Legislature(2017 - 2018)SENATE FINANCE 532
04/03/2018 01:30 PM FINANCE
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HOUSE BILL NO. 128 "An Act relating to management of enhanced stocks of shellfish; authorizing certain nonprofit organizations to engage in shellfish enhancement projects; relating to application fees for salmon hatchery permits; and providing for an effective date." 2:40:23 PM REPRESENTATIVE DAN ORTIZ, SPONSOR introduced himself. 2:40:31 PM MARY HAKALA, STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE DAN ORTIZ, introduced the bill. Representative Ortiz read from a prepared statement: Madam Chair, Members of Senate Finance Committee, thank you for hearing HB 128 dealing with Shellfish Enhancement Projects. I'd like to thank Senator Stevens for his work on SB 89, the Senate companion to this bill. With over 30,000 miles of coastline, pristine waters, talented entrepreneurs, and marketing infrastructure, Alaska has tremendous untapped potential to grow mariculture in the State. Very briefly, HB128 allows non-profits to apply for, and pursue enhancement or restoration projects involving shellfish, with species ranging from red and blue king crab, sea cucumber, abalone, geoduck, razor clams, and more. HB128 creates the regulatory framework needed for management of shellfish enhancement projects. The bill allows research to continue on a larger scale that can make a difference in rehabilitation and restoration efforts. HB 128 sets out stringent safety standards to ensure sustainability and health of existing wild stocks. Shellfish produced under an enhancement permit become a common property resource available for common use - when returned to the wild. The bill provides for cost recovery and designated harvest areas under guidelines established by the Department. Administrative procedures parallel those for salmon enhancement projects, providing efficiencies that minimize administrative costs to the state. In summary, HB128 establishes a sound, sustainable approach to developing the State's shellfish resources and mariculture industry. 2:42:38 PM AT EASE 2:43:11 PM RECONVENED 2:44:19 PM JULIE DECKER, CHAIR, MARICULTURE TASK FORCE, stated that the bill was one of the top priorities necessary to move the industry forward. She felt that it would allow a framework to continue to make progress with the shellfish enhancement programs, including the king crab project. She stated that the people involved in that project was waiting for the legislation, because the industry was not interested in further investment until there was a path forward to address the issue on a large scale. 2:45:04 PM SAM RABUNG, DEPARTMENT OF FISH and GAME, expressed support of the bill. The legislation was modeled after the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) after the existing salmon fishery enhancement statutes that had been in place since the mid-1970s. 2:45:54 PM JINNY ECKERT, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA, JUNEAU (via teleconference), stated that she was a shellfish expert, and was currently teaching a course in aquaculture. She spoke in support of the bill, and was available to answer questions. She spoke to the need of rehabilitation of kind crab in Alaska. She stressed that many king crab stocks in the Gulf of Alaska crashed in the 1980x, ad had not recovered since that time. She remarked that most of the fisheries closed, and overfishing had likely caused the decline. 2:48:58 PM JEFF HETRICH, SEWARD SHELLFISH HATCHERY, announced the dire status of the shellfish stocks in Alaska. He stated that there was no king crab fishery in almost forty years. He shared that private shellfish hatcheries spent the prior 15 years developing a technology to raise the animals. He shared that he raised sea cucumbers; blue and red king crab; clams; and scallops. He remarked that there was work to stock the animals with experimental research permits. Co-Chair MacKinnon stated that Senator Stevens had asked that the advancement of the bill be held until the House members could bring their bills before the committee. 2:51:56 PM LARRY COTTER, CEO, ALEUTIAN PRIBOLOF ISLAND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION, echoed the comments of the previous testifiers. He felt that both bills were important to provide the opportunity to move forward with the development of a new future for Alaska that he felt would be very meaningful. 2:54:40 PM Ms. Hakala discussed the Sectional Analysis (copy on file): Sec 1. Provides the Alaska Board of Fisheries authority to direct the department to manage production of enhanced shellfish stocks, beyond brood stock needs, for cost recovery harvest. Sec. 2 Increases the permit application fee for new private nonprofit salmon hatcheries from $100 to $1,000. Sec. 3 Adds a new Chapter 12 to Title 16, "Shellfish Stock Enhancement Projects". Provides direction to the commissioner of the Department of Fish and Game on issuance of permits for private nonprofit shellfish fishery enhancement projects and establishes a $1,000 permit application fee. This section directs the commissioner to consult with technical experts in the relevant areas before permit issuance. This section provides for a hearing prior to issuance of a permit and describes certain permit terms including cost recovery fisheries, harvest, sale, and release of enhancement project-produced shellfish, and selection of brood stock sources. This section describes reporting requirements and terms for modification or revocation of a permit. It specifies that shellfish produced under an approved enhancement project are a common property resource, with provision for special harvest areas by permit holders. Sec. 4 Provides Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission authority to issue special harvest area entry permits to holders of private nonprofit shellfish rehabilitation, or enhancement project permits. Sec. 5 Defines legal fishing gear for special harvest area entry permit holders. Sec. 6 Exempts shellfish raised in a private nonprofit shellfish project from the farmed fish definition. Sec 7 and 8 Establish state corporate income tax exemption for a nonprofit corporation holding a shellfish fishery enhancement permit. Sec. 9 Exempts shellfish harvested under a special harvest area entry permit from seafood development taxes. Sec. 10 Establishes an effective date for the salmon hatchery permit application fee described in sec. 2. Sec. 11 Authorizes the Department of Fish and Game to adopt implementing regulations. Sec. 12 Establishes an immediate effective date for sec. 11 pursuant to AS 01.10.070(c). Sec. 13 Establishes an effective date for sec. 8 concomitant with sec. 2, Chapter 55, SLA 2013. Co-Chair MacKinnon stated that the committee would consider the updated fiscal note at a later date. Co-Chair MacKinnon CLOSED public testimony. HB 128 was HEARD and HELD in committee for further consideration. 2:58:38 PM AT EASE 3:05:54 PM RECONVENED