of the Salmon at  an event early this year in  Juneau.  Since then                                                              
he has continued  to hear about the research and  outreach that is                                                              
going on as part  of this global initiative.  One  of the research                                                              
projects  that  has  grown  from the  International  Year  of  the                                                              
Salmon  is the  first of  its kind  scientific  expedition in  the                                                              
Gulf of  Alaska where  21 international  scientists  were on  a 5-                                                              
week trip  and are now  analyzing the data  collected.   Among the                                                              
projects,  scientists are  using  DNA to  identify  stock-specific                                                              
rearing areas  of all five species  of salmon and  determine their                                                              
abundance  and condition.   Those  who are  collaborating on  this                                                              
research  hope this  project will  occur  annually going  forward.                                                              
Other projects  associated  with the initiative  include,  but are                                                              
not  limited to,  dam removal  in  Maine and  cleanup projects  in                                                              
Northern Ireland.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. BROUWER  related that the theme  of International Year  of the                                                              
Salmon is  salmon and people  in a changing  world.  Passing  HR 8                                                              
is one  way the State  of Alaska can  recognize the  importance of                                                              
salmon to  the state  and around the  world and encourage  greater                                                              
research of  salmon and  the factors  that impact their  survival.                                                              
In recognition  that salmon are  a shared resource along  the West                                                              
Coast,  HR  8  was introduced  in  conjunction  with  measures  in                                                              
Washington and  Oregon.   The committee will  be hearing  from the                                                              
representatives in these states that the sponsor worked with.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BROUWER noted  the health  of salmon  populations across  the                                                              
Northern  Hemisphere varies,  but even  the strongest  populations                                                              
face  threats  from  both humans  and  the  changing  environment.                                                              
Scientists  still  have much  to  learn about  salmon  lifecycles,                                                              
impacts  of a  warming climate,  and increased  development.   All                                                              
along the  West Coast, strong  subsistence, sport,  and commercial                                                              
fisheries are  greatly important to  the culture and  the economy.                                                              
Now,  though,  a  number  of those  salmon  runs  are  struggling,                                                              
making it more  important than ever to work collaboratively  to do                                                              
the  research   needed  to  ensure   that  salmon  are   here  for                                                              
generations to  come.  Up and down  the West Coast and  across the                                                              
Northern  Hemisphere   salmon  have  sustained  humans   and  been                                                              
celebrated  since the beginning  of time.   By  passing HR  8, the                                                              
legislature will  acknowledge that  2019 is International  Year of                                                              
the  Salmon and  bring attention  to  the research  and events  in                                                              
conjunction with this global initiative.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STUTES opened invited testimony.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
11:01:17 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
TYSON  FICK  testified in  support  of  HR 8.    He stated  he  is                                                              
currently   a  commercial   fisherman,  but   has  been   a  sport                                                              
fisherman,  sport fishing guide,  and has  lived on the  Kuskokwim                                                              
River and  participated in subsistence  fisheries.  He  said that,                                                              
for him, salmon  is life and every year is the  International Year                                                              
of the  Salmon.  The opportunity  to celebrate something  everyone                                                              
agrees  on is  appreciated.   The capitol  is the  place to  argue                                                              
about policies  and how to address  things, but hopefully  HR 8 is                                                              
an  opportunity  to bring  together  people  who like  salmon  and                                                              
science  and who  hope  to learn  from other  places.   Salmon  is                                                              
something that unites  people more than divides  them and Alaskans                                                              
like to  eat and look  at them.   Salmon have  been lost  all over                                                              
the  world and  are mostly  gone  from Europe  and  from the  East                                                              
Coast of the U.S.   When there is talk about  bringing back salmon                                                              
it is  about tens of  fish, not the  tens or hundreds  of millions                                                              
