Legislature(1997 - 1998)

01/26/1998 05:06 PM House FSH

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
        HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON FISHERIES                                   
                  January 26, 1998                                             
                     5:06 p.m.                                                 
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                
Representative Alan Austerman, Chairman                                        
Representative Ivan Ivan                                                       
Representative Scott Ogan                                                      
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                 
Representative Mark Hodgins                                                    
Representative Gene Kubina                                                     
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                             
* HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 38                                                
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Alaska              
relating to limited entry for sport fish guides and allied                     
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                          
(* First public hearing)                                                       
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                
BILL: HJR 38                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: SPORT FISHING GUIDE LIMITED ENTRY                                 
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVES(S) GREEN, Hodgins                                  
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                          
04/30/97      1408     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                  
04/30/97      1408     (H)  FSH, JUDICIARY, FINANCE                            
11/05/97               (H)  FSH AT  1:00 PM KENAI                              
11/05/97               (H)  MINUTE(FSH)                                        
01/21/98               (H)  FSH AT  5:00 PM CAPITOL 124                        

01/21/98 (H) MINUTE(FSH)

01/26/98 (H) FSH AT 5:00 PM CAPITOL 124 WITNESS REGISTER REPRESENTATIVE JOE GREEN Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 118 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-3789 POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HJR 38. JEFF LOGAN, Legislative Assistant to Representative Joe Green Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 118 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-3789 POSITION STATEMENT: Introduced HJR 38. GEORGE UTERMOHLE, Attorney Legislative Legal and Research Services Legislative Affairs Agency 130 Seward Street, Suite 409 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-2450 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HJR 38. KEVIN DELANEY, Director Division of Sport Fish Department of Fish and Game 333 Raspberry Road Anchorage, Alaska 99518 Telephone: (907) 267-2218 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HJR 38. SEAN MARTIN, Owner Halibut Charter Guide Business P.O. Box 889 Homer, Alaska 99603 Telephone: (907) 235-7620 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HJR 38. GARY AULT, Owner Charter Business P.O. Box 2083 Homer, Alaska 99603 Telephone: (907) 235-7477 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HJR 38. DALE BONDURANT HC1 Box 1197 Soldotna, Alaska 99669 Telephone: (907) 262-0818 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HJR 38. DONALD WESTLUND P.O. Box 7883 Ketchikan, Alaska 99901 Telephone: (907) 225-9319 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HJR 38. BARRY BRACKEN, Owner and Operator Kaleidoscope Cruises P.O. Box 1201 Petersburg, Alaska 99833 Telephone: (907) 772-3736 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HJR 38. RICK STONE P.O. Box 744 Valdez, Alaska 99686 Telephone: (907) 835-5732 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HJR 38. DAVID AUSMAN, Owner Gold Coast Lodge P.O. Box 9629 Ketchikan, Alaska 99901 Telephone: (907) 225-8375 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HJR 38. GARY SALTER, Owner and Booking Agent Charter Business P.O. Box 2423 Kodiak, Alaska 99615 Telephone: (907) 486-7600 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HJR 38. PATRICK CHIKLAK Jr., Commercial Fisherman P.O. Box 1281 Dillingham, Alaska 99576 Telephone: (907) 842-3813 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HJR 38. RICHARD HOFFMAN, President Alaska Trollers Association 5025 Thane Road Juneau, Alaska 99802 Telephone: (907) 586-9400 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HJR 38. ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 98-1, SIDE A Number 0001 CHAIRMAN ALAN AUSTERMAN called the House Special Committee on Fisheries meeting to order at 5:06 p.m. Members present at the call to order were Representatives Austerman, Ivan and Ogan. Members absent were Representatives Hodgins and Kubina. HJR 38 - SPORT FISHING GUIDE LIMITED ENTRY Number 030 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN announced the committee would hear HJR 38, "Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Alaska relating to limited entry for sport fish guides and allied professions." He called on Representative Green, sponsor of HJR 38. Number 0122 REPRESENTATIVE JOE GREEN stated that his staff member, Jeff Logan, would introduce HJR 38. Number 0140 JEFF LOGAN, Legislative Assistant to Representative Joe Green, stated that HJR 38 creates a clear and concise line of authority from the voters of Alaska to the state government; allowing state government to limit the number of sport fish guides. He explained that this issue came to Representative Green's attention a few years ago concerning a particular fishery as well as to other