Legislature(1993 - 1994)

03/22/1993 08:30 AM House FSH

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
              HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON FISHERIES                             
                         MARCH 22, 1993                                        
                            8:30 a.m.                                          
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
  Representative Carl E. Moses, Chairman                                       
  Representative Harley Olberg, Vice-Chairman                                  
  Representative Gail Phillips                                                 
  Representative Cliff Davidson                                                
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
  Representative Irene Nicholia                                                
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
  HB 134    "An Act relating to temporary transfers of                         
            commercial fisheries entry permits."                               
            HELD IN COMMITTEE FOR FURTHER CONSIDERATION                        
  *HB 218   "An Act repealing the restriction on the maximum                   
            length of salmon seine vessels; and providing for                  
            an effective date."                                                
            HELD IN COMMITTEE FOR FURTHER CONSIDERATION                        
  (* first public hearing)                                                     
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
  Alvin Osterback                                                              
  P.O. Box 188                                                                 
  Sand Point, AK  99661                                                        
  Phone:  383-2363                                                             
  Position Statement: Supported HB 134; Opposed HB 218                         
  Joe McGill                                                                   
  P.O. Box 322                                                                 
  Dillingham, AK  99576                                                        
  Phone:  842-2452                                                             
  Position Statement: Supported HB 134                                         
  Robin Samuelson                                                              
  P.O. Box 412                                                                 
  Dillingham, AK  99576                                                        
  Phone:  842-5257                                                             
  Position Statement: Supported HB 134; Opposed HB 218                         
  Norman Anderson                                                              
  General Delivery                                                             
  Naknek, AK  99633                                                            
  Phone:  246-4423                                                             
  Position Statement: Supported HB 134                                         
  Adelheid Herrmann                                                            
  P.O. Box 263                                                                 
  Naknek, AK  99633                                                            
  Phone:  246-6618                                                             
  Position Statement: Supported HB 134                                         
  Richard Listowski, Commissioner                                              
  Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission                                        
  8800 Glacier Highway, Suite 109                                              
  Juneau, AK 99801-8079                                                        
  Phone:  789-6160                                                             
  Position Statement: Opposed HB 134                                           
  Jeff Meucci                                                                  
  P.O. Box 1086                                                                
  Petersburg, AK  99833                                                        
  Phone:  772-4669                                                             
  Position Statement: Opposed HB 134                                           
  Jack Foster                                                                  
  P.O. Box 254                                                                 
  Sand Point, AK  99661                                                        
  Phone:  383-3633                                                             
  Position Statement: Supported HB 134; Opposed HB 218                         
  Stan Chmiel                                                                  
  General Delivery                                                             
  Naknek, AK  99633                                                            
  Phone:  246-4243                                                             
  Position Statement: Supported HB 134 with amendments                         
  Mike Lopez                                                                   
  P.O. Box 636                                                                 
  Valdez, AK 99686                                                             
  Phone:  835-2396                                                             
  Position Statement: Supported HB 134; Supported HB 218                       
  Kate Troll, Executive Director                                               
  Southeast Alaska Seiners Association                                         
  9226 Long Run                                                                
  Juneau, AK  99801                                                            
  Phone:  789-5117                                                             
  Position Statement: Supported CSHB 218 (FSH)                                 
  Elma Angasan                                                                 
  General Delivery                                                             
  King Salmon, AK  99613                                                       
  Phone:  246-7483                                                             
  Position Statement: Supported HB 134                                         
  PREVIOUS ACTION                                                              
  BILL:  HB 134                                                                
  SHORT TITLE:  TEMP TRANSFER OF ENTRY PERMITS                                 
  BILL VERSION:                                                                
  SPONSOR(S):   REPRESENTATIVE(S) MOSES                                        
  TITLE: "An Act relating to temporary transfers of commercial                 
  fisheries entry permits."                                                    
  JRN-DATE     JRN-PG               ACTION                                     
  02/05/93       236    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S)                  
  02/05/93       236    (H)   FISHERIES, RESOURCES, JUDICIARY,                 
  02/15/93              (H)   MINUTE(JUD)                                      
  02/17/93              (H)   FSH AT 09:00 AM CAPITOL 17                       
  03/22/93              (H)   FSH AT 08:30 AM CAPITOL 17                       
  BILL:  HB 218                                                                
  SHORT TITLE:  REPEAL 58 FT. LIMIT FOR SEINE VESSELS                          
  BILL VERSION:                                                                
  SPONSOR(S):   REPRESENTATIVE(S) MOSES                                        
  TITLE: "An Act repealing the restriction on the maximum                      
  length of salmon seine vessels; and providing for an                         
  effective date."                                                             
  JRN-DATE     JRN-PG               ACTION                                     
  03/10/93       592    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S)                  
  03/10/93       592    (H)   FISHERIES, RESOURCES                             
  03/22/93              (H)   FSH AT 08:30 AM CAPITOL 17                       
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
  TAPE 93-13, SIDE A                                                           
  Number 000                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN CARL MOSES called the meeting to order at 8:35 a.m.                 
