Legislature(1993 - 1994)
03/14/1994 08:15 AM RES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE RESOURCES STANDING COMMITTEE March 14, 1994 8:15 a.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Bill Williams, Chairman Representative Bill Hudson, Vice Chairman Representative Con Bunde Representative Pat Carney Representative John Davies Representative David Finkelstein Representative Joe Green Representative Jeannette James Representative Eldon Mulder MEMBERS ABSENT None OTHER LEGISLATORS PRESENT Representative Carl Moses COMMITTEE CALENDAR HJR 59 Relating to reduction of wanton waste in North Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea fisheries. PASSED CS HJR 59(FSH) OUT OF COMMITTEE WITH INDIVIDUAL RECOMMENDATIONS HB 496 "An Act relating to sport fish guides; and providing for an effective date." HEARD AND HELD IN COMMITTEE WITNESS REGISTER REPRESENTATIVE CARL MOSES Alaska State Legislature State Capitol, Room 204 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 Phone: 465-4451 POSITION STATEMENT: Prime Sponsor HJR 59 PAUL SEATON, President Alaska Marine Conservation Council 58360 Bruce Drive Homer, Alaska 99603 Phone: 235-6342 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HJR 59 SEAN MARTIN, Representative Homer Charter Association P.O. Box 889 Homer, Alaska 99603 Phone: 235-5130 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HJR 59 and HB 496 RICK LAUBER, Representative Pacific Seafood Processors Association Chairman, North Pacific Fisheries Management Council 321 Highland Drive Juneau, Alaska 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HJR 59 THERESA WEISER P.O. Box 2300 Sitka, Alaska 99835 Phone: 747-8883 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HJR 59 and supported the concept of HB 496 PETE ECKLUND, Aide Representative Bill Williams State Capitol, Room 128 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 Phone: 465-3424 POSITION STATEMENT: Gave briefing on HB 496 PAUL KRASNOWSKI, Director Division of Sport Fish Alaska Department of Fish and Game P.O. Box 25526 Juneau, Alaska 99802-5526 Phone: 465-4180 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 496 FRANK HOMAN, Commissioner Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission 8800 Glacier Highway, #109 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Phone: 789-6160 POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HB 496 RICHARD ANDREW P.O. Box 7211 Ketchikan, Alaska 99901 Phone: 225-2463 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 496 MICHAEL LOCKABEY P.O. Box 1542 Wrangell, Alaska 99833 Phone: 874-3723 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 496 HAROLD BAILEY 5 1/2 Mile Zimovia Highway Wrangell, Alaska 99833 Phone: 874-3958 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 496 BARBARA BINGHAM, Member Sitka Charter Boat Operators Association P.O. Box 6112 Sitka, Alaska 99835 Phone: 747-5777 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 496 ED JONES P.O. Box 897 Petersburg, Alaska 99833 Phone: 772-4868 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 496 MIKE COATES Sorry Charlie Charters 1269 Upland Court Homer, Alaska 99603 Phone: 235-2553 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 496 JIM HESTON P.O. Box 331 Valdez, Alaska 99686 Phone: 835-5115 POSITION STATEMENT: Expressed concerns about HB 496 JOHN GEORGE, Representative Alaska Outdoor Council 9515 Moraine Way Juneau, Alaska 99801 Phone: 789-0172 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 496 DENNIS PETRE 5901 Boondox Drive Salcha, Alaska 99714 Phone: 488-4589 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 496 with concerns BOB ELLIOTT 4582 Elliott Lane Fairbanks, Alaska 997009 Phone: 479-6323 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 496 DONALD WESTLUND P.O. Box 7883 Ketchikan, Alaska 99901 Phone: 225-9319 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 496 ROBERT WARD A-Ward Charters P.O. Box 631 Anchor Point, Alaska 99556 Phone: 235-7014 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 496 TIM EVERS Deep Creek Charters P.O. Box 39547 Ninilchik, Alaska 99639 Phone: 567-3518 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 496 PAUL GOEDERT P.O. Box 39415 Ninilchik, Alaska 99639 Phone: 567-3665 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 496 with changes ROGER WATNEY Anchor Point Charters P.O. Box 511 Anchor Point, Alaska 99556 Phone: 235-4063 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 496 with changes GARY PLUMB 441 Hillcrest Ketchikan, Alaska 99901 Phone: 225-6409 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported concept of HB 496 PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: HJR 59 SHORT TITLE: WANTON WASTE OF FISH N.PACIFIC/BERING SEA SPONSOR(S): RULES JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 02/18/94 2457 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 02/18/94 2457 (H) FSH, RESOURCES 03/02/94 2577 (H) FSH RPT CS(FSH) 5DP 03/02/94 2577 (H) DP: MOSES,PHILLIPS,NICHOLIA, DAVIDSON 03/02/94 2577 (H) DP: OLBERG 03/02/94 2577 (H) -ZERO FISCAL NOTE (H.FSH) 3/2/94 03/02/94 (H) FSH AT 08:30 AM CAPITOL 17 03/02/94 (H) MINUTE(FSH) 03/14/94 (H) RES AT 08:15 AM CAPITOL 124 BILL: HB 496 SHORT TITLE: SPORT FISH GUIDE LICENSING SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) WILLIAMS JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 02/14/94 2381 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 02/14/94 2381 (H) FSH, RESOURCES, FINANCE 02/23/94 (H) FSH AT 08:30 AM CAPITOL 17 02/23/94 (H) MINUTE(FSH) 03/04/94 (H) FSH AT 08:30 AM CAPITOL 17 03/07/94 2642 (H) FSH RPT CS(FSH) 3DP 1NR 03/07/94 2642 (H) DP: MOSES, PHILLIPS, OLBERG 03/07/94 2643 (H) NR: DAVIDSON 03/07/94 2643 (H) -FISCAL NOTE (F&G) 3/7/94 03/07/94 2643 (H) REFERRED TO RESOURCES 03/14/94 (H) RES AT 08:15 AM CAPITOL 124 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 94-31, SIDE A Number 000 The House Resources Committee was called to order by Chairman Bill Williams at 8:25 a.m. Members present at the call to order were Representatives Williams, Hudson, Bunde, Davies, Finkelstein, Green, James, and Mulder. Representative Carney was absent. CHAIRMAN BILL WILLIAMS announced there is a quorum present. He said the meeting is on teleconference with Fairbanks, Homer, Ketchikan, Petersburg, Seward, Sitka, Kenai/Soldotna, Wrangell, and Valdez. HJR 59 - Wanton Waste of Fish N. Pacific/Bering Sea REPRESENTATIVE CARL MOSES, PRIME SPONSOR, stated there is an executive summary contained in members' folders entitled "Discards In The Groundfish Fisheries Of The Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands & The Gulf Of Alaska During 1992". He said the document was prepared for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) by Pacific Associates. He pointed out that statistics used in HJR 59 are found in the executive summary. He urged committee members to adopt HJR 59 and move it from the committee. He said the message contained in the resolution is very timely in light of the activities within Congress on federal reauthorizations and other bills, addressing conservation of fishery resources within federally managed waters. Number 037 PAUL SEATON, PRESIDENT, ALASKA MARINE CONSERVATION COUNCIL, testified via teleconference and expressed support for HJR 59. He said the Alaska Marine Conservation Council has been working with the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council to develop a method of reducing waste and discards in the North Pacific. He stressed waste and discards are impacting all fisheries. He stated Senator Murkowski has a bill introduced already and Senator Stevens has a bill which is in the drafting stage. He urged the committee to pass HJR 59 to further interest the Senators to look at the issue in a way that will resolve it to the benefit of Alaska. (CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS noted for the record that REPRESENTATIVE CARNEY had joined the committee at 8:30 a.m.) Number 066 SEAN MARTIN, PRESIDENT, HOMER CHARTER ASSOCIATION, testified via teleconference and expressed support of HJR 59. RICK LAUBER, REPRESENTATIVE, PACIFIC SEAFOOD PROCESSORS ASSOCIATION (PSPA), AND CHAIRMAN, NORTH PACIFIC FISHERIES MANAGEMENT COUNCIL (NPFMC), stated PSPA supports HJR 59. The waste and discards of fish ongoing offshore is a disgrace. He said Alaska has had a wanton waste statute for many years allowing discards, including roe stripping, salmon herring, etc., but the policy does not include waters off the coast of Alaska or the U.S. He noted the bill drafted by Senator Murkowski makes it clear that the NPFMC could direct its attention toward the wanton waste. MR. LAUBER remarked he was intrigued with a recent speech given by Don Tyson of Tyson Chicken and Tyson Seafoods who is the owner of the largest factory trawler operation off the coast of Alaska. He said Mr. Tyson indicated Tyson Chicken utilizes all of the chicken. Mr. Lauber wondered why Mr. Tyson discards so much fish in his fishing operation. He stated it is the position of PSPA that all fish should be brought to shore and if the fish is caught, it is kept; if it is kept, it is utilized. He pointed out there are millions and millions of pounds of fish being wasted and at some point, the public is going to force the industry to clean up its act. THERESA WEISER, SITKA, testified via teleconference and expressed support of HJR 59. She felt the resolution is timely and appropriate especially in light of other problems being dealt with in the sport fishing industry. REPRESENTATIVE CON BUNDE made a motion to ADOPT CS HJR 59(FSH). CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS asked if there were any objections. Hearing none, the MOTION PASSED. REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE made a motion to MOVE CS HJR 59(FSH) with a zero fiscal note out of committee with INDIVIDUAL RECOMMENDATIONS. CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS asked if there were any objections. Hearing none, the MOTION PASSED. HB 496 - Sport Fish Guide Licensing Number 143 PETE ECKLUND, AIDE, REPRESENTATIVE BILL WILLIAMS, stated the guided sport fishery is an important and rapidly growing industry in the Alaskan economy, and will continue to grow and expand throughout the state. The ability of the state to provide for sustainable development and sound, sensible management of the guided sport fishery is dependent upon the availability of complete information upon which to base decisions. He stressed the goal of HB 496 is to provide a mechanism for the collection of crucial data regarding the guided sport fishery. MR. ECKLUND said in some parts of Alaska, the rapid growth in the charter industry has motivated sport fish guides to request a moratorium on further expansion. While researching the feasibility of various limitation schemes, it was discovered that nearly every approach to a moratorium in the guided sport fishery for state managed species of fish would be unconstitutional. He added since there is room for further growth in the guided sport fishery in many areas of the state, including parts of Southeast, it may be premature and unwise to pursue limitation. Number 158 MR. ECKLUND stated there is an incredible lack of hard data available regarding the guided sport fishery in Alaska. In some parts of the state, not all, regulation requires vessels engaged in sport fish guiding to be registered. Registration of guides themselves is required in a few rivers, but not elsewhere. He stressed that no uniform licensing procedure exists in Alaska. Therefore, there is no information on who is actively engaged in sport fish guiding, how many clients are served, what catch rates are, and what rivers, streams, and marine waters are being utilized. MR. ECKLUND stated without a means for gathering dependable information, it is impossible to monitor the activity or growth of the guided sport fishery on a statewide basis. It is imperative for the state to have solid information to ensure the sustainable development of the industry and to ensure the sound management of the fishery resources upon which the industry depends. He said this data collection would provide a picture on which the state could base any future decisions about whether or where limitation schemes might be feasible or desirable. He pointed out that it is time to acknowledge this important growing industry and make sure that management decisions can be based on complete information, not on guesswork, perception and supposition. He explained that is what HB 496 is intended to accomplish. Number 175 MR. ECKLUND stated HB 496 establishes a guided sport fishery license. Each person who plans to engage in sport fishing, both on fresh and salt water, from a vessel or otherwise, will be required to purchase the license. He said the Division of Sport Fish, ADF&G, will develop reports which license holders will be required to submit. This will enable the state to build a data bank regarding the guided sport fishery. He explained the costs of the guide licensing and data gathering and