Legislature(2009 - 2010)BARNES 124

03/18/2009 01:00 PM House RESOURCES

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HJR 21-GROUNDFISH FISHERIES LICENSES                                                                                          
1:06:27 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN announced that the  first order of business would                                                               
be HOUSE  JOINT RESOLUTION NO.  21, Requesting the  North Pacific                                                               
Fishery  Management   Council  to   cease  consideration   of  an                                                               
amendment package  that would require  a Pacific  cod endorsement                                                               
for a  license limitation program  license holder  to participate                                                               
in the Pacific cod fisheries in the Gulf of Alaska.                                                                             
1:06:39 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ALAN AUSTERMAN,  Alaska State Legislature, sponsor                                                               
of HJR  21, said  the resolution  is an effort  to slow  down the                                                               
process  of taking  away access  to some  of the  fisheries.   He                                                               
maintained  that the  North  Pacific  Fishery Management  Council                                                               
(NPFMC), which  handles fisheries outside  of three miles  in the                                                               
federal waters, has a history  of restricting access to fisheries                                                               
or giving them away, one  example being Individual Fishing Quotas                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN  stated that  one remaining  fair access                                                               
fishery  is the  Gulf of  Alaska  Pacific cod  fishery, which  is                                                               
composed of three  fisheries:  trawling, where  the fishermen are                                                               
known as draggers; fixed gear,  where pots or longlines are used;                                                               
and jigging.   The Pacific  cod fishery  in the gulf  also occurs                                                               
inside the  three-mile limit, he  said, and there the  fishery is                                                               
basically unlimited.   Anyone can get one or more  jigs for their                                                               
boat, the only  cap on the jig fishing industry  being a limit of                                                               
25 percent of the Total Allowable Catch (TAC).                                                                                  
CO-CHAIR  NEUMAN inquired  whether fishermen  are happy  with the                                                               
management within the three-mile limit.                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN  answered that he thinks  the management                                                               
is fine  within the  three miles.   There  are no  problems other                                                               
than  sometimes  decisions  must  be  made  between  the  federal                                                               
fishery, called the parallel fishery  because it includes fishing                                                               
within the three miles, and the separate state water fishery.                                                                   
1:09:18 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN continued his  statement, noting that in                                                               
1995  or  1997,  the  North Pacific  Fishery  Management  Council                                                               
decided  to slow  entrance into  the  fixed gear  cod fishery  by                                                               
establishing a  license limitation  program (LLP) similar  to the                                                               
limited entry  program for salmon.   At  that point in  time, the                                                               
council  took the  history of  those who  had been  catching cod,                                                               
whether it was one cod or 10,000,  and gave them a license.  This                                                               
resulted  in about  883 fixed  gear licenses  within the  Central                                                               
Gulf of Alaska.                                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN maintained that  as with most fisheries,                                                               
the NPFMC  had been heading  down the line of  rationalization or                                                               
the giving  away of the  resource.   He said there  are different                                                               
opinions as to  what rationalization is, and his  opinion is that                                                               
any change in the structure  of a fishery is rationalization; for                                                               
example, he considers the limited  entry program for salmon to be                                                               
a rationalization program.   Some people consider rationalization                                                               
to  be  similar to  the  halibut  IFQ,  he continued,  where  the                                                               
resource was given  to certain fishermen who now  have control of                                                               
that IFQ.   It is not an access issue,  it is ownership, although                                                               
the  Magnuson-Stevens  Fishery  Conservation and  Management  Act                                                               
allows for  IFQs to  be taken  back.   He acknowledged  that many                                                               
people  do not  consider salmon  to be  a rationalized  issue, so                                                               
discussion of this issue in the  Gulf of Alaska always turns into                                                               
a donnybrook because everyone is talking on different terms.                                                                    
1:11:28 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN  said the NPFMC implemented  the Pacific                                                               
cod LLP  for federal  waters in  2000, then  talked about  how to                                                               
rationalize  this  program  in its  problem  statements.    After                                                               
Governor  Palin was  elected  in 2006  the  council accepted  her                                                               
position that  there be  no more rationalization  in the  Gulf of                                                               
Alaska.   Now the  council is  engaging in  a discreet  method of                                                               
rationalization  by talking  about  the  economic issues  dealing                                                               
with  trying to  protect participants  currently in  the fishery.                                                               
In 2006, about  300 out of [883] Pacific cod  licenses were being                                                               
fished,  and  the  council initially  discussed  eliminating  the                                                               
latent licenses.  He explained  that the original LLP license was                                                               
a groundfish license  under which anything could be  caught.  For                                                               
example,  draggers  catch  about  a dozen  different  species  as                                                               
bycatch when fishing for Pacific  cod, while 98-99 percent of the                                                               
fish caught using fixed gear are Pacific cod.                                                                                   
CO-CHAIR  NEUMAN  asked whether  the  non-cod  species caught  by                                                               
draggers are bycatch or a useable product that is processed.                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  AUSTERMAN  replied  that  some  are  bycatch  and                                                               
useable, so  they are  brought ashore.   A certain  percentage of                                                               
bycatch is normally  allowed for certain species.   However, some                                                               
are prohibited,  such as halibut  and those must be  thrown back.                                                               
In  further response,  he  confirmed that  the  halibut that  are                                                               
thrown back are probably dead.                                                                                                  
1:14:46 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN  returned to his  presentation, relating                                                               
