Legislature(1995 - 1996)
03/20/1996 03:40 PM RES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= 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 surface. 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. CHAIRMAN LEMAN brought SB 223 (APPROVE CLOSING SITUK TO MINERAL 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 basis. 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 marketing. 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 passage. 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.