Legislature(1995 - 1996)

03/20/1996 03:40 PM RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                   SENATE RESOURCES COMMITTEE                                  
                         March 20, 1996                                        
                           3:40 p.m.                                           
 MEMBERS PRESENT                                                               
 Senator Loren Leman, Chairman                                                 
 Senator Rick Halford                                                          
 Senator Robin Taylor                                                          
 Senator Georgianna Lincoln                                                    
 Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                         
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
 Senator Drue Pearce, Vice Chairman                                            
 Senator Steve Frank                                                           
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
 SENATE BILL NO. 223                                                           
 "An Act approving an interim classification by the commissioner of            
 natural resources closing certain land within the Situk River                 
 system to new mineral entry; and providing for an effective date."            
 SENATE BILL NO. 247                                                           
 "An Act relating to the fish and game fund; amending Rules 79(b)              
 and 82(b)(2), Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure; and providing for an           
 effective date."                                                              
 SENATE BILL NO. 255                                                           
 "An Act relating to the types of seafood promotions and promotional           
 contracts that can be made by the board of the Alaska Seafood                 
 Marketing Institute."                                                         
  PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE   ACTION                                           
 SB 223 - No previous action to record.                                        
 SB 247 - No previous action to record.                                        
 SB 255 - No previous action to record.                                        
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
 Geron Bruce, Legislative Liaison                                              
 Alaska Department of Fish & Game                                              
 P.O. Box 25526                                                                
 Juneau, AK 99811-5526                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Offered information on SB 223                          
      Testified in opposition to SB 247                                        
 Nico Bus, Acting Director                                                     
 Division of Support Services                                                  
 Department of Natural Resources                                               
 400 Willoughby Ave.                                                           
 Juneau, AK 99811-1724                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Responded to question on SB 223                        
 Craig Swanson                                                                 
 P.O. Box 160                                                                  
 Yakutat, AK 99689                                                             
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in support of SB 223                         
 John Vale                                                                     
 P.O. Box 195                                                                  
 Yakutat, AK 99689                                                             
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in support of SB 223                         
 Don Bremner                                                                   
 P.O. Box 416                                                                  
 Yakutat, AK 99689                                                             
  POSITION STATEMENT:                                                          
 Bart Adams, President                                                         
 Yakutat Chamber of Commerce                                                   
 Yakutat, AK                                                                   
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in support of SB 223                         
 Raymond Sensmeier, President                                                  
 Alaska Native Brotherhood                                                     
 Box 8                                                                         
 Yakutat, AK 99689                                                             
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in support of SB 223                         
 Steve Borell, Executive Director                                              
 Alaska Miners Association                                                     
 501 W. Northern Lights Blvd., #203                                            
 Anchorage, AK 99503                                                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in support of SB 223                         
 Jules Tileston, Director                                                      
 Division of Mining & Water Management                                         
 Department of Natural Resources                                               
 3601 C St., Suite 800                                                         
 Anchorage, AK 99503-5935                                                      
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in support of SB 223                         
 Lynn Levengood, Executive Director                                            
 Alaska Wildlife Conservation Association                                      
 590 University Ave.                                                           
 Fairbanks, AK 99701                                                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supports SB 247                                        
 Jim Richardson                                                                
 308 G St., 302                                                                
 Anchorage, AK 99501                                                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in support of SB 223                         
 Cliff Eames                                                                   
 519 W. 8th, #201                                                              
 Anchorage, AK 99501                                                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supports SB 223                                        
 Jeff Parker                                                                   
 500 L St., #502                                                               
 Anchorage, AK 99501                                                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supports SB 223                                        
      Suggested amending SB 247                                                
 Senator Al Adams                                                              
