Legislature(1997 - 1998)

02/10/1998 01:04 PM RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
CSSCR 2(RES) - MANAGEMENT OF WILDLIFE RESOURCES                                
CO-CHAIRMAN OGAN announced the next order of business was CS for               
Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 2(RES), Relating to management of             
Alaska's wildlife resources.                                                   
Number 1370                                                                    
MEL KROGSENG, Legislative Administrative Assistant to Senator Robin            
Taylor, Alaska State Legislature, explained Senator Taylor could               
not be here this afternoon due to a scheduling conflict.  She read             
the following statement into the record:                                       
"Senate Concurrent Resolution 2 is a simple resolution that sends              
a message to the Administration that this legislature believes that            
fish and wildlife resources should be managed for abundance.                   
"The state of Alaska will go a long way towards solving the                    
subsistence dilemma which we have just been talking about, if the              
department implements a policy of managing for abundance - managing            
wildlife rather than trying to manage people.                                  
"A shortage of wildlife will not be solved by determining who may              
have a preference regarding harvest.  Our state constitution is                
very explicit on this issue.  Article VIII, Section 3 states                   
'Wherever occurring in their natural state, fish, wildlife and                 
waters are reserved to the people for common use'.  I am sure over             
the last several weeks, months and years, you have heard that                  
statement a lot.                                                               
"Our constitution also mandates that fish and game resources be                
managed on the principle of sustained yield.  The current                      
Administration has failed to implement an intensive management                 
program that will ensure an abundance of wildlife.  Attempting to              
manage complex wildlife populations by only addressing human use               
will not work.  Alaskans currently harvest less than 3 percent of              
the harvestable surplus, an amount so small that it is                         
statistically insignificant.                                                   
"An abundance of fish and wildlife for all Alaskans is the only                
practical solution to the subsistence impasse.  Present policies               
only perpetuate shortages.  An abundance of wildlife is what the               
people of Alaska need, want and demand.  Plentiful populations are             
good for consumptive users, wildlife viewers, photographers,                   
tourists and any other users.                                                  
"Senate Concurrent Resolution 2 calls on the Administration to do              
everything possible to implement management based on abundance."               
MS. KROGSENG stated she would be available to answer any questions             
of the committee members.                                                      
CO-CHAIRMAN HUDSON asked Ms. Krogseng whether the resolution is                
talking about both fish and wildlife.                                          
MS. KROGSENG replied, "Yes."                                                   
CO-CHAIRMAN HUDSON asked Ms. Krogseng whether this issue had been              
taken care of three or four years ago by Senator Bert Sharp.                   
Number 1518                                                                    
MS. KROGSENG replied she does not recall.  She has been gone for               
the last three and a half years.                                               
MS. KROGSENG shared with the committee members a statement prepared            
by a retired fish and game biologist, Bud Burris (ph).  He said the            
moose populations were estimated to be ten times higher in the                 
1960s and early 1970s than current populations.  In addition, moose            
populations in Game Management Units 12, 19C, 19D, 20C, 20D, 20E,              
20F, 21, 24, 25, and 26 have been severely reduced to the extent               
that the welfare of local residents and the economic health of the             
region has been impacted.  The Steese-forty-mile caribou heard, was            
over 60,000 at statehood and provided a sustained harvest of                   
thousands each year.  It presently numbers about 22,000 and has a              
maximum subsistence harvest quota of 150 caribou a year.  There are            
other examples that could be cited, but the Department of Fish and             
Game has concentrated on trying to manage people than actually                 
managing the animals and fish.                                                 
Number 1666                                                                    
ROD ARNO, President, Alaska Outdoor Council (AOC), stated the AOC              
supports the resolution.  Managing wildlife resources on a                     
biological basis for abundance in accordance with the sustained                
yield principle is in the best interest of most Alaskans.  We                  
believe that our state constitution mandates managing for                      
abundance.  Biological sustained development of natural resources              
should be a priority for all lawmakers all over the world.  And, as            
we go through the subsistence debate and try to come to a solution,            
we see that the largest problem is when there is not enough                    
resources to meet the needs - an issue that the AOC has been                   
involved in since the passage of SB 77.  Had we been able to manage            
the prized species for abundance, we may have relieved a lot of                
those concerns in the areas that are road accessible - the areas of            
the most conflict.  And, by working towards that now both urban,               
rural, Native and non-Native can look at it and see the advantages             
of coming together.                                                            
Number 1782                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON asked Mr. Arno whether the difference of what             
the state is doing and managing for abundance is minimizing the                
impact of natural predators on game.                                           
Number 1799                                                                    
MR. ARNO replied predator reduction is one thing that managers can             
use in terms of environmental restrains that would cause a smaller             
population of game.                                                            
Number 1918                                                                    
ANGIE MORGAN testified via teleconference in Aniak.  We are having             
our moose hunting season right now.  She kind of agreed with the               
resolution in terms of managing people versus managing moose                   
populations.  Her 80-year-old father-in-law said the moose started             
coming back to this area in the 1940s and 1950s.  In Units 19C and             
19D the moose population is really low so that local people are                
getting worried about Units 19A and 19B.  Last year, there was over            
1,300 moose, but there were only 89 successful local people in                 
getting a moose.  All the rest were from out of town or the state.             