like are seen  in Alaska.  There  is a real opportunity  in Alaska                                                              
to  celebrate  that   and  to  continue  Alaska's   leadership  on                                                              
fisheries  management.  The  ideal of  sustainable management  was                                                              
put into  the state constitution  in 1959.   Now, Alaska is  at an                                                              
important  time in  talking about  how  to handle  the other  uses                                                              
that  are had  in the  state.   By  following  Alaska's lead,  the                                                              
overfishing  issue  in the  U.S.  was largely  solved.   He  urged                                                              
committee members to support HR 8.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS inquired  about Mr. Fick's  present                                                              
affiliation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. FICK replied  he is skipper of the F/V Heather  Anne and owner                                                              
of Taku River Reds.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
11:05:16 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
ERIN   HARRINGTON,  Executive   Director,   The  Salmon   Project,                                                              
testified in  support of  HR 8.   She noted she  is a member  of a                                                              
Bristol Bay  salmon fishing household.   She has  some perspective                                                              
from  having  already  done  some  work  with  Mark  Saunders  who                                                              
oversees the  International Year of the  Salmon.  For a  couple of                                                              
years,  she has been  part of  a larger  collective called  Salmon                                                              
Connect that has  been working to have conversations  about salmon                                                              
and the ways  that it connects  with people's lives in  the state.                                                              
Some of  her colleagues from Salmon  Connect have already  had the                                                              
opportunity  to travel  to Oregon  and Washington  to learn  about                                                              
some of  the things  that have  happened in  those states  and the                                                              
loss  that  they've  experienced.   Her  Alaska  colleagues  found                                                              
their trip  to the  Lower 48 extremely  instructive, which  speaks                                                              
to the value  of this kind of cross-jurisdictional  communication,                                                              
collaboration,  and   learning  from  one  another.     Alaska  is                                                              
fortunate  to have  people who  are still  extremely connected  to                                                              
salmon, it is not  just as a token thing.  People  in Seattle love                                                              
salmon,  but they  love it  as a  memory.   In  Alaska salmon  are                                                              
still part  of people's  daily, annual, and  seasonal lives.   She                                                              
and  her  colleagues  can  show  their  international  and  cross-                                                              
jurisdictional  partners what it  is like to  have lives  that are                                                              
still truly connected to salmon.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS.  HARRINGTON  related  that  The  Salmon  Project  has  done  a                                                              
significant  amount of  statewide  research and  found that  three                                                              
out  of  four  Alaskans  consider   themselves  to  be  personally                                                              
connected to  salmon; nine  out of ten  Alaskans use salmon  as an                                                              
important  Alaskan   value.     This  crosses  political   stripe,                                                              
socioeconomics,  and region, and  is something  that is  shared by                                                              
most  Alaskans regardless  of politics.   The  Salmon Project  has                                                              
come to believe  that this is foundational in Alaska  and it isn't                                                              
just about  this resource,  but is a  medium through  which people                                                              
talk about  the values that they  have for their families  and the                                                              
aspirations they  have for  their children and  the way  they want                                                              
to  live on  the landscape  as  Alaskans.   So,  she cannot  speak                                                              
strongly  enough to  the  import of  maintaining  a robust  salmon                                                              
connected way  of life in  Alaska and HR  8 is something  that can                                                              
further Alaskans' adventure on that path.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR remarked  that the  phrase "salmon  connected                                                              
way of life" should be used more.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
11:08:17 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
JILL  WEITZ, Campaign  Director, Salmon  Beyond Borders  Campaign,                                                              
testified  in  support of  HR  8.   She  said  that today  she  is                                                              
providing  the  committee  with her  subjective  perspective,  one                                                              
that is  rooted in  her constant  learning of  how salmon  connect                                                              
people.   On  a  global scale,  but  primarily  here in  Southeast                                                              