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Prime Sponsor of SB 255                                
 Dan Albrecht, Executive Director                                              
 Yukon River Drainage Fisheries Association                                    
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in support of SB 255                         
 Henry Mitchell                                                                
 725 Christensen Drive                                                         
 Anchorage, AK 99501                                                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supports SB 255                                        
 Jude Henzler                                                                  
 Bering Sea Fishermens' Association                                            
 725 Christensen Drive                                                         
 Anchorage, AK 99501                                                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supports SB 255                                        
 Jeff Stephans                                                                 
 United Fishermens' Marketing Association                                      
 P.O. Box 1035                                                                 
 Kodiak, AK 99615                                                              
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in support of SB 255                         
 Art Scheunemann, Executive Director                                           
 Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute                                            
 1111 W. 8th St., Suite 100                                                    
 Juneau, AK 99801-1895                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Has concerns with SB 255                               
 Oliver Burris                                                                 
 2801 Talkeetna                                                                
 Fairbanks, AK 99709                                                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supports SB 247                                        
 Bill Hagar                                                                    
 432 Gaffney Road                                                              
 Fairbanks, AK 99701                                                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supports SB 247                                        
 Pete Shepherd                                                                 
 1012 Galena St.                                                               
 Fairbanks, AK 99709                                                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in support of SB 247                         
 Noel Putman                                                                   
 Ketchikan Sports & Wildlife Club                                              
 P.O. Box 5122                                                                 
 Ketchikan, AK 99901                                                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in support of SB 247                         
 Tony Russ                                                                     
 Alaska Chapter of the Foundation for North American                           
   Wild Sheep                                                                  
 574 Sarah's Way                                                               
 Wasilla, AK 99654                                                             
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in support of SB 247                         
 Carl Brent                                                                    
 Alaska Bowhunters Association                                                 
 1430 Brent PT                                                                 
 Wasilla, AK 99654                                                             
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in support of SB 247                         
 Bill Perhach                                                                  
 Alaska Environmental Lobby                                                    
 P.O. Box 22151                                                                
 Juneau, AK 99802                                                              
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Opposes SB 247                                         
 Ed Grasser                                                                    
 Alaska Outdoor Council                                                        
 P.O. Box 73902                                                                
 Fairbanks, AK 99707                                                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in support of SB 247                         
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
  TAPE 96-33, SIDE A                                                           
 Number 001                                                                    
        SB 223 APPROVE CLOSING SITUK TO MINERAL ENTRY                        
  CHAIRMAN LEMAN  called the Senate Resources Committee meeting to             
 order at 3:40 p.m.  He brought SB 223 before the committee as the             
 first order of business.                                                      
  GERON BRUCE , Legislative Liaison, Alaska Department of Fish & Game,         
 said the legislation actually originated through a land planning              
 process conducted by the Department of Natural Resources.  He noted           
 there was a thorough public review with all the parties involved,             
 and there was no objection to the recommendation in that plan to              
 close the bed of the Situk River and associated lakes and lagoons             
 to new mineral entry.  The Department of Natural Resources executed           
 such an order in April 1995.  SB 223 is required in order to                  
 prevent the order from expiring and to make the closure permanent.            
 Mr. Bruce pointed out the Situk River is the most important river             
 in the Yakutat area and in the state.  It is important to a                   
 multiplicity of users, including commercial fishing for sockeye and           
 coho and recreational fishing.                                                
 Mr. Bruce explained it is important to take action on the                     
 legislation by April 6, because it is a closure that exceeds 640              
 acres, and the interim classification expires on the 90th day of              
 the session unless a law is enacted making it permanent.                      
 Number 090                                                                    
  CHAIRMAN LEMAN  inquired if there are currently any working mining           
 claims in these areas on the Situk.   NICO BUS , Acting Director,             
 Division of Support Services, Department of Natural Resources,                
 responded that there are no mining claims in the area right now.              
 Number 100                                                                    
  CHAIRMAN LEMAN  stated testimony would be taken via teleconference           
 from witnesses waiting to testify in Yakutat.                                 