that there  was an  outcry when  the NPFMC  discussed eliminating                                                               
the more than  500 latent licenses.  People urged  the council to                                                               
retain the  licenses so there would  be access to the  fishery on                                                               
an  ongoing  basis by  fishermen  wishing  to  move up  into  the                                                               
industry.   The  council then  took another  look and  decided to                                                               
require a Pacific cod "endorsement"  for those licenses that were                                                               
fished over  a range of  certain years.   The number of  cod that                                                               
could be caught  under an endorsement would be  determined by the                                                               
number of  cod the  license holder  had caught  historically over                                                               
that range of time.                                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN  allowed that a stepping  stone can take                                                               
place  in the  three  inside  fisheries in  the  Gulf of  Alaska,                                                               
whereby  a fisher  could  start with  a skiff  and  jig and  then                                                               
expand  to a  bigger boat  with pots.   However,  if the  council                                                               
adopts the proposed endorsement  requirement, the fisher would be                                                               
unable to go into the fishery  in federal waters without buying a                                                               
license from  one of the 300  fishers who were simply  given that                                                               
endorsed LLP.                                                                                                                   
1:17:05 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  JOHNSON inquired  what  might be  the  future cost  for                                                               
purchasing this license.                                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN  responded that this is  hard to answer.                                                               
When the halibut IFQ system was  first put in place the quota was                                                               
simply given to  the fisher, and the value at  the time was $2-$3                                                               
per pound.   However, last week a 2,000 pound  IFQ was advertised                                                               
for sale  in the newspaper at  $26 per pound.   He estimated that                                                               
one of  the 883 LLP  licenses would  probably sell right  now for                                                               
about $2,000, but  he does not know how much  that value would go                                                               
up once the access became restricted.                                                                                           
1:19:10 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  NEUMAN asked  whether  the 883  permits were  initially                                                               
sold or given away.                                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE  AUSTERMAN answered  that for  every one  of these                                                               
LLPs, whether halibut, cod, or  salmon, the license was initially                                                               
just given to the fisher.                                                                                                       
CO-CHAIR  NEUMAN  surmised that  the  fishers  will be  receiving                                                               
quite  a  large  value  should the  Pacific  cod  fishery  become                                                               
limited to just 300 licenses.                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN  replied that  the value depends  on the                                                               
fishery and how important  it is.  The price of  fish goes up and                                                               
down on a constant basis, and right  now the price of cod is down                                                               
so some people are not fishing it.                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON pointed out that  licenses are based on the                                                               
size of  the vessel.  For  example, a separate license  is issued                                                               
for boats  under 60  feet.   Under this license  a vessel  can be                                                               
expanded up  to 20 percent, but  it cannot be expanded  beyond 60                                                               
feet.   In addition,  the license  is either  for trawl  or fixed                                                               
gear, with the fixed gear including  longline and pot.  The value                                                               
of the  license is therefore  determined by the fishery,  type of                                                               
gear, and  fishing area.   He agreed that restricting  the number                                                               
of LLPs would increase their value when they are sold.                                                                          
1:21:58 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KAWASAKI  inquired whether an LLP  can be acquired                                                               
and held in perpetuity even if it is not used.                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN  said he does  not know and  deferred to                                                               
Representative Seaton.                                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON disclosed  that he  has two  LLPs for  two                                                               
different vessels.  He explained that  there is no annual fee for                                                               
an LLP and  an LLP is assigned  to a vessel, but is  owned by the                                                               
person and not  the vessel.  The LLP can  be transferred back and                                                               
forth from  one vessel to another.   There is no  time limitation                                                               
and the LLP owner is not required to participate in the fishery.                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN  concluded his statement by  saying that                                                               
reasonable  access to  the  federal fishery  within  the Gulf  of                                                               
Alaska needs to  be kept, particularly for Alaskans.   He said he                                                               
is asking  the North Pacific  Fishery Management Council  to quit                                                               
giving away these  resources and controlling the  access based on                                                               
fishing  history.   Right now,  people  are coming  into the  cod                                                               
fishery to  make their  history, even though  they may  be losing                                                               
money at it,  because they know the endorsement  will have value.                                                               
However, they  are making their money  at the moment on  crab and                                                               
other fisheries.   The council  needs to stand  up and say  it is                                                               
not going  to give  a fisher history  on cod.   A little  over 70                                                               
percent of the  federal LLPs that are fished are  being fished by                                                               
small boats  that live in  Alaska, he  said.  This  resolution is                                                               
for those people, as well as  young Alaskans who may want to step                                                               
into the fishery some day.                                                                                                      
1:25:06 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  NEUMAN surmised  that  the focus  on reasonable  access                                                               
will provide  competition and that  competition will  improve the                                                               
quality of fish and the pricing.                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN responded that  there are many different                                                               
ways  to  look  at  the  economics of  how  a  person  gets  into                                                               
business.   Each fishing boat  is a  business venture that  is no                                                               
different  than someone  buying a  grocery store  as a  business.                                                               
The difference  is that the  federal side  does not look  at this                                                               