Alaska, salmon connect  people to the ancient Tlingit,  Haida, and                                                              
Tsimshian peoples.   She supports  the global initiative  to build                                                              
resilience  for   salmon  and  people   and  celebrate   with  the                                                              
committee the International Year of the Salmon.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. WEITZ  said the  effort to  defend and  sustain the  salmon of                                                              
the  transboundary  Taku,  Stikine,  and Unuk  rivers  has  united                                                              
nearly  every  sector of  Southeast  Alaska.   The  Salmon  Beyond                                                              
Borders  Campaign  partners  with local  Alaska  businesses,  each                                                              
commercial fishing  gear group,  sport fishermen, tour  operators,                                                              
and lawmakers.   It  works in close  coordination with  tribes and                                                              
First Nations in  British Columbia.  These three  rivers originate                                                              
in  Northwest British  Columbia  and flow  into Southeast  Alaska.                                                              
They have  served as centers of  culture for centuries  and as the                                                              
lifeblood of the  largest salmon producing rivers  in this region,                                                              
including producing 80 percent of [the region's] king salmon.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WEITZ stated  she  will show  the  committee  a video  titled                                                              
"Salmon  Is Life."   The video  is a  product of  a Salmon  Beyond                                                              
Borders  tour  through  Northwest   British  Columbia  during  the                                                              
harvest season  of 2018.   The takeaways  are that each  community                                                              
is  different, each  tradition is  different, but  everyone has  a                                                              
salmon  story,  and  everyone's  auntie  is the  best  at  smoking                                                              
salmon.   The video  was first shown  at the  IYS launch  event in                                                              
Vancouver in  2018, which was  attended by 150 representatives  of                                                              
the  salmon  community   in  the  Pacific  and   Atlantic  basins.                                                              
Indigenous  and  non-indigenous  leaders  from the  U.S.,  Canada,                                                              
Russia, Korea, and Japan demonstrated support for IYS.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
11:11:17 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DEBRA  LEKANOFF,  House  District  40,  Washington                                                              
State Legislature,  stated she  is honored to  serve the  State of                                                              
Washington  and to provide  Washington's  voice in protecting  and                                                              
restoring  the salmon  in partnership  with Alaska  and Oregon  to                                                              
ensure there are salmon for today and generations to come.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEKANOFF  shared   that  she  is  a  Tlingit  from                                                              
Yakutat, Alaska, who  has lived in Washington state  for 20 years.                                                              
She has  returned to Yakutat  to provide economic  development and                                                              
governmental  training to  her community.   As  a Native  American                                                              
woman, she  always gives  back to  the future,  to the  leaders of                                                              
tomorrow, and  to the past who built  the road for today.   She is                                                              
of the  Raven moiety,  of the Dog  Salmon and the  Owl Clan.   Her                                                              
Tlingit name means  meeting of the springtime frogs  and a time of                                                              
change.  Her house  and name reflect her values and  the laws that                                                              
she lives by.   They guide her decision making as  a mother and as                                                              
a  lawmaker.   If the  salmon are  gone,  not only  does she  face                                                              
losing the  very spirit  that guides her,  but lawmakers  face the                                                              
impact to their  rural workforces, economies, and  quality of life                                                              
as people know it in Alaska, Washington, and Oregon.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEKANOFF  said it  is  a great  accomplishment  to                                                              
stand together to  celebrate the International Year  of the Salmon                                                              
and work in  collaboration on salmon research and  outreach around                                                              
the theme of salmon  and people in the changing world.   People in                                                              
Washington  state  applaud  the   partnership  between  the  three                                                              
states,  the North  Pacific Anadromous  Fish  Commission, and  the                                                              
North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEKANOFF related that  Washington state  faces the                                                              
reality  that  its  waters,  habitats,  and  resources  have  been                                                              
deeply  impacted.   Fewer  is  the  people's truth  in  Washington                                                              