  CRAIG SWANSON , testifying on behalf of the City & Borough of                
 Yakutat Salmon Enhancement Board in support of SB 223, said the               
 board met earlier in the day and passed a motion to oppose mineral            
 entry of any kind on the Situk River.                                         
 Number 127                                                                    
  JOHN VALE , Chairman of the Yakutat Fish & Game Advisory Committee,          
 said the Situk is the life blood of the economy of Yakutat.  He               
 noted that according a study done by the Department of Fish & Game            
 in 1988, the recreational fishery, just on the  Situk River,                  
 contributed $2.8 million to the Yakutat economy, and since that               
 time, that recreational fishery has expanded by 18 percent.  It is            
 also a multi-million dollar commercial fishery, with 170 set net              
 permits in the Yakutat area out of which approximately half of them           
 fish on the Situk River.  The Situk represents about 50 percent of            
 the commercial fishing income for their area.  The study also                 
 relates that 73 percent of the subsistence salmon harvested in the            
 Yakutat area come from the Situk River.  He urged the committee's             
 support for SB 223.                                                           
 Number 165                                                                    
  DON BREMNER , President of Yak-Tat Kwaan, Inc., stated the                   
 corporation's and shareholders' support for SB 223.  He said the              
 facts stated in the bill regarding the significance of approving              
 the interim classification are right on, although he clarified that           
 it should be referred to as the Yakutat area instead of the                   
 Yakataga area.                                                                
 Number 200                                                                    
  BART ADAMS , President, Yakutat Chamber of Commerce, testifying in           
 support of SB 223, stated the chamber's board and fisheries                   
 committee unanimously oppose any mineral entry being allowed on the           
 Situk River and its drainage due to the potential damage to the               
 river and its valuable resources.                                             
  RAY SENSMEIER , President, Alaska Native Brotherhood, Yakutat,               
 stated their support for SB 223, as well as the support of the                
 Alaska Native Sisterhood.                                                     
 Number 228                                                                    
  STEVE BORELL , Executive Director, Alaska Miners Association,                
 testifying from Anchorage, voiced the association's support for SB
 223 and their recognition of the tremendous steelhead fishery.  He            
 noted a lot of their members are also fishermen, both commercial in           
 some areas of the state and recreational.  Speaking to an amendment           
 being proposed by the Alaska Miners Association, he said it would             
 leave the river bed and the estuaries and the waters untouched, but           
 it would provide an opportunity for the state to also utilize its             
 mineral deposits if such were to be found.  It will provide an                
 opportunity, it would not forever close the door or sterilize any             
 mineral resources that might be there.  He noted underground mining           
 occurs throughout the world and it has absolutely no affect on the            
 Number 257                                                                    
  JULES TILESTON , Director, Division of Mining & Water Management,            
 Department of Natural Resources, testifying from Anchorage,                   
 confirmed the division did a search of the Situk mining claim                 
 records in December.  As of that date, there were no mining claims            
 or leases in the state system, so as far as state lands are                   
 concerned, there are no outstanding mineral rights.                           
  CHAIRMAN LEMAN  requested that Mr. Tileston reserve the rest of              
 testimony until later in the meeting so that testimony could be               
 taken from an individual who was waiting to testify from an                   
 airplane on another bill.  He then set SB 223 aside.                          
        SB 247 USE OF FISH & GAME FUND/COMM'R'S POWERS                       
  CHAIRMAN LEMAN  brought SB 247 before the committee.                         
  LYNN LEVENGOOD , Executive Director, Alaska Wildlife Conservation            
 Association, testifying from an airplane enroute to Dallas, Texas,            
 said the association is dedicated to the restoration of an                    
 abundance of all wildlife in Alaska.  He stated his support and               
 urged the committee's support of a proposed Resources CS, because             
 it is good for Alaska's wildlife and will benefit all Alaskans who            
 seek renewed abundance.  The legislation recognizes that currently            
 nearly 100 percent of Alaska Department of Fish & Game's game                 
 division budget is provided for by purchases of hunting and                   
 trapping licenses.  It strengthens current statutory language which           
 requires that the spending of these user groups' provided monies              
 must directly benefit the purchasers of those licenses.                       
 Mr. Levengood said passage of the bill would prohibit the raiding             
 of Alaska's Fish & Game fund monies for developmental research on             
 an additional road access into Denali National Park, an expenditure           
 which is currently contained in the administration's 1997 CIP                 
 budget.  Passage of the legislation would also prevent the                    
 unilateral shifting and diversion of monies within the Department             
 of Fish & Game.                                                               
 He said the legislation was refocused after it was discovered that            
 last year's legislative appropriations of over $900,000 to the                
 Department of Fish & Game for intensive management projects was               
 spent largely on existing routine data collection, and more                   
 recently, that the administration's $300,000 external review of               
 approved Board of Game projects is scheduled to be paid for by                
 license revenues.  SB 247 will direct funding into the propagation,           
 restocking, transplantation, and habitat projects that will                   
 directly increase Alaska's wildlife population.                               
 Speaking to changes made in the committee substitute, Mr. Levengood           
 said it will clarify some of the objections to the prohibition of             
 funding in areas where federal programs are being instituted; that            
 language was eliminated.  Also, it eliminates a restriction in                
 administrative funding for projects that are approved under the               
 theme provided for in the bill, so it provides additional funding             
 for administrative projects.                                                  
 Number 345                                                                    
  SENATOR TAYLOR , prime sponsor of SB 247, thanked Mr. Levengood for          
 his assistance in working on the concept of the legislation.  He              
 added that the first change in the committee substitute was to                
 provide that there be something in statute at least mandating or              
 requiring the department to provide and cooperate with sportmens'             
 organizations across the state, whenever possible, to increase game           
 populations and to introduce new populations where suitable.                  