Representatives, who were hearing the same problem in other fisheries. There have been attempts to introduce this type of legislation in past years with little success. Mr. Logan referred to HJR 51, which was passed out of the House Special Committee on Fisheries, having the same intent as HJR 38. He indicated that there are two legal memorandum in the bill packet, from George Utermohle, Attorney; dated December 4, 1995 and March 28, 1995. The memorandum addresses why the state is not able to limit the number of sport fish guides. He stated that HJR 38 is an important management tool for the state to be able to do so. Number 0305 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN stated that presently, the constitution deals with limited entry in fisheries. He noted that he has not yet read the memorandum and asked if they discussed the current language that is in the constitution and why it wouldn't apply to the sport fishing industry. MR. LOGAN stated that it does address it as it is Mr. Utermohle's opinion that the provision is not broad enough to include limitations on sport fish guides. He noted that Mr. Utermohle has just walked in and could better answer the question. Number 0373 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asserted that Mr. Utermohle would probably bring up the fact that there has been a controversy on the issue, with a multiplicity of attorneys asked there are a multiplicity of attitudes. He continued that there are groups that believe there is that right under the current constitution and others like Mr. Utermohle who state that sport fish guides would fall short of it. He stated that the committee might of heard another attorney assert the right and that is why he is here today. Number 0421 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN IVAN asked if the referral to allied professions in HJR 38 could be explained. Number 0440 MR. LOGAN replied that allied professions would mean people who work on boats with guides; deck personnel. Number 0463 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked if he meant an assistant guide and asked if there was a definition in HJR 38 of allied professions. Number 0472 MR. LOGAN replied an assistant guide would fall under allied professions and there is not a definition of the allied professions in the resolution. Number 0483 REPRESENTATIVE SCOTT OGAN stated that the proposed constitutional amendment does not address who would own the permits. He suggested that some people would argue that it was a mistake to give exclusive rights to limited entry on commercial fishing and there has been discussions on buy backs of those permits. He asked what was decided in regards to the state retaining ownership of the permits. He suggested that if this was going to be done it may be advisable to look at the problems that occurred with the previous system in order to implement this system better. Number 0571 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN responded that it is his intention that this would not create a value. He said, "The license or the permit would be merely the right to do it but there is no value that accumulates with that, like there is now with limited entry and commercial fishing." He stated that when the license is issued it would be maintained by the state and it goes back to the state. It does not perpetuate in a limited state so that the value continues to escalate. Number 0602 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN asked if the constitution would have to be amended first and then enabling legislation would follow. CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN stated he thought that would be a question for Mr. Utermohle. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN asked Mr. Utermohle if he could respond to his questions and stated that the scenario of the permits belonging to the state is not the situation with the limited entry commercial fishing permits. He referred to Article VIII, Section 15; "no exclusive right of fishery" clause, and asked if the scenario of the exemptions is addressed in statute. Number 0655 GEORGE UTERMOHLE, Attorney, Legislative Legal and Research Services, Legislative Affairs Agency, replied that is correct. The constitutional amendment provides merely the authorization for the legislature to establish a system which sets characteristics as it deems appropriate, provided they satisfy the minimum constitutional criteria. Number 0742 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked if it would be proper to put in language that would set a value to the permits. Number 0747 MR. UTERMOHLE replied that it would be in the realm of possibilities. He explained that generally constitutional language is written very broadly to give the legislature the maximum leeway in developing the statutes. However, if one wishes to circumvent or direct the legislature's charge in developing a limited entry scheme for sport fish guides it is certainly possibly through the constitutional amendment. Number 0787 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN asked if there could be language that would ensure, if this constitutional amendment was passed, there would not be exclusive ownership of the permits. Number 0847 MR. UTERMOHLE replied that he would hesitate to offer this language at the spur of the moment, he would like to give it some thought. Number 0866 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN referred to Mr. Utermohle's memorandum which stated that as the constitution is currently written it does not allow or imply that the sport fishing industry is included in the limited entry; although it does not state that it is for the commercial fishing industry. He asked Mr. Utermohle to elaborate on that point. Number 0897 MR. UTERMOHLE replied that the current limited entry exception to the "no exclusive right of fishery" clause, authorizes the legislature to establish a limited entry into fisheries. The