Legislature(2009 - 2010)BARNES 124

02/09/2010 10:15 AM FISHERIES

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved HCS CSSJR 22(FSH) Out of Committee
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
              HB 266-PERSONAL USE FISHING PRIORITY                                                                          
10:51:57 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR EDGMON announced  that the final order of  business would be                                                              
HOUSE  BILL  NO. 266  "An  Act  providing  for  a priority  for  a                                                              
fishery   that   is   restricted   to   residents   when   fishing                                                              
restrictions are implemented to achieve an escapement goal."                                                                    
10:52:14 AM                                                                                                                   
BEN  MULLIGAN, Staff,  Representative Bill  Stoltze, Alaska  State                                                              
Legislature,  speaking on  behalf of  the sponsor,  Representative                                                              
Stoltze, paraphrased from the sponsor statement, which read:                                                                    
     Insuring   that  residents   have  access  to   Alaska's                                                                   
     fisheries   resources  is   vitally   important  as   we                                                                   
     continue  to grow as  a state.   Right now, user  groups                                                                   
     are  growing  both in  size  and number,  splitting  the                                                                   
     allocation  of our  resources into  smaller and  smaller                                                                   
     percentages.    However,  one  thing  all  Alaskans  can                                                                   
     agree on is  that we should have a priority  over people                                                                   
     coming from  elsewhere in the  country and the  world to                                                                   
     utilize and harvest our fisheries resources.                                                                               
     Fisheries  that are  restricted  to  residents only  are                                                                   
     meant  to  enable  Alaskans to  access  their  fisheries                                                                   
     resources  for  their  personal   use  and  consumption.                                                                   
     Currently,  there   are  many  personal   use  fisheries                                                                   
     throughout  the state.  Excluding  the priority  that is                                                                   
     already  contained within  statute  for subsistence,  HB
     266   directs   the   Board  of   Fisheries   to   place                                                                   
     restrictions  on sport and  commercial fisheries  before                                                                   
     putting  restrictions  on personal  use  fisheries  when                                                                   
     the  harvest  of  a  stock  or  species  is  limited  to                                                                   
     achieve an escapement goal.                                                                                                
     I ask  for your consideration  and support of HB  266 so                                                                   
     Alaskans  can  be assured  that  they will  continue  to                                                                   
     have  access   to  their  fisheries  resources   to  the                                                                   
     benefit of themselves and their families.                                                                                  
10:53:23 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON referred to the sponsor statement, and                                                                   
asked which fisheries the term personal use includes.                                                                           
MR. MULLIGAN  said he would defer  to Alaska Department  of Fish &                                                              
Game (ADF&G)  for a  definitive answer, but  it would  include dip                                                              
netting,  crab   pots,  shrimp  pots,   but  not  hook   and  line                                                              
10:54:43 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER moved to adopt CSHB 266, 26-LS1199\S,                                                                     
Kane, 2/22/10, as the working document.                                                                                         
CHAIR EDGMON, hearing no objection, announced that Version S was                                                                
before the committee.                                                                                                           
10:55:28 AM                                                                                                                   
JENNIFER  YUHAS,   Public  Communications  Director,   Legislative                                                              
Liaison, Office  of the Commissioner,  stated that  the department                                                              
does not take official positions on allocative issues.                                                                          
10:56:13 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ asked how personal use is determined.                                                                      
10:56:22 AM                                                                                                                   
MS.  YUHAS  said that  a  proposal  is  brought  to the  Board  of                                                              
Fisheries  (BOF),   followed  by   public  testimony,   and  eight                                                              
specific criteria are  taken into account.  Board  action may then                                                              