  CHAIRMAN LEMAN  thanked Mr. Levengood for his testimony, and then            
 stated SB 247 would be aside and the committee would continue                 
 taking testimony on SB 223.                                                   
 ENTRY) back before the committee, and requested that Mr. Tileston             
 continue with his testimony.                                                  
  JULES TILESTON  reconfirmed that state mining claim records were             
 checked and there are no mining claims and no mineral leases                  
 associated with the area that is within SB 223.                               
 Mr. Tileston noted there was a four-year planning process that                
 included numerous public meetings in Cordova, Yakutat, Juneau and             
 Seward, as well as receipt of approximately 270 written comments              
 and the mailing of 13 newsletters mailed to 750 individuals and               
 organizations.  He added there was no opposition to the proposal              
 before the committee.                                                         
  JIM RICHARDSON , testifying on his own behalf and several sport fish         
 associates who have fished the Situk River with him for the last 20           
 years, voiced his support for SB 223.  He said it is very                     
 appropriate to continue to protect the river, and he urged passage            
 of the legislation.                                                           
 Number 414                                                                    
  CLIFF EAMES , representing the Alaska Center for the Environment in          
 Anchorage, stated their support for SB 223 because they believe it            
 deserves the highest possible level of protection.                            
  JEFF PARKER , Vice Chair, State Council of Trout Unlimited,                  
 testified from Anchorage in support of SB 223.  He spoke of his               
 familiarity with the river and the importance of the area being               
 closed to mineral entry.  He said the steelhead trout is just now             
 coming back from a couple of drought years in the early 1990's,               
 with approximately 5,000 steelhead coming back to the river last              
 year.  He said it is a very important sport fishery and he strongly           
 supports the bill because of the unique production of this river.             
  CHAIRMAN LEMAN  said there was testimony of the Situk's value as a           
 commercial stream and also a sports stream, and he asked if there             
 is any conflict between the two.   MR. PARKER  answered that there            
 has been concern about out-migrating steelhead being caught in the            
 spring by the set gill fishery that targets incoming sockeye.                 
 There is also an issue of whether steelheads should be classified             
 as a customary and traditional subsistence stock, and that question           
 has been before the federal regional subsistence council, but he              
 does not know how that issue was resolved.                                    
 Number 465                                                                    
  SENATOR TAYLOR  asked Mr. Parker if there are any known mineral              
 deposits within this approximately 2,700 acres that anyone is                 
 threatening to develop so that there would need to be a closure               
 imposed.   MR. PARKER  responded no, but he noted that in                     
 Southcentral Alaska they have seen mining claims that are basically           
 phony mining claims and are used for recreational cabins or create            
 problems in land status and land use, including assertions of                 
 trespass that aren't sustainable as a matter of law but,                      
 nevertheless, are asserted.  Those kinds of things happen on high             
 quality fisheries.                                                            
  SENATOR TAYLOR  questioned if there is an actual threat from mining          
 or mineral properties today.   MR. TILESTON  responded that to his            
 knowledge there are no threats of potential mining in the area, but           
 as Mr. Parker testified to, sometimes the mining laws are not                 
 properly used to the discredit of the legitimate mining industry.             
 That has happened and it tends to happen where there are high                 
 recreational values and exceedingly marginal mineral values.                  
 SENATOR TAYLOR  said his concern is that every time he has seen the           
 mineral laws misused in this state for the purpose of locating a              
 recreational cabin in an area, it's because there was no other way            
 possible to get a recreational cabin in that area because the state           
 or the federal government owned every bit of the land and would not           
 allow anyone to live on it or purchase a piece of it.  He added               
 that's with the exception of certain retired banker millionaires              
 that get to own beautiful homes on the Kenai.  He also stated for             
 the record that he thinks that if there is a threat to the Situk,             
 there are two areas from which that threat is going to occur.  One            
 is commercial fishing activity conducted at the mouth of that                 
 stream that may very well impact out-migrant stocks in the spring             
 of the year if not carefully regulated, and the second, which is              
 much more ominous, is if the federal government does, in fact, take           
 over through subsistence law the regulation and management of that            
 stream and it is left wide open for "subsistence harvesting" all              
 the way up the stream with monofilament gillnets.                             
