Legislature(2005 - 2006)BUTROVICH 205

04/04/2005 03:30 PM RESOURCES

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Moved CSSB 126(RES) Out of Committee
Moved SJR 16 Out of Committee
Moved CSHJR 15(RES) Out of Committee
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE RESOURCES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         April 4, 2005                                                                                          
                           3:35 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Thomas Wagoner, Chair                                                                                                   
Senator Fred Dyson                                                                                                              
Senator Bert Stedman                                                                                                            
Senator Kim Elton                                                                                                               
Senator Ralph Seekins, Vice Chair                                                                                               
Senator Ben Stevens                                                                                                             
Senator Gretchen Guess                                                                                                          
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
All Members Present                                                                                                             
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
SENATE BILL NO. 126                                                                                                             
"An Act relating to aquatic farming; and providing for an                                                                       
effective date."                                                                                                                
     MOVED CSSB 126(RES) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                       
SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 16                                                                                                  
Supporting legislation before the United States Congress that                                                                   
reaffirms the right of the states to regulate hunting and                                                                       
     MOVED SJR 16 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                              
CS FOR HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 15(RES)                                                                                       
Relating to open ocean aquaculture in the federal exclusive                                                                     
economic zone.                                                                                                                  
     MOVED CSHJR 15(RES) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                       
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: SB 126                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: AQUATIC FARMING                                                                                                    
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) STEDMAN                                                                                                  
03/02/05       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/02/05       (S)       JUD, RES                                                                                               
03/23/05       (S)       JUD AT 8:30 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/23/05       (S)       Moved SB 126 Out of Committee                                                                          
03/23/05       (S)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
03/24/05       (S)       JUD RPT  3DP 2NR                                                                                       
03/24/05       (S)       DP: SEEKINS, THERRIAULT, HUGGINS                                                                       
03/24/05       (S)       NR: FRENCH, GUESS                                                                                      
04/04/05       (S)       RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
BILL: SJR 16                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: STATES' RIGHT TO REGULATE HUNTING/FISHING                                                                          
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) THERRIAULT                                                                                               
03/21/05       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/21/05       (S)       RES                                                                                                    
04/04/05       (S)       RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
BILL: HJR 15                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: OPEN OCEAN AQUACULTURE                                                                                             
SPONSOR(s): FISHERIES                                                                                                           
03/01/05       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/01/05       (H)       FSH, RES                                                                                               
03/09/05       (H)       FSH AT 8:30 AM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
03/09/05       (H)       Moved CSHJR 15(FSH) Out of Committee                                                                   
03/09/05       (H)       MINUTE(FSH)                                                                                            
03/10/05       (H)       FSH RPT CS(FSH) 4DP                                                                                    
03/10/05       (H)       DP: HARRIS, WILSON, LEDOUX, THOMAS                                                                     
03/21/05       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
03/21/05       (H)       Moved CSHJR 15(RES) Out of Committee                                                                   
03/21/05       (H)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
03/22/05       (H)       RES RPT CS(RES) 9DP                                                                                    
03/22/05       (H)       DP: OLSON, KAPSNER, GATTO, ELKINS,                                                                     
                         LEDOUX,   CRAWFORD,    SEATON,   RAMRAS,                                                               
03/23/05       (H)       TRANSMITTED TO (S)                                                                                     
03/23/05       (H)       VERSION: CSHJR 15(RES)                                                                                 
03/24/05       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/24/05       (S)       RES                                                                                                    
04/04/05       (S)       RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
MARY JACKSON                                                                                                                    
Staff to Senator Wagoner                                                                                                        
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 126 for the sponsor.                                                                      
TIM BARRY                                                                                                                       
Staff to Senator Stedman                                                                                                        
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 126 for the sponsor.                                                                      
PAUL FUHS                                                                                                                       
PAC Alaska                                                                                                                      
Juneau AK                                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 126.                                                                                         