analysis will be funded by the revenues generated from the license fees. Therefore, the program will be fiscally self-sustaining. MR. ECKLUND stated HB 496 does not impose any limitations on the number of guides or vessels in the state, or who can purchase the license to guide, nor does it affect their activities. HB 496 is the first and most crucial step toward having solid data upon which to base sound management policy for the guided sport fishery in Alaska. MR. ECKLUND advised that the Fisheries Committee had made two changes to the bill. The committee added intent language which clarifies it is the legislature's intent that program receipts from the sale of sportfish guide licenses go to the Division of Sport Fish, to be used for the data collection and analysis provided for in the bill. He said the Fisheries Committee also made language changes which tightened up the definition of a sport fish guide. He mentioned there has been some interest in the possibility of exempting guides from having to also obtain a business license each year. He stated Representative Williams does have an amendment available to accomplish that if the committee wishes to consider it. MR. ECKLUND stressed that HB 496 is a piece of forward looking legislation which five, ten, twenty years from now the charter industry and our states' resources will be better off because of its passage. Number 211 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE stated he has worked as a sport fishing guide so he wanted the committee to be aware he may have a conflict of interest. REPRESENTATIVE JOE GREEN said it was mentioned that the program will be fiscally self-sustaining and yet there is a fiscal note. MR. ECKLUND responded the fiscal note from ADF&G estimates the cost the first year to be $161,700 and the program receipts are above and beyond that figure. REPRESENTATIVE PAT CARNEY said there are different fees for resident and nonresident. He asked if it is possible to limit sport fish guiding permits to Alaska residents only. MR. ECKLUND replied that would be unconstitutional. REPRESENTATIVE ELDON MULDER pointed out that in the fee chart for the state of Washington contained in members' folders, the resident salmon guide fee is $150 and the nonresident salmon guide fee is $730. MR. ECKLUND also pointed out that those fees mentioned are for fresh water guiding. He said there are also salmon charter and salt water guiding fees listed on the chart. Number 245 REPRESENTATIVE BILL HUDSON asked what type of fees Canada charges for sport fish guides. MR. ECKLUND replied fees in the states of Oregon and Washington were primarily reviewed. REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON said he is somewhat confused with the fiscal note. MR. ECKLUND said someone from ADF&G will be testifying and can possibly clear up the confusion. REPRESENTATIVE CARNEY asked why, in the proposed legislation, the fees are not lower than the fees in the state of Washington, especially for nonresidents. CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS said during past public hearings in December and January, $200 was arbitrarily chosen as a result of the charter boat operators suggesting that amount at both of those teleconferences. REPRESENTATIVE CARNEY stated in the fee chart for the state of Washington, there is a $480 fee for a resident, $785 for a nonresident, as well as an additional $100 surcharge which is supposed to be deposited in a regional fisheries enhancement fund. He said while Alaska might not want to increase the cost to residents, he felt that the state should be in line with Washington on the nonresident charges. CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS stated there is a constitutionality issue involved. The state is required to charge three times the amount for nonresidents. He said the reason the charter boat operators in Ketchikan wanted the nonresident fee to be higher is because the charter boats from out of state are coming to Ketchikan. By charging a high fee, the out of state charter boat operators might think twice whether or not they would like to pay the required amount to compete with the charter boat operators in Ketchikan and Southeast Alaska. CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS said while in Seattle over the weekend, he read in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that there will be zero fishing in the Puget Sound area. Number 319 REPRESENTATIVE MULDER added that the zero fishing is not just for Puget Sound, it goes all the way from the State of Washington down to Northern California. He stressed as those areas are closed down to sport fishing, those people are going to be moving north to pursue their advocation. He asked Mr. Ecklund to explain page 2, lines 4-9, and how it pertains to the Kenai River Special Management Area. He asked if guides in that special area already require a registration fee. MR. ECKLUND said fees in the special management area are required by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and are substantially higher than the proposed $200 resident fee. REPRESENTATIVE MULDER asked what the fees are in that area. MR. ECKLUND replied there is a $50 nonrefundable application fee, an additional $450 fee for residents, $1,350 for nonresidents and an additional daily per client fee set by negotiation with DNR. REPRESENTATIVE MULDER asked if those funds go to DNR. PAUL KRASNOWSKI, DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF SPORT FISH, ADF&G, responded the funds go into the General Fund. MR. ECKLUND added if a person has a guide license in that special management area and that area is an exclusive area, they will not pay the additional fee provided for in HB 496. REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE pointed out that nonresident fishermen are buying a license which is three times the cost of a resident license. He expressed support for an increased fee for nonresident guides. Number 368 REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON asked if the special fees for the Kenai River Special Management Area are imposed by DNR through statute. MR. KRASNOWSKI replied they are administrative regulations of DNR. REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON clarified there is no statutory basis behind the fees charged in the Kenai River Special Management Area and asked if there are any limitations on the fees. MR. KRASNOWSKI stated the fee schedule is not set in statute. The authority to set fees is in statute. He said he is