 There being no further testimony on SB 223,  CHAIRMAN LEMAN  stated           
 the bill would be set aside until a quorum was established.                   
       SB 255 PROMOTION BY SEAFOOD MARKETING INSTITUTE                       
  CHAIRMAN LEMAN  brought SB 255 before the committee as the next              
 order of business.                                                            
  SENATOR AL ADAMS , prime sponsor of SB 255, explained the                    
 legislation amends the current status governing the Alaska Seafood            
 Marketing Institute (ASMI) by allowing the institute to promote               
 Alaska seafood on a regional basis.  Currently, seafood promotion             
 must be generic and statewide such as Alaska salmon, Alaska                   
 sockeye.  The bill will amend AS 16.51.110 to allow ASMI to promote           
 seafood by regional basis such as Yukon kings, the Arctic Circle              
 chums, or the Copper River reds.                                              
 Senator Adams said the existing framework for marketing salmon                
 produced in Alaska waters assumes that generic product promotions             
 will increase overall sales thereby providing benefits to fishermen           
 from all regions of the state.  While this works to some extent and           
 may be necessarily part of the overall marketing program, regional            
 disparities in the cost of production and transportation requires             
 that in certain areas niche marketing efforts should be undertaken.           
 Promotion by brand names will be still be prohibited.                         
 Senator Adams pointed out that the bill carries a zero fiscal note            
 and there will be no funds taken from ASMI, however, in order to              
 fund niche promotions, he said he would like to try to find some              
 other funds from other agencies that are willing to help in niche             
 marketing through the reappropriation method.                                 
 Senator Adams also pointed out that the change in law is                      
 permissive; it does not require ASMI to do anything new.                      
  TAPE 96-33, SIDE B                                                           
 Number 001                                                                    
 Number 040                                                                    
  DAN ALBRECHT , Executive Director, Yukon River Drainage Fisheries            
 Association, said the association represents both the Lower Yukon             
 gillnet fleet and fish wheel and set net fishermen in the Upper               
 Yukon.  He said SB 255 represents an initial attempt to address a             
 problem that perhaps was unforeseen several years when ASMI was               
 created, which is a glut on the market and many fish species being            
 priced out of the market.  This has hit the AYK region especially             
 hard because their fish come out of remote areas and salmon is                
 their only fishery.  They are in a situation now where their chums            
 are priced out of the market and many other species are as well.              
 Generic marketing by ASMI doesn't really help them; their fish are            
 always going to cost more than a fish from other parts of the state           
 because it's got to come the farthest distance, so they need to be            
 able to develop markets that will pay that price.  He suggested               
 each region could have its particular fish described for the uses             
 that it's most appropriate for.                                               
 Number 100                                                                    
  HENRY MITCHELL , testifying from Anchorage, said he has been                 
 involved for many years with trying to develop some small scale               
 fisheries and doing some preliminary niche marketing on behalf of             
 some of the fishermen in Western Alaska.  It was determined a                 
 number of years ago that the best possible approach would be to               
 allow ASMI to do that type of intensive niche marketing so that the           
 people, like those in Western Alaska who were experiencing                    
 difficulties, could have that little bit of extra effort paid to              
 their product to assist in developing  a standing in the                      
 marketplace.  He noted the Bering Sea Fishermens' Association did             
 two marketing projects in 1993 and 1994, and they found that on the           
 east coast the chum salmon products and the coho salmon products              
 from Western Alaska were rated as superior products, but in order             
 for the program to be successful, there needs to be an ongoing                
 program.  In addition, there needs to be a mechanism that evolves             
 that provides the availability of these products on a year-round              
 Number 130                                                                    
  JUDE HENZLER , representing the Bering Sea Fishermens' Association           
 and testifying from Anchorage, pointed out that at the present time           
 the chum market is primarily July 4 and before, but the chums in              
 their area arrive July 4 and after.  He also said the association             
 believes that if the public could be educated to the quality of               
 their chum salmon, it would help that market and ultimately help              
 everybody's chum market.                                                      
 Number 145                                                                    
  JEFF STEPHANS , representing United Fishermens' Marketing                    
 Association and testifying from Kodiak, stated their strong support           
 for the work ASMI does, it has done in the past, and intends to do            
 in the future with regard to marketing Alaska salmon.  He observed            
 that without ASMI the situation would be much more complex than it            
 is now.  Speaking to SB 247, he said their association is a little            
 reticent to support this type of approach, and they believe it is             
 a topic that needs to have a little more discussion or                        
 investigation.  He said ASMI already has a very complex task before           
 it given the current situation of the salmon supply in the world,             
 and  requiring ASMI to get involved in niche marketing really opens           
 up a tremendous sweep of complex decisions and possibly some                  
 controversies that would be very difficult to deal with.                      