state.   Only one river  in the Lower 48  - the Skagit  - produces                                                              
all six species of  wild salmon.  It is time to  stand together to                                                              
support  the common  science, policies,  and laws  to address  the                                                              
restoration  and protection  of  salmon.   Long before  Washington                                                              
was  the   apple  state  it  was   known  as  the   salmon  state.                                                              
Washington  is  honored  and  pleased to  stand  with  Alaska  and                                                              
Oregon  in sustaining  one of the  most honored  resources  to all                                                              
our economies, cultures, and quality of life.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR  thanked  Representative   Lekanoff  for  the                                                              
collaboration  between their  offices and  said she looks  forward                                                              
to continuing to work together.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STUTES stated  that she is honored to be  the representative                                                              
for Yakutat.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
11:15:44 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. WEITZ  showed the  "Salmon Is  Life" video  to the  committee.                                                              
After  the video  she  pointed out  that  the  remark, "salmon  is                                                              
life," was  made by each of  the people interviewed for  the video                                                              
and that  the remark was unprompted.   She expressed her  honor to                                                              
work  with  people  throughout the  region  on  the  international                                                              
issue  of salmon,  which  requires collaboration.    Salmon are  a                                                              
symbol  of  resilience,  a  symbol of  complete  function,  and  a                                                              
symbol of  Alaska.  She  said her organization  supports HR  8 and                                                              
the efforts  to better  establish salmon  management and  policies                                                              
in  Alaska and  throughout the  British Columbia  region that  are                                                              
rooted in sound science and information.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
11:18:36 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   KEN  HELM,  House   District  34,   Oregon  State                                                              
Legislature, testified  in support of HR  8.  He said  he is happy                                                              
to be working  with Representatives Tarr and Lekanoff  in a multi-                                                              
state  effort  to raise  the  awareness  about  wild salmon.    He                                                              
related  that   Oregon  has  a   similar  resolution   before  its                                                              
chambers, HCR 35,  and 41 of his House and Senate  colleagues have                                                              
already signed  on to  the resolution.   There is much  enthusiasm                                                              
in Oregon  for giving  more attention to  the state's  wild salmon                                                              
stocks,  the rivers  they  live  in, and  the  habitat that  those                                                              
rivers flow through.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HELM noted  that  Alaska,  Washington, and  Oregon                                                              
have  a great  history  and  heritage  of both  commercial  salmon                                                              
harvest,  tribal  harvest, and  sport  fishing.   He  said  Oregon                                                              
faces  the same  challenges  that Alaska  and  Washington face  in                                                              
that  over  time  Oregon's  wild  salmon  stocks  have  gone  into                                                              
decline  and continue  to  do so  despite  Oregon's best  efforts.                                                              
However, a couple  of river systems are bright spots  in that they                                                              
have  been left  alone for  long enough  to allow  wild salmon  to                                                              
regenerate themselves.   He  said he applauds  the efforts  of the                                                              
advocates of  these resolutions in  all three states, is  proud to                                                              
be  part of  that, and  looks forward  to continued  collaboration                                                              
around the protection and promotion of wild salmon.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   TARR   thanked   Representative  Helm   for   the                                                              
collaboration.   She pointed out  that political  boundaries don't                                                              
mean  much  to  wild  salmon  and   it  is  becoming  increasingly                                                              
important to be collaborating.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
11:22:31 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE NEUMAN  noted the resolution doesn't  mention areas                                                              
of  salmon that  are stressed.   He  pointed out  that in  Alaska,                                                              
eight of  the twelve stocks of  concern are in  the Susitna-Yentna                                                              
drainage.  Lodges  up and down those rivers that  catered to sport                                                              
fishermen are  now gone because the  fish are gone.  The  fish are                                                              
gone because these  areas are stressed.  He suggested  language be                                                              