not aware of any limitations. REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE stated there is a limitation in that there has to be a relationship and the state cannot charge a million dollars in order to keep people out. He said in regard to the Kenai River Special Management Area, the fees are an attempt to regulate the number of people in that area. He stated there are days on which guides cannot work in that area. REPRESENTATIVE CARNEY stated the differentiation in the proposed fees is a serious consideration on HB 496 and he stressed he is not convinced the fees should not be increased. He felt it is in the best interest of Alaska to get as much as possible from nonresident guides and he supports anything which discourages out of state guides coming to the state. He asked if there is any reason not to raise the fees. CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS replied there are some charter boat operators who are opposed to higher fees. He said to attain the higher fees for nonresidents, using the formula required, the fees will also have to be higher for residents. REPRESENTATIVE CARNEY asked if the Kenai River Special Management Area fees meet the formula. MR. ECKLUND said it is a 3-1 ratio. Number 449 MR. KRASNOWSKI stated that sport fish guiding in fresh water and charter operations in salt water provide an important service for both nonresident and resident sport fishermen in Alaska. He said the service is growing and is a significant part of the state's tourism industry. There currently are no statutory requirements to license or register guides or charter operators. He explained there are Board of Fisheries regulations which require fresh water fishing guides in Cook Inlet and Southeast Alaska to register with ADF&G, and there also are regulations for charter operators in Cook Inlet and Southeast Alaska to register their vessels with ADF&G. MR. KRASNOWSKI said the department fishery management program is capable of maintaining fish stock health under present conditions. However, continued growth in the guiding industry in some areas presents increasing challenges to the department's management activities as the years go on. He stated even more important, at every meeting of the Board of Fisheries, an increasing number of regulatory proposals from the public on issues of management and fishery allocation, involving guides and charter operators, are being addressed. He pointed out that most often the issues are based on public perceptions which cannot be substantiated, explained, or refuted on the basis of any agency information. MR. KRASNOWSKI stated the creel survey is conducted only in some areas of the state, as it is expensive, and he stressed it is only a sampling process, just as the mail out survey is. ADF&G only gets an estimate on the composite catch in the area. The survey does not tell the department anything about individual fishermen. It gives the department a mechanism to extrapolate total harvest. He said there is no way to take creel survey, statewide harvest or mail in survey information and describe individual fishermen, individual charter operators, or individual guides and what their impact is on the resources, how many clients they are taking, etc. The information which ADF&G presently gathers does not satisfy the needs which have been identified. MR. KRASNOWSKI said ADF&G supports HB 496 since it will provide a mechanism by which the department can begin to accumulate information on the number of guides, the general areas in which they operate, the number of clients they serve, and the number of days fished. He emphasized that HB 496 requires the information about individual operations to be kept confidential, just as information currently collected on fish tickets about commercial fishermen is by law confidential. Number 525 MR. KRASNOWSKI stated the information will prove essential to the Board of Fisheries' actions about management and allocations, will provide stability in the industry and assure that growth is consistent with resource health. He added that after action in the Fisheries Committee, the fiscal note was revised. He said the only change is that revenues will be deposited as program receipts into the General Fund. The original intent was to put the revenues in the ADF&G fund to be expended for the program but it was determined that the revenues, by law, must go in the General Fund as program receipts. Number 541 REPRESENTATIVE CARNEY expressed concern in regard to the definition of sport fish guiding in that there may be a loophole for people who take their relatives out fishing. He did not think the definition allowed for that. MR. KRASNOWSKI said the definition is a slight modification of the definition currently in regulation. He stated the key phrase is "in exchange for compensation for services, or an agreement for compensation for services,...". He explained if money is changing hands, other than just sharing expenses, it will constitute doing business as a guide. REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE stated the total requirements for being a sport fishing guide is to buy a business license and label yourself as a sport fishing guide. He said he is also aware of the requirements involved in being a big game guide. He felt one of the reasons there are regulations on game guides is to ensure that the public is getting what they are paying for, just as there should be for sport fishing guides. He did not feel the proposed legislation goes far enough. He felt the state should begin to look at establishing requirements which prove that people have the knowledge and skill they sell. He asked ADF&G to comment on whether or not the committee should be looking in the direction of big game guiding and establishing requirements. MR. KRASNOWSKI responded HB 496 addresses both fresh water fishing guides and charter operators and to some extent, the issues which Representative Bunde described are already part of the requirements for charter operators under Coast Guard licensing. He said approximately five years ago there was proposed legislation to license guides in the state and the bills included requirements. He pointed out that those bills did not pass. Number 625 CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS asked Mr. Krasnowski to comment on the requirements currently in place and asked if those requirements should be added to the bill. MR. KRASNOWSKI felt that other people planning to testify will describe those requirements. REPRESENTATIVE