  He noted Representatives Moses, Olberg and Phillips in                       
  attendance and said the meeting would begin by bringing up                   
  once again HB 134 and then hearing HB 218.                                   
  HB 134:  TEMP TRANSFER OF ENTRY PERMITS                                      
  CHAIRMAN MOSES reminded the committee they had already taken                 
  testimony on HB 134 and had before them a proposed Committee                 
  Substitute (CSHB 134 (FSH)) which would limit the temporary                  
  transfer of entry permits to immediate family only.  The                     
  last section of the proposed CS includes a non-severability                  
  clause, which basically means if one of the provisions of                    
  the bill gets challenged in court and thrown out, the whole                  
  program gets voided.                                                         
  Number 120                                                                   
  ALVIN OSTERBACK testified in favor of HB 134.  He noted at                   
  this time only wealthy people, such as doctors and lawyers,                  
  could afford to buy limited entry permits, resulting in                      
  permits leaving the local communities.  He believed HB 134                   
  could help with that situation.                                              
  JOE MCGILL spoke in favor of HB 134 because it was a way to                  
  keep permits in the local region.                                            
  ROBIN SAMUELSON also supported HB 134 because elders were                    
  being forced to sell their permits, and HB 134 is a way to                   
  let the younger members of the family obtain them, thus                      
  keeping permits in Alaska and in the villages.                               
  CHAIRMAN MOSES noted CSHB 134 (FSH) would limit the transfer                 
  to immediate family members only.                                            
  NORMAN ANDERSON testified in favor of HB 134, referring to                   
  the high level of out-migration of permits which results in                  
  a loss of income to the villages.  Since current law                         
  requires the permit holder to be on-site at the fishery,                     
  elders' lives are being endangered, he said.                                 
  ADELHEID HERRMANN spoke in favor of HB 134 because the                       
  existing regulation on medical transfers prohibits a                         
  continuing disability, keeping many elders out of the                        
  limited entry program.  She noted most fishermen and elder                   
  Natives did not have a retirement system.  She questioned                    
  the constitutionality of limiting the transfer to family                     
  members as proposed in CSHB 134 (FSH).                                       
  COMMISSION (CFEC), reminded the committee of the CFEC's                      
  opposition to HB 134, although the new amendments in the                     
  proposed CSHB 134 (FSH) improve the bill.  He explained how                  
  the bill would create a special class of people that would                   
  be exempted from the limited entry statute's anti-leasing                    
  provision.  He argued that it would make enforcement of the                  
  anti-leasing provision difficult.                                            
  REPRESENTATIVE GAIL PHILLIPS asked if the lease would "go up                 
  for grabs" if the permit-holder died.                                        
  MR. LISTOWSKI responded that under current law, the permit                   
  would go to the spouse of the permit-holder or to the person                 
  indicated in the will, or whatever the court directed.  If                   
  the person is not 65 and is not disabled, the person could                   
  not continue leasing it, he said.                                            
  CHAIRMAN MOSES asked about the possibility of removing the                   
  anti-leasing provision in the limited entry statute.                         