put into  the resolution that identifies  the stocks and  areas of                                                              
concern.   He  further  noted the  resolution  talks about  Alaska                                                              
Natives, but his family depends on salmon.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. WEITZ  agreed and  said the  resolution is  an opportunity  to                                                              
home  in  on  those priority  areas  throughout  Alaska  that  are                                                              
productive, that  once were productive,  and that  productivity is                                                              
wanted  to remain.   She expressed  her willingness  to work  with                                                              
Representative Tarr,  sponsor of  HR 8, to address  Representative                                                              
Neuman's  concerns  and  incorporate   them  into  the  resolution                                                              
language.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
11:25:05 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MARK SAUNDERS,  IYS Director-North  Pacific Region,  North Pacific                                                              
Anadromous  Fish Commission,  testified in  support of  HR 8.   He                                                              
stated that  the commission has been  around for 26 years  and was                                                              
established  by treaty  between  Canada, the  U.S., Japan,  Korea,                                                              
and Russia.  It  was initially started to enforce  stoppage of the                                                              
high  seas' driftnet  fishery.   It  has a  larger mandate  around                                                              
conservation of  salmon in the high  seas and conservation  in the                                                              
adjacent waters.   He has been to Anchorage where  he met with the                                                              
Salmon Connect  group.   He noted  that there are  representatives                                                              
in  the  Alaska Department  of  Fish  and  Game (ADF&G)  who  work                                                              
closely   with  the   commission   on  salmon   science  and   the                                                              
International Year of the Salmon in general.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. SAUNDERS  related that  as salmon are  being lost Alaska  is a                                                              
stronghold in  wanting to sustain  them.   Alaska is not  alone in                                                              
dealing  with big  changes and  the  surprises being  seen in  the                                                              
declines of  chinook salmon  and pinks.   From his travels  around                                                              
the  globe   in  the  Northern   Hemisphere  he  has   found  that                                                              
conversations  are unique  to each  area, but  many of the  issues                                                              
being dealt  with are the same.   The decline that started  in the                                                              
marine systems  in the early 1990s  also started to happen  at the                                                              
same  time in  the Atlantic.   It  is  not a  coincidence that  it                                                              
started  to  happen  in  the early  1990s  and  despite  that  big                                                              
signal, scientists  are still not  working together in a  way that                                                              
they can start to understand that and put the clues together.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. SAUNDERS explained  that while this is the focal  year for the                                                              
International Year  of the Salmon,  the initiative itself  will go                                                              
on through  2022.  The idea is  that by 2022 the  connections will                                                              
have been  made and a shared  ability within science,  social, and                                                              
regulatory bodies will  have been built to learn  from each other.                                                              
Things are  being done in Alaska  that the rest of  the hemisphere                                                              
needs  to  understand.    Alaska  needs to  be  working  with  the                                                              
organizations  that are  working  on the  bigger  problems of  the                                                              
impact  of climate  on  fresh water  and  coastal  and high  seas.                                                              
Right across  those life  histories [IYS]  is working  on projects                                                              
to link  people.  Alaska  has a lot to  learn from other  parts of                                                              
the world,  but also has  a big story to  tell.  He  looks forward                                                              
to Alaskans engaging and continuing to engage in the initiative.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SAUNDERS  noted the  initiative  is  also  in the  middle  of                                                              
raising  money from  governments  and private  foundations in  the                                                              
order of  tens of millions to  facilitate this work that  is being                                                              
taken  on across  the hemisphere.    He looks  forward to  working                                                              
with  Representative Tarr  and  organizations  like Salmon  Beyond                                                              
Borders.    He offered  his  support  for  HR  8 and  thanked  the                                                              
committee for its work for the betterment of salmon and people.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR  said  she  is  excited  to  hear  about  the                                                              
