Legislature(1993 - 1994)

02/18/1994 08:30 AM House FSH

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
  HB 448 - WASTE & USE OF SALMON; HATCHERIES                                   
  CHAIRMAN MOSES announced the only order of business would be                 
  HB 448, "An Act relating to waste and use of salmon and                      
  parts of salmon; relating to permits for and operation of a                  
  salmon hatchery; and providing for an effective date."  He                   
  noted the bill was introduced at the request of the                          
  GAME, said the legislation addresses the issue of trying to                  
  get the most value from Alaska's returning hatchery fish.                    
  He explained the hatcheries are sited and permitted in such                  
  a fashion that a majority of the fish they produce are                       
  harvested in the common property fisheries.  However, in                     
  order to provide brood stock to the hatcheries so they may                   
  continue production to provide cost recovery to pay for the                  
  hatchery operations, and to protect the smaller wild stocks,                 
  a portion of the return cannot be harvested in the common                    
  property fishery.  It is harvested in the terminal area.                     
  MR. BRUCE stated for the most part, the fish that are                        
  harvested for cost recovery purposes in the terminal area                    
  are acceptable quality fish.  However, there are                             
  circumstances and conditions which result in a portion of                    
  those runs deteriorating to the point at which the flesh is                  
  no longer suitable for human consumption.  There isn't a                     
  market for the carcasses and, as a result, a number of fish                  
  aren't unutilized.  These fish contain roe which still does                  
  have considerable value.                                                     
  MR. BRUCE explained the bill addresses a situation that                      
  developed in Prince William Sound in 1991, where a very                      
  large return of pink salmon did come back to the Sound, but                  
  because of weak wild stocks, the late entry pattern of the                   
  fish and the fact that they arrived in a very big rush, the                  
  harvesters in the processing industry were not able to deal                  
  with the bulk of fish arriving.  As a result, a number of                    
  fish couldn't be utilized and these fish, three million                      
  pounds, were seined, put on tenders and taken to deep water                  
  and disposed of.  He said if HB 448 had been in effect, the                  
  roe would have been salvaged from those fish which would                     
  have paid the disposal costs and may have yielded some                       
  revenue to the hatchery.                                                     
  MR. BRUCE said three conditions would have to be met before                  
  the harvest could take place:  1. The fish would have to be                  
  from a hatchery;  2. The fish would have had to return and                   
  be in a terminal harvest area; and 3. A determination would                  
  have to be made by the commissioner of the Department of                     
  Fish and Game that these fish were unsuitable for human                      
  MR. BRUCE said the legislation provides for a permit system                  
  for the harvesting of the fish.  He said the department                      
  wants to be careful that only hatchery fish from designated                  
  areas are harvested in this manner.  There would be a permit                 
  system in which there would have to be a request to the                      
  commissioner to declare fish, in certain terminal locations,                 
  to be in a condition to where only the roe was of value.                     
  Under regulations, certain requirements must be met by                       
  hatcheries or fishermen that participated in harvest in                      
  those terminal areas.  They would have to register, and                      
  supply information regarding the number of fish and the                      
  pounds of roe they harvested.                                                
  MR. BRUCE said that under the permit system and regulations,                 
  the department would have the authority to require                           
  additional stipulations in order to make sure the harvest is                 
  directed only at the fish they think it should be directed                   
  MR. BRUCE referred to the value of roe and said the farmed                   
  industry does not produce marketable roe as a by-product.                    
  Fish in farmed operations are harvested before they are                      
  sexually mature.  There are hatcheries that continue the                     
  production, but very little of that egg production gets into                 
  the market.                                                                  
  Number 149                                                                   
  MR. BRUCE explained that the value of frozen red salmon in                   
  1989 was $640 million, the value of salmon roe was $76                       
  million.  In 1990, the value of frozen red salmon was $657                   
  million, and $86 million for roe.  In 1991, the value of                     
  frozen red salmon dropped to $354 million, but the value of                  
  roe continued to increase to $91.8 million.  In 1992, the                    
  value of the red salmon was $765 million, and frozen roe                     
  continued to rise to $114 million.  In 1993, frozen red                      
  salmon was worth $627 million, and roe was worth $177                        
  MR. BRUCE said it is the department's view that the                          
  legislation would result in a relatively small portion of                    
  the returns being utilized.  In the case of some of the                      
  hatcheries and in the situation of the difficult financial                   
  conditions facing the salmon industry, if a few more million                 
  dollars can be earned out of some fish that we currently                     
  aren't getting any value out of, it would be a benefit to                    
  the state.                                                                   
  MR. BRUCE noted he had provided the committee with the                       
  Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) color evaluation                   
  guide for Pacific salmon.                                                    
  Number 189                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE IRENE NICHOLAI asked why the proposal didn't                  
  go before the Board of Fisheries.  MR. BRUCE said the bill                   
  requires the statute be changed and the board doesn't have                   
  that authority.                                                              
  Number 196                                                                   
  AQUACULTURE CORPORATION, testified via teleconference from                   
  Cordova.  She explained the corporation consists of twelve                   
  hatcheries in Prince William Sound and Cordova.  She noted                   
  she is also the Public Relations Manager for the                             
  corporation.  Ms. McCarty said her organization supports HB
  448, but would like to see two changes.  On page 3, line 12,                 
  of the original bill, she would like to see the language                     
  "used for brood stock" be replaced with "taken from wild                     