Number 2020                                                                    
CO-CHAIRMAN OGAN asked Ms. Morgan whether there is a problem with              
wolf predation.                                                                
Number 2028                                                                    
MS. MORGAN replied there are a lot of wolves in the area.  People              
have been seeing more this year than previous years.  The wolves               
are showing themselves more in the rivers than ever before.                    
CO-CHAIRMAN OGAN asked Ms. Morgan whether there were locals that               
went same-day-airborne hunting before it was outlawed last year.               
MS. MORGAN replied she does not know.                                          
Number 2095                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE NICHOLIA asked Ms. Morgan what were the Unit numbers            
she mentioned again.                                                           
MS. MORGAN replied Units 19A, 19B, 19C and 19D.                                
Number 2138                                                                    
CO-CHAIRMAN OGAN asked Ms. Morgan whether she or her father-in-law             
were aware of an increase in wolf trapping in the 1950s and 1960s              
that would have helped increase the moose population.                          
MS. MORGAN replied she does not know.                                          
Number 2366                                                                    
WILLIAM MILLER testified via teleconference in Tok.  He is from the            
Native village of Dot Lake.  In reference to the management of game            
as opposed to hunting, both have to work together.  In reference to            
predator control, every time we have tried in Unit 20D to solve                
predator control we run across opposition from the conservationist             
that love wolves.  They say that all the wolves eat are the sick               
and lazy, but we have documented moose kills by wolves of bulls,               
calves and cows.  A few years ago over a 45 day period kills were              
documented every three to four days.                                           
TAPE 98-9, SIDE A                                                              
Number 0000                                                                    
MR. MILLER continued.  When you do talk to organizations in the                
state the AITC represents the interests of a lot tribes in the                 
state.  It would be a very good contact.                                       
Number 0043                                                                    
CO-CHAIRMAN OGAN asked Mr. Miller who documented the wolf kills.               
MR. MILLER replied the residents of the Native village of Dot Lake.            
At the time, there were approximately 14 to 18 wolves called the               
Billy Creek pack.  The pack migrated back-and-forth between Billy              
Creek and Sand Lake in Unit 20D.  The wolves increased to where                
they drove the moose down so low that they finally left the area               
and started preying on a caribou herd.  We now have the same pack              
at the head waters of the Robertson River.  Something has to be                
done with the wolves.                                                          
Number 0125                                                                    
CO-CHAIRMAN OGAN stated wildlife is managed by initiative in this              
state which is how the same-day-airborne law came into effect.                 
Number 0163                                                                    
DON SHERWOOD, Legislative Officer, Alaska Boating Association                  
(ABA), testified via teleconference in Anchorage.  The ABA, a group            
of over 1,000 hunters and fishers, stands behind and supports the              
resolution.  As elected representatives, you have sworn to uphold              
our constitution, it behooves you to take this resolution and pass             
it on to the Senate for final passage.  Our constitution states                
that wildlife and fish resources should be managed on a sustained              
yield basis.  Shortages do currently exist and continue  to abate              
in some areas.  Wildlife resources must be sustained on a                      
biological basis for abundance.  The Board of Game, the Board of               
Fisheries and the Department of Fish and Game must restore the                 
abundance of the resources with every means available to accomplish            
this goal.  We believe that this resolution can and will give these            
agencies the power they need.  He thanked Senator Taylor for his               
foresight and for the much needed legislation.                                 
Number 0296                                                                    
CO-CHAIRMAN OGAN announced it was time to take action on the                   
Number 0308                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON made a motion to move CSSCR 2(RES), version 0-            
LS0369\E, from the committee with individual recommendations and               
the attached zero fiscal note.  There being no objection, CSSCR
2(RES) moved from the House Resources Standing Committee.                      

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