ROGER PAINTER                                                                                                                   
Alaskan Shellfish Growers' Association                                                                                          
Juneau AK                                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 126.                                                                                         
DAVID BEDFORD, Deputy Commissioner                                                                                              
Department of Fish & Game                                                                                                       
PO Box 25526                                                                                                                    
Juneau, AK  99802-5226                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 126.                                                                                         
JULIE DECKER, Executive Director                                                                                                
Southeast Regional Dive Fishery Association                                                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 126.                                                                                         
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
CHAIR  THOMAS  WAGONER  called   the  Senate  Resources  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting to  order at 3:35:54 PM.  Present were Senators                                                             
Elton, Stedman, Dyson and Chair Wagoner.                                                                                        
                     SB 126-AQUATIC FARMING                                                                                 
CHAIR WAGONER announced SB 126 to be up for consideration.                                                                      
SENATOR STEDMAN  moved to adopt  CSSB 126(RES), version  F. There                                                               
were no objections and it was so ordered.                                                                                       
MARY JACKSON,  staff to Senator Wagoner,  said "acquire ownership                                                               
of"  was deleted  on page  1,  line 1  and  page 3,  line 6,  has                                                               
revisions of the  phrase "on the site". The  original version had                                                               
it at the end of the line and  the CS has it in the middle of the                                                               
TIM  BARRY, staff  to Senator  Stedman, sponsor  of SB  126, said                                                               
this  legislation was  requested  by a  coalition  of the  Alaska                                                               
Department of  Fish and Game  (ADF&G), Southeast  Alaska Regional                                                               
Dive  Fisheries  Association  and the  Alaska  Shellfish  Growers                                                               
Association  that have  been working  for  a number  of years  to                                                               
resolve a number of legal  and management difficulties which have                                                               
prevented  the  development  of  a  fledgling  shellfish  farming                                                               
industry in Southeast Alaska.                                                                                                   
     SB 126 amends the state's  Aquatic Farming Act to allow                                                                    
     aquatic  farms to  continue  to  operate in  compliance                                                                    
     with  a Supreme  Court  decision made  last April.  The                                                                    
     State Supreme Court ruled that  the Aquatic Farming Act                                                                    
     requires  the  Department  of Fish  and  Game  to  deny                                                                    
     shellfish farmers  exclusive rights to what  I refer to                                                                    
     as significant  populations of  wild geoducks  on their                                                                    
     proposed farm sites.                                                                                                       
MR.  BARRY  said  since  that   decision,  the  Southeast  Alaska                                                               
Regional Dive  Fish Association  (SARDFA), the  Alaskan Shellfish                                                               
Growers Association  and the Alaska  Department of Fish  and Game                                                               
(ADF&G)  have  negotiated an  agreement  that  would allow  these                                                               
farmers  to  harvest  insignificant populations  of  the  geoduck                                                               
clams on their  sites without having to replace  them. It defines                                                               
an "insignificant  population" as  one that  would not  support a                                                               
commercial fishery.  He said  it should have  a zero  fiscal note                                                               
from the ADF&G.                                                                                                                 
3:41:35 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATORS BEN STEVENS, SEEKINS AND GUESS joined the committee.                                                                   
3:42:27 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR ELTON  said Amendment  1 addressed  a fairly  broad title                                                               
and asked if it was going to be offered.                                                                                        
MR.  BARRY explained  that the  changes in  the CS  were made  to                                                               
conform the Senate  version to the House version.  A title change                                                               
was made in the House an hour  ago. This amendment was made in an                                                               
effort to  keep up with  what they are  doing and there  was some                                                               
concern about a broad title.                                                                                                    
3:43:42 PM                                                                                                                    
PAUL  FUHS said  he represents  PAC  Alaska, one  of the  pioneer                                                               
farming operations.  He supported  the CS  and the  amendment. He                                                               
pointed  out that  language  in section  (f) on  page  2 is  very                                                               
convoluted and needs clarification.                                                                                             
     This does not  mean that Fish and Game  can authorize a                                                                    
     commercial  fishing  operation  on a  farm  after  it's                                                                    
     planted and  has been granted. What  this language does                                                                    
     is it allows them to say,  'Okay, we're going to set an                                                                    
     insignificant  level.'  Now  if   we  made  a  mistake,                                                                    
     despite all of our best  efforts to make sure there are                                                                    
     insignificant  stocks  on  there, and  then  by  chance                                                                    
