Legislature(1997 - 1998)

02/26/1997 05:05 PM FSH

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= 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                                                                
 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                
 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            
 "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           
 Number 1948                                                                   
 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN adjourned the House Special Committee on                   
 Fisheries at 5:40 p.m.                                                        

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