Legislature(1997 - 1998)
1997-07-10 House JournalFull Journal pdf
1997-07-10 House Journal Page 1984 HB 198 The following letter, dated June 20, 1997, was received: "Dear Speaker Phillips: On this date I have signed the following bill and am transmitting the engrossed and enrolled copies to the Lieutenant Governor's Office for permanent filing: 1997-07-10 House Journal Page 1985 HB 198 CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 198(FIN) "An Act relating to regional dive fishery development associations and to dive fishery management assessments; and providing for an effective date." Chapter No. 90, SLA 1997 ªEffective Date: June 21, 1997ß My Administration recognizes the importance of providing for economic opportunities and sound development of our natural resources. Despite having suffered significant budget cuts for commercial fisheries management over the past few years, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G), by working closely with Southeast Alaska communities and the fishing industry, opened the new sea urchin fishery in Southeast this year. It is critical to not jeopardize sound management of existing fisheries upon which Alaska communities and fishing families already depend, as we look to opening new fisheries. Without new funding, needed management costs must be absorbed at the expense of other valuable programs. Establishing self-assessing dive fishery associations through this legislation will provide additional management funds for this new fishery, assuming that these monies are treated as designated program receipts that do not compete with other limited general funds for the department during budget deliberations. While the current legislative leadership has stated its intention to treat funds generated by the dive fishery assessment as designated program receipts, statutory language may be needed to clarify and to ensure that future legislatures will treat them similarly. Additionally, even at the highest percentages allowed under the bill, the revenues generated under HB 198 will not be sufficient to fund management of the urchin fishery, and probably other dive fisheries. Without statutory revision, further budget demands may be placed on the department. In addition, the bill raises policy concerns. An assessment on a particular fishery to fund that fisherys own management is a new direction for fishery management. It may create a new client relationship between participants and managers of a given fishery. ADF&G will implement the bill in the Southeast sea urchin fishery 1997-07-10 House Journal Page 1986 HB 198 with care and caution, considering it a pilot project for this new approach. If problems arise, the department will come back to the Legislature to explain concerns and seek alternatives or amendments to the approach. Finally, HB 198 alone, does not prevent enormous amounts of harvested product from being exported directly out of state for processing. Further work is needed to ensure that employment and other economic benefits to Alaskans are maximized from this new fishery. While we must look for creative new ways to fund state services as state revenues decline, we must do so with eyes open and with great care. I look forward to continuing to work with those in the dive fisheries, processing industry, ADF&G, and the Legislature to ensure the economic potential of dive fisheries is realized while also protecting the resource and our fisheries management system. Sincerely, /s/ Tony Knowles Governor"