     there's  more  than  that, this  allows  the  state  to                                                                    
     assess  what's essentially  a  windfall  profit tax  on                                                                    
3:46:10 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. FUHS explained that it is a common-sense solution to say:                                                                   
     The farmers will  pay the 3% like everybody  else up to                                                                    
     12,000 lbs, or whatever the  amount is set. That's what                                                                    
     Fish and  Game has said  they are  going to set  it at.                                                                    
     We'll see  what happens  in those regulations  and then                                                                    
     after that,  you'll pay a super  tax of 10 times  or 15                                                                    
     times the amount  that would normally be  paid and then                                                                    
     that money could  be used to replant  other areas. This                                                                    
     is an  attempt to address the  constitutional issues of                                                                    
     the  common property  resource. It  is limited  only by                                                                    
     the common property resource.                                                                                              
     The  limited entry  when  the constitutional  amendment                                                                    
     went in  and then it  also said 'and for  the efficient                                                                    
     development  of  aquaculture.'  It's never  real  clear                                                                    
     what  that section  means. We  know what  limited entry                                                                    
     means; we have  that. So, it's the  tension around this                                                                    
     constitutional  issue  - is  why  that  language is  in                                                                    
3:46:25 PM                                                                                                                    
ROGER PAINTER,  Alaskan Shellfish Growers  Association, supported                                                               
CSSB  126(RES)  wholeheartedly.  He  said  it  is  vital  to  the                                                               
industry and has  been thoroughly gone over by  the Department of                                                               
3:47:56 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  DYSON asked  why shellfish  farming is  an insignificant                                                               
threat  to wild  stock and  the  environment and  how it  differs                                                               
fundamentally from open ocean finfish farming.                                                                                  
MR.  PAINTER   replied  that  the  biggest   difference  is  that                                                               
shellfish are not  mobile. Most are kept inside  cages.  Geoducks                                                               
burrow  and  can go  up  and  down,  but  can't move  around.  In                                                               
addition,  the  state  has stringent  controls  on  genetics  and                                                               
diseases. Growers are  required to get brood stock  from the wild                                                               
in the  area that  the shellfish are  being grown.  All shellfish                                                               
are  inspected   for  diseases   before  going   to  a   farm  or                                                               
transferring to another site.                                                                                                   
3:50:05 PM                                                                                                                    
DAVID  BEDFORD, Deputy  Commissioner, Alaska  Department of  Fish                                                               
and  Game (ADF&G),  supported CSSB  126(RES).  He said  shellfish                                                               
mariculture  has  substantial  promise  for  the  state  and  the                                                               
private sector. It has been  prevented from growing to the extent                                                               
that it  can in  large measure  because of  the question  of what                                                               
kind of access  a shellfish grower has to  common property stock.                                                               
A  Superior  Court  decision informed  the  department  that  the                                                               
constitution  required  it  to provide  access  to  insignificant                                                               
amounts of shellfish to shellfish  farmers. Then, a Supreme Court                                                               
decision said the  department couldn't do that  because it didn't                                                               
have  statutory   authority.  SB  126  remedies   both  of  those                                                               
problems.  It   gives  the   department  authority   and  defines                                                               
insignificant stock.                                                                                                            
3:52:28 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR WAGONER asked how long it takes for a geoduck to mature.                                                                  
MR. BEDFORD replied five to seven years.                                                                                        
SENATOR SEEKINS  asked why  on page 1,  line 9,  deletes "acquire                                                               
ownership of".                                                                                                                  
3:53:36 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. BEDFORD replied  that as originally drafted you  could have a                                                               
situation in  which a farmer  would get a  lease for a  farm site                                                               
and acquire ownership  of the stock; he would  then surrender the                                                               
lease and  still own the stock.  He wanted to avoid  that type of                                                               
situation. The department wants the  farmer to be able to harvest                                                               
a small  amount of stock in  the course of his  business, but not                                                               
to own the farm site.                                                                                                           
SENATOR SEEKINS added that he  understands that transfer of title                                                               
to  a  wild stock  of  anything  under  settle  law would  be  at                                                               
harvest.  He asked  if they  are not  precluding the  farmer from                                                               
taking title to  the ownership of the stock when  he harvests it,                                                               
but not before it's harvested.                                                                                                  
MR. BEDFORD replied that was correct.                                                                                           
3:55:34 PM                                                                                                                    
