Legislature(2009 - 2010)BUTROVICH 205

03/01/2010 03:30 PM Senate RESOURCES

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
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= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
        SJR 27-FED. FUNDING: DOMESTIC SEAFOOD MARKETING                                                                     
3:34:26 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  BILL  WIELECHOWSKI  announced  SJR  27  to  be  up  for                                                               
3:34:54 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR CHARLIE HUGGINS joined the committee.                                                                                   
3:35:03 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  DENNIS EGAN,  sponsor  of SJR  27,  testified that  this                                                               
resolution urges  Congress to use  a portion of  federal revenues                                                               
to market  American seafood. Seafood producers  struggle with the                                                               
same challenges  as other producers,  yet are not given  the same                                                               
support.  Specifically,  seafood  producers do  not  receive  any                                                               
funds for  domestic marketing and product  development. They face                                                               
competition  from  foreign  products that  require  vigorous  and                                                               
innovative promotions.                                                                                                          
He  said that  currently, over  80 percent  of the  fish consumed                                                               
annually  by   American  families  is  the   product  of  foreign                                                               
countries. The seafood industry is  vital to Alaska's economy and                                                               
3:36:23 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS moved  conceptual Amendment 1 to  delete "50" and                                                               
insert "80"  on page 1, line  5. There were no  objections and it                                                               
was so ordered.                                                                                                                 
CO-CHAIR WIELECHOWSKI opened public testimony.                                                                                  
3:36:52 PM                                                                                                                    
JULIE   DECKER,  Project   Leader,  National   Seafood  Marketing                                                               
Coalition, said  this is the  United Fishermen of  Alaska's (UFA)                                                               
new  initiative to  fund a  national program  to market  domestic                                                               
seafood  in  the United  States.  She  introduced Bruce  Wallace,                                                               
another team member.                                                                                                            
She explained that  the UFA formed this  coalition partly because                                                               
Alaska is  uniquely positioned to  lead this project since  it is                                                               
the national leader in the  production, management, and marketing                                                               
of seafood.  The idea  is to  invest a  portion of  import duties                                                               
that  are  already collected  on  fish  and  fish products  in  a                                                               
domestic seafood  marketing program.  They propose  creating nine                                                               
regional  boards throughout  the country  that would  receive the                                                               
money and  determine how to  direct it into  marketing activities                                                               
like  product   development,  advertising,   infrastructure,  and                                                               
research and  development. The idea  is to increase the  value of                                                               
the  products   and  increase  competitiveness   against  foreign                                                               
competition,  and  growing  the  economy with  resource  that  is                                                               
already harvested and producing more jobs in that area.                                                                         
MS.  DECKER said  the  State of  Alaska has  seen  return on  its                                                               
investment  in  seafood  marketing  and they  want  to  see  that                                                               
continued on a nation-wide basis.  The Coalition had already seen                                                               
interest  in their  one trip  "Back East"  and have  received one                                                               
letter  of  support so  far.  They  will continue  the  coalition                                                               
building throughout the year.                                                                                                   
She said  the reason  the Legislature's  support is  important is                                                               
because it is  an example to other  communities and organizations                                                               
across  the nation  as  to what  they  can do  to  help with  the                                                               
3:40:11 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  FRENCH commented  that  he didn't  know  the duties  and                                                               
tariffs  generate approximately  $280  million  annually for  the                                                               
U.S. Treasury in reference to  the first "Whereas" clause on page                                                               
2. He  asked if  the second "Whereas"  clause that  says "revenue                                                               
from   anti-dumping  and   countervailing   duties  on   imported                                                               
fish...total  hundreds of  millions of  dollars annually;"  was a                                                               
separate category and asked her how the duties work.                                                                            
MS. DECKER  answered these  are two distinct  pots of  money. The                                                               
anti-dumping and  countervailing duties are what  the U.S. levies                                                               
to try  to level the  playing field  for other countries  who may                                                               
subsidize their industries.  For instance farmed fish  - it keeps                                                               
them  from  selling their  product  in  the U.S  at  below-market                                                               
3:41:36 PM                                                                                                                    
BRUCE  WALLACE,  member,  National Seafood  Marketing  Coalition,                                                               
United Fishermen of Alaska (UFA),  noted that the State of Alaska                                                               
has worked well with industry on  numerous levels for a number of                                                               
years. They  find that  is not necessarily  true around  the U.S.                                                               
So,  if this  is successful  it will  build a  number of  bridges                                                               
between maritime states.                                                                                                        
3:43:05 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR WIELECHOWSKI  closed public  testimony and SJR  27 would                                                               
be held.                                                                                                                        

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