 Number 195                                                                    
  SENATOR HOFFMAN  commented that Senator Adams is not asking or               
 requiring ASMI to start niche marketing.  It's basically allowing             
 that to happen, and if they can identify sources of funds, they can           
 start assisting an area that is not allowed to sell salmon                    
 presently.  He said he is sure that if Kodiak did not have a market           
 to sell their fish, they would be asking the same.  He stressed the           
 importance of looking farther into the future and pursuing such               
 ideas as this, otherwise, if too much time passes, it may be too              
 late.   MR. STEPHANS  said he understood what Senator Hoffman was             
 saying and he supports the idea, but he thinks given the structure            
 of ASMI and the obvious discussions that would take place within              
 the organization, the whole concept could be pursued and forwarded            
 quicker if some type of niche marketing program were established in           
 DCRA or DCED, etc.                                                            
 Number 250                                                                    
  VIRGIL UMPHENOUR , a member of the Board of Fish testifying from             
 Fairbanks, said the fishermen in the Bristol Bay and AYK regions              
 are very unhappy about ASMI and its one percent assessment, and               
 they feel that ASMI does absolutely nothing for them.  He said that           
 in his opinion, niche marketing should be done because the only               
 thing ASMI basically has promoted is king salmon, king crab,                  
 halibut, and a little bit of pollock, and they need to be                     
 advertising and promoting chum salmon and sockeye salmon.  He noted           
 currently AYK has a zero market for chum salmon for the upcoming              
 season.  He also said fishermen from all over the state, even the             
 fishermen in southeast, are really concerned about the prices of              
 fish, and no one knows what's going to happen this coming fishing             
 season.  He emphasized there needs to be innovative niche                     
 Number 310                                                                    
  ART SCHEUNEMANN , Executive Director, Alaska Seafood Marketing               
 Institute, said ASMI has gone through a number of positive changes            
 and transition in the last two years, and they are attempting                 
 through a fairly active instate PR communications program to carry            
 that message to a wide range of fishermen and processors who are              
 the benefactors of their programs.  He admitted there are people              
 who are unhappy because their products aren't being promoted in the           
 marketplace.  He said a category marketing organization has to stay           
 on a focus, and with a strategy that has been developed in the last           
 two years, they have seen significant growth and consumer awareness           
 in purchases and intent to purchase of Alaska salmon in all                   
 categories of the seafood.                                                    
 Mr. Scheunemann said ASMI, with its programs, would like to see the           
 salmon in Alaska beyond the king in the domestic marketplace, which           
 is a major focus of their efforts at this point in time, but ASMI             
 doesn't control the supply and distribution and the decision making           
 in terms of that part of the business structure.  However, ASMI has           
 been working actively with the fishermen, the processors, etc., to            
 find ways to get dedicated commitments to the domestic marketplace            
 for those species.  They have been providing active, aggressive               
 promotional programs that retailers and food service operators and            
 distributors can utilize to build value in their marketplace, as              
 well as going through a major educational program with their chef             
 and training at the retail level on how to utilize, handle and to             
 merchandise Alaska salmon.                                                    
 Mr. Scheunemann said the ASMI Board of Directors discussed this               
 legislation at their recent board meeting in February and took no             
 official position on it.  However, they do have a concern about               
 changing the statute because they believe that could lend to the              
 competition of competing regions and interests and species against            
 each other, which would push ASMI off of its strategy in a number             
 of different directions and essentially make ASMI the marketing               
 department for each one of these areas.  He added that does not               
 mean ASMI does not recognize the need for creative niche marketing.           
 He has had some experience with working with direct marketing and             
 niche marketing and he knows it works, but whether ASMI is the                
 right vehicle to make it work is another question.                            
 Mr. Scheunemann said he believes this is a larger economic issue              
 under which marketing is one part of the solution, but it may not             
 be the only solution, and it may not be the successful solution               
 unless the other issues are addressed as well.  ASMI believes it is           
 necessary that there be a organized logical approach, and they                
 stand ready to provide as much and whatever appropriate assistance            
 they can, but they have concern in terms of changing the statute.             
