Legislature(1995 - 1996)

02/20/1996 08:02 AM House STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
 HJR 51 - SPORT FISHING GUIDE LIMITED ENTRY                                  
 The next order of business to come before the House State Affairs             
 Committee was HJR 51.                                                         
 CHAIR JAMES called on Jeff Logan, Legislative Assistant to                    
 Representative Joe Green, to present HJR 51.                                  
 Number 1315                                                                   
 JEFF LOGAN, Legislative Assistant to Representataive Joe Green,               
 explained, when he presented HJR 51 to the committee members last             
 week, the questions primarily related to the specificity of the               
 language.  He said, after further research, the simple answer to              
 the questions, was politics.  The sponsor was concerned if the                
 language was too broad, the resolution would encounter the same               
 problems as Representative Scott Ogan encountered with his                    
 efforts to save the Big Game Commercial Services Board.  He                   
 called this a "catch-22" situation whereby the resource managers              
 could not take the necessary action without a constitutional                  
 amendment.  He said the concern expressed earlier regarding                   
 restricting other types of resources, such as brown bear guides,              
 through the constitution was valid.  However, based on the                    
 current information, it was unlikely that would be necessary for              
 quit some time.  He said in 1968 the legislature took action to               
 address fishery management issues and passed a bill that                      
 instituted limited entry.  Litigation followed, of which the                  
 state lost, and ultimately a ballot was put before the voters.                
 This, he explained, was how limited entry came about for                      
 commercial fisheries.  Therefore, a resolution was specific, but              
 it was not unprecedented.                                                     
 Number 1446                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON wondered about sufficient data collected              
 before a decision was reached.                                                
 Number 1463                                                                   
 MR. LOGAN replied there was a lot of anecdotal evidence.  He                  
 explained there were fisheries that were full of boats, and                   
 resource managers and users had asked for a limit.  He cited in               
 1991 the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation had a set of                
 regulations that were ruled patently unconstitutional.  He                    
 further stated, everyone knew the real solution to the problem                
 lied with something that would come after HJR 51.                             
 Number 1520                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON wondered about the progress of HB 175,                
 Sport Fish Guide Licensing.                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN replied HB 175 was moving forward.                       
 CHAIR JAMES called on the first witness via teleconference in                 
 Kodiak, Eric Stirrup.                                                         
 Number 1550                                                                   
 ERIC STIRRUP, Owner, Kodiak Western Charters, said he strongly                
 supported HJR 51.  He said the state and the sport fish guide                 
 industry were at an important crossroads.  He said there were                 
 three choices - HJR 51, allocations quoted to each business, or               
 over capitalization.  He stated the business was growing by leaps             
 and bounds pushing the allocation window.  He asserted it was                 
 time the state considered HJR 51 as a management option.                      
 CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness via teleconference in                  
 Sitka, Keith Greba.                                                           
 Number 1630                                                                   
 KEITH GREBA said there was ample data to suggest a moratorium due             
 to the limited amount of resources.  He was also concerned about              
 the qualifications to become a guide and suggested it needed to               
 be looked at further, otherwise HJR 51 would not solve the                    
 Number 1702                                                                   
 CHAIR JAMES asked Mr. Greba if he was in favor of HJR 51?                     
 Number 1703                                                                   
 MR. GREBA said he favored a moratorium, and addressing the area               
 of qualifications, before mandating a limited entry.                          
 CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness via teleconference in                  
 Sitka, Barbara Bingham.                                                       
 Number 1763                                                                   
 BARBARA BINGHAM said conservation was the issue and a resource                
 should be managed for the end user.  She said a constitutional                
 amendment would not solve the problem, and restricting a                      
 particular group did not seem appropriate.  She also favored a                
 CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness via teleconference in                  
 Sitka, Kent Hall.                                                             
 Number 1798                                                                   
 KENT HALL said a constitutional amendment was too drastic.  He                
 also favored a moratorium for control.                                        
 CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness via teleconference in                  
 Gakona, Alan Lemaster.                                                        
 Number 1830                                                                   
 ALAN LEMASTER said he was listening at this point and trying to               
 formulate some ideas.  He cited, however, the Gakona River was                
 receiving more pressure every year as a result of problems on                 
 other rivers.  He said, if the trend was to continue, a                       
 regulation would be needed.                                                   
 Number 1887                                                                   
 MR. LOGAN said HJR 51 did not say "when" the limits would be                  
 imposed.  He asserted the limits would be the end result of a                 
 public process based on scientific data.  The resolution said the             
 state would have the power to impose a limitation, if needed.  He             
 asked the committee members, if saving important fisheries dear               
 to many Alaskans and tourists, was good statewide policy?                     
 Number 1942                                                                   
 CHAIR JAMES said she was struggling with this issues.  She was                
 not sure a constitutional amendment was the correct way to fix                
 the problem.  She agreed there was a problem, but she did not                 
 have any suggestions.  She stated the Alaska State Constitution               
 mandated the state manage fish and wildlife for sustainability,               
 but no one had tried to manage the state's resources in that                  
 manner due to politics.  She said some were unwilling to take the             
 political heat that had to be taken to address the problem.  She              
 announced she was not pleased with the limited entry program for              
 commercial fisheries, and she did not want to create a limited                
 entry permit that suddenly had a dollar value.                                
 Number 2030                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN said, if it was that clear to everyone, it               
 would not be necessary to put the issue on a ballot.  House Joint             
 Resolution 51 removed any stigma, and cleared the way for a                   
 Number 2090                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said he supported the concept of HJR 51.  It              
 was imperative for the state to retain the ownership of the                   
 permits, he asserted.  He said it was also important to avoid                 
 what happened to commercial fisheries.  He said he was concerned              
 about Alaska loosing its resources and cited the vulnerability of             
 rock fish.                                                                    
 Number 2179                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER said he agreed with Chair James regarding               
 the value of the permit.  He said there was the opportunity to                
 correct that, and suggested adding language to prevent it from                
 happening again.  He said he would be willing to take that up in              
 the House Judiciary Committee as Chair of the committee.                      
 Number 2223                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN reiterated HJR 51 was not the answer, it                 
 just opened the avenue for the answers.  There was the suggestion             
 of limiting guides to half-a-day - a morning guide and an                     
 afternoon guide, for example.  He further said the resolution did             
 not want to cause a rash of unqualified sport guides based on                 
 speculation.  However, he said limiting the value of the permit               
 was a legal question.                                                         
 Number 2282                                                                   
 CHAIR JAMES stated she found it distressing that the state had                
 not found a way to follow the constitution.  She further said it              
 was not proper to use the constitution for special interests.                 
 She also alluded there was a timing issue involved, because it                
 was a presidential election year, and suggested the ballots were              
 being stacked.                                                                
 CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness via teleconference in                  
 Valdez, Mark Buchner.                                                         
 Number 2350                                                                   
 MARK BUCHNER said he was the owner of a gill net permit.  He said             
 he saved for 10 years to be able to buy the permit.  He said it               
 was not fair and suggested a place system for future limited                  
 CHAIR JAMES explained the next committees of referral for HJR 51              
 were the House Special Committee on Fisheries, and the House                  
 Judiciary Committee, and announced she felt comfortable moving                
 HJR 51 forward to those committees.                                           
 Number 2408                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON wondered if HB 175 was also referred to               
 the House State Affairs Committee.                                            
 Number 2418                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER replied, "no."                                          
 CHAIR JAMES explained the only reason the House State Affairs                 
 Committee was hearing HJR 51 was because it was a constitutional              
 Number 2426                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said she also struggled with HJR 51.  She             
 agreed there was a problem facing the state.  She was also                    
 concerned about taking an extreme action before all the data was              
 collected to determine the true problems.  She announced she did              
 not have a problem moving HJR 51 forward to the next committee of             
 referral - the House Special Committee on Fisheries.                          