result in the  naming of an area  for personal use.   She deferred                                                              
to legal counsel for further comment.                                                                                           
10:57:24 AM                                                                                                                   
LANCE   NELSON,  Senior   Assistant   Attorney  General,   Natural                                                              
Resources Section,  Department of  Law, pointed out  that personal                                                              
use only  applies to  fishing and  said there  is not a  statutory                                                              
standard that  the board considers  prior to declaring  a personal                                                              
use   fishery.     The  BOF   makes   the  determination   without                                                              
consideration   for  tradition,   culture,   or  other   findings.                                                              
Historically,  however,   the  board  has  created   personal  use                                                              
fisheries  in areas  designated  as  nonsubsistence.   There  have                                                              
been occasion  when an area has  not met the criteria  to be named                                                              
for  subsistence  use,  and  the   board  has  designated  it  for                                                              
personal use.                                                                                                                   
10:59:09 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR EDGMON opened public testimony.                                                                                           
10:59:19 AM                                                                                                                   
MATTHEW  DONOHOE  stated  opposition   to  HB  266  and  expressed                                                              
concern that the  bill may represent a reallocation  of, or a grab                                                              
for,  a   resource.     He  questioned   the  necessity   for  the                                                              
11:01:04 AM                                                                                                                   
JOHN MURRAY  stated  opposition to  HB 266 and  reported that  the                                                              
BOF  prioritizes personal  use fisheries  in  the Southeast  area,                                                              
when it's  deemed necessary.   He  speculated  that the issue  may                                                              
represent localized  conflicts, which should be  addressed through                                                              
the board process.   Legislation does not appear  to be necessary,                                                              
he said.                                                                                                                        
11:02:35 AM                                                                                                                   
ROD  ARNO,  Executive  Director,  Alaska  Outdoor  Council  (AOC),                                                              
stated support  for HB 266.   He informed  the committee  that the                                                              
AOC  is  currently in  litigation  with  the  BOF because  of  the                                                              
board's inability  to comply with Article 8,  Section 3, regarding                                                              
common  use, of the  Alaska State  Constitution.   He pointed  out                                                              
that the bill will affect nonsubsistence areas as well.                                                                         
11:03:36 AM                                                                                                                   
MELVIN  GROVE, Member,  Mat-Su  Fish  and Game  Advisory  Council,                                                              
Board Member, Alaska  Outdoor Access Alliance, stated  support for                                                              
HB 266  and said residents  should have a prioritized  opportunity                                                              
to catch fish.   Under the Public  Trust Doctrine, fish  are not a                                                              
commercial  resource.   "The  public should  have  every right  to                                                              
catch their own over having to buy it at the store," he said.                                                                   
11:05:01 AM                                                                                                                   
STEPHEN RUNYAN,  Chairman, Susitna  Valley Fish and  Game Advisory                                                              
Committee,  stated support  for  HB 266,  reporting that  personal                                                              
use  fisheries are  important in  the  Mat-Su Valley.   He  opined                                                              
that  there should  be fishing  priority given  to residents  over                                                              
nonresidents and nonconsumptive uses.                                                                                           
11:07:17 AM                                                                                                                   
BYRON  HALEY, President,  Chitina Dip  Netters Association,  Board                                                              
Member,  Alaska  Fish  and  Wildlife   Conservation  Fund,  stated                                                              
support for  HB 266 and said  that recently the  Conservation Fund                                                              
Board voted unanimously in favor of the bill.                                                                                   
11:07:32 AM                                                                                                                   
KEN  LARSON, Representative,  Prince  William  Sound Charter  Boat                                                              
Association,  stated  support for  HB  266.   He  said, "The  king                                                              
