Legislature(2017 - 2018)BUTROVICH 205

03/12/2018 03:30 PM Senate RESOURCES

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        SJR 13-URGING CO-MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR SEA OTTERS                                                                     
4:26:46 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR GIESSEL  announced consideration of  SJR 13. She  noted the                                                               
proposed  committee   substitute  (CS)  clarifies  some   of  the                                                               
drafting issues.                                                                                                                
SENATOR COGHILL moved to adopt  CSSJR 13( ), version 30-LS1408\J,                                                               
as the working  document. There were no objections  and version J                                                               
was adopted.                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  STEDMAN, Alaska  State Legislature,  sponsor of  SJR 13,                                                               
said  his district  is all  subsistence except  for a  portion of                                                               
Ketchikan. He  said he was  going to  talk about the  impacts sea                                                               
otters have on  the subsistence lifestyle and the  ability in his                                                               
communities for the families to feed themselves.                                                                                
4:28:58 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  STEDMAN said  this resolution  urges  the United  States                                                               
Congress  to amend  the Marine  Mammal Protection  Act and  urges                                                               
certain   federal   agencies   to  permit   the   Alaska   Native                                                               
organizations and the Alaska Department  of Fish and Game (ADF&G)                                                               
to co-manage the take and study of sea otters.                                                                                  
Previously,  Russians and  Aleuts  migrated  across the  Aleutian                                                               
Chain  and  "pretty  much  thinned   them  out,"  almost  totally                                                               
annihilated the  otter population in  that region. And he  is not                                                               
in any  way advocating going back  to that, but he's  looking for                                                               
some  balance.  In 1969,  400  otters  were introduced  into  the                                                               
state. Now there are 25,000 otters  and that number is growing by                                                               
13  percent  per  year. This  has  affected  subsistence  fishery                                                               
resources and closed 18 dive fisheries.  Kake is down to one clam                                                               
beach in front  of their community. Having just one  beach is not                                                               
very good in  terms of a reliable harvest of  seafood. They don't                                                               
have  the ability  to go  to Safeway  or Albertsons  to shop  for                                                               
SENATOR   STEDMAN  said   these  communities   have  80   percent                                                               
unemployment -  one is  close to  90 percent -  and have  no cash                                                               
economy as  a base. They  have schools,  city hall, a  handful of                                                               
fishing  permits, and  a little  bit  of tourism.  The people  in                                                               
these  communities   have  lived  a  subsistence   lifestyle  for                                                               
thousands of years  and it won't change any time  soon. They need                                                               
to be able to harvest food in order to eat.                                                                                     
4:32:01 PM                                                                                                                    
Back in 2010,  the legislature saw the decline in  harvest of sea                                                               
otters  and appropriated  funds  to encourage  craft work,  which                                                               
really  helped in  increasing the  allowable  harvest of  otters,                                                               
which  is  set in  federal  regulations.  His chart  reflected  a                                                               
substantial drop from a harvest of  1,500 animals a few years ago                                                               
to 882  in 2017,  so they  are basically  going backwards  as the                                                               
Southeast otter  population grew  at 13  percent. For  people who                                                               
haven't  seen  the  sea  otter  rafts, they  are  so  thick  some                                                               
mariners mistake them for reefs.                                                                                                
SJR 13  urges federal  agencies to work  with state,  Native, and                                                               
local  leaders  to  establish  a sea  otter  management  plan  to                                                               
protect the shellfish resources and subsistence availability.                                                                   
4:34:58 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEDMAN  said they  don't want  to eradicate  the otters,                                                               
but  a  balance  needs  to be  established  between  the  tourism                                                               
industry, commercial  fisheries, and  subsistence. One  option is                                                               
to  transfer  sea  otter  management   authority  to  the  Alaska                                                               
Department of  Fish and  Game (ADF&G) or  to the  National Marine                                                               
Fishery Services (NMFS)  and for them to  consider small business                                                               
enhancements  and economic  activities  in  the management  plan.                                                               
This would entail dealing with  non-cash economies, but sea otter                                                               
pelts are valuable both as pelts and in crafts.                                                                                 
He explained  that currently, Non-Native people  can't handle the                                                               
pelts  until they  are  significantly  altered and  if  he had  a                                                               
Native  spouse he  couldn't  help  her at  all.  Dave, an  Alaska                                                               
Native from Metlakatla, could go out  and harvest them, but if he                                                               
had a non-Native spouse, she couldn't help him, either.                                                                         