 Number 420                                                                    
  SENATOR HOFFMAN  commented that it appears that ASMI is doing                
 nothing on chums and reds, and by excluding those two species of              
 salmon, ASMI is doing anti-niche marketing to those two products.             
 If, in fact, all of the millions of dollars that are being spent to           
 no avail of Bristol Bay and AYK, those people are being extremely             
 hurt by what ASMI is presently doing.                                         
  MR. SCHEUNEMANN  pointed out that the decisions in terms of product          
 are made between the processor, distributor, broker, and the retail           
 chain.  ASMI is prohibited in getting involved in deciding which              
 products are bought and sold.  However, he also pointed out that              
 there has been a significant consumer response to properly handled,           
 properly demonstrated, properly merchandised chum salmon.  This               
 hasn't been done with Bristol Bay sockeye because there aren't any            
 Bristol Bay sockeye in the marketplace, but ASMI does not control             
 that decision making.  He said it is fair to say that ASMI supports           
 niche marketing and that they will provide whatever technical                 
 system that they can on the marketing area.                                   
  SENATOR HOFFMAN  said the state of Alaska, through the Permanent             
 Fund Corporation, has invested many millions of dollars in malls in           
 the United States, and he has sent a letter to the governor asking            
 that they look into having some promotional displays on Alaska fish           
 in some of the major stores in these malls.  He believes this will            
 target the average consumer on the streets and will have some                 
 impact on the retailing of the fish available out there.                      
 Number 610                                                                    
 There being no further testimony on SB 255,  CHAIRMAN LEMAN                   
 stated the bill would be set aside for further action.                        
       SB 247 (USE OF FISH & GAME FUND/COMM'R'S POWERS)                      
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN brought SB 247 back before the committee to take               
 additional testimony on the legislation.                                      
  OLIVER (BUD) BURRIS , testifying from Fairbanks, outlined several            
 programs where hunters' monies have been spent on nonhunting                  
 activities.  He said during that time the Department of Fish & Game           
 should have been planning for increased human populations and                 
 increased numbers of hunters and fishermen, but in the last decade,           
 mismanagement has been responsible for less hunting opportunity and           
 reduced harvest. This has resulted in reduced license sales in the            
 state.  From 1984 through 1993, resident license sales dropped 15             
 percent and nonresident hunting license sales dropped 20 percent.             
 He said active management is desperately needed to increase                   
 wildlife populations, to increase harvest, and to increase hunting            
 and fishing opportunities.                                                    
  BILL HAGAR , testifying from Fairbanks, said the department has              
 testified many times that they want the politics out of fish and              
 game management, and SB 247 will do this, as well as to help the              
 department do a better job.                                                   
  PETE SHEPHERD , testifying from Fairbanks in support of SB 247, said         
 over the years he has witnessed a mounting influence of changing              
 public values in the attitudes of the ADF&G leadership towards                
 those who provide the operational revenues.  He said it is                    
 unconscionable that the fish and game funds are being used in ways            
 that subvert the interests of the paying hunting population.                  
  TAPE 96-34, SIDE A                                                           
 Number 010                                                                    
  NOEL PUTMAN , representing the Ketchikan Sports and Wildlife Club            
 and testifying from Ketchikan, voiced support for SB 247 and the              
 proposed amendment.  He said the Department of Fish & Game has got            
 way off base during the last few years with fish and game                     
 management, and most of the money from the sale of licenses seems             
 to be going into research, or going into the hands of people that             
 would like to see the end of consumptive use within Alaska.  He               
 said SB 247 would see to it that that would end, and he urged it              
 Number 030                                                                    
  TONY RUSS , speaking on behalf of the Alaska Chapter of the                  
 Foundation for North American Wild Sheep from Wasilla, stated their           
 support for SB 247.  They support conservation of and proper                  
 management of wild sheep in Alaska for the purpose of putting more            
 sheep on the mountain.  The recent trends or politically based                
 decisions about wildlife management and disregard for the opinions            
 of professional wildlife managers employed by the state compels               
 them to support the bill.                                                     
  CARL BRENT , representing the Alaska Bowhunters' Association and             
 testifying from Wasilla, voiced their support for SB 247, both for            
 political reasons and for the benefit of all the fishermen, hunters           
 and trappers within the state.                                                
  JEFF PARKER , a sport fisherman testifying from Anchorage, urged the         
 committee to hold the bill over to delete the portions that relate            
 to fish.  He believes it will cause a loss of federal revenues,               
 both on the fisheries side and the game side.  He said all of the             
 sport fish budget is comprised of money from the fish side of the             
 fish and game fund and a three to one match of federal monies.                