salmon fishery and  the halibut fishery are treaty  fish and [are]                                                              
federally managed."   Referring  to previous testimony,  he opined                                                              
that  Alaska has  already  experienced a  resource  grab with  the                                                              
commercial fishery  controlling 85  percent of the  annual halibut                                                              
harvest, including  the by-catch.   Suggesting that HB  266 should                                                              
include a  prioritization on fishing  restrictions, from  first to                                                              
last, he stated:                                                                                                                
     When   the  resource  dictates   that  restrictions   be                                                                   
     imposed,  that  we  first  restrict  commercial  fishery                                                                   
     access,  then  sport  guide fishing  secondly,  then  we                                                                   
     restrict nonguided  sport fishing thirdly,  personal use                                                                   
     fourthly, and subsistence would be the last priority.                                                                      
11:09:08 AM                                                                                                                   
RICKY  GEASE,  Executive  Director,   Kenai  River  Sport  Fishing                                                              
Association, stated  support for HB 266 and said  it is consistent                                                              
with other state  policies regarding subsistence.   Subsistence is                                                              
open  to  all  state  residents,   and  priority  does  exist  for                                                              
designated  subsistence  areas.    The bill  follows  the  current                                                              
policy  for prioritization  based  on conservation  needs.   There                                                              
are personal  use fisheries  for  crab and shrimp  as well,  which                                                              
would benefit  from this bill.   He reported that over  95 percent                                                              
of all harvested fish are for commercial purposes.                                                                              
11:11:55 AM                                                                                                                   
GERALD  McCUNE,  President,  Cordova  District  Fishermen  United,                                                              
stated  opposition  to HB  266 and  reported  that  there are  350                                                              
resident  commercial fishermen  permitted  for  the Copper  River.                                                              
The  Copper River  hosts  personal use,  commercial,  subsistence,                                                              
and sport fisheries.   [He held up a hand drawn  map and indicated                                                              
the user  areas.]  He  read from HB 266,  page 1:   "...to achieve                                                              
escapement goals,  the BOF shall  place restrictions on  all other                                                              
fisheries before  restricting personal  use fisheries."   Although                                                              
there is  not currently a priority  for personal use, he  said the                                                              
first fishery shut  down is the commercial fishery.   He continued                                                              
to report  on how the fishery  is conducted, the run,  run timing,                                                              
and  allocations.   Last  year was  a poor  king  return, for  the                                                              
Copper  River, and  commercial fishing  was limited  to the  ocean                                                              
area  outside  of a  barrier  at  the mouth  of  the river.    The                                                              
personal use  fishery was not closed  last year, despite  the weak                                                              
run.  He said there have been few restrictions on personal use.                                                                 
11:16:05 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE MILLETT  asked whether this legislation  might have                                                              
affected the Copper River had it been previously instituted.                                                                    
MR.  McCUNE responded  yes it  may have,  particularly during  the                                                              
low runs of the 1970's.                                                                                                         
11:18:44 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT  asked   for  a  description  of  how  the                                                              
escapement  goals are established,  and whether  the Copper  River                                                              
commercial fleet is confident with the numbers produced.                                                                        
MR. McCUNE  said the  fleet is  comfortable with  how the  fishery                                                              
management is handled.   The Copper River is not  very wide, hence                                                              
two  sonar  stations are  utilized,  and  the escapement  goal  is                                                              
established  following the  initial  two,  twelve hour  commercial                                                              
fishing  periods, and  extrapolating the  number based  on the  20                                                              
year history of the run.                                                                                                        
11:20:55 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT surmised  that some  areas have  developed                                                              