4:37:54 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEDMAN  said for a  while Alaska Natives from  the coast                                                               
weren't even harvesting  otters, because they were  afraid of the                                                               
federal  regulations.  Some  modifications   have  been  made  by                                                               
working with  the federal regulators,  but their rules  are still                                                               
too  restrictive. In  SJR  13,  he is  urging  amendments to  the                                                               
Marine  Mammal Protection  Act (MMPA)  to  provide for  authentic                                                               
Native crafts  to be sold  without restriction. That can  be seen                                                               
by  the  massive upswing  in  otter  population and  a  declining                                                               
harvest level in seafood.                                                                                                       
The scope  of allowable uses needs  to be expanded to  allow non-                                                               
Coastal  Alaska Natives  of federally  recognized tribes  to take                                                               
sea  otters. He  couldn't see  any good  reason why  Natives from                                                               
Interior Alaska  should be prohibited from  harvesting sea otters                                                               
and increasing their  value by selling their  crafts to tourists.                                                               
Authentic  Native  crafts  should  be able  to  be  sold  without                                                               
restrictions.  "Why can't  they make  a  teddy bear  out of  this                                                               
really nice fur for our kids to play with?" he asked.                                                                           
4:39:41 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEDMAN  elaborated that it would  be a huge help  if the                                                               
federal  government would  back off  a little  bit and  allow the                                                               
ADF&G and  Native organizations to  manage their own  destiny and                                                               
co-manage the subsistence use of  sea otters. The state replanted                                                               
the  sea otters  into  Southeast and  then  their management  was                                                               
transferred  to  the  feds,  and   now  with  the  Marine  Mammal                                                               
Protection Act no good deed goes unpunished.                                                                                    
Further, Senator Stedman said, our  neighbors in British Columbia                                                               
are  dying to  get  sea otter  pelts  and we  should  be able  to                                                               
harvest and sell  some to them. The  resolution urges authorizing                                                               
the ADF&G or  Native organizations to take as many  sea otters as                                                               
necessary to  protect the  threatened subsistence  fisheries. His                                                               
constituents don't  want to wipe  out sea otters, but  they don't                                                               
want  them so  concentrated  that their  subsistence beaches  are                                                               
devastated. He displayed  a sea otter pelt, size  XL, saying they                                                               
feed down to  30-35 fathoms of water and eat  about 25 percent of                                                               
their body weight a day.                                                                                                        
SENATOR STEDMAN quoted a letter  from Secretary of Interior Zenke                                                               
and Secretary of Commerce Ross:                                                                                                 
     The  estimated annual  consumption of  the current  sea                                                                    
     otter population is 195 million  pounds of seafood, the                                                                    
     primary   take  being   shellfish.   Based  on   growth                                                                    
     estimates through  2030, this  number closer to  a half                                                                    
     billion pounds  annually. Compared  to the  estimate of                                                                    
     195   million  pounds   consumed  by   the  sea   otter                                                                    
     population  each  year, Southeast  Alaska's  commercial                                                                    
     fishermen  targeting  the   same  species  harvest  5-7                                                                    
     million  pounds  annually,  3-4  percent  of  what  the                                                                    
     current sea otter population eats.                                                                                         
SENATOR STEDMAN  said his  communities are  getting eaten  out of                                                               
house and  home. In 2013, human  take was 1,494 and  last year it                                                               
was  882.  He  suggested  increasing the  harvest  amount  to  10                                                               
percent of the estimated numbers.  Sitka takes roughly 31 percent                                                               
of  the  otters   and  Kake  10  percent,   Yakutat  13  percent,                                                               
Petersburg 4 percent, Klawock 9.5  percent, Hoonah 8 percent, and                                                               
Hydaburg 2.8 percent, and they're  moving around the south end of                                                               
Prince  of  Wales  Island  into   "huge  urchin  beds"  south  of                                                               
Ketchikan. It will  be a smorgasbord for them and  a disaster for                                                               
the  local residents  that try  to feed  their families  from the                                                               
same beds. These communities don't  have the opportunity to go to                                                               
the supermarkets. When  the tide is out the  supermarket is open,                                                               
but when the  sea otters eat everything down to  30 fathoms, that                                                               
makes it tough to feed your family.                                                                                             
He  remarked that  Senator Giessel  and Senator  von Imhof  would                                                               
look splendid in  a sea otter coat - far  exceeding any mink coat                                                               
- out on an evening in Anchorage.                                                                                               
4:47:03 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MEYER asked if he would look nice in an otter pelt, too?                                                                