collaboration and  that it will be  ongoing for a few  more years.                                                              
She noted that  things are being learned about  migration patterns                                                              
in  the ocean  and  that management  regimes  need  to be  thought                                                              
about.  She looks  forward to the work that Mr.  Saunders is doing                                                              
and  urged  that  relationships  be  strengthened  in  working  on                                                              
protecting wild salmon populations.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
11:31:11 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
DOUG  MECUM,   Deputy  Regional   Administrator,  Alaska   Region,                                                              
National   Marine   Fisheries  Service,   National   Oceanic   and                                                              
Atmospheric  Administration (NOAA),  U.S. Department of  Commerce,                                                              
testified in  support of  HR 8.   He stated  that HR 8  recognizes                                                              
2019 as  the International Year  of the Salmon (IYS)  and supports                                                              
the associated global  research and outreach initiative.   He said                                                              
NOAA Fisheries  supports and is  participating in  the coordinated                                                              
development of the  IYS initiative sponsored by  the North Pacific                                                              
Anadromous Fish  Commission (NPAFC) and the North  Atlantic Salmon                                                              
Conservation  Organization  (NASCO).   The  Alaska salmon  fishery                                                              
plays an  integral role in the  world's salmon production  and the                                                              
Alaska  salmon fishery,  capably  managed by  ADF&G,  is the  most                                                              
valuable  commercial  fishery in  the  U.S.   Sustaining  Alaska's                                                              
wild  salmon  populations   is  essential  in   preserving  salmon                                                              
cultures that have existed for thousands of years.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. MECUM noted  that the overall  theme of the IYS is  salmon and                                                              
people in a changing  world.  He explained that  the extraordinary                                                              
life histories  of salmon  expose them  to many environmental  and                                                              
anthropogenic  factors  influencing  their health  and  abundance.                                                              
The IYS seeks to  raise awareness of what humans  can do to better                                                              
ensure  salmon  and  their  varied   habitats  are  conserved  and                                                              
restored.   The  IYS  envisions an  expansion  of salmon  research                                                              
efforts on  the high seas and nearshore  waters as well  as a full                                                              
year  of education,  outreach,  and public  engagement.   The  IYS                                                              
provides  a platform  for  advancing  an understanding  of  salmon                                                              
species,   as  well   as  promoting   conservation,   restoration,                                                              
community  support, and  ocean literacy.    Additionally, the  IYS                                                              
provides NOAA an opportunity to highlight its programs.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MECUM  concluded by  pointing  out  that salmon  affect  more                                                              
people  culturally,  economically,  and  recreationally  than  any                                                              
other fish  species.   Understanding how a  change in  climate may                                                              
influence  their  ocean and  freshwater  habitats,  distributions,                                                              
and  productivity   is  an   increasingly  important   concern  to                                                              
management  agencies, the fishing  industry, tribes,  recreational                                                              
users,  and   the  general  public.     He  said   NOAA  Fisheries                                                              
appreciates  the committee's  support of  HR 8  and the  increased                                                              
awareness, support, and engagement that it will provide.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
11:34:26 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TARR  thanked Mr. Mecum  for his testimony  and his                                                              
extensive knowledge  from his  work at ADF&G  and NOAA.   She said                                                              
she would  like to  learn about  the barriers  to multi-state  and                                                              
international  collaboration as  it relates  to research  projects                                                              
and  what could  be done  at the  State  of Alaska  level to  help                                                              
better integrate some of those efforts.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. MECUM  responded  that the resolution  is  helpful, and  he is                                                              
thankful  for the  resolution  because  it is  a  way to  convince                                                              
others to  support the development of  this.  He pointed  out that                                                              
it is  not all rainbows  and unicorns  when talking  about funding                                                              
initiatives  like this  and  international  collaboration is  very                                                              
difficult because it requires diplomacy and sustained effort.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