MULDER asked if there will be a constitutional problem with having duality in regard to the Kenai River Special Management Area fees. HB 496 proposes to charge one class of guides a fee, but for guides in the Kenai River Special Management Area another fee is charged. MR. ECKLUND said Representative Phillips asked that question in the Fisheries Committee and since that question was asked a legal opinion from the drafting attorney has been received. It says, "In my opinion, the exemption does not violate the state or federal Constitutions." REPRESENTATIVE MULDER stated he supports eliminating the provisions which create a special fee for people on the Kenai and raising the overall fees to be the same for everyone. He felt there are as many, if not more guides in Southeast Alaska than there are on the Kenai River. He stressed people are making a living off of the state's resource so the state should be charging something for that resource. CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS stated the Kenai River Special Management Area is being managed by DNR. REPRESENTATIVE MULDER felt his suggestion should be amended into the bill, the provisions which allow DNR to charge fees for that special area should be deleted, the fees should be higher, but the fees should be the same for all resident guides. TAPE 94-31, SIDE B Number 000 REPRESENTATIVE JOHN DAVIES disagreed. He stated the Kenai River Special Management Area is an area which was created due to special problems and a large amount of money has been spent to focus on those problems. He said to change that special management area without a series of hearings focusing on the issue would be premature. He noted the fiscal note indicates that the fees will generate twice the revenues needed for the purpose of the bill. He commented if it is determined that a higher fee should be charged, as a result of the information gathered, that can always be done in the future. He did not see anything required in HB 496 to charge a higher fee. REPRESENTATIVE CARNEY said increasing charges for sport fishing guides will not increase the fees charged in the special management area. He expressed concern that in the sponsor statement, it says the industry would like to see a limit put on the number of people fishing. Although he is normally opposed to increasing costs to Alaska, he felt by having higher fees, especially a higher fee for nonresident guides to limit their activity, local sport fishing guides will be ahead in the long run. Number 029 REPRESENTATIVE MULDER stated the issue before the committee is equity. He said what is being discussed is having a user group pay for what they are having access to and what they are deriving their livelihood from. He pointed out it is a resource that everyone owns. If a decision is made to assess a fee, the issue becomes how much and whether it can be equitably enforced or assessed. Why make a special class of people pay a different fee than those who are involved in the same advocation as they are in Southeast, Southwest, and anywhere in the state. He felt that if a fee is going to be imposed, it should be imposed equally as opposed to creating a separate class. REPRESENTATIVE JEANNETTE JAMES felt the state does not sufficiently collect enough money in the fishery resource area to effectively manage the resource. She stated revenues are severely declining in the state and expressed fear that natural resource managers will not be able to do a proper job. She said somewhere in the future, the state will have to pay the price. She felt even though it is indicated in the fiscal note that there are more funds than what is required to implement HB 496, it still is not enough. Number 070 FRANK HOMAN, COMMISSIONER, COMMERCIAL FISHERIES ENTRY COMMISSION, stated last year the commission worked with Representative Williams to look at the sport fish guiding industry in the Ketchikan area to determine if there was a way to establish a moratorium or stop the increase which was rapidly developing. He said because the commission is involved in moratoriums and limitations for commercial fisheries, commission members sat in on several meetings to determine if they could work with the sport fishery in the same way. He stated the commission's limitation is to commercial fisheries. MR. HOMAN stressed that what was clear in all of the discussions was that there is a severe lack of data available on which to manage the sport fish charter industry. He felt HB 496 is a step in the right direction to gather information from individual operators to be used to manage the sport fishery more effectively. He said on the commercial side of the commission's limitation program, there are individual catch records and income tax records and the commission conducts a lot of analysis in assigning limited entry permits. He stressed the information existing currently in sport fish is not detailed, but rather is overall information which cannot be used to limit individuals. Number 103 REPRESENTATIVE CARNEY said Mr. Homan had mentioned the commission was not able to put any type of moratorium in place and asked if that was due to a lack of data. MR. HOMAN responded the commission is only authorized to place a moratorium on commercial fisheries, not sport fisheries. REPRESENTATIVE CARNEY asked what it would require to authorize the commission for sport fisheries. MR. HOMAN stated it would take a constitutional amendment. REPRESENTATIVE CARNEY clarified there is no way the collection of sport fish information could have any bearing on future allocations of the resource. MR. HOMAN replied not with the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission, but the information could be available for structuring a moratorium or limitation on the sport fish charter industry itself through another system. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES asked if the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission has information on the relative amount of catch represented by the sport fish industry in Southeast versus the catch by the commercial fishing industry. He wondered what impact the catches have on the resource on a percentage basis. MR. HOMAN replied ADF&G should answer that question because the commission only deals with commercial fisheries. Number 134 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE felt there is a semantics problem. He stated sport caught fish are being discussed but in his opinion, there is no question that sport fish guiding is a commercial enterprise and should be regulated as commercial fishing. He said sport fish guides are really commercial fishermen. He reminded committee members that the guides will not be paying the proposed fees, the fishermen will pay the fees through what they are charged to use the guide. REPRESENTATIVE MULDER said while sport fish guiding may be considered a commercial entity, who are the guides taking out. They are taking sport fishermen, not commercial fishermen. He expressed concern about the definition of sport fish guiding. He felt there may be a problem in the future whereby there is an operator who advertises and people stay in his/her lodge. The guest pays for overnight accommodations, food, etc., but is not charged for the guiding on the river. Therefore, the guide does not have to register as a guide because he/she is not being paid as a guide. He thought the definition of sport fish guides needs to be tightened so it does not just reflect upon the activity of guiding on the river, but rather reflects the overall exchange of goods or services of the individual who is receiving the benefit. Number 180 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES asked if the person in Representative Mulder's scenario who has the boat and is taking guests out is the same person who owns the lodge. REPRESENTATIVE MULDER replied yes. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES stated then that person is getting compensated for what he/she is doing because it is a part of the operation. Number 201 RICHARD ANDREW, KETCHIKAN, testified via teleconference and expressed support for HB 496. He felt the bill will do a lot to help the tourism industry and charter businesses in getting a stable allotment of fish. He stated HB 496 will give the department the latitude and solid numbers to address the issues at hand. REPRESENTATIVE MULDER asked Mr. Andrew what his vocation is. MR. ANDREW replied he is a commercial fisherman, gillnetter and sport fishermen. Number 225 MICHAEL LOCKABEY, WRANGELL, testified via teleconference and stated he is a commercial fisherman, sport fisherman, charter operator, and a seafood processor. He stated there are 645 registrants in the halibut sport and commercial fisheries, which is about 50 percent of the total registrants in the state with the halibut commission for sport, and half of them are both sport and commercial. He commented on the costs to do business: He buys two business licenses annually; he buys a DEC permit costing $100 per year; processing shrimp costs five percent of the gross; for salmon harvested there is an aquaculture assessment of three percent gross and a one percent market assessment; licenses for scales cost $10 annually; it costs $650 annually to renew his permit and that permit cost $30,000 to buy; if he sets foot on forest service ground to take a fisherman on a stream, it costs three percent of the gross; he pays $180 for a drug test for his Coast Guard license; every five years he renews his Coast Guard license at a cost of $80; he has an approved life raft which costs $750 per year to repack; and he takes annual first aid, CPR, etc. Number 275 MR. LOCKABEY stated he would like to see the bill more Alaskanized. (Indiscernible) and other resource users, resident and nonresident, do allow fees to go way beyond the three times. He gave examples of game guide fees. He said recently in conducting some research, he determined that the halibut sport catch is about 15 percent of the total catch in area 2-C which encompasses all of Southeast. The king salmon sport harvest is set at 17 percent which is the allocation determined by the Board of Fisheries. He added that level is going up to 20 percent in the next three years. He told committee members he does not need another license or another $200 license fee. He is not opposed to the compilation of data. Number 294 HAROLD BAILEY, WRANGELL, testified via teleconference and stated he is primarily a commercial salmon fisherman. He said his income has been severely reduced the past five years because of lower salmon prices due to farm fish and the recession. He pointed out the state and federal government's income has also gone down due to the recession. He has diversified into processing and chartering to make more money. His need to make more money is adding more taxes and licenses (indiscernible) raising fees and cutting business deductions. He is squeezing his prices on one side and taxes and fees on the other side to the point of being forced out of business. If that happens, the state will collect less license fees and taxes and both he and the state will lose. He stated he is not opposed to charter boat operators paying their share, but he felt charter businesses are being hit from all sides and are trying to survive. Number 317 BARBARA BINGHAM, MEMBER, SITKA CHARTER BOAT OPERATORS ASSOCIATION, testified via teleconference and stated the method of tracking legitimate active charter operators is desirable, but she also believes it can be done in simpler and less costly ways, such as requiring more information on licenses and permits which operators already have. She expressed opposition to HB 496 for several reasons. The substantial fee charged will go into the General Fund and may or may not be allocated for its intended purpose. In response to the discussion about use of the public resource, charter operators make a living providing access to the resource for the public who do own the resource. MS. BINGHAM pointed out there is a distinction between commercial operators who sell the fish they catch and charter operators who sell a service. She said the bill contains no provision requiring operators to prove they have met other legal requirements such as a Coast Guard license, valid business license, membership in a drug testing program, etc. It seems that anyone can receive a guiding license. She stated it was determined during a recent Halibut Charter Working Group meeting that a mandatory law in this program would not be feasible because it would be difficult to implement and enforce. The data collected would not necessarily be accurate and the data would be very expensive to collect and analyze. She stressed that will most likely be the same for the reports proposed in HB 496. MS. BINGHAM felt the vague wording as to what information exactly will be required is disturbing. She said it sounds like the reporting procedures could be substantially detailed and time consuming to produce with a possibility of new requirements at any time. She stated in