SENATOR STEDMAN answered yes, he would.                                                                                         
SENATOR MEYER asked if the otters get caught in nets sometimes.                                                                 
SENATOR STEDMAN replied not very often.                                                                                         
SENATOR MEYER asked if they are edible.                                                                                         
SENATOR STEDMAN answered  yes, but they have to  be skinned right                                                               
away, because a gland in the skin the seeps into the meat.                                                                      
SENATOR MEYER asked if something preys on them, like whales.                                                                    
SENATOR STEDMAN said  he was hoping to train killer  whales to do                                                               
that, but they  only eat otters occasionally and  have no impact.                                                               
They are called fur balls.                                                                                                      
SENATOR MEYER  asked if there  is any other  way to thin  out the                                                               
SENATOR  STEDMAN answered  that starvation  would work,  which is                                                               
what the  federal government is letting  them do, but it  makes a                                                               
lasting impact.  Nothing is left  when they are gone.  The seabed                                                               
looks like a bombing range.                                                                                                     
4:49:52 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  VON  IMHOF asked  his  thoughts  on  a letter  from  the                                                               
organized village  of Kake against  this resolution  because they                                                               
would  rather work  with tribal  co-management  bodies under  the                                                               
Marine Mammal Protection Act and not with ADF&G.                                                                                
SENATOR STEDMAN replied  those concerns were brought  up with the                                                               
original draft of  this resolution, so it was  amended, but there                                                               
could still be  some concerns with it. He hadn't  heard from Kake                                                               
about the new version.                                                                                                          
SENATOR VON IMHOF asked if he has plans to do so.                                                                               
SENATOR  STEDMAN  replied   yes,  he  is  in   contact  with  the                                                               
4:51:42 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BISHOP asked which community had one clam beach left.                                                                   
SENATOR STEDMAN replied Kake.                                                                                                   
SENATOR BISHOP asked who introduced the sea otters.                                                                             
SENATOR STEDMAN replied the State of Alaska.                                                                                    
SENATOR  BISHOP  asked,  when  the  last  beach  goes,  who  will                                                               
repopulate it and how much will that cost.                                                                                      
SENATOR STEDMAN  replied that he  didn't know. He  has encouraged                                                               
the community to be very  aggressive in protecting that beach and                                                               
others in the area.                                                                                                             
CHAIR GIESSEL opened public testimony.                                                                                          
4:52:49 PM                                                                                                                    
JOHN MOLLER, representing himself,  Juneau, Alaska, supported SJR
13. He brought his 12-year old son,  Ian, with him saying he is a                                                               
commercial fisherman and  a sea otter hunter. Mr.  Moller said he                                                               
is  an Aleut,  born  and raised  in Unalaska,  and  has lived  in                                                               
Juneau  since  1995.  He  is   a  subsistence  harvester,  and  a                                                               
commercial fisherman. He owns a  commercial crab permit, a shrimp                                                               
permit, and  a salmon  permit. He  is a  founding member  and the                                                               
president of  the Shellfish Preservation Alliance  (SPA) that was                                                               
formed  to  address  sea  otter   management  issues.  They  have                                                               
submitted  written  comments,  but  he  was  speaking  today  for                                                               
He  said  his  great  grandfather   was  a  hunter  on  the  last                                                               
commercial  sea otter  hunt in  Alaska. He  has been  hunting sea                                                               
otters  since the  1980s and  has watched  them migrate  from the                                                               
Aleutians  to  Prince William  Sound;  and  in Southeast  he  has                                                               
watched them move  from the outside waters to  the inside waters.                                                               
This is  not just  a Southeast  issue; it  is a  statewide issue.                                                               
Kachemak  Bay was  devastated  by this  critter.  Sea otters  are                                                               
destroying everything  that is important  to his  subsistence and                                                               
commercial fishing lifestyle.                                                                                                   
MR.  MOLLER  said he  had  an  issue  with the  term,  "qualified                                                               
hunter," because unless  his son, Ian, marries  an Alaska Native,                                                               
his kids will not qualify to take  sea otters, and if that is the                                                               
case,  they are  looking at  the  last generation  of Moller  sea                                                               
otter  hunters.  A  qualified  hunter  must  include  all  Alaska                                                               
Natives who are members of a federally recognized tribe.                                                                        
His great  grandfather supported  his family  by trading  raw sea                                                               
otter furs.  The only reason they  were able to make  a living at                                                               
this   was  because   they  were   able  to   trade  raw   pelts.                                                               