from the business aspect.   The free enterprise system has worked                                                               
and  should  be continued.    While  he understands  why  current                                                               
fisherman want  to protect themselves  from competition,  he said                                                               
this should  not be done in  the federal fisheries any  more than                                                               
it should be  done on shore with any other  business sector.  The                                                               
supporters  of this  endorsement program  say it  will give  them                                                               
more  stability, but  it  is  not the  government's  job to  give                                                               
someone an access right and then  narrow it down so hardly anyone                                                               
else can get into the industry, he maintained.                                                                                  
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN opened public testimony.                                                                                        
1:27:35 PM                                                                                                                    
ILIA KUZMIN,  K-Bay Fisheries  Association, stated  that he  is a                                                               
long-time  cod participant  in the  Central Gulf  of Alaska.   He                                                               
said the race  for fish must end, primarily for  safety.  He said                                                               
the 44 members  of the K-Bay Fisheries Association  oppose HJR 21                                                               
because  it  is not  productive  for  the legislature  to  insert                                                               
itself into  complex fishery management  issues.   The resolution                                                               
contains  misrepresentations and  incorrect  assertions, such  as                                                               
consolidation   of  vessels,   reduction  of   participants,  and                                                               
elimination of  crew jobs.   He  urged the  committee to  let the                                                               
North Pacific Fishery  Management Council do its  job to complete                                                               
this process of  the LLP recency action.  With  the current final                                                               
action  that the  council  is considering,  there  will still  be                                                               
anywhere from  110-306 permits  that will  qualify.   The recency                                                               
action  will actually  save crew  jobs,  protect long-time  local                                                               
Alaska fishermen  who are dependent  on the Pacific  cod fishery,                                                               
and protect small  boat owner/operators from being  pushed out of                                                               
the fishery  by the  big 58-foot vessels  that have  just started                                                               
fishing and are taking a bigger chunk of the TAC.                                                                               
1:29:50 PM                                                                                                                    
ALEXUS KWACHKA offered  his support for HJR 21,  saying that from                                                               
what he  has seen  these federal fisheries  all basically  end in                                                               
IFQs,  and  IFQs are  having  serious  repercussions for  coastal                                                               
communities.   The  LLP  reductions will  lead  to sector  splits                                                               
which  will ultimately  lead to  IFQs, he  argued, so  it is  all                                                               
rationalization.  Despite this being  a contentious and emotional                                                               
subject, he  said there needs to  be a plan for  what people want                                                               
Alaska's communities to look like  and how people will access the                                                               
fishery.   It does no  good to be in  a fishing community  and be                                                               
unable to get to  the fish.  Legislators need to  look at what is                                                               
going to happen to Alaska's  coastal communities and whether they                                                               
will  be sustainable  and allow  new entrants  into the  fishery.                                                               
The 25 percent  of cod allocation in state waters  will lead to a                                                               
limit  on that  fishery because  it will  put the  burden of  new                                                               
entrants inside of  the three miles and this  will perpetuate the                                                               
limited resources.                                                                                                              
1:31:39 PM                                                                                                                    
OLIVER  HOLM  stated  that  he   is  a  third  generation  Alaska                                                               
fisherman and he supports HJR 21.  He testified as follows:                                                                     
     I have an inactive LLP  for the Central Gulf fixed gear                                                                    
     based on cod landings that  qualified quite a few years                                                                    
     ago.   Last year  I caught over  10,000 pounds  of cod,                                                                    
     but  it  was in  other  fisheries.    My LLP  has  been                                                                    
     inactive  because  I  have  been  Tanner  Crab  fishing                                                                    
     during   the   federal   cod   season.      There   are                                                                    
     approximately 150 inactive  Kodiak Tanner Crab permits,                                                                    
     but  these   licenses  will  be  available   for  those                                                                    
     fishermen to use  whenever they want to  come back into                                                                    
     the  fishery  based  on  economics.     Many  of  these                                                                    
     inactive crab  permits have been people  that have been                                                                    
     fishing cod in the federal  season instead of crab.  If                                                                    
     the crab  season were closed  again, I or my  son would                                                                    
     need to  fish cod instead  of crab.   But the  NPFMC is                                                                    
     headed to eliminate my cod  endorsement.  I am 61 years                                                                    
     old and my son is 21  and recently purchased a boat.  I                                                                    
     would like  my LLP to  be available  for his use,  as a                                                                    
     jig fisher [close]  to home would be  marginal for him.                                                                    
     Early in the  year, pots are the preferred  way to fish                                                                    
     cod and  an endorsed  LLP would be  necessary.   If the                                                                    
     inactive  LLPs   are  eliminated,   the  cost   of  ...                                                                    
     remaining  permits  will  likely  be  pretty  high  and                                                                    
     pretty much of a barrier to entrance.                                                                                      
1:33:18 PM                                                                                                                    
SHAWN DOCHTERMANN  supported HJR 21  and noted that he  is second                                                               
generation  commercial fisherman  with over  30 years  of fishing                                                               
experience.  Fifty  years ago, he said,  statehood forced fishery                                                               
processers to  start sharing profits  of the  resources extracted                                                               
from the  state.  But  this is now going  the other way  with the                                                               
federal economic  allocations of quota that  prevent fishermen in                                                               
Alaska  from having  access  to  the fisheries.    In the  1970s,                                                               