the words of Bill Foster, the association president, this bill will be like lying down and asking to have money taken from our billfolds and then be covered by paperwork. She felt by working together, useful legislation can be created. Number 355 THERESA WEISER, SITKA, testified via teleconference and stated she agrees with most of Ms. Bingham's testimony. However, she does support the concept of fees for the study, but when she hears the fees are going to go into the General Fund as program receipts and may or may not be actually designated, she has concerns. She stated there is a need for information to be gathered because there is going to be a continued glut into the charter operator industry, especially since commercial fishermen are saying they cannot make it in their own industry and are trying to diversify. She does not oppose diversification but she felt if commercial fishermen are going to step into the charter boat industry and cause hardships for present operators, they should pay to be there. She agrees with across the board fees for all of Alaska and that nonresident guides should pay more to participate in the state. ED JONES, PETERSBURG, testified via teleconference and expressed opposition to HB 496. He supports the collection of information by ADF&G. He does not agree with the fee amounts proposed to get the information. He pointed out that in the past, when ADF&G had a need to get data from a fishery or a group of people, they budgeted for it and got the information. He does not understand why charter operators are getting singled out as a user group who has to pay for the information gathering. He noted he does not trust ADF&G, particularly the Division of Sport Fish. Number 410 MIKE COATES, SORRY CHARLIE CHARTERS, HOMER, testified via teleconference and expressed support for HB 496. He felt the information gathered should be released on a timely basis to the public rather than releasing the information up to four years after it is collected. He also felt the fees should remain with ADF&G. He does not like the fact that the bill does not contain a sunset clause. If the fees are being paid for collecting information for a study, he assumes the study will end at some point. He stated the fees proposed are fine, but arbitrarily picking numbers does not make sense. SEAN MARTIN, PRESIDENT, HOMER CHARTER OPERATORS ASSOCIATION, testified via teleconference and stated the association supports HB 496 as long as the funds stay with ADF&G. He said the association also would like to see the information gathered be available to the general public on a timely basis. In the future, there will be a point reached where charter operators will be restricted because of overfishing in the Homer area and the only way to determine the proper management of the fishery is through accurate studies. He felt once the study is complete, it should not cost as much to fund the study every year. Number 460 JIM HESTON, VALDEZ, testified via teleconference and stated he is concerned about whether or not ADF&G will get the funds. He also noted the bill does not outline what type of report will be used and expressed concern about the possible paperwork involved. He agreed the information is needed but added if HB 496 is to gather information from a user group, he wondered why recreational fishermen are not included. He expressed concern that anyone can pay $200 to be a sport fish guide which could mire the numbers. He stated there may be a problem with the sport fish guide definition. JOHN GEORGE, REPRESENTATIVE, ALASKA OUTDOOR COUNCIL, stated the council supports HB 496 and feels the collection of information is pivotal in further discussions on allocations and resource management. He said based on declining state revenues, it is appropriate that fees be charged to provide this type of data collection. He felt there is an opportunity to eliminate the business license requirement for a sport guide and to convert that to a sports guide license at an equivalent or higher fee for specific gathering of information. He noted the association would also like to see the funds go directly to ADF&G. MR. GEORGE said he has personally testified before the Board of Fisheries and one of the key issues which come up is the question of allocation. He felt the collection of data as proposed in HB 496 will clarify many of those issues and allow the Board to do a much better job of resolving that issue. REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE asked if big game guides also have a business license. REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN replied anyone in business has to have a business license. REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE pointed out that medical doctors are licensed and they also have to get a business license, and he felt if sport fish guides are licensed, they should also get a business license. MR. GEORGE stated there are specific classes of businesses which are excluded from licensing. Number 610 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked Mr. George to comment on the proposed fees. MR. GEORGE felt the fees are a legislative prerogative. He said if the business license is replaced with the sport fish guide license, that is $50 a year which could be included and there could be a surcharge for the gathering of information. He noted there are possibilities for a reciprocity fee where if someone from Alaska goes to the state of Washington and pays a $750 fee, then a person coming to Alaska from Washington would also pay $750 CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS noted the state of Washington does have a limited entry program. REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON said the only problem he has with a reciprocity fee program is if the state of Washington charges less, then Alaska would have to charge less. TAPE 94-32, SIDE A Number 000 DENNIS PETRE, SALCHA, testified via teleconference and expressed support of HB 496, but felt the study should encompass all fish taken by sporting groups. He did not see a difference between fish being caught through the service of a sport guide and fish taken by a recreational fisherman. He said some boats are not just mom and pop operations; many have a crew. He stated if the fees get too high, many operators will not be able to afford them. He suggested a one time fee. BOB ELLIOTT, FAIRBANKS, testified via teleconference and stated he is a registered hunting guide. He pointed out he has never seen a power boat or salt water, but