"Significantly  altered products"  was not  the tradition  of the                                                               
people. It was the trading and bartering of raw pelts.                                                                          
MR.  MOLLER  stated   if  more  animals  are   not  removed,  the                                                               
subsistence lifestyle will  be a thing of the past,  and he hates                                                               
to  even   think  about  the  commercial   impacts.  He  supports                                                               
switching  management to  ADF&G, but  others are  concerned about                                                               
where ADF&G  will get the money  to do that. He  just anticipates                                                               
if  the  feds   would  switch  management  to   ADF&G  that  some                                                               
appropriations would come with it.                                                                                              
4:57:31 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. MOLLER closed saying he grew  up in Unalaska that had lots of                                                               
sea otters; they ate everything and  then moved on. The same kind                                                               
of thing could happen in Hoonah  that is trying to grow a tourism                                                               
industry, part  of which wants to  view sea otters. When  the sea                                                               
otters  leave  Icy Strait  and  move  to  Juneau, like  they  are                                                               
currently  doing, the  tourism  industry will  have  a lot  fewer                                                               
animals to look at.                                                                                                             
He said  this is an  opportunity to create  a new economy  of raw                                                               
sea otter pelts. Sea otters  are an overabundant resource with no                                                               
predators, other than himself, Ian,  and a few others. This would                                                               
be good for Alaska.                                                                                                             
4:59:32 PM                                                                                                                    
LAWRENCE  ARMOUR,   Tribal  Administrator,   Klawock  Cooperative                                                               
Association (KCA),  Klawock, Alaska, supported the  intent of SJR
13 but  not some of  its details. They  see a compelling  need to                                                               
amend the Marine  Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), which  is to stop                                                               
the disastrous  sea otter population  explosion that  is wreaking                                                               
havoc with  Southeast Alaska seafood  resources. SJR  13 overlaps                                                               
their desired amendments,  but they don't entirely  match, and in                                                               
some  respects  are  at  odds   with  the  association's  favored                                                               
MR. ARMOUR said  that MMPA was enacted in 1972  to prevent marine                                                               
mammal  extinction   and  apparently   no  one   anticipated  the                                                               
opposite,   an   uncontrolled    sea   otter   population   boom.                                                               
Consequently,  MMPA   makes  no   provision  for   marine  mammal                                                               
population control.                                                                                                             
MMPA permits  Alaska Natives to  take sea otter for  the purposes                                                               
of  creating   and  selling   authenticate  Native   articles  of                                                               
handicrafts and  clothing, and that provision  wasn't intended as                                                               
a  population  control measure,  but  absent  any such  measures,                                                               
Native hunting  now looms large  as a potential  solution. Tribes                                                               
have  sea  otter  hunters  out hunting  now,  but  under  current                                                               
conditions,  the  scale  needed  for population  control  is  not                                                               
economically feasible.                                                                                                          
Native  hunting  has not  been  tested  as a  population  control                                                               
measure, but they  believe it can happen.  The federal government                                                               
must  make  accommodations that  are  permissible  under MMPA  to                                                               
attract more Native hunters into sea otter hunting.                                                                             
The third  resolve clause in  SJR 13  urges an MMPA  amendment to                                                               
expand the  scope of allowable  uses for harvest of  sea mammals.                                                               
The  tribes favor  much the  same.  A careful  reading of  MMPA's                                                               
limitations  on hunting  and sales  indicates  that existing  law                                                               
might fairly be  interpreted more broadly but the best  way to do                                                               
that  would be  through  negotiating an  approved  plan with  the                                                               
federal government and the tribes.                                                                                              
SJR 13's  third resolve clause  calls for an amendment  to permit                                                               
Alaska Natives to sell  his or her right to hunt  sea otters to a                                                               
non-Native. Sea otter hunting is  a potential rural income source                                                               
and MMPA  indicates that it  should remain with  rural residents.                                                               
Therefore,  if SJR  13  were to  move  forward, KCA  respectfully                                                               
requests removal  of the proposed  provision to permit  an Alaska                                                               
Native to assign this right to  an individual with just a hunting                                                               
license issued by the State of  Alaska, language on page 3, lines                                                               
26-28. They  believe that a  strong, fair plan could  be prepared                                                               
without that provision.                                                                                                         
5:03:22 PM                                                                                                                    