  stock for hatchery incubation purposes."                                     
  REPRESENTATIVE HARLEY OLBERG explained that there is a                       
  proposed committee substitute which changes the words "used                  
  for brood stock" to "to be incubated."                                       
  MS. MCCARTY also suggested that "for brood stock" be changed                 
  to "for propagation" on page 4, line 1.                                      
  REPRESENTATIVE OLBERG explained that the proposed committee                  
  substitute changes the wording to "for incubation."  MS.                     
  MCCARTY concurred with the changes.                                          
  Number 253                                                                   
  ASSOCIATION, testified via teleconference from Soldotna.  He                 
  explained his association operates four hatcheries in the                    
  Cook Inlet Region.  Mr. Mears said he believes the bill will                 
  be a helpful addition to the continuing need to try to get                   
  as much value as we can out of the fish that return.  He                     
  said there are situations where late in the return they are                  
  doing hatchery egg takes and there might be some surplus                     
  brood stock.  He said if they could take the eggs and sell                   
  them, they could generate some positive cash flow.  Mr.                      
  Mears said he supports the committee substitute.                             
  Number 280                                                                   
  RICHARD ANDREW, COMMERCIAL FISHERMAN, testified in support                   
  of HB 448.  He said he thinks it will help a lot.                            
  Number 285                                                                   
  KENNETH DUCKETT, KETCHIKAN GILLNETTER, testified in support                  
  of HB 448.  He said he believes there needs to be                            
  legislation developed to obtain the maximum value from fish.                 
  We need to utilize all the fish that we are paying for to be                 
  raised through hatchery programs.  Mr. Duckett said he                       
  believes the legislation will give the fishermen some                        
  flexibility to recover resources that are not being fully                    
  utilized.  He urged passage of the bill.                                     
  Number 304                                                                   
  REGIONAL AQUACULTURE ASSOCIATION, explained that his                         
  organization is composed of three hatcheries, five remote                    
  sites, and several other enhancement projects.  He said                      
  Southern Southeast Aquaculture Association supports the                      
  intent of HB 448.  Mr. Holloran noted the concerns he had                    
  were addressed by Ms. McCarty.  He said they support HB 448                  
  based on the fact that the commissioner will provide a clear                 
  direction in that the regulations will be consistent with                    
  the intent of the legislature.  Mr. Holloran said his                        
  association and staff will cooperate with the commissioner                   
  if he requires their assistance.                                             
  AQUACULTURE ASSOCIATION, testified from Sitka.  He said his                  
  organization is in support of HB 448 for all the reasons                     
  that have already been stated.                                               
  Number 333                                                                   
  ASSOCIATION, said his association is in support of the                       
  legislation, and their concerns have been addressed by Ms.                   
  Number 341                                                                   
  KEVIN MCDOUGALL was next to testify in support of HB 448.                    
  He explained he is a fisherman and an individual processor                   
  in the Juneau area.  Mr. McDougall informed the committee                    
  members he has been marketing his own salmon since 1991.  He                 
  explained that brood stock eggs are taken and incubated at a                 
  hatchery.  The fry are then brought to a remote release area                 
  in the spring, where they are held and fed for different                     
  lengths of time.  The purpose is for the fry to grow and to                  
  imprint them so they come back to that remote release area.                  
  They do not return to the hatchery even through they were                    
  incubated at the hatchery.  Mr. McDougall referred to remote                 
  release sites and said they are designated as what might be                  
  called a wipe out fishery.  The fish are not there to create                 
  a new salmon run, they are totally for harvest by fishermen                  
  that are fishing in that area.  Concerns regarding brood                     
  stock and escapement aren't a problem.                                       
  MR. MCDOUGALL said at a certain point in a run, the fish                     
  start to deteriorating to a point where the egg value is                     
  still there, but the color of the skin and flesh has                         
  deteriorated to where the market no longer wants the fish.                   
  Currently, there are fish coming to the remote release sites                 
  that are going to waste because of existing regulations.                     
  He said the legislation will allow fishermen to extract the                  
  value from the eggs.  Mr. McDougall believes there will be                   
  some opposition to the bill from individual processors.  If                  
  the processors want to continue to buy those fish, that                      
  option is still open to them.  They can choose to no longer                  
  buy a fish, but yet they do not want someone else to extract                 
  any value out of them.  He urged passage of the legislation.                 
  DAVID BRAY, GILLNETTER, testified in support of HB 448.  He                  
  said he believes it address some of the want and waste that                  
  has been occurring.                                                          
  testified in support of HB 448.  He noted his organization's                 
  concerns have been addressed in the proposed committee                       
  substitute.  He said there probably will be some opposition                  
  to the bill and he is afraid the public might misunderstand                  
  the bill.  He said it is not in a roe stripping business.                    
  UFA's position is that fish which have any chance of being                   
  marketed, shouldn't have their roe taken.  Mr. McCune said                   
  his organization doesn't want to see any abuse.                              
  Number 471                                                                   
  There being no further testimony, REPRESENTATIVE OLBERG                      
  moved to adopt CSHB 448(FSH).  Hearing no objection, the                     
  motion carried.                                                              
  Representative Olberg moved to pass CSHB 448(FSH), out of                    
  the House Special Committee on Fisheries, with individual                    
  recommendations.  There being no objection, CSHB 448 (FSH)                   
  was passed out of committee with individual recommendations.                 
  There being no further business to come before the House                     
  Special Committee on Fisheries, Chairman Moses adjourned the                 
  meeting at 9:20 a.m.                                                         

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