 That money is not used presently in the majority of four things               
 contained within the bill.  It is used for things like research and           
 onground management.  About one-third of the money is used in                 
 hatchery programs, and what the bill effectively does is it cranks            
 up the hatchery side of managing the sport fish budget, and it                
 cranks up the harvest side, but it eliminates, for example, being             
 able to spend money on mark recapture programs and population                 
 estimates for rainbow trout that are under catch and release                  
 regulation.  Those mark recapture programs and those population               
 estimates are the fundamental basis of about 30 of our very high              
 quality rainbow and steelhead fishery management programs in the              
 state, and suddenly spending money to sustain those programs is               
 eliminated.  He said years have been spent in protecting wild stock           
 management in this state, not hatchery stocks. He believes all of             
 the sport groups throughout the state will support deleteing fish             
 from the bill.                                                                
 Number 160                                                                    
  BILL PERHACH , a volunteer with the Alaska Environmental Lobby,              
 testified in opposition to SB 247.  They believe the bill focuses             
 on consumptive use of wildlife resources at the exclusion of other            
 uses.  The bill eliminates state funding of any project designed to           
 provide direct benefits to Alaskans engaged in non consumptive use            
 of the state's wildlife resources.  They believe Alaskans have the            
 right to expect the state's natural resources to be managed for the           
 benefit of more than one interest group.  He also pointed out that            
 the bill does not provide immunity from civil actions to members              
 who serve on the Board of Game.                                               
 Number 225                                                                    
  EDDY GRASSER , representing the Alaska Outdoor Council, expressed            
 their frustration by the general trend away from traditional                  
 management of wildlife resources, and their concern about the lack            
 of equity that the nonhunting or anti-hunting groups bring to the             
 table when discussing management of wildlife resources.  He said              
 they fail to recognize that large portions of Alaska are set aside            
 for nonmanagement regimes, or, in a lot of cases, several millions            
 of acres are set aside where hunting can't take place at all.                 
 Because of that, and because of the trend away from traditional               
 management, the council supports SB 247.  They believe the                    
 legislation will provide the perimeters to the department under               
 which they need to operate to get back to traditional management.             
 Number 260                                                                    
  GERON BRUCE , Legislative Liaison, Department of Fish & Game, stated         
 the department's opposition to SB 247 because it would                        
 fundamentally change the way the management of fish and wildlife              
 resources for personal and recreational use is conducted by                   
 restricting the manner in which the two most important sources of             
 funds used to manage wildlife and sport fishing resources can be              
 used.  These two funding sources are the federal aid funding and              
 the revenues received from the sale of fishing and hunting licenses           
 and tags.  The federal aid program requires that state hunting and            
 fishing licenses and tag fees be dedicated to the support of the              
 sport fishing and wildlife management programs conducted by the               
 state.  The motivation to dedicate these funds to fish and wildlife           
 management involved more than just a desire to establish a                    
 predictable source of funding; it was also a conscious attempt to             
 insulate fish and wildlife management activities from the changing            
 winds of political life.                                                      
 SB 247 has two major impacts upon the present way of managing fish            
 and wildlife.  The first is that it takes the decision-making                 
 authority on how the available funds should best be spent to manage           
 fish and wildlife away from the biological staff trained to make              
 those decisions and basically provides it to the legislative body.            
 This not only takes the decision-making authority out of the hands            
 of professionals but it also limits the ability of the staff to               
 respond during the year to changing circumstances and priorities.             
 The other impact about which the department is concerned is the               
 strict limitations on what the fish and game fund and federal funds           
 can be spent for under this legislation.  It removes the ability of           
 the department to use fish and game funds and federal aid funds to            
 accomplish many of its functions, and without all those functions,            
 the department cannot conduct an effective management program.                
 Mr. Bruce said that while the Legislature is trying to reduce the             
 general fund budget for the state, and the governor is also looking           
 for ways to cut general fund spending, this legislation will                  
 increase it by about $30 million a year.                                      
 Mr. Bruce also noted the department is opposed to the definitions             
 of "high level of human harvest", "intensive management", and                 
 "maximum sustained yield" that are contained in SB 247.                       
 Number 380                                                                    
 There being no further testimony on SB 247,  CHAIRMAN LEMAN  closed           
 the public hearing and adjourned the meeting at 5:45 p.m.                     

Document Name Date/Time Subjects