JULIE  DECKER,   Executive  Director,  Southeast   Regional  Dive                                                               
Fisheries  Association, supported  CSSB 126(RES).  It has  helped                                                               
resolve a six-year controversy over  who gets to harvest the wild                                                               
standing stocks of geoducks on farm sites.                                                                                      
3:56:45 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEDMAN  moved to adopt  Amendment 1 to CSSB  126(RES) to                                                               
delete  line 1  on page  2  and to  insert, "An  Act relating  to                                                               
aquatic  plant  and  shellfish  farming;  and  providing  for  an                                                               
effective date."  There were  no objections  and Amendment  1 was                                                               
SENATOR DYSON  moved to  pass CSSB  126(RES) from  committee with                                                               
individual recommendations  and attached fiscal note.  There were                                                               
no objections and it was so ordered.                                                                                            
3:59:09 PM At ease                                                                                                            
        SJR 16-STATES' RIGHT TO REGULATE HUNTING/FISHING                                                                    
CHAIR WAGONER announced SJR 16 to be up for consideration.                                                                      
SENATOR  THERRIAULT,   sponsor,  explained   that  it   puts  the                                                               
legislature on record as being  supportive of legislation, HR 731                                                               
and  S 339,  that are  pending currently  before the  US Congress                                                               
reaffirming  state regulation  of the  Resident and  Non-Resident                                                               
Hunting and Fishing Act of 2005.                                                                                                
4:04:01 PM                                                                                                                    
He said  Congress has  not taken action  to preclude  states from                                                               
exercising their own sovereign power  with regards to hunting and                                                               
fish when it comes specifically to residents versus non-                                                                        
4:05:35 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  SEEKINS  said  that sometime  court  decisions  actually                                                               
confuse things about what powers  were transferred to the federal                                                               
government in the  US Constitution and told a story  about a pre-                                                               
1953  Supreme  Court  decision that  said  the  three-mile  limit                                                               
didn't  exist  as  to  state ownership,  which  had  always  been                                                               
assumed to  be the  case since  the beginning  of the  nation. In                                                               
order to overcome  that adverse decision, the  US Congress passed                                                               
the 1953  Submerged Lands Act to  make clear that the  states get                                                               
that land.                                                                                                                      
4:09:24 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  DYSON  moved   to  pass  SJR  16   from  committee  with                                                               
individual recommendations.  There were no objections  and it was                                                               
so ordered.                                                                                                                     
4:09:54 PM AT EASE 4:11:19 PM                                                                                               
                 HJR 15-OPEN OCEAN AQUACULTURE                                                                              
CHAIR WAGONER announced HJR 15 to be up for consideration.                                                                      
IAN  FISK, staff  to Representative  John  Harris, sponsor,  said                                                               
that  HJR  15  bluntly  opposes fish  farming  in  the  Exclusive                                                               
Economic Zone  (EEZ) from  three miles  out to  200 miles.  He is                                                               
concerned  about biological  problems with  fish farming  such as                                                               
the   introduction  of   genetically   modified  organisms,   the                                                               
transmission  of disease,  escapes into  the natural  environment                                                               
and the effects on human of eating these fish.                                                                                  
There are economic concerns, as well.  In 1990 the state passed a                                                               
ban  on fish  farming  in  state waters.  While  the farmed  fish                                                               
industry has hurt  the Alaskan salmon industry,  it's also helped                                                               
identify Alaskan salmon as unique  and good. People are concerned                                                               
what will  happen to that  reputation if fish farming  is allowed                                                               
in  the EEZ.  This resolution  also asks  for the  legislature to                                                               
prepare  an  environmental  impact  statement  to  accompany  any                                                               
proposal before Congress.                                                                                                       
4:14:29 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  SEEKINS didn't  agree with  the first  whereas statement                                                               
that  all  of   Alaska's  wild  fish  stocks   were  healthy  and                                                               
sustainable. He said he knows of occasional localized problems.                                                                 
CHAIR WAGONER  agreed with most of  what Mr. Fisk said,  but took                                                               
exception to  the fact that  it's not  going to have  an economic                                                               
impact and that there  is a zero fiscal note. "In  a lot of cases                                                               
it could have  a very negative impact on the  State of Alaska and                                                               
the fish stock that we have protected over the years...."                                                                       
4:16:52 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  DYSON  moved   to  pass  HJR  15   from  committee  with                                                               
individual recommendations and attached  fiscal notes. There were                                                               
no objections and it was so ordered.                                                                                            
There being no further business to come before the committee,                                                                   
Chair Wagoner adjourned the meeting at 4:19:32 PM.                                                                            

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