Research indicates that the feds  want data supporting the belief                                                               
that sea  otters disrupt  the ecological  balance, and  the fifth                                                               
and  sixth resolve  clauses  call for  issuance  of a  scientific                                                               
permit to  get that data.  They also appreciate the  inclusion of                                                               
an Alaska  Native organization as  a possible recipient  for that                                                               
permit.  Sea otter  management is  a Southeast  Alaska regionwide                                                               
problem, and MMPA provides Native  tribes a unique opportunity to                                                               
participate in  the co-management  of them. And  MMPA 16  US Code                                                               
138, Section  119(a) provides for  the secretary to enter  into a                                                               
cooperative  agreement   with  Alaska  Native   organizations  to                                                               
conserve marine mammals and  provide co-management of subsistence                                                               
5:05:00 PM                                                                                                                    
MIKE   LOCKABEY,   Coalition   of  Southeast   Alaska   Shellfish                                                               
Fisheries, Wrangell, Alaska,  supported SJR 13. This  is an acute                                                               
biological problem  right now, an  extinction-level event  not an                                                               
allocation  problem.  The  affected   fisheries  have  about  600                                                               
stakeholders and  produce about  $16 million  of prime  income to                                                               
the  Southeast  economy and  he  agrees  with previous  testimony                                                               
about  how much  they eat  and  thinks it  could be  quite a  bit                                                               
larger. At current  consumption levels, three to  five years down                                                               
the road several more fisheries will have collapsed.                                                                            
MR. LOCKABEY  said in  California when the  number of  otters was                                                               
allowed to  go unchecked,  they died  off from  several diseases,                                                               
and didn't  come back. They  decimated their own  environment and                                                               
Southeast could very well end up  like that. The herd needs to be                                                               
cropped, and now.                                                                                                               
5:09:28 PM                                                                                                                    
STEPHANIE JURRIES,  representing herself, Prince of  Wales Island                                                               
(POW), Alaska,  supported SJR  13. She and  her husband  dive for                                                               
sea  cucumbers and  geoducks in  Craig. Although  they troll  for                                                               
salmon in the summer, a majority  of their income is derived from                                                               
the dive  fisheries. Since  she started diving  in 2007,  she has                                                               
seen a  marked decrease  in guideline  fishing harvest  levels in                                                               
those areas  that are still open  on the West Coast  of Prince of                                                               
Wales. These  losses directly impact individual  fishing families                                                               
as well  as the communities which  rely on them. Over  the years,                                                               
Craig has  seen decreasing revenue  from dive vessels in  the way                                                               
of moorage  and fish taxes,  and services and businesses  used by                                                               
dive fishermen.                                                                                                                 
She  has seen  firsthand the  explosion of  sea otters  and heard                                                               
many  reports  of  them  getting much  closer  to  Ketchikan  and                                                               
Wrangell. She  no longer fishes  commercially for  Dungeness crab                                                               
on the west coast of POW  because the otters have decimated their                                                               
population.  Once they  discover  the rich  crab  grounds of  the                                                               
shallow Stikine  River Delta, they will  almost certainly destroy                                                               
that  fishery, as  well.  People already  know  these facts,  and                                                               
action needs to be taken now.                                                                                                   
SJR 13  will facilitate a way  to diminish the damage  the otters                                                               
are having on  their fisheries, but measures  allowing more local                                                               
harvest  by Natives  will only  impact the  population enough  to                                                               
give  their fisheries  a fighting  chance. The  ADF&G has  done a                                                               
good  job of  managing Alaska's  fisheries, but  their management                                                               
strategy doesn't include the impacts  from the otters. She agreed                                                               
with previous  comments about  killer whales  and nets  and added                                                               
that when  she went to a  sea otter conference several  years ago                                                               
in  Klawock,  the U.S.  Fish  and  Wildlife Service  (USFWS)  was                                                               
extremely unresponsive  when confronted with this  issue and made                                                               
no  effort whatsoever  to make  changes  to the  way Natives  can                                                               
harvest the hides.                                                                                                              
5:11:54 PM                                                                                                                    
TEMPLE   BILLARD,   representing  himself,   Fairbanks,   Alaska,                                                               
supported SJR  13. He described  himself as a Coastal  Native who                                                               
looks forward to living in  Southeast in the future. He supported                                                               
state  management  of  sea  otters   and  relaxation  of  tannery                                                               
regulations.  If  they  can't  get tanneries  to  deal  with  the                                                               
