Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/05/1995 01:12 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
 Number 275                                                                    
 TERRY OTNESS, Legislative Assistant to Senator Robin Taylor,                  
 introduced CSSB 41(JUD).  Sponsor statement:                                  
 "This legislation would require foreign fishing vessels transiting            
 or lying in state waters to report their catch by species, quantity           
 and the area where harvested.                                                 
 "The bill was introduced at the request of the Ketchikan Trollers             
 Committee in response to the rapid expansion of the fishery off               
 Cape Muzon and Cape Chacon.  It has gone from a relatively minor              
 fishery with a dozen or so trollers, to a modern freezer fleet,               
 that is at times in excess of 100 vessels.  It will be possible to            
 monitor this fishery because a transit to Canadian harbors is some            
 30 miles across waters exposed to the ocean -- so the ships often             
 anchor in state waters until their holds are full.                            
 "The committee substitute changes the phrase `Foreign fishing                 
 vessels' to `unlicensed fishing vessels' and defines an unlicensed            
 fishing vessel as a vessel that is not licensed under AS 16.05.490            
 - 530.  This change eliminates possible confusion with federal                
 statutes which place a different definition on `foreign fishing               
 "In a letter to Senator Taylor and Representative Williams, the               
 trollers committee states, `Southeast Alaskan fishermen are                   
 suffering irreparable harm at the U.S./Canada Pacific Salmon Treaty           
 due to the inability or willingness of fishery managers in British            
 Columbia to monitor this growing fishery.'  The letter continues,             
 `these reporting requirements would result in better harvest                  
 information during the season.'                                               
 "While it would be ideal to have the Board of Fish implement this             
 for the upcoming season, timing considerations preclude this from             
 occurring until next year.  The Department of Fish and Game has               
 given this measure a zero fiscal note.  I encourage your support of           
 this measure."                                                                
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE said there was a problem earlier this spring             
 with scallop fisheries.  Will this have any impact on that problem?           
 MR. OTNESS said it would not, to his knowledge.  They were an                 
 unlicensed vessel, so they may be able to monitor that if they came           
 into state waters.                                                            
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE thought the problem was that they stayed                 
 outside, and did not come into state waters.                                  
 CHAIRMAN PORTER recalled that they fished outside, came inside, but           
 since they did not fish inside, they did not have to be licensed              
 REPRESENTATIVE CYNTHIA TOOHEY asked if this has happened with any             
 of the other countries other than Canada; perhaps the Taiwanese?              
 MR. OTNESS said not to his knowledge, but it is possible.                     
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN asked if we are certain that in the                
 meantime, the Board of Fish, or Fish and Game could not impose this           
 reporting requirement as an emergency measure or temporary measure            
 for the remainder of this season.                                             
 MR. OTNESS thought there were existing laws that would preclude               
 them from processing their fish in our state waters, but he had not           
 looked into that.                                                             
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN asked what the chance would be if this             
 went into effect, that this would discourage them from pulling into           
 Alaskan waters.                                                               
 MR. OTNESS said if you looked at the map, the 30 miles transit                
 distance would discourage them from coming into our waters.                   
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked if this would apply to sport fishing               
 MR. OTNESS did not think so, but he would have to look at the                 
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY said he really would like to know.                       
 MR. OTNESS explained that the map indicated the areas in which the            
 fishing was actually occurring.  The idea is for the Department of            
 Fish and Game to be able to accurately obtain information on the              
 type of species caught, and the amount.  In order to obtain this              
 information, we need to have the fishing vessels in our                       
 jurisdiction.  We can do this by requiring them to report to us               
 when they are anchoring or transiting our waters.                             
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked if they are actually going back to                 
 Canada to market their fish.                                                  
 MR. OTNESS said yes, they are.                                                
 CHAIRMAN PORTER pointed out that this would not apply to sport                
 fishing, since the particular statute references are to commercial            
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY felt it was unclear, because it refers to                
 licensed vessels under the particular statute, and sport fishing              
 boats are not licensed under the statute either.  He felt the bill            
 should make it very clear that they are NOT addressing sport                  
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY made a motion to move CSSB 41(JUD) out of               
 committee with individual recommendations and zero fiscal notes.              
 Seeing no objection, it was so ordered.                                       

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