limited entry in  state waters began for salmon  and herring, but                                                               
this type of rationalization was  somewhat acceptable because the                                                               
owner had to  personally catch and deliver those  fish, making it                                                               
an owner-on-board fishery.   Then the NPFMC  implemented IFQs for                                                               
the  federally  managed  halibut   fishery,  and  thus  began  an                                                               
absentee-owner fishery  where the  vessel owner  to whom  the IFQ                                                               
was allocated did not even need to step aboard.                                                                                 
MR. DOCHTERMANN  continued, saying rationalization  next occurred                                                               
in  the  federally  managed  Bering   Sea  pollock  fishery  when                                                               
exclusive rights  were given to  processors and vessels,  many of                                                               
which were foreign  owned.  In the Bering Sea  crab fishery, over                                                               
$1 billion  in quota rights  were given to about  100 individuals                                                               
and corporations.   The processing  rights were given to  7 major                                                               
processing companies, of which 40-50  percent of those processing                                                               
rights  were owned  by Japanese  trading companies.   These  IFQs                                                               
were given  to the quota  owners for forever,  consequently there                                                               
is no  program to  get fishing  privileges back  in the  hands of                                                               
active fishermen.  He said  the next generation of fishermen have                                                               
had  enough  of  fisheries  access removal  by  the  factions  of                                                               
fisheries lobbyists.                                                                                                            
MR. DOCHTERMANN  said rationalization in  the Gulf of  Alaska was                                                               
attempted in 2005  and 2006 under Senate Bill  113, but fishermen                                                               
successfully fought that  bill.  Now the NPFMC is  trying to push                                                               
through Gulf of Alaska groundfish  rationalization by other means                                                               
to suit  trawlers who want to  secure the high value  of bycatch.                                                               
Removing the latent LLPs from  the groundfish permit holders will                                                               
leave  state  waters as  the  dumping  ground for  new  entrants.                                                               
"Removing LLPs from fixed gear  fishermen will simply take rights                                                               
from active  and future  fishermen and  give exclusive  rights to                                                               
investor-only factions who do not fish," he said                                                                                
1:37:29 PM                                                                                                                    
LINDA KOZAK  related that she  grew up salmon fishing  in Bristol                                                               
Bay and that  she works with longline and pot  fishermen who fish                                                               
cod in  the Gulf of Alaska  and the Bering Sea  Aleutian Islands.                                                               
She opposed  HJR 21, saying it  is a limited entry  proposal, not                                                               
MS. KOZAK  noted that the  Commercial Fisheries  Entry Commission                                                               
actively  looks  at  limited  entry  programs  for  state  waters                                                               
fisheries.  Six  [of the eleven] NPFMC members  are Alaskans, she                                                               
pointed out,  and any proposal  that goes through the  council is                                                               
usually spearheaded  by the State of  Alaska, its administration,                                                               
and the Alaska Department of Fish  & Game commissioner.  She said                                                               
she has  submitted a proposal to  the state and NPFMC  that would                                                               
give  a  cod  endorsement  to   anyone  who  has  demonstrated  a                                                               
dependence on the  fishery by making at least one  landing of cod                                                               
in the  directed cod  fishery since 2000  or purchasing  a permit                                                               
for the  intent purpose of  fishing cod.   This proposal  is very                                                               
lenient   and  will   provide   protection   for  those   people,                                                               
particularly  Alaskans, who  are either  involved in  the fishery                                                               
now or want to be involved by having purchased a permit.                                                                        
MS. KOZAK  expressed her concern regarding  the latent groundfish                                                               
licenses.   Given the  cost of purchasing  a vessel  and license,                                                               
she feared  that only outside  fishers and processors  with large                                                               
sums of money would be able  to get into the fishery, which would                                                               
devastate Alaska's  coastal communities.   She urged that  HJR 21                                                               
not be moved and that the NPFMC be allowed to do its job.                                                                       
MS. KOZAK,  in response  to Co-Chair  Neuman, clarified  that the                                                               
proposal she submitted  was for at least one  directed landing of                                                               
cod,  meaning it  would not  be  an incidental  landing during  a                                                               
fishery for  another species.   She said this is  lenient because                                                               
one  landing in  nine years  is  not much  to ask.   She  further                                                               
clarified that  this pertains to  the approximately  300 licenses                                                               
that are currently being fished.                                                                                                
1:41:41 PM                                                                                                                    
JULIE  BONNEY, Alaska  Groundfish  Databank, said  she works  for                                                               
harvesters that fish  out of the Central Gulf of  Alaska and many                                                               
of the vessels  she represents have both  trawl endorsed licenses                                                               
and  fixed  gear  endorsed  licenses.    She  said  she  and  her                                                               
organization's members oppose HJR 21  even though the majority of                                                               
members have not  done directed Pacific cod and  would lose their                                                               
endorsement if this action moves forward for fixed gear.                                                                        
MS. BONNEY  argued that this  is not rationalization in  terms of                                                               
quota share,  but rather  a licensing  permit similar  to limited                                                               
entries in  the state fisheries.   To manage fisheries,  one must                                                               
look at the  resource and develop a management  regime that works                                                               
for the  fishery.   Between 1992  and 1995,  the NPFMC  created a                                                               
licensing  program with  883  licenses for  the  Central Gulf  of                                                               
Alaska.  To get a license  a fisher had to deliver two groundfish                                                               
[for vessels under  60 feet] or three groundfish  [for vessels 60                                                               
feet and  larger].   The   idea in creating  this huge  number of                                                               
licenses was  to provide fishers  the opportunity to  invest into                                                               