otters, there is no point in harvesting them.                                                                                   
5:12:57 PM                                                                                                                    
PAT HOLMES,  representing himself, Kodiak, Alaska,  supported SJR
13.  It's a  good start,  but a  few things  could be  added like                                                               
consulting with  tribes and  corporations in  rest of  the state,                                                               
particularly  Prince William  Sound  and Kodiak,  because of  the                                                               
otters' tremendous impacts there.                                                                                               
MR. HOLMES said he has commercially  fished and spent most of his                                                               
career  with ADF&G  in shellfish  and salmon  management. He  has                                                               
worked  from  Kodiak,  Pribiloffs,  Nome,  and  way  out  in  the                                                               
Aleutians, where things do change.                                                                                              
In  the Aleutians,  the U.S.  Geologic  Survey (USGS)  identified                                                               
orcas as the major reason for  the present decline. He also spent                                                               
10 years  on the ADF&G  on the  Fish and Game  Advisory Committee                                                               
and 20  years on  the Federal Subsistence  Council. He  has heard                                                               
many years  of comments about  the impact  of the otters  that in                                                               
the last couple  of years have eliminated basically  all the king                                                               
crab, tanners,  and Dungeness that  one can get easily  from town                                                               
for  subsistence.   He  suggested  expanding  language   to  more                                                               
specifically define the effects of sea otters on subsistence.                                                                   
PHIL  DOHERTY, Co-executive  Director, Southeast  Alaska Regional                                                               
Dive   Fisheries   Association   (SARDFA),   Ketchikan,   Alaska,                                                               
supported SJR  13. He  said SARDFA  was formed  in 1998  under AS                                                               
43.76  and it  is a  non-profit economic  development corporation                                                               
whose  mission  is  to  develop,  expand,  and  enhance  new  and                                                               
existing   dive  fisheries   in  Southeast   Alaska.  The   ADF&G                                                               
Miscellaneous  Shellfish  Program  is largely  supported  by  the                                                               
assessment  on the  dive  resources  with a  mandatory  tax of  7                                                               
percent on geoduck  clams and 5 percent on sea  cucumbers and red                                                               
sea urchins, ex-vessel value. There  are approximately 200 active                                                               
divers in the fisheries and  in recent years the annual ex-vessel                                                               
value has been  $10 million. These dive fisheries are  now one of                                                               
the  most  important  fall and  winter  commercial  fisheries  in                                                               
Southeast Alaska  and have a  very positive impact in  the winter                                                               
economies  of  Ketchikan,  Craig,  Klawock,  Sitka,  Juneau,  and                                                               
Wrangell. However,  due to sea  otter predation,  these fisheries                                                               
will eventually drop to such a  low level that in the foreseeable                                                               
future the  guideline harvest level  in ex-vessel value  will not                                                               
be able to sustain the fisheries.                                                                                               
Recent  research  by  the  U.S. Fish  and  Wildlife  Service  has                                                               
documented that  those approximately  27,000 animals in  2013 are                                                               
growing at  a 13  percent annual increase.  That means  there are                                                               
51,000  sea  otters  in  Southeast  Alaska  today.  These  marine                                                               
mammals  consume  shellfish  at  the  rate  of  approximately  25                                                               
percent of their  body weight daily and they weigh  an average of                                                               
65  pounds.  That  means  they consumed  300  million  pounds  of                                                               
shellfish in Southeast Alaska just last year.                                                                                   
5:18:21 PM                                                                                                                    
JOEL   RANDRUP,   representing   himself,   Petersburg,   Alaska,                                                               
supported  SJR 13.  He has  been  a commercial  fisherman for  10                                                               
years  and sea  otters have  moved  him off  his fishing  grounds                                                               
twice in the last five years.  There is no sign that their growth                                                               
is being  retarded and they  are advancing into new  areas around                                                               
Petersburg and Southeast Alaska. The  unmanaged sea otters have a                                                               
very  negative  effect  on subsistence,  commercial,  sport,  and                                                               
recreational users of our shellfish resources.                                                                                  
He hoped this resolution would bring  all parties to the table to                                                               
come up with  a sensible management plan to address  the harm sea                                                               
otters have  on the shellfish  resources for  coastal communities                                                               
in Southeast Alaska.                                                                                                            
5:19:56 PM                                                                                                                    
WADE  MARTIN, representing  himself, Sitka,  Alaska, opposed  SJR
13. He is a Coastal Native who  hunts sea otters for a living. He                                                               
said that  hunting by  Coastal Natives  should be  encouraged and                                                               
then they  wouldn't be a  problem. He  has shot "easy  over 3,000                                                               
sea otters"  in his career,  and urchins  and shellfish are  on a                                                               