 Number 2455                                                                   
 CHAIR JAMES commented she was concerned about forwarding HJR 51               
 to the ballot without more information for the public.                        
 Number 2472                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said HB 175 should be in place as a modality              
 to identify sport guides.  He cited there was an attempt for a                
 point system on the Guide-Outfitter Use Areas Board for hunting               
 in a particular area.  He said there were many problems because               
 of the Owsichek v. State case which ruled the exclusive use of an           
 area was unconstitutional.                                                    
 TAPE 96-20, SIDE B                                                            
 Number 0059                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN reiterated HJR 51 said the state "may" limit             
 sport guide fishing and required further legislation.  He                     
 reiterated the resolution assured there would not be an                       
 impediment and removed any stigma.                                            
 Number 0107                                                                   
 MR. LOGAN addressed the data issue and referred the committee                 
 members to a proposal titled "The Kenai River Guide Limit                     
 Proposal."  He said it was backed-up by more data than the                    
 committee members would like to consider.  He further said any                
 proposal under the auspices of a constitutional amendment would               
 be backed-up by ample data.                                                   
 Number 0131                                                                   
 CHAIR JAMES said she understood the "sales technique" regarding               
 the constitutional amendment because the resolution was prompted              
 by a lot of support for a limited entry.                                      
 The record reflected the arrival of Representative Ivan Ivan at               
 8:55 a.m.                                                                     
 Number 0154                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN replied, "I would like the record to reflect             
 that you have no idea what my intent is."  He said he did not                 
 enjoy having it on the record this was a sales technique, and was             
 very offended.  He asserted, the resolution was intended to open              
 the avenue for others to solve the problem.                                   
 Number 0169                                                                   
 CHAIR JAMES apologized to Representative Green.                               
 Number 0175                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON stated she was concerned a constitutional             
 amendment was too extreme when it could be discovered that it was             
 not the right direction needed.                                               
 Number 0202                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN replied HJR 51 authorized a cure, it did not             
 mandate an answer.                                                            
 CHAIR JAMES announced the presence of Representative Ivan Ivan                
 for the record.                                                               
 Number 0240                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON responded the cure needed to be                       
 concluded, before convincing the public a constitutional                      
 amendment was necessary.                                                      
 CHAIR JAMES replied, "the cart before the horse."                             
 Number 0253                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN said, "that would put the cart before the                
 horse, exactly."  He cited a scenario where time and energy was               
 spent to determine a solution and the people said, "no."  He said             
 there was a good chance of a legal challenge, but at least it                 
 would be a possibility and the time would be spent for something.             
 Number 0289                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE WILLIS wondered if a moratorium was a practical                
 way to address the permit issue.                                              
 Number 0300                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN responded, without a constitutional                      
 amendment, there would be a legal challenge.                                  
 Number 0318                                                                   
 CHAIR JAMES asked Representative Green to respond to the fact                 
 that the Alaska State Constitution required the state to manage               
 its fish and game on a sustainable yield basis, and wondered what             
 the options were.                                                             
 Number 0329                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN replied the state managed it resources                    
 through seasons and bag limits.  He said a moratorium was not                 
 possible because it would restrict commerce.                                  
 Number 0357                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN cited the water shortage in Orange County                
 California whereby at one time the people believed the aquifer                
 was more than sustainable.  He said, as an analogy, when the                  
 constitution was passed, there was probably more fish than man                
 could ever catch.  However, the population and number of people               
 fishing had increased creating a problem with allocation because              
 the resources could no longer sustain the appetites of the users.             
 He agreed meddling with the constitution was risky.  He said HJR
 51 did not meddle with it, it just made it clearer.                           
 Number 0436                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN reiterated he supported HJR 51.  He called it             
 an enabling amendment that gave latitude to resource managers.                
 Number 0471                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN moved that HJR 51 move from committee with                
 individual recommendations and attached fiscal notes.  Hearing no             
 objection, it was so moved from the House State Affairs                       

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