Legislature(1997 - 1998)
02/26/1997 05:05 PM FSH
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON FISHERIES February 26, 1997 5:05 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Alan Austerman, Chairman Representative Ivan Ivan Representative Scott Ogan Representative Mark Hodgins Representative Gene Kubina MEMBERS ABSENT All members present COMMITTEE CALENDAR HOUSE BILL NO. 19 "An Act relating to licensing of sport fishing services operators and fishing guides; and providing for an effective date." - MOVED CSHB 19(FSH) OUT OF COMMITTEE *HOUSE BILL NO. 141 "An Act relating to a vessel permit moratorium for the Alaska weathervane scallop fishery; relating to management of the scallop fisheries; and providing for an effective date." - MOVED CSHB 141(FSH) OUT OF COMMITTEE (* First public hearing) PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: HB 19 SHORT TITLE: SPORT FISHING GUIDES SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) AUSTERMAN, Ivan JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/13/97 32 (H) PREFILE RELEASED 1/3/97 01/13/97 32 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 01/13/97 32 (H) FSH, RESOURCES, FINANCE 02/03/97 (H) FSH AT 5:00 PM CAPITOL 124 02/03/97 (H) MINUTE(FSH) 02/19/97 (H) FSH AT 5:00 PM CAPITOL 124 02/19/97 (H) MINUTE(FSH) 02/19/97 (H) MINUTE(FSH) BILL: HB 141 SHORT TITLE: SCALLOP FISHERY/VESSEL MORATORIUM SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) AUSTERMAN JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 02/17/97 374 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 02/17/97 374 (H) FSH, RESOURCES 02/26/97 (H) FSH AT 5:00 PM CAPITOL 124 WITNESS REGISTER AMY DAUGHERTY, Legislative Administrative Assistant to Representative Alan Austerman Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 434 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-4230 POSITION STATEMENT: Read sponsor statement to HB 141. EARL KRYGIER, Extended Jurisdiction Program Manager Division of Commercial Fisheries Management and Development Department of Fish and Game P.O. Box 25526 Juneau, Alaska 99802 Telephone: (907) 465-6112 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of CSHB 141. MARK KANDIANIS, Scallop Fisherman F/V Provider 326 Center Avenue, Suite 205 Kodiak, Alaska 99615 Telephone: (907) 486-3309 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on CSHB 141. ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 97-7, SIDE A Number 001 CHAIRMAN ALAN AUSTERMAN called the House Special Committee on Fisheries meeting to order at 5:05 p.m. Members present at the call to order were Representatives Austerman, Ivan, Ogan and Hodgins. Representative Kubina arrived at 5:10 p.m. HB 19 - SPORT FISHING GUIDES Number 022 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN announced that the first order of business is HOUSE BILL NO. 19 "An Act relating to licensing of sport fishing services operators and fishing guides; and providing for an effective date." He stated that there would be no public testimony on HB 19. He stated that he would like to introduce a committee substitute for HB 19, P Version, 2/24/97. Number 099 REPRESENTATIVE SCOTT OGAN made a motion to adopt CSHB 19(FSH), O- LSO140\, P Version, Utermohle, 2/24/97. Number 119 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked if there were any objections. Hearing none, CSHB 19(FSH), was adopted. Number 130 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN stated that the first change is on page 3, line 15. He stated that they added back in "the safety of clients of the industry, or the protection of the integrity of the industry." He stated this is relating to the Board of Fisheries and their powers. He stated that the next change is on page 5, to be consistent with the change on page 3. He stated that the next change is in the definition of 'field', which was in the bill because it related to what was done with outfitting. It has been taken out, as a separate item and placed on page 8, line 3. He stated that there has been no change of the definition, it just has been placed under the outfitting section of the bill, so there is no confusion that it meant anything else. He stated that page 9, line 14, says that this act takes effect immediately. He said, "For the department to be able to respond on an immediate basis with this act, they couldn't do it, and it would have created a problem with us, with the fees and stuff that we were going to be collecting and the amount of licenses and how long it would take to get it." As a result there is a Transition Section that starts on page 8, so that the department will have 2 months to transition into it. Number 515 REPRESENTATIVE GENE KUBINA asked if the insurance was changed. Number 544 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN replied that it hasn't been changed but he has had a discussion with Representative Ogan, chairman of the House Resources Standing Committee, which is the next committee of referral, Representative Ogan has agreed to take a strong look at that and make a determination on whether it should come out or not. He stated that the original concept of the bill was to set up a mechanism for charter boat operators to register with the state and report their catch. Over the last three years that has developed into everything from having transporters to aircraft charter services and now it is back to a simplified bill, that gives the Board of Fisheries the authority to do everything that they need to do to regulate the industry. He stated that the less that is put into statute the more we allow the Board of Fisheries to implement the regulations. He stated that he will not oppose taking out the insurance aspect, if that is what the House Resources Standing Committee wants to do. Number 640 REPRESENTATIVE MARK HODGINS asked if there are other areas, besides the insurance portion, that the House Resources Standing Committee, has been asked to look at. Number 650 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN replied that as far as he knows it is just the insurance