is strictly a fresh water fisherman in Interior Alaska. He expressed opposition to HB 496 because all fresh water guides are going to be included and there is no justification for it. He pointed out that ADF&G, in conjunction with the University, sent out a survey to try and determine the economic impact of fishing guides on the state. He said it is a very complicated survey and it will take several days with an accountant to complete. MR. ELLIOTT is fearful that once the state begins to license fish guides, there will be a myriad of statutes and regulations. He said thus far all that has been discussed is salt water fish and boats. He stated the legislature needs to remember that there are operators in the Interior who are different than the salt water guides. Number 050 DONALD WESTLUND, KETCHIKAN, testified via teleconference and stated he is a charter boat operator. He expressed opposition to HB 496. He felt the bill is strictly a revenue generating bill. He stated he does not dispute that he is not a commercial entity, but what he does dispute is that he does not catch the fish, his customers do. Therefore, if a fee is going to be imposed upon the user of a public resource, the amount of the fee should be based upon the degree of impact on the resource, meaning the more a person catches, the more the person should pay. He pointed out that commercial fishermen catch 98 percent of the salmon resource in the state. He said without a business license, he cannot go to the borough and get a retail license. Without a business license, it is not possible to pay sales tax and the borough he lives in will not receive any revenue from his sales. Number 073 MR. ECKLUND stated he checked with the revenue departments both in Ketchikan and Juneau and was told there will be no problem with accepting a specialized license from the state in lieu of a business license. MR. WESTLUND said a commercial fisherman should be paying a tax since he begins and ends his fishing trip from Ketchikan. MR. ECKLUND said he was only answering the question about the business license exemption. He stated if a person currently pays taxes and uses a business license for identification, the borough will accept a special license by the state or a sport fish guide license in lieu of a business license for tax purposes. ROBERT WARD, A-WARD CHARTERS, HOMER, testified via teleconference and expressed opposition to HB 496. He stated he has a problem with an arbitrarily picked fee schedule and wondered why a fee cannot be determined based on what is needed to accomplish the study. He asked how HB 496 will affect a charter business which owns a multiple number of boats and has nonresident crew members. He stated at one meeting of the Halibut Charter Working Group, ADF&G says they have enough information to consider going into a limited entry program for halibut charters, but yet now the state is looking for $200-$700 from operators to fund an information gathering. He stated the air taxi people have been left out of the bill and wondered if they should also have a guide license. MR. WARD pointed out that charters are only 50 percent of the sport equation of all removals and felt that should be proportioned out properly. If charters are not having an impact on the resource and are 50 percent of the sport, which is four percent of the total, charters should only be responsible for two percent. He stated if the resource says a study is needed, then do a study and fund it appropriately. CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS stated the arbitrary fee schedule was brought up by the charter boat operators in past hearings. He also pointed out the halibut commission is a federal issue not pertaining to this issue. He thought the air taxi guides are covered in HB 496 if they are assisting with fishing. Number 143 TIM EVERS, NINILCHIK, testified via teleconference and agreed with Ms. Bingham's comments. He asked what is being done with the money currently being collected off the Kenai River Management plan. REPRESENTATIVE MULDER commented he called DNR to get a response in regard to the number of permits issued on the Kenai, both resident and nonresident, and the amount of funds collected as well as the use of those funds. He said hopefully at the next meeting he will have those answers. PAUL GOEDERT, NINILCHIK, testified via teleconference and expressed support of HB 496 but felt a sunset clause is needed. Once a person starts giving money to the government it is hard to get it stopped. He stated the lowering of the resident fee would be beneficial since people in his area are already paying several other fees. There needs to be a recognition of the fact that people are paying already for, which according to the Constitution, should be free access to the fishery. ROGER WATNEY, ANCHOR POINT, testified via teleconference and expressed agreement with those testifying from Homer. He stated the data is needed, but felt it is a high price to attain that information. He urged committee members to lower the resident fees. REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE said he does not believe the Constitution guarantees free access, just equal access. GARY PLUMB, KETCHIKAN, testified via teleconference and expressed support of the concept of HB 496. He felt the information is needed but thought there should be an easier way to attain it. He suggested a mandatory survey at the end of each season with a requirement that if the survey is not completed, the charter operator cannot register the following year. He stressed HB 496 should include insurance requirements, drug testing requirements, etc. He felt if people are allowed to continue to come into Alaska and make use of the industry, they should have to have proof of their capability of operating in the state. REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE said while at this point the priority may be data gathering, this is a resource state and there is a need for the state to make money off of its resources. He pointed out the ADF&G budget keeps getting lower and lower and there needs to be a greater source of income. HB 496 provides for not only data gathering, but also a source of income for the state. ANNOUNCEMENTS CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS announced the committee will meet on Wednesday, March 16 at 8:15 a.m. to hear HB 404 and HB 238. ADJOURNMENT There being no further business to come before the House Resources Committee, Chairman Williams adjourned the meeting at 10:07 a.m.