  MR. LISTOWSKI asked the committee to look at section 7 in                    
  the findings of HB 134, which indicates that annual leasing                  
  of permits would be destructive to the commercial fishing                    
  industry.  Even with the restrictions on who could transfer                  
  their permit, the bill would still create a class of                         
  absentee permit holders, especially of non-residents.                        
  MR. LISTOWSKI also described recent advertisements he has                    
  seen for brokers in Seattle who are interested in                            
  benefitting financially from such a program.  For example,                   
  one broker was offering $30,000 up front to broker a medical                 
  transfer for a Bristol Bay permit.  Although he understood                   
  the problems that elderly people have, MR. LISTOWSKI said                    
  there are some long range impacts that must be considered                    
  before final action is taken.                                                
  MR. LISTOWSKI declared HB 134 is intended to help young                      
  people, but once you allow leasing, people want to lease to                  
  whomever can pay the highest price, and these are not                        
  necessarily the young people.  He also argued that HB 134                    
  would drive up the cost of permits, since for many people,                   
  it would make more sense to hold on to a permit and lease                    
  it, rather than transferring it.  This would result in                       
  making it harder for young people to get into the fishery.                   
  MR. LISTOWSKI also noted the existence of a Commercial                       
  Fisheries and Agriculture Bank (CFAB) program that would                     
  assist younger people in buying permits.                                     
  VICE CHAIR HARLEY OLBERG questioned the CFEC's chart                         
  detailing the medical emergency transfer activity.                           
  MR. LISTOWSKI replied that emergency medical transfers                       
  included heart attacks, broken legs, pressing family                         
  business, and National Guard duty.  He noted most emergency                  
  transfers happen in a day, some have been turned down and                    
  appealed.  Medical transfers are verified by a doctor.                       
  VICE CHAIR OLBERG asked if such a transfer could be taken by                 
  an out-of-state resident.                                                    
  MR. LISTOWSKI acknowledged almost anyone 65 or older could                   
  get a doctor's letter.                                                       
  VICE CHAIR OLBERG questioned why the medical transfer                        
  program was insufficient.                                                    
  MR. LISTOWSKI pointed out the medical reason for an                          
  emergency transfer can only be used for one year.  If HB 134                 
  passes, the permit holder would not have to come back to the                 
  CFEC, and the emergency transfer could be done for the rest                  
  of the holder's life.                                                        
  CHAIRMAN MOSES had further questions about the medical                       
  MR. LISTOWSKI reiterated the medical transfer is only good                   
  for one year.  He described a woman in Bristol Bay, in her                   
  mid- 30s, who has severe arthritis, and can only get the                     
  transfer for one year.  She would like to see HB 134                         
  extended to include those below 65 years of age.                             
  MR. LISTOWSKI also explained that the CFEC was more lenient                  
  10 years ago and allowed for the medical reason to be used                   
  for two years.  However, he said the CFEC discovered that a                  
  lot of the emergency transfers were actually leases, and the                 
  program became difficult to enforce.                                         
  REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS asked if it was not possible for a                   
  permit holder to just be on the boat and have someone else                   
  do the work.                                                                 
  MR. LISTOWSKI replied in the affirmative, adding the permit                  
  holder has to be physically present when fish are sold.                      
  CHAIRMAN MOSES interjected it might still be dangerous for                   
  someone with severe arthritis to actually be on the boat.                    
  MR. LISTOWSKI acknowledged these concerns, but noted                         
  sometimes when you try to fix a problem, you create more                     
  problems than you solve.                                                     
  JEFF MEUCCI, a Bristol Bay fisherman living in Petersburg,                   
  testified in opposition to HB 134.  He said although the                     
  intent is good, it would open the door for potential abuse.                  
  He expressed concern about tight budgets for the affected                    
  departments, and that passing a law which would require more                 
  enforcement did not make sense.                                              
  JACK FOSTER testified in support of HB 134 because it would                  
  allow old-timers to have a retirement fund, and it would                     
  help keep permits in the state.                                              
  MR. FOSTER indicated his opposition to HB 218, because                       
  taking the limit off seiners would open a new can of worms.                  