11:36:00 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  NEUMAN observed  that the  Endangered Species  Act                                                              
is mentioned  in the resolution on  page 2, lines 27-28.   He said                                                              
he  has talked  to many  people  in Alaska  who  believe that  the                                                              
Marine  Mammal Protection  Act  has had  a  devastating effect  on                                                              
management of  Alaska's salmon  and that it  should be  changed to                                                              
the Marine  Mammal Management  Act to manage  damage from  all the                                                              
predators of salmon  that are protected under that  act.  He asked                                                              
whether Mr.  Mecum thinks  that should  be one  of the  clauses in                                                              
the resolution and part of the discussion.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MECUM replied  that it  is  the legislature's  decision.   He                                                              
said NOAA  administers the Marine  Mammal Protection Act.   One of                                                              
the great  success stories was  getting the eastern  population of                                                              
Steller sea  lions off the endangered  species list, and  he was a                                                              
part  of that effort.   This  has allowed  for some  of the  legal                                                              
removals  of sea  lions  in the  Columbia  and  other places  with                                                              
endangered species.   Fortunately, Alaska doesn't  have any listed                                                              
species of  salmon because  Alaska has taken  care of  business by                                                              
protecting the  habitat, having  a good strong management  system,                                                              
and public  involvement in  that process.   Alaska is a  model for                                                              
the world.   In places like  [the Columbia], habitat loss  has led                                                              
to  some real  problems  and predation  by  marine  mammals is  an                                                              
issue.   He said NOAA  administers that  according to the  law and                                                              
if people  think portions of the  law should be changed,  they can                                                              
pursue those changes legislatively.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
11:38:20 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHRIS  SERGEANT,   Research  Scientist,  University   of  Montana,                                                              
testified in  support of  HR 8.   He noted that  while he  is with                                                              
the  University of  Montana, he  is based  permanently in  Juneau.                                                              
He conveyed his  support for International Year of  the Salmon and                                                              
continued scientific  research on this  iconic group of fish.   He                                                              
said his  work focuses on  three salmon rich transboundary  rivers                                                              
shared between  Alaska and British  Columbia - the  Taku, Stikine,                                                              
and Unuk.   His  interest is  studying how  the actions  of humans                                                              
modify freshwater habitat for salmon and affect their survival.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. SERGEANT  noted he grew  up on the  shores of Puget  Sound and                                                              
studied  salmon  in that  region  during  the  first half  of  his                                                              
fisheries  career.  He  watched in  real time  as Puget  Sound and                                                              
Columbia River populations  dwindled, but he was  heartened to see                                                              
his friends  and colleagues  in urban  Washington state  recognize                                                              
the value of  salmon recovery.   He feels lucky to have  worked in                                                              
Alaska for  the past eight years  and see so many  thriving salmon                                                              
populations.   However,  some  populations  are showing  signs  of                                                              
decline, so  continued research  toward better understanding  what                                                              
sustains  productive freshwater  ecosystems is  vital to  ensuring                                                              
that  Alaska's communities  can  continue  to pursue  a  lifestyle                                                              
fueled  in large  part  by salmon.   Alaskans  are  faced with  an                                                              
unprecedented  opportunity  to preserve  the  state's  sustainable                                                              
fisheries using science-based management.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. SERGEANT  allowed that the  march toward understanding  salmon                                                              
may feel  like a  slow plod,  but said  the journey  is worthy  of                                                              
continued  pursuit.   He said  Isaac Walton's  book, The  Complete                                                            
Angler, published  in 1653, might  be considered the  first salmon                                                            
experiment  described  in  writing.   It  describes  how  Atlantic                                                              
salmon were  marked with sewing  thread as juvenile fish  and then                                                              
observed  returning   to  the  same  river  as   spawning  adults,                                                              
