Legislature(2013 - 2014)CAPITOL 120

03/18/2014 10:00 AM House FISHERIES

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10:04:32 AM Start
10:05:00 AM HB18
10:32:08 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
              HB 18-PERSONAL USE FISHING PRIORITY                                                                           
10:05:00 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR SEATON announced  that the only order of  business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL  NO. 18,  "An Act providing  priority to  personal use                                                               
fisheries when fishing restrictions  are implemented to achieve a                                                               
management goal."                                                                                                               
10:05:30 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE   BILL   STOLTZE,    Alaska   State   Legislature,                                                               
introduced HB 18,  as a joint prime sponsor,  explaining that the                                                               
proposed  bill  benefited  Alaskans  and had  many  of  the  same                                                               
attributes as  subsistence programs,  as it  prioritizes personal                                                               
use fisheries  for Alaska residents.   He said that  this program                                                               
had been  "wildly embraced  throughout Southcentral  and Interior                                                               
Alaska."  He relayed that this  was his seventh or eighth attempt                                                               
to  get  this  bill  through  the  "impenetrable"  House  Special                                                               
Committee on  Fisheries and its  different chairmen.   He offered                                                               
his  belief  that  it  was   consistent  with  the  Alaska  State                                                               
Constitution and directed  attention to the tens  of thousands of                                                               
Alaska  households that  participated in  personal use  fisheries                                                               
and the  importance of  this "to  the fabric of  our state."   He                                                               
reported that personal  use fisheries was often  mentioned to the                                                               
Food  Policy Council,  of which  he was  a member,  as it  was an                                                               
important part  of Alaska food  security.  He said  that Alaskans                                                               
often questioned  closure or restriction on  local fisheries when                                                               
commercial interests  were allowed  to continue  to operate.   He                                                               
directed attention to  the recent spate of e-mails  in support of                                                               
the  proposed bill  from "folks  all over  the state,"  including                                                               
communities  which  he did  not  represent.   He  reiterated  the                                                               
continued  difficulty  for  getting similar  bills  through  "the                                                               
impenetrable walls" of the House  Special Committee on Fisheries.                                                               
He  declared  his  support for  commercial  fishing  legislation,                                                               
noting that he had been a  member of the Alaska Seafood Marketing                                                               
Institute  board for  eight years.   He  said that  many Alaskans                                                               
questioned  why  there  was  not a  higher  priority  for  Alaska                                                               
resident fisheries.   He declared that he would  continue to push                                                               
this  proposed legislation,  as "I  think I'm  on the  right side                                                               
representing  Alaskans  who  participate in  our  commonly  owned                                                               
resources."  He offered his  belief that the momentum and support                                                               
was on his side of the issue.                                                                                                   
10:11:17 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTIS indicated  her  interest to  become a  co-                                                               
sponsor  of the  proposed  bill.   She  said  that "all  Alaskans                                                               
depend  on this  type  of fishery  to fill  our  freezers."   She                                                               
opined  that  this  proposed  bill  had little  to  do  with  the                                                               
commercial   fisheries,  with   the  exception   that  commercial                                                               
fishermen were "fillin' their freezers."   She declared that this                                                               
was an Alaskan issue  and she voiced her support for  HB 18.  She                                                               
allowed that she did not question the proposed bill.                                                                            
CHAIR  SEATON  asked  whether personal  use  fisheries  currently                                                               
exist  in  the  Matanuska-Susitna  area, and  whether  there  was                                                               
support for the  establishment of personal use  dip net fisheries                                                               
in the Susitna drainage.                                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  STOLTZE  said  that  a  number  of  personal  use                                                               
fisheries  did  exist in  the  Matanuska-Susitna,  with the  most                                                               
popular being  Fish Creek,  although it had  only been  opened "a                                                               
couple  of times  over  the last  dozen to  15  years because  of                                                               
escapement  issues."   He said  that an  allocation decision  had                                                               
been made  elsewhere and fish  were not  there.  He  allowed that                                                               
