Legislature(1997 - 1998)
02/10/1998 01:04 PM RES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= 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 resolution. 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.