demonstrating the  ability of salmon  to accurately  navigate back                                                              
to  their  place   of  birth.    Over  300  years   later  in  his                                                              
influential  book  on Pacific  salmon,  University  of  Washington                                                              
professor Tom  Quinn, describes a  group of sockeye  salmon caught                                                              
in a single  purse seine set in  the Gulf of Alaska  where all the                                                              
fish  were  tagged  and  released   back  to  the  ocean.    These                                                              
individual salmon,  sharing space in one tiny speck  of the ocean,                                                              
eventually  swam  in  wildly  divergent  directions  across  their                                                              
range  - some returning  to rivers  in British  Columbia like  the                                                              
Skeena and  the Nass, and some  returning to Alaska  watersheds in                                                              
places  like Kodiak  Island or  Bristol  Bay.   After almost  four                                                              
centuries, however,  scientists still cannot definitively  say how                                                              
salmon return  to their  home waters from  a sprawling  open ocean                                                              
and [scientists]  are still  not great  at predicting  when salmon                                                              
runs will  be strong or  weak each year.   But one thing  that can                                                              
be said with  certainty - if enough  salmon are left alone  in the                                                              
water to  return to clean  rivers with abundant  spawning grounds,                                                              
they will thrive for generations to come.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. SERGEANT said  the diversity of salmon caught  from that purse                                                              
seine set  in the  Gulf of  Alaska holds  some nice symbolism  for                                                              
the International  Year of  the Salmon:   it takes a  special kind                                                              
of animal  to continue  holding the rapt  attention of  humans for                                                              
so many years.   He said the  committee's support of HR  8 matters                                                              
because it shows that Alaskans support science and wild salmon.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TARR thanked Mr. Sergeant for his testimony.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  STUTES  inquired   about  Mr.  Sergeant  working   for  the                                                              
University of Alaska but being stationed in Juneau.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. SERGEANT  replied he is  stationed in Juneau  and specifically                                                              
is focused on Alaska/British Columbia transboundary watersheds.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
11:42:41 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
The committee took a brief at-ease.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
11:44:45 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  Neuman moved  to report  [HR] 8  out of  committee                                                              
with  individual  recommendations   and  the  accompanying  fiscal                                                              
notes.   There  being no  objection, HR  8 was  reported from  the                                                              
House Special Committee on Fisheries.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
11:46:55 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being  no further business  before the committee,  the House                                                              
Special  Committee on  Fisheries  meeting was  adjourned at  11:47                                                              
p.m.                                                                                                                            

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 116 - AFDF Letter of Support 2019-04-15.pdf HFSH 4/23/2019 10:00:00 AM
HFSH 4/25/2019 10:00:00 AM
HRES 5/10/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 116
HB116 Aquatic Farm Application Review Flow Chart 4.15.19.pdf HFSH 4/23/2019 10:00:00 AM
HFSH 4/25/2019 10:00:00 AM
HB 116
HB116 ASGA Letter of Support 04.15.19.pdf HFSH 4/23/2019 10:00:00 AM
HFSH 4/25/2019 10:00:00 AM
HRES 5/6/2019 1:00:00 PM
HRES 5/10/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 116
HB116 Explanation of Changes ver A to ver U 4.15.19.pdf HFSH 4/23/2019 10:00:00 AM
HB 116
HB116 DNR Fiscal Note 4.15.19.pdf HFSH 4/23/2019 10:00:00 AM
HFSH 4/25/2019 10:00:00 AM
HB 116
HB116 Sponsor Statement 4.15.19.pdf HFSH 4/23/2019 10:00:00 AM
HFSH 4/25/2019 10:00:00 AM
HRES 5/6/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 116
HB116 Supporting Document- Mariculture Plan.pdf HFSH 4/23/2019 10:00:00 AM
HFSH 4/25/2019 10:00:00 AM
HB 116
HB116 ver U 4.12.19.PDF HFSH 4/23/2019 10:00:00 AM
HB 116
HR08 Fiscal Note-LEG 05.15.19.pdf HFSH 4/23/2019 10:00:00 AM
HR 8
HR08 Sponsor Statement 04.10.19.pdf HFSH 4/23/2019 10:00:00 AM
HRES 4/26/2019 1:00:00 PM
HR 8
HR08 Supporting Docuemnt- HJM4012-Year of the Salmon - Washington State.pdf HFSH 4/23/2019 10:00:00 AM
HRES 4/26/2019 1:00:00 PM
HR 8
HR08 Supporting Document - Email in Support McPhee 4.15.19.pdf HFSH 4/23/2019 10:00:00 AM
HR 8
HR08 Supporting Document - Letter of Support Alaska Trollers Association 4.12.19.pdf HFSH 4/23/2019 10:00:00 AM
HR 8
HR08 Supporting Document - Letter of Support from Salmon Beyond Borders 4.15.19.pdf HFSH 4/23/2019 10:00:00 AM
HR 8
HR08 Supporting Document - Letter of Support from Salmon State 4.15.19.pdf HFSH 4/23/2019 10:00:00 AM
HR 8
HR08 Supporting Document - Letter of Support from Territorial Sportsmen 4.15.19.pdf HFSH 4/23/2019 10:00:00 AM
HR 8
HR08 Supporting Document - Letter of Support NOAA, NMFS Alaska Region 4.15.19.pdf HFSH 4/23/2019 10:00:00 AM
HR 8
HR08 Supporting Document - Summary from the International Year of the Salmon Website 4.10.19.pdf HFSH 4/23/2019 10:00:00 AM
HR 8
HR08 Supporting Document- HCR35 - Year of the Salmon - Oregon State.pdf HFSH 4/23/2019 10:00:00 AM
HCR 35
HR 8
HR08 Version A 4.10.19.PDF HFSH 4/23/2019 10:00:00 AM
HR 8