fisheries,  appropriate  technology,  and  historic data  to  make                                                              
confident  projections.   She asked how  sophisticated the  system                                                              
is in the Mat-Su area.                                                                                                          
MR.  NELSON  suggested  the  fisheries managers  may  need  to  be                                                              
questioned on  how this is handled.   Index streams are  used, and                                                              
sonar  has   been  questionable   regarding  what  type   is  most                                                              
effective.  Many  areas of the state do not have  the capacity for                                                              
sophisticated   monitoring,   he  said,   and   deferred  to   the                                                              
department for further comment.                                                                                                 
MR.  MULLIGAN reported  that ADF&G  has indicated  that the  sonar                                                              
system does  not work well  in the Mat-Su,  and thus  weir systems                                                              
have been utilized to provide a check.                                                                                          
11:26:04 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR EDGMON  indicated that  the department  would be  invited to                                                              
respond to these specific questions.                                                                                            
11:26:27 AM                                                                                                                   
CHERYL  SUTTON  reported  on  the management  of  the  Cook  Inlet                                                              
harvest, where  she fishes.   The commercial fishery  must provide                                                              
enough escapement  for personal  and subsistence  usage,  not just                                                              
for  spawning  purposes.    Additionally,   personal  use  fishery                                                              
enforcement is  an issue, due to  the lack of manpower.   She said                                                              
the commercial  fishermen support  the personal  use fishery  as a                                                              
resident fishery.                                                                                                               
11:30:22 AM                                                                                                                   
MR.  NELSON  indicated  that  the  sponsor's  intent  is  to  have                                                              
personal use  be the second  priority behind subsistence  fishing.                                                              
However,  the language  of  the available  bill  version does  not                                                              
carry out  that purpose, but rather  creates a super  priority for                                                              
personal  use   above  all  other  uses,   including  subsistence.                                                              
Additionally,  he  said  that  the  priority  kicks  in  based  on                                                              
escapement  goals.   There  are  many  state fisheries  that  have                                                              
guideline harvest  levels and other  management policies,  but not                                                              
escapement  goals.   Thus,  the  sponsor  may choose  to  consider                                                              
different  language and  include species  other than  salmon.   He                                                              
confirmed  that the  BOF  currently has  the  authority to  prefer                                                              
personal  use over  all uses,  save  subsistence.   To the  extent                                                              
that HB  266 would  create a  priority over  sport, guided  sport,                                                              
and  commercial fishing,  he  said  it would  be  helpful to  have                                                              
legislative  findings as  to  why that  would  be appropriate  and                                                              
necessary.  The  bill does not contain reasons  and justifications                                                              
for preferring  the personal use  fishery, which would  be helpful                                                              
if the law needed to be defended in a constitutional challenge.                                                                 
11:33:37 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR EDGMON  stated that  HB 266  would be  held over  and public                                                              
testimony would remain open.                                                                                                    

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB266--Sponsor Statement.PDF HFSH 2/9/2010 10:15:00 AM
HB 266
HB266--Personal Use Fishery Data.PDF HFSH 2/9/2010 10:15:00 AM
HB 266
SJR 22 Sponsor Statement.PDF HFSH 2/9/2010 10:15:00 AM
SJR 22
SJR 22 Press Release.PDF HFSH 2/9/2010 10:15:00 AM
SJR 22
CS for CSSJR22.PDF HFSH 2/9/2010 10:15:00 AM
SJR 22
CS for HB266 with Accompanying Materials.PDF HFSH 2/9/2010 10:15:00 AM
HB 266
Sweetheart Creek and Juneau Area Personal Use Data--ADF&G.PDF HFSH 2/9/2010 10:15:00 AM
HB 266
HB266 CDFU Opposition.pdf HFSH 2/9/2010 10:15:00 AM
HB 266
SJR 22 NMFS Response to UCIDA Petition.PDF HFSH 2/9/2010 10:15:00 AM
SJR 22
Matt Donohoe LIO Testimony.PDF HFSH 2/9/2010 10:15:00 AM
SJR 22
SJR 22 SCADA Support.PDF HFSH 2/9/2010 10:15:00 AM
SJR 22
HB266--SCADA Support.PDF HFSH 2/9/2010 10:15:00 AM
HB 266
HB266-DFG-BDS-02-09-10 Fiscal Note.pdf HFSH 2/9/2010 10:15:00 AM
HB 266
SJR 22 2010 Fiscal Note.PDF HFSH 2/9/2010 10:15:00 AM
SJR 22
SJR 22 Fiscal Note 2010
HB 266--Bonnie Borba Email.PDF HFSH 2/9/2010 10:15:00 AM
HB 266
HB 266--Gary Miller Email.PDF HFSH 2/9/2010 10:15:00 AM
HB 266
HB 266--Ricky Gease Email.PDF HFSH 2/9/2010 10:15:00 AM
HB 266