portion. Number 664 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN IVAN stated that there has been considerable review of the bill by affected agencies and with that he felt comfortable that the issue of insurance can be addressed at the next committee of referral. Number 712 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN made a motion to move CSHB 19(FSH), 0-LSO140\, P Version, Utermohle, 2/24/97, with individual recommendations and the attached fiscal note. Number 724 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked if there were any objections. Hearing none, CSHB 19(FSH) moved out of the House Special Committee on Fisheries. HB 141 - SCALLOP FISHERY/VESSEL MORATORIUM Number 751 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN stated that the next order of business is HOUSE BILL NO. 141 "An Act relating to a vessel permit moratorium for the Alaska weathervane scallop fishery; relating to management of the scallop fisheries; and providing for an effective date." He stated that he is the prime sponsor of the bill and Amy Daugherty, Legislative Administrative Assistant, will present the bill. Number 761 AMY DAUGHERTY, Legislative Administrative Assistant to Representative Alan Austerman, read the sponsor statement into the record: "We have introduced HB 141 to implement a moratorium within the state waters off Alaska similar to the moratorium being implemented by the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council affecting the federal waters off Alaska. Without a moratorium implemented in state waters, it's probable that there would be an increase in effort on the state water scallop stocks, as well as on the associated marine habitat, and create an unmanageable fishery. "World wide scallops have proven to be susceptible to over fishing and boom/bust cycles. Scallops are long lived shellfish. The large scallop meats which bring premium prices come from scallops eight years or older. "The Alaska scallop fishery stated in 1968. Nineteen East Coast scallop vessels came to Alaska and took 1.7 million pounds of scallop meats. The fishery continued at a harvest level of 1.3 million pounds of meats annually until 1973. Catches dropped off sharply after 1973 and fishing ceased in 1978 when scallop beds were depleted. This boom and bust cycle was repeated in the 1980's and appeared to be repeating for a third time in the 1990's until the state developed a fishery management plan for scallops in 1993. All scallop fishing was stopped in February 1995 in order to prevent Mr. Big, from fishing in unregulated federal waters. The fishery reopened in late 1996 under a federal management plan. "At present weather vane scallops are managed jointly by the federal government and the state of Alaska. There is a federal fishery management plan to delegate management authority of scallops to the state 'in process' but has not been finalized. The management plan includes mandatory 100 percent observer coverage, caps on the amount of crab bycatch which can be taken and area specific quotas. Under new language in the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act, the state of Alaska could exercise management authority out to 200 miles under delegated authority. "It is also in the state of Alaska's best interest that both the state and federal water scallop fisheries have similar management plans and be managed by the state of Alaska. Our goal is delegation of management authority by the U.S. Department of Commerce to the state of Alaska with a more restricted moratorium base. It should be noted that the North Pacific Fishery Management Council's Environmental Assessment and Regulatory Impact Review found that four vessels, 'and that is highlighted in your backup under one of the amendments,' could efficiently harvest the Alaska scallop quotas. "Within this legislation, you've separated out the weathervane scallop fishery conducted in Area H, in Cook Inlet. The Area H scallop fishery is unique in that it is managed as entirely separate fishery, it has different gear specifications, and has more recently been developed. "This bill is needed to ensure careful conservation of the scallop stocks, as well as the marine habitat in which the scallops live, and to ensure that the bycatch of other marine animals, such as crabs, are properly controlled and managed. It is imperative to implement a moratorium on new entrants into the weathervane scallop fishery now." Number 1019 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN stated that it would be appropriate to adopt the committee substitute as a working draft. Number 1026 REPRESENTATIVE KUBINA made a motion to adopt CSHB 141(FSH), O- LSO112\, R Version, Utermohle, 2/21/97. Number 1030 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked if there were any objections, hearing none CSHB 19(FSH), R Version was adopted. Number 1042 EARL KRYGIER, Extended Jurisdiction Program Manager, Division of Commercial Fisheries Management and Development, Department of Fish and Game, stated that the department is supportive of the bill. He stated that the scallop fishery, in the scope of most offshore fisheries, is minimal in participation. He stated that the number of participants have been as low as 1 or 2, to as high as 17 including both the offshore fishery and the Cook Inlet Fishery. The scallop offshore fishery is mostly operated by vessels that are between 90 feet and 125 feet. He stated that the offshore scallop vessels do both catching and processing, so they shuck the meats out on the grounds and freeze and process the product on board the vessels. He stated that other offshore fisheries usually involve hundreds of thousands vessels participating. He stated that scallops are a small fishery from a management standpoint. The state had managed the fishery since the first harvest in 1968 through 1995 when Mr. Big started fishing in federal waters, basically unregulated, no seasons, no limits. He stated that we were unable to control him under state regulations because of some peculiarities that existed under the