the fishery.   Only  300 people  have made  at least  one landing                                                               
since  the year  2000, and  the other  500 licenses  have had  no                                                               
participation at all.  While  this is removing licenses, she said                                                               
it is  a way  to take  care of  those participants  that invested                                                               
large amounts of money to be  involved in this fishery instead of                                                               
MS. BONNEY pointed  out that once the 883  licenses were created,                                                               
the state  took 25  percent of  the cod  quota and  gave it  to a                                                               
state fishery.   Thus, the  federal fishery is operating  with 75                                                               
percent of  the pie, which means  there is less cod  to go around                                                               
while the number of licenses is  the same.  She reported that the                                                               
National  Marine  Fisheries Service  has  said  that if  all  883                                                               
licenses were active in the  fishery it would be unmanageable and                                                               
the agency would have no choice but  to close it.  Access must be                                                               
balanced, she  said, as  must be the  resource and  management of                                                               
the resource.                                                                                                                   
MS.  BONNEY said  the endorsement  proposal includes  a provision                                                               
for entry opportunities, a tradeoff  for the reduction of the pot                                                               
and longline  endorsement.   All vessels  with five  jig machines                                                               
would be  exempt from  any LLP  requirements, meaning  they would                                                               
have access from zero to 200 miles.                                                                                             
1:45:15 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON asked  whether  limiting federal  licenses                                                               
will result in  new entrants going into the  state fishery inside                                                               
the three miles, thus creating  pressure to raise the state quota                                                               
allocation above 25  percent in this area and creating  a need to                                                               
manage  the state  fishery and  parallel federal  fishery as  one                                                               
fishery within the three-mile limit.                                                                                            
MS.  BONNEY  replied that  right  now  under the  federal  season                                                               
people fish from  zero to three miles with a  federal LLP.  There                                                               
has always been  that open entry where someone  could fish inside                                                               
three miles  in the parallel fishery,  she said.  The  reality is                                                               
that only  two percent  of the  actual cod  catch in  the federal                                                               
quota has  been taken by non-LLP  holders.  She guessed  that the                                                               
potential is  there, but said it  has not become a  reality under                                                               
the  present  system.    She  cautioned  that  re-allocation  and                                                               
forcing of more harvest within  the three miles by increasing the                                                               
state quota  above 25  percent could run  into problems  with the                                                               
Endangered  Species Act  (ESA) requirements  for the  Steller sea                                                               
lion  because the  most critical  habitat  for the  sea lions  is                                                               
within 3 miles.                                                                                                                 
1:48:09 PM                                                                                                                    
FRANK MILES said  he is a 39  year resident of Kodiak  and he has                                                               
been  fishing  cod  out  of  Kodiak  since  1988.    His  history                                                               
primarily involved  hired skipper  activities until 1998  when he                                                               
bought a  35-foot boat  and fished with  longline gear.   Because                                                               
there were issues with trying to  fish in the winter on a 35-foot                                                               
boat, he fished  another person's boat whose owner  was no longer                                                               
actively fishing.   However,  when LLPs were  issued, it  was the                                                               
boat owner, not him, who was  given the LLP based on his history.                                                               
To  get  his  own  program  going,  Mr.  Miles  said  he  had  to                                                               
personally invest in the fishery  by purchasing gear, a boat, and                                                               
an LLP on  the open market.   When he upgraded to  a 45-foot boat                                                               
for safety  reasons, his LLP  with all  his history could  not be                                                               
used  because  only a  15  percent  increase  in vessel  size  is                                                               
allowed under the federal program, so  to fish the 2009 season he                                                               
had to purchase another LLP.                                                                                                    
MR.  MILES pointed  out that  the federal  proposal, as  written,                                                               
would  completely leave  him out  even though  he is  a long-time                                                               
participant.  In  the state water fishery, pots and  jig gear are                                                               
the only gear groups that get  to participate.  Longliners do not                                                               
get the option of state waters,  he said.  The LLP program leaves                                                               
out a  whole group of guys  that made modest upgrades,  and their                                                               
LLPs could be taken away  from them regardless of their long-term                                                               
investment or participation.   The length overall  issue does not                                                               
stop the  bigger boats  from sponsoning, he  pointed out.   While                                                               
his modest  upgrade increased his  catch ability to  5,000 pounds                                                               
overall, the  bigger boats  can sponson 12-15  feet wide,  and go                                                               
from  a 150,000  pound  capacity to  over 300,000.    He said  he                                                               
supports HJR  21 because it sends  a good message to  the council                                                               
to not close the door on small boat fishermen.                                                                                  
1:52:22 PM                                                                                                                    
DONALD "DJ" VINBERG said he has  fished in the Kodiak area for 40                                                               
years  and is  a third  generation fisherman  operating the  same                                                               
boat as  his father.   He paraphrased from the  following written                                                               
statement  [original punctuation  provided,  but some  formatting                                                               
changes included]:                                                                                                              
          I am opposed to HJR 21.  Morally I agree with the                                                                     
     open fishing  concept, but  I live and  fish in  a real                                                                    
     world and  have felt the impact  of rationalization for                                                                    
     14 years.   The race for history is on.   Pandora's Box                                                                    
     is open  and those  of us  with a  long history  in the                                                                    