  The price of boats is already declining, he said, and HB 218                 
  would result in a mad scramble for everyone to get a bigger                  
  boat.  Most of the time, the boats used now are pretty                       
  adequate, he believed.                                                       
  Number 650                                                                   
  STAN CHMIEL commented on section 8 of HB 134, which would                    
  require a permit holder to have been a fisherman for 10                      
  years or more to qualify for the temporary transfer program.                 
  He said the original draft looked like it was trying to cut                  
  old-timers out, but this draft looked okay.                                  
  MR. LISTOWSKI informed the committee 79% of permit holders                   
  are residents, and the ratio has been stable since the                       
  program's inception in 1975.  Many of the permits left the                   
  villages in the early days, he said, but not as many now.                    
  TAPE 93-13, SIDE B                                                           
  Number 000                                                                   
  MR. LISTOWSKI indicated the main shift in permits is from                    
  rural to more urban areas.                                                   
  ADELHEID HERRMANN asked Mr. Listowski if the CFEC planned to                 
  make the emergency medical transfer more lenient.                            
  MR. LISTOWSKI replied that the CFEC has tried to bend over                   
  backwards to issue emergency transfers, especially if it                     
  involved family members, although he was open to suggested                   
  improvements.  He once again mentioned the CFAB program,                     
  which is a risk-sharing program to help rural Alaskans.  No                  
  one has yet taken advantage of this program, he pointed out.                 
  HB 218:  REPEAL 58 FT. LIMIT FOR SEINE VESSELS                               
  CHAIRMAN MOSES opened up testimony on HB 218.                                
  MIKE LOPEZ testified in support of HB 134 first, and also in                 
  support of HB 218, explaining that if a person can buy a                     
  bigger boat, they should be able to.  With one boat you can                  
  do a lot more fishing, he said.                                              
  CHAIRMAN MOSES clarified the committee had a proposed                        
  committee substitute (CSHB 218 (FSH)) which would have the                   
  Board of Fisheries decide on the length restrictions for any                 
  region of the state.                                                         
  ROBIN SAMUELSON testified in opposition to HB 218.  As a                     
  member of the Alaska Board of Fisheries from 1989 to 1991,                   
  he said he heard a lot of testimony from people across the                   
  state.  Most people are happy with the seine limit, he                       
  believed.   People want stability in their fisheries, he                     
  noted, and since most fisheries are over-capitalized anyway,                 
  repealing the 58 foot limit would add more uncertainty.  For                 
  the sake of stability, he would oppose any change.                           
  SEINERS ASSOCIATION, testified in support of the proposed                    
  CSHB 218 (FSH).  She said her executive committee supported                  
  the committee substitute because the seine vessel length is                  
  the only length in statute.  The 32 foot Bristol Bay limit                   
  is a Board of Fish regulation.  This is a board of fish                      
  matter, she said, not a legislative matter.  She                             
  acknowledged she did not know whether or not Southeast                       
  seiners would want the length restriction changed.  Some are                 
  interested, she said, because there is no place on a boat                    
  now for extra crew to do  value-added work.                                  
  MS. TROLL advised another concern her group had was that                     
  taking off the limit would lower the value of the current 58                 
  foot boats.  This discussion, she further stated, would come                 
  out before the Board of Fish on a region by region basis.                    
  The way the legislation is written, she pointed out, it                      
  dovetails when the Board takes up Southeast issues, but                      
  language to keep the limit in place until the Board of Fish                  
  cycle reaches each region might be desirable.                                
  ALVIN OSTERBACK testified in opposition to HB 218, claiming                  
  the bill would result in dropping the price of limited                       
  seiners.  He asked who would gain from the bill.                             
  On HB 134, MR. OSTERBACK testified he would be 79 years old                  
  in January, 1994, and hoped HB 134 would be passed so he                     
  could use it.                                                                
  ELMA ANGASAN testified in support of HB 134, calling it a                    
  good bill, although it doesn't address all of her concerns.                  
  HB 218 WAS HELD FOR FURTHER CONSIDERATION.                                   
  CHAIRMAN CARL MOSES adjourned the meeting at 9:45 a.m.                       

Document Name Date/Time Subjects