Magnuson Act, the governing federal law between 3 miles and 200 miles. The state went to the council and asked them to close federal waters, which they did through a Fishery Management Plan. He stated that then the council had to go through a process to reopen the fishery, in a controlled condition were we would not have unregulated fisheries off our coast. This was fairly disastrous to most of our participants, especially scallop only vessels, during the 18 months that the fishery was closed. Number 1226 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked in reference to Mr. Big, because of his uncontrolled fishing, were the scallop beds damaged or depleted to the extent that areas had to be closed. Number 1245 MR. KRYGIER responded that there were two areas that Mr. Big fished, one is south and west of Kodiak which has been closed for fifteen years to protect the depressed King Crab stocks around Kodiak. The other area is off of Kayak Island that has had a fishery that harvests about 15,000 pounds, two small beds. He stated that in 1995 the 15,000 pounds had already been harvested, and Mr. Big went back in and took an additional 15,000 pounds. He stated that the fishery did not open in 1996 because of Mr. Big's damage to the bed. He stated the this year 22,000 pounds of shucked meat were allowed to be taken. The impact of unregulated fishing by a large vessel can be significant. He stated that the beds are not mobile and it is important that the harvesting is done at a rate to secure the resource. If an area is over harvested they may never come back because they are so susceptible to over fishing. He stated that the department has tried to manage this resource on a very conservative basis to have a long term viable opportunity for fisherman who fish in Alaska waters. He stated that the department puts observers on the offshore vessels because there is the impact of the bycatch of crab. The Gulf crab stocks have been depressed and portions of the Bering Sea stocks, both the Red King Crab and the Bairdi Crab are in a depressed condition. If the fishery is monitored and controlled correctly there can be a successful crab fishery. Number 1410 MR. KRYGIER stated that on the East Coast they have limited the scallop fisheries as a result there are some vessels that have been excluded and are looking at other opportunities. There have been several large East Coast vessels that have come to Alaska starting in 1990. He stated that the analysis done in the council, of the number of vessels it would take to economically harvest the resource, could be between four and five vessels. The council went through with Amendment 1 which closed the fishery, Amendment 2 reopened the fishery, and Amendment 3 is trying to go through a moratorium process that would do some limitation on the boats and they are talking about how to restrict that further. He stated that the federal government would rather the state manage the fisheries. We call the closures and they mimic what we do to close the fishery. He stated that we are managing the fishery even in federal waters. Number 1533 REPRESENTATIVE KUBINA asked if it was constitutional to manage outside of state waters. Number 1551 MR. KRYGIER replied that there are a number of fisheries that are managed under state\federal scenarios. The lingcod and shrimp fisheries have no federal fishery management plan, which under the Magnuson Act, allows states to extend their authority to manage outside of state waters. He stated that this was tested in the Baranof case, which proved that the state had the ability to extend authority to manage crab fisheries. Number 1595 MARK KANDIANIS, Scallop Fisherman, F/V Provider, stated that he has been in the scallop fishery for 30 years. He stated that most of his scallop fishing has been in Alaska, and there are a lot of East Coast boats coming in when the fishery is on an upswing, after it is fished out, they leave. He stated that there have been years when the fishery would only support one or two vessels. He stated that Mr. Big left the East Coast because of regulations and came to Alaska. He stated that other boats like Mr. Big started to come to Alaska as a result the resident fleet tried to get a moratorium on the fishery and by the time it was achieved the fleet had increased by over 300 percent of what the fishery could actually sustain. He stated that for a year and a half the resident fleet was tied to the dock and the East Coast fleet went back to the East Coast to fish. He stated that the boat he was on lost one-half million dollars during that time period. He stated that he thought the bill was a little too liberal and that it could be a little stronger and tighter. Number 1810 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN stated that this is a moratorium not a limited entry system. He stated that it is limiting, for a period of four years, the ability of anybody else to get back into the industry until the Limited Entry Commission has a chance to set up some rules and regulations. Number 1839 REPRESENTATIVE HODGINS stated that area H in Cook Inlet was excluded and asked what area that was. Number 1854 MR. KRYGIER replied that it was the Cook Inlet area and most of fishery for that is in Kamishak Bay, which is different from the other fishery, in that instead of two fifteen foot dredges, it is only one six foot dredge. Number 1892 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN stated that it is not excluded from fishing, it is just separated from fishing as a separate area, due to different fishing in that area. Number 1926 REPRESENTATIVE KUBINA made a motion to move CSHB 141(FSH), O- LSO112, R Version, Utermohle, 2/21/97, with individual recommendations and zero fiscal note. Number 1936 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked if there were any objections. Hearing none CSHB 141(FSH), was moved out of the House Special Committee on Fisheries. ADJOURNMENT Number 1948 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN adjourned the House Special Committee on Fisheries at 5:40 p.m.