ADF&G  had appropriately  been very  cautious  to ensure  meeting                                                               
conservation goals.   He suggested  that the sport  fish division                                                               
was  de-facto  managed by  the  commercial  fisheries manager  in                                                               
Soldotna "which has a shared wall with the Cook Inlet drifters."                                                                
CHAIR SEATON,  restating his question, asked  about the intention                                                               
for a  dip net fishery to  include the Susitna drainage  area, as                                                               
this had a very large silver [coho] salmon run.                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE STOLTZE replied that  the personal use fishery had                                                               
been  for sockeye,  as coho  were considered  a sport  fish.   He                                                               
reported  on the  recent Susitna  fishery sport  fish activities,                                                               
noting that there  had not been a king [Chinook]  salmon run.  He                                                               
did not fish for sockeye in  the Susitna drainages.  He said that                                                               
all  the  salmon  runs  had  been  limited  with  date  and  bait                                                               
restrictions.  He said the Susitna  drainage was not suited for a                                                               
personal  use fishery.    He  stated that  his  bill  is a  broad                                                               
approach  for setting  the priority  for Alaska  residents, right                                                               
behind subsistence use.                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE GATTIS  commented on the dip  net fishing activity                                                               
that she  had observed  in the  area, and stated  that it  was "a                                                               
family  operation  where  people  are goin'  out  to  fill  their                                                               
freezers."     It  is   necessary  to   help  people   have  this                                                               
opportunity, and  she opined that  this was the objective  of the                                                               
proposed bill.                                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE STOLTZE  characterized the dip netting  as a scene                                                               
from "The  Grapes of Wrath."   He  declared that he  would rather                                                               
Alaska  residents have  wild Alaska  salmon available  as protein                                                               
instead of using food stamps.                                                                                                   
CHAIR  SEATON pointed  to the  Kenai River  personal use  dip net                                                               
fishery and  asked for clarification  that under proposed  HB 18,                                                               
sport fishing  for king salmon  would be subservient  to personal                                                               
use dip netters.                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STOLTZE  replied that  this would be  a management                                                               
decision handled by ADF&G.  He  offered his belief that the Board                                                               
of Fish managed king salmon as a sport fish.                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON,  paraphrasing from  the proposed bill,  stated that                                                               
restrictions  would  be  placed  on all  other  fisheries  before                                                               
restrictions were placed on the personal use fisheries.                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE STOLTZE said that he  could not recall a season in                                                               
recent years  in which restrictions  had not been placed  on both                                                               
the fisheries.                                                                                                                  
10:21:01 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  FEIGE  cited  AS   16.05.251(a),  which  read  as                                                               
              (a) The Board of Fisheries may adopt                                                                              
     regulations it considers advisable in accordance with                                                                      
     AS 44.62 (Administrative Procedure Act) for                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FEIGE  continued at paragraph (12),  which read as                                                               
               (12) regulating commercial, sport, guided                                                                        
     sport, subsistence, and personal  use fishing as needed                                                                    
     for the  conservation, development, and  utilization of                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE FEIGE surmised  that HB 18 dictated  a priority to                                                               
the Board of Fish for  putting personal use fisheries higher than                                                               
others,  and  he asked  for  a  compelling  reason to  remove  an                                                               
allocation decision that was made by the Board of Fish.                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE  STOLTZE replied  that the  system was  broken and                                                               
that the larger reason was his constituent concerns.                                                                            
CHAIR  SEATON  asked  for  an  example  of  restrictions  on  the                                                               
personal use fishery that the  constituents were concerned about.                                                               
He  said  that the  Kenai  and  Kasilof  areas had  personal  use                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE STOLTZE  responded that it was  the allocation and                                                               
prioritization  decisions  made by  the  Board  of Fish,  as  the                                                               