     Kodiak area are not protected.                                                                                             
          With relatively no restrictions, our cod fishing                                                                      
     is rapidly  becoming a derby-style fishery,  not unlike                                                                    
     Halibut  fishing of  the past.   A  Cod season  used to                                                                    
     last  3-4  months;  this  year   it  was  26  days  and                                                                    
     preseason  estimates  were  75-100  more  participants.                                                                    
     Boats came  from the  West Coast  due to  the depressed                                                                    
     Dungy  economy.   A large  proportion were  long liners                                                                    
     from the peninsula  and most disturbing to  me were the                                                                    
     larger boats from out West  who have crab IFQ's ... who                                                                    
     now are free  to participate in any open  fishery at no                                                                    
     risk to their already "banked" crab money.                                                                                 
          The Cod fishery represents 50 percent of my                                                                           
     yearly income.  In 2009  the length of time for fishing                                                                    
     the Federal Cod  season was reduced to 26  days and the                                                                    
     State Cod  season to  14 days.   This  has put  me [in]                                                                    
     survival  mode.   If left  unchecked,  our cod  fishery                                                                    
     will be over capitalized  with emphasis on quantity and                                                                    
     not quality in a 30 day  period.  This will allow for a                                                                    
     more depressed price  and more risky fishery,  as a day                                                                    
     missed due to weather is  a missed opportunity with the                                                                    
     clock ticking.                                                                                                             
          I personally feel that there should be more                                                                           
     restrictions  on   access  to   our  cod   fishery  and                                                                    
     definitely  some qualifying  years set  in place.   The                                                                    
     [over] 800  LLP permits in  the Central Gulf is  a joke                                                                    
     and does  noting to protect  me, or boats like  me, who                                                                    
     live  in  Kodiak  and  are  totally  committed  to  the                                                                    
     fishery.  My  options are limited to Kodiak -  I am too                                                                    
     small  to chase  cod out  West, and  my business  is in                                                                    
     jeopardy  if my  piece of  "The Cod  Pie" continues  to                                                                    
          Some hard choices have to be made.  You can't                                                                         
     privatize  big chunks  of our  Alaskan fisheries,  thus                                                                    
     protecting those  participants, and  leave the  rest of                                                                    
     us who are not so lucky totally exposed.                                                                                   
MR.  VINBERG added  that  while he  is not  in  favor of  further                                                               
privatization, IFQs, he  thinks a limited number of  permits is a                                                               
good tool to  start with and throw out any  LLPs with no recency.                                                               
He said the other half of his  income is from salmon, which is an                                                               
example  of a  well-structured fishery.   He  continued with  his                                                               
prepared statement:                                                                                                             
          While I appreciate the opportunity to express my                                                                      
     concerns about the  future of my livelihood,  I am also                                                                    
     concerned  about the  Alaska  Legislature's ability  to                                                                    
     undermine  The   North  Pacific   Fisheries  Management                                                                    
     Council.   I think  you should  be concerned  about our                                                                    
     fisheries  and knowledgeable  about our  situation, but                                                                    
     at  the same  time be  respectful of  those whose  sole                                                                    
     responsibility   is   to    make   fishery   management                                                                    
     decisions.  If you do not trust them, why should I?                                                                        
1:56:29 PM                                                                                                                    
RYAN JOHNSON  testified that he  has been fishing cod  since 1997                                                               
on  his 38-foot  boat.   He  purchased  an LLP  for  his boat  in                                                               
approximately 2002  and earned history  in the fishery  that will                                                               
qualify under the proposed plan.   After numerous years of winter                                                               
fishing on  this small boat he  upgraded to a 48-foot  boat.  His                                                               
boat payments are expensive and  cod fishing is very important to                                                               
him, he said.   This larger boat required that  he purchase a new                                                               
LLP because  the one  for his  smaller boat  did not  qualify for                                                               
transfer.  There are not yet  deliveries on his new LLP, he said,                                                               
but it  is an  important part of  his business plan  if he  is to                                                               
survive.   He said he  spent $30,000 this  past year on  pots and                                                               
cod fishing gear, and he will be  forced to incur more debt if he                                                               
is excluded from cod fishing or  forced to buy a new permit under                                                               
the proposed reduction.                                                                                                         
MR.  JOHNSON acknowledged  that having  over 800  permits fishing                                                               
would be  a bad  thing, but  he said this  is unlikely  to happen                                                               
because  of the  economics of  the fishery.   People  fished this                                                               
winter and lost  money, but they fished to gain  the history.  He                                                               
expressed his  frustration at seeing wealthy  boat owners sitting                                                               
on the  couch while sending  out their  crews to work  for almost                                                               
nothing  so  that the  owners  would  gain  the history.    These                                                               
wealthy owners  then hire  lobbyists to go  before the  NPFMC and                                                               
come up with  schemes that leave the working  fishermen of Alaska                                                               
behind, he contended.   If the council would leave  it alone, the                                                               
economics of the  fishery would be self-regulating,  as it should                                                               
be.  He said he therefore supports HJR 21.                                                                                      
MR. JOHNSON, in response to  Co-Chair Neuman, stated that many of                                                               
the people who  would benefit from this own the  larger boats, so                                                               
their LLPs  would be worth  more money.   He guessed that  an 85-                                                               