Federal enforcement  discourages hunting;  they have come  in and                                                               
shaken down  local tanneries and  homes. "It's  very discouraging                                                               
and a lot of guys won't pick up a rifle because of this."                                                                       
5:22:52 PM                                                                                                                    
ROBERT MILLER,  representing himself, Sitka, Alaska,  opposed SJR
13. He  has hunted sea  otters for eight  or nine years  and owns                                                               
the Sea Fur Sewing Company and  offered to sell them a blanket to                                                               
help support  this bill. He  didn't support the selling  of whole                                                               
hides that might sell for $100, but  if you teach a person to sew                                                               
and sell  a product, he could  make $1,000 and drive  the economy                                                               
for more harvest.                                                                                                               
MR. MILLER  said his business  goes through 250-300 sea  otters a                                                               
year and  is expanding.   He hires hunters  - his own  brothers -                                                               
from Craig, Klawock,  Angoon, Kake, and Kachemak Bay  to hunt. He                                                               
does not want to hire a non-Native to hunt for him.                                                                             
Opening up  management of  sea otters to  ADF&G will  create more                                                               
law enforcement  problems and restrictions  on Alaska  Natives to                                                               
hunt their  own products  that they  have been  "granted" through                                                               
past laws.  If they  want to  have more  hunters out  there, they                                                               
should  work  with Congress  to  change  the language  from  one-                                                               
quarter blood  quantum to  "tribally-enrolled." That  will result                                                               
in a lot more Native hunters out there.                                                                                         
MR. MILLER said his business depends  on demand and he works hard                                                               
on  marketing,  spending  $3,000  to $5,000  per  year.  He  said                                                               
exporting whole hides  - to China to process -  would put him out                                                               
of business; hides would be worth $25 in three years.                                                                           
5:25:41 PM                                                                                                                    
KENYATTA  BRADLEY, representing  herself, Sitka,  Alaska, opposed                                                               
SJR 13.  He is  a young  hunter, tanner,  and sewer  in Southeast                                                               
Alaska  and has  a  75-pot crab  permit. He  asked  the Board  of                                                               
Fisheries should  pass a super  exclusive Dungeness  crab fishery                                                               
in Southeast Alaska like Kodiak has.                                                                                            
MR. BRADLEY  said he  is exploring different  ways to  make money                                                               
off his  crab knowledge. He  is building a livelihood  around his                                                               
right  to hunt  and  sew  sea otter  pelts  and  this bill  would                                                               
essential strip  his hopes  of going into  business.   His Native                                                               
corporation  was not  contacted for  input  on this  bill and  he                                                               
believes it represents the 400  permit holders who are not making                                                               
as much money as they used to but are still making money.                                                                       
The  biggest inhibition  for  him is  how much  it  costs to  tan                                                               
hides. He  has a $5,000 tanning  bill for 26 otters  he took this                                                               
past year.  There are only  five or so  tanneries in Alaska  - or                                                               
around  the world,  for that  matter -  that are  willing to  tan                                                               
otters due  to the overreaching  oversight enforced by  the MMPA,                                                               
which  often  engages in  entrapment.  An  1800 population  study                                                               
showed about 200,000 otters from  north California to Puget Sound                                                               
and  25,000  in Southeast,  so  they  are  probably on  par  with                                                               
historic numbers.  Shellfish populations are rebounding  in Sitka                                                               
and that  shows that populations are  stabilizing. Any population                                                               
goes up and  down, and then they stabilize over  time. The otters                                                               
will stop having babies once their food runs out.                                                                               
He said  that Senator  Stedman didn't  take the  time to  talk to                                                               
Kake about  its clam  beds, but  if he took  the time  they could                                                               
come up  with more comprehensive  legislation. He advised  to not                                                               
vote  on  this   bill  until  getting  more   input  from  Native                                                               
5:27:54 PM                                                                                                                    
MIKE  MILLER,  Chairman,  Indigenous Peoples  Council  on  Marine                                                               
Mammals, Sitka, Alaska,  opposed SJR 13 in its  present form. The                                                               
council is  a statewide coalition  of organizations that  has co-                                                               
management  agreements with  U.S. Fish  and Wildlife  Service and                                                               
the National  Marine Fisheries Service.   He is a  council member                                                               
of the  Sitka Tribe  and was instrumental  in starting  the Sitka                                                               
Tannery that Senator  Stedman had a picture of. He  has also been                                                               
a sea otter hunter since 1990.                                                                                                  
He wouldn't  repeat a  lot of the  comments that  show consistent                                                               