percentages were  slanted away from personal  use prioritization.                                                               
He  declared that  there  was  not even  a  discussion about  the                                                               
personal  use fishery  when the  allocation  decisions were  made                                                               
without any review  of personal use as a priority.   He said that                                                               
a reallocation  was necessary  to stem  the concern  of residents                                                               
who  have had  negative  interactions during  the  height of  the                                                               
season  and were  angered over  sharing the  resource.   He noted                                                               
that   Alaska   residents   were  getting   the   short   shrift,                                                               
acknowledging that large percentages  of the commercial fisheries                                                               
were also Alaska residents.  He  stated that tens of thousands of                                                               
Alaska  households  participated  in  the  Alaska  resident  only                                                               
personal  use fisheries.    He added  that,  during the  previous                                                               
hearing for  the proposed bill,  regulatory information  had been                                                               
promised,  which his  office had  not received,  and he  added "I                                                               
hope it wasn't blown off."                                                                                                      
CHAIR  SEATON asked  about the  regulatory framework  of personal                                                               
use fisheries, where  and how they were  established, and methods                                                               
and means.   He requested  that the information also  be provided                                                               
in writing.                                                                                                                     
10:27:55 AM                                                                                                                   
CHARLES  SWANTON,  Director,  Division   of  Sport  Fish,  Alaska                                                               
Department  of Fish  &  Game, expressed  his  agreement with  the                                                               
sponsor's  description of  the  household  participation for  the                                                               
Cook  Inlet personal  use fisheries,  which  included the  Kenai,                                                               
Kasilof, and  Fish Creek.  He  said that a substantial  number of                                                               
Alaskan households participate in  these fisheries, primarily for                                                               
sockeye salmon.   He noted  the questions regarding  king salmon,                                                               
and said  that there  had been restrictions  for personal  use in                                                               
the  Kenai for  the past  two years,  as retention  had not  been                                                               
allowed.   He  referenced the  department's guidance  specific to                                                               
species, and directed  attention to the preamble  language of the                                                               
fisheries  management plans,  which dictated  that king  and coho                                                               
salmon were  to be primarily  managed for sport  fishing, whereas                                                               
sockeye salmon  were supposed to  be managed for  commercial use.                                                               
He said that dip nets were  the primary means, although there was                                                               
a personal  use gill net fishery  for the Kasilof.   He expressed                                                               
agreement with  Representative Stoltze  that ADF&G was  first and                                                               
foremost concerned  with meeting  the escapement objectives.   He                                                               
said that  the Fish Creek fishery  was going through a  period of                                                               
enhancement, which had somewhat confounded the management.                                                                      
CHAIR SEATON asked  about the requirement in HB 18  for the Board                                                               
of Fisheries to place restrictions  on all other fisheries before                                                               
restricting the  personal use  fishery.  He  asked if  that would                                                               
require a change  in the direction for retention  in the personal                                                               
use fishery for  king salmon in the Kenai and  whether this would                                                               
allow  an  opening in  the  sport  fishery  if retention  in  the                                                               
personal use fishery was restricted.                                                                                            
MR. SWANTON replied  that it would be a decision  by the Board of                                                               
Fish based on its management plan.                                                                                              
[HB 18 was held over.]                                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 18 Sponsor Statement.pdf HFSH 3/26/2013 10:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/18/2014 10:00:00 AM
HB 18
HB0018A.pdf HFSH 3/26/2013 10:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/18/2014 10:00:00 AM
HB 18
Regulations of the Board of Fisheries.pdf HFSH 3/26/2013 10:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/18/2014 10:00:00 AM
HB 18
HB 18 support.pdf HFSH 3/26/2013 10:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/18/2014 10:00:00 AM
HB 18
HB 18 opposition.pdf HFSH 3/26/2013 10:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/18/2014 10:00:00 AM
HB 18
HB018-DFG-CO-03-22-13.pdf HFSH 3/26/2013 10:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/18/2014 10:00:00 AM
HB 18
ADF&G Brief on Personal Use Fishing for HB 18.pdf HFSH 3/18/2014 10:00:00 AM
HB 18
HB 18 correspondence 2014.pdf HFSH 3/18/2014 10:00:00 AM
HB 18
HB 18 comment 2013 and 2014.pdf HFSH 3/18/2014 10:00:00 AM
HB 18