foot pot  boat with  a cod endorsement  would be  worth $300,000-                                                               
$500,000,  conservatively, under  the  proposal.   These are  the                                                               
very  same people  who received  halibut and  black cod  IFQs for                                                               
free, he said.                                                                                                                  
2:00:44 PM                                                                                                                    
STEPHAN TAUFEN, Groundswell Fisheries  Movement, stated that this                                                               
is an economic issue and it is a  fight that is on the pathway to                                                               
more rationalization.  It is  important to slow down this process                                                               
of removing  access, especially absent  a biological  concern, he                                                               
said.  Some  people are trying to make safety  an issue, which is                                                               
what  happened for  crab rationalization.   But,  that, too,  was                                                               
solely about  economics, which is  prohibited under  federal law.                                                               
These other concerns are simply distracters, he contended.                                                                      
MR.  TAUFEN  said job  creation  is  all about  opportunities  of                                                               
preserving  access   under  free  enterprise  rights.     Further                                                               
consolidation and  concentration will not serve  the preservation                                                               
of  these of  jobs.   He  urged that  a  deputy attorney  general                                                               
attend all  NPFMC meetings  to represent  small fishermen  and to                                                               
keep state bodies informed.  When  prices are low, it makes sense                                                               
to leave  the fish  in the water  to propagate and  grow.   It is                                                               
important to  send a message  that there  will be no  more giving                                                               
away  of  history under  a  specially  chosen set  of  qualifying                                                               
years.   This is  the pathway  to rationalization,  otherwise the                                                               
council's  measures  would  not  talk  about  catch  history  and                                                               
stacked licensing  provisions.  He  pointed out that  the council                                                               
has the  alternative to  choose no  action and  HJR 21  sends the                                                               
message  that  no action  is  a  viable  position.   Because  the                                                               
council  takes public  testimony, the  legislature's weighing  in                                                               
does not undermine the council's actions.                                                                                       
2:04:17 PM                                                                                                                    
TONY GREGORIO,  Chignik Lagoon Village  Corporation, said  he has                                                               
fished in Chignik  since 1959.  He noted that  a fisherman can no                                                               
longer make it by only fishing  for salmon.  His organization has                                                               
tried to work  with the North Pacific  Fishery Management Council                                                               
to  slow   down  these   deals  because   they  hurt   the  small                                                               
communities, he related.  Chignik  is the worst possible place to                                                               
fish for cod in the winter due  to constant winds of 60 miles per                                                               
hour.  The  coast communities must be addressed,  and taking away                                                               
latent  LLPs is  closing  the door  little by  little.   This  is                                                               
running  down  the  road  to rationalization,  which  is  why  he                                                               
supports HJR 21, he said.                                                                                                       
2:06:16 PM                                                                                                                    
FREDDIE   CHRISTIANSEN,  Gulf   of  Alaska   Coastal  Communities                                                               
Coalition, said  he was born and  raised on Kodiak Island  and he                                                               
has fished in  most of the fisheries since he  was six years old.                                                               
He said he  is opposed to any kind of  rationalization or limited                                                               
entry program,  whether state or  federal, because it  takes away                                                               
access and  opportunities for people  in the  coastal communities                                                               
who have depended on these  resources for millennium, as shown by                                                               
the presence  of cod bones in  archeological sites.  There  is no                                                               
need to give away  the resource to an elite group  of people.  He                                                               
said he supports HJR 21 for  the purpose of slowing this down and                                                               
trying to  come up with  measures that will  protect communities.                                                               
This is  the last possible  rationalized fishery and  there needs                                                               
to be a way to protect the  small boat fishermen like the ones he                                                               
is  representing.   There are  other ways  of limiting  the boats                                                               
that are coming in and fishing  just for the purposes of history.                                                               
He urged that the state stand  up and take the lead in protecting                                                               
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN closed public testimony.                                                                                        
2:09:37 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  AUSTERMAN said  the testimony  indicates that  no                                                               
matter what one does there are  always two sides to an issue, but                                                               
in this case  he believes it is purely economics  that is driving                                                               
the movement  for these endorsements.   This economic  drive will                                                               
leave other  people out and  there are  Alaskans that need  to be                                                               
protected from being blocked out by this excessive access.                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN,  in response  to Co-Chair  Neuman, said                                                               
some people  consider rationalization  to be only  those programs                                                               
where the resource  was actually given way  and rationalized into                                                               
ownership.  Every  fishery in Alaska is going  to be rationalized                                                               
in one form  or another over time as more  and more entrants come                                                               
into the  fisheries and create  races for the  fish.  He  said he                                                               
does not  have a problem with  giving out IFQs like  was done for                                                               
halibut, but  what he disagrees  with is giving ownership  of the                                                               
IFQ to the  fishermen instead of some other method  of rolling it                                                               
over  so it  is  available for  others wishing  to  get into  the                                                               
program.  Whether  or not it is rationalization  or limited entry                                                               
depends on who you are talking to and how they interpret it.                                                                    
2:12:46 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG  inquired how effective these  types of                                                               
resolutions  have been  in the  past in  influencing the  NPFMC's                                                               