concerns about some of the  language. He understands the need for                                                               
harvest management plans but opposes  SJR 13 in its present form.                                                               
He worked  on harvest management plans  quite a bit. In  2006 and                                                               
2008 they  submitted "Harvest Management  Prior to  Depletion" to                                                               
Congress, partly to  address sea otter issues. It  was opposed by                                                               
the  state at  that  time  and "got  killed."  He  would like  to                                                               
reintroduce  it  and  work with  the  National  Marine  Fisheries                                                               
Service  and  U.S.  Fish  and Wildlife  Service  on  local  plans                                                               
without  the  state's  participation,  because  that  would  just                                                               
extend the fight,  which they don't have time  for. Real progress                                                               
could be made by cleaning up this language.                                                                                     
5:30:05 PM                                                                                                                    
KATHY  HANSEN, Executive  Director, Southeast  Alaska Fishermen's                                                               
Alliance, Juneau, Alaska,  supported SJR 13. She is  also a board                                                               
member for  the Shellfish Preservation  Alliance that  was formed                                                               
last  year  as  an  umbrella  group  of  Alaska  Natives,  Native                                                               
hunters, Native  harvesters, municipalities,  tribal governments,                                                               
commercial  fishermen  and  their associations,  processors,  and                                                               
others  that  support this  resolution.  She  said the  Shellfish                                                               
Preservation  Alliance  has  tried  time and  again  to  get  co-                                                               
management of tribal organizations  and management plans with the                                                               
U.S.  Fish and  Wildlife  Service that  has continually  resisted                                                               
these efforts. This resolution may  not be perfect, but it raised                                                               
the  issue as  a very  major  problem that  is coming  to a  very                                                               
severe head right now.                                                                                                          
MS. HANSEN said some resources  might be rebounding in Sitka, but                                                               
it is probably  20 years after the sea otters  came through. At a                                                               
recent  Board of  Fisheries meeting,  ADF&G said  they resurveyed                                                               
areas they had  done previously for the dive  fisheries and after                                                               
a decade, they were still "open  dead craters." So, if nothing is                                                               
left  in the  area  to grow  the resources  from,  it takes  even                                                               
longer.  She concluded  that this  is a  large problem  that this                                                               
resolution  starts to  address.  To Senator  Meyer  she said  she                                                               
knows of  a Yakutat artist  that makes beautiful  stove-pipe hats                                                               
out of sea otter.                                                                                                               
5:32:51 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  GIESSEL,  finding  no  further  testimony,  closed  public                                                               
testimony on SJR 13.                                                                                                            
SENATOR  STEDMAN remarked  in closing  that  SJR 13  needs to  be                                                               
refined, and  he would  continue working  on it.  This is  a huge                                                               
issue for  coastal Alaska  and the problem  is getting  worse. He                                                               
didn't know how else to get the attention of the feds.                                                                          
SJR 13 was held in committee.                                                                                                   

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SJR 13 - Version A.PDF SRES 3/12/2018 3:30:00 PM
SJR 13
SJR 13 - Fiscal Note - Version A - 3 - 5 - 18.pdf SRES 3/12/2018 3:30:00 PM
SJR 13
SJR 13 - Opposition - OVK - 3 - 7 - 18.pdf SRES 3/12/2018 3:30:00 PM
SJR 13
SJR13 - Supporting Document - ADFG Summary - 2017.pdf SRES 3/12/2018 3:30:00 PM
SJR 13
SJR13 - Supporting Document - Letter from Board of Fisheries to US Interior, Commerce Depts - 3 - 9 - 2018.pdf SRES 3/12/2018 3:30:00 PM
SJR 13
SJR13 - Supporting Document - Sea Otter Harvest Numbers - USFWS.pdf SRES 3/12/2018 3:30:00 PM
SJR 13
SJR13 - Supporting Document - Resolution Petersburg Borough.PDF SRES 3/12/2018 3:30:00 PM
SJR 13
SJR13 - Supporting Document - Fisheries Management Report - ADFG - 2016 - 2017.pdf SRES 3/12/2018 3:30:00 PM
SJR 13
CSSJR13 - Sponsor Statement - Version J.pdf SRES 3/12/2018 3:30:00 PM
SJR 13
CSSJR13 - Version J.pdf SRES 3/12/2018 3:30:00 PM
SJR 13
SJR13 - Supporting Document - Report to Board of Fisheries - 2017.pdf SRES 3/12/2018 3:30:00 PM
SJR 13
SJR13 - Supporting Document - Letter from United Fishermen of AK - 3 - 9 - 2018.pdf SRES 3/12/2018 3:30:00 PM
SJR 13
SJR13 - Opposition - Doroff - 3 - 9 - 2018.pdf SRES 3/12/2018 3:30:00 PM
SJR 13
SB211 - Fiscal Note - CFEC ADFG - 3 - 9 - 2018.pdf SRES 3/12/2018 3:30:00 PM
SB 211
SB211 - Supporting Document - Letter -Schactler.pdf SRES 3/12/2018 3:30:00 PM
SB 211
SB211 - Sponsor Statement.pdf SRES 3/12/2018 3:30:00 PM
SB 211
SB211 - Sponsor Sub - Bill Text - Version D.pdf SRES 3/12/2018 3:30:00 PM
SB 211
SB211- Sectional Analysis - Version D.pdf SRES 3/12/2018 3:30:00 PM
SB 211
SB211 - Supporting Document - Letter Julie Decker - 3 - 10 - 18.pdf SRES 3/12/2018 3:30:00 PM
SB 211
SJR13 - Supporting Document - Resolution City and Borough of Wrangell - 1 - 18 - 18.pdf SRES 3/12/2018 3:30:00 PM
SJR 13
SJR13 - Supporting Document - Letter City and Borough of Wrangell - 3 - 11 - 18.pdf SRES 3/12/2018 3:30:00 PM
SJR 13
SJR13 - Supporting Document - Letter AK FDF - 3 - 10 - 18.pdf SRES 3/12/2018 3:30:00 PM
SJR 13
SJR13 - Supporting Document - Letter - Carley Thayer - 3 - 12 - 18.pdf SRES 3/12/2018 3:30:00 PM
SJR 13
SJR13 - Supporting Document - Letter - Southeast Alaska Fishermen's Alliance - 3 - 12 - 18.pdf SRES 3/12/2018 3:30:00 PM
SJR 13
SJR13 - Supporting Document - Letter - Shellfish Preservation Alliance - 3 - 12 - 18.pdf SRES 3/12/2018 3:30:00 PM
SJR 13
SJR13 - Supporting Document - Letter - United Southeast Alaska Gillnetters - 3 - 12 - 18.pdf SRES 3/12/2018 3:30:00 PM
SJR 13
SJR13 - Presentation to Senate Resources - 3 - 12 - 18 .pdf SRES 3/12/2018 3:30:00 PM
SJR 13
SJR13 - Written Testimony - TASSC - 3 - 12 - 18.pdf SRES 3/12/2018 3:30:00 PM
SJR 13
SJR13 - Opposition - Resolution from TASSC - 3 - 12 - 18.pdf SRES 3/12/2018 3:30:00 PM
SJR 13