decision-making process in the past.                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN  said he  does not  know.   He explained                                                               
that  during  his  four years  as  Governor  Murkowski's  fishery                                                               
policy advisor,  he attended the  council's meetings and,  in his                                                               
opinion, the policy  decisions of the NPFMC  were not necessarily                                                               
favorable to Alaskans.  He  said this convinced him that Alaska's                                                               
legislature needs  to stand  up and  have a  voice in  the policy                                                               
decisions that affect Alaska's communities.                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON added  that this  is a  license limitation                                                               
program on the federal side,  just like salmon license limitation                                                               
on the state side, but an attempt  is being made to cut more than                                                               
half of  the licenses.   Many of  the licenses are  not currently                                                               
being fished in  Cook Inlet because the economics  are not there.                                                               
It is  a good decision  to have participation based  on economics                                                               
and not  building a history,  he opined.  The  groundfish license                                                               
covers all species and that license  will be zeroed out if cod is                                                               
removed because things  must be done in combination;  if the most                                                               
profitable fishery  of a unit is  taken out, the rest  of it goes                                                               
away.  While he has friends on  both sides of this issue, he said                                                               
he is worried that communities will  be affected if there are not                                                               
enough  licenses   available  for  residents   should  processing                                                               
opportunities arise  in a  community in the  future, and  this is                                                               
one of the reasons why he supports HJR 21.                                                                                      
2:16:16 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON asked why this issue is happening now.                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN said  he thinks the real  problem is how                                                               
the  NPFMC is  made up,  and  the council  is mostly  made up  of                                                               
industry people,  so industry  is speaking at  every level.   The                                                               
only people who can  afford to go to every one  of the eight one-                                                               
and-a-half-week-long council  meetings held  each year  are those                                                               
who have  money.   Half the  people who spoke  today are  tied to                                                               
that  big industry  and  were  paid to  come  and  speak.   Every                                                               
community in  the Gulf of  Alaska will  be affected.   Members of                                                               
the North  Pacific Fishery Management Council  are appointed, not                                                               
elected, and some are from Washington and Oregon.                                                                               
2:19:19 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR JOHNSON  surmised that  the Pacific  cod fishery  is not                                                               
overfished and  what is going on  is an economic decision,  not a                                                               
biological decision.                                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN  said that just about  every sentence in                                                               
the council's  [Environmental Assessment  on the proposal  to add                                                               
Pacific cod endorsements] is  about economically protecting those                                                               
who  are  currently  fishing.    Right now  the  fishery  is  not                                                               
biologically  threatened at  all,  he maintained,  but there  are                                                               
areas of economic threats within  the three miles where the state                                                               
and parallel fisheries  are located.  Stocks can  be protected by                                                               
management  schemes that  limit  the number  of  pots, limit  the                                                               
number of  hooks that can  be fished,  and that limit  boat size,                                                               
width, and tonnage.  Limiting the  number of licenses to 300 does                                                               
not protect the  resource because each of the  300 could lengthen                                                               
their  boats  or increase  their  number  of  pots.   In  further                                                               
response,  he  said  he  would  not  phrase  it  as  a  political                                                               
decision, but rather an economics decision.                                                                                     
2:22:48 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON said  that  while he  has constituents  on                                                               
both sides  of this issue,  the consequences of this  proposal on                                                               
coastal communities and the future  consequence of the allocation                                                               
between  state   water  and  federal  fisheries   have  not  been                                                               
addressed.   If  access to  the  federal fishery  is reduced  for                                                               
coastal Alaskans, pressure will be  put on the Board of Fisheries                                                               
to  take control  of more  of the  fish within  state waters  for                                                               
state water  access, he opined.   The ramifications will  go much                                                               
further than which boats will be in and which will be out.                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON, in  response to  Co-Chair Neuman,  stated                                                               
that  if   the  availability  of  federal   licenses  to  coastal                                                               
fishermen is  reduced, the result  will be pressure on  the Board                                                               
of Fisheries to take control of more  of the cod fish that are in                                                               
state  waters.   The impact  of this  will be  a shifting  of the                                                               
current  gear types  that are  used to  the gear  types that  are                                                               
allowed in  the state water fishery,  which he does not  think is                                                               
good for  the mix of Alaska  fishermen.  In further  response, he                                                               
agreed that this will create more impact on the three-mile area.                                                                
2:25:35 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE OLSON  commented that today's vote  will result in                                                               
making half of each member's constituency happy and half upset.                                                                 
CO-CHAIR JOHNSON  moved to  report HJR 21  out of  committee with                                                               
individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  zero  fiscal                                                               
note.  There  being no objection, HJR 21 was  reported out of the                                                               
House Resources Standing Committee.                                                                                             

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 70 Packet.pdf HRES 3/18/2009 1:00:00 PM
HB 70
HB 43 Packet.pdf HRES 3/18/2009 1:00:00 PM
HB 43
HJR 21 Packet.pdf HRES 3/18/2009 1:00:00 PM
HJR 21
HJR 21Fixed Gear Recency Anal.pdf HRES 3/18/2009 1:00:00 PM
HJR 21
HJR 21Fixed Gear Recency Anal
HJR 21 add info 1.pdf HRES 3/18/2009 1:00:00 PM
HJR 21
HB 70.pdf HRES 3/18/2009 1:00:00 PM
HB 70
HB 70-EED-TLS-3-16-09.pdf HRES 3/18/2009 1:00:00 PM
HB 70
HB 70-DNR-AG-03-17-09.pdf HRES 3/18/2009 1:00:00 PM
HB 70
HJR 21 add Testimony.pdf HRES 3/18/2009 1:00:00 PM
HJR 21
HJR 21 add Testimony 2.pdf HRES 3/18/2009 1:00:00 PM
HJR 21