constitution is not specific as to which particular fishery, whether commercial, sport or subsistence, the state would limit the entry to. He explained that in interpreting that language of the constitution, it is important to look at the context under which that provision was adopted. Mr. Utermohle perceived that, at that time, it was directed at resolving serious and widely understood problems in the commercial fishery. He remarked that whether or not the legislature and the public, at the time this constitutional amendment was adopted, intended to provide this provision exclusively to commercial fisheries is undecided at this point. Due to this indecision or if one was to rely on the plain language of the previous constitutional amendment, which states that it allows limited entry for fisheries, the legislature does have the option to go forward with a limited entry program for sport fish guides. However, there may be a risk that the provision could be stuck down at a later date. This proposed constitutional amendment avoids this problem all together as it expressly authorizes a limited entry program to be established by the legislature for sport fish guides. Number 1005 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked if Mr. Utermohle thought there is any set criteria that should be met in regards to the common use clauses before this goes to the vote of the people. Number 1054 MR. UTERMOHLE replied that, at this time, he could not recommend any particular standards that should be incorporated into a constitutional amendment. He stated that those types of provisions would largely be a result of the existing limited entry system for commercial fisheries; to determine what shortcomings may have arisen that should be addressed in a similar limited entry scheme for sport fish guides. Number 1077 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked Mr. Utermohle if he is saying that the constitution does not set enough of a guideline to determine if the guided sport fish industry is harming the resource or the habitat in order to surpass the common use clause of the constitution. Number 1114 MR. UTERMOHLE replied that this proposed constitutional amendment would allow the legislature to make those determinations at the time it enacts the system. Number 1127 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked if he thought there needs to be a set criteria presently, in order to go to the constitutional change. MR. UTERMOHLE replied, no, this amendment gives the legislature the option to do so if it sees a need for a limited entry program for sport fish guides. He stated that there is no need for specific criteria at the constitutional level. Number 1132 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked that once the constitutional amendment is passed and the legislature has the authority to issue a limited entry system for sport fish guides, would there then need to be a set of criteria to enact legislation. He stated that he is going back to the common use clause and the question of who has access to the resource. Number 1168 MR. UTERMOHLE replied that this constitutional amendment, through its passage by the public, would provide for an exemption from the common use clause of the state's constitution to the extent necessary to address the specific problems identified by the legislature. Number 1202 KEVIN DELANEY, Director, Division of Sport Fish, Department of Fish and Game, stated that since Mr. Utermohle addressed the background information he would focus on the issue. He said he would focus on "the hurdle that currently stands between where we are today on the limited entry system and try to make a point that this constitutional amendment would provide the authority for a future legislature to create a limited entry system. At the present time there is authority to provide a state agency, such as DNR (Department of Natural Resources) or DNR through the Division Of Parks or the Department of Fish and Game or the Alaska Board of Fisheries, with the authority to limit the number of sport fish guides that can operate in any one place at any one time. The constitutional hurdle isn't actually limited entry into that profession. And I want to make sure that's clear because people out in the business I don't think are clear on that and and through the Board of Fisheries, through the state parks' regulations that currently exist there can be a limit put and in some cases like through the board we would have to provide some more statutory foundation to accomplish that. It is not there now but it is not a constitutional hurdle." Number 1316 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN inquired that hasn't the parks already put a limit on the Kenai River. Number 1332 MR. DELANEY replied, "They have tried to and what we have here in the handout that your staff has prepared, is the proposal to accomplish that. And I did not get a chance to re-review this. I believe it was early '90s that this occurred and at the time it was my understanding that there was full authority to actually implement a limit on the number of Kenai River guides. However, the way that the individuals who were subsequently allowed to conduct business would be consistent with our state constitution. There would either be a competitive bid process or a lottery, these things would come up again for renewal at regular intervals. It would not be a closed system and that in fact is the constitutional hurdle. And I guess at this point I would like to make sure that I am absolutely correct on that, if Mr. Utermohle is of a slightly different opinion I'd like to stand corrected and not have provided any misunderstanding here." Number 1376 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked Mr. Utermohle if he understood what Mr. Delaney was referring to. Number 1390 MR. UTERMOHLE stated that it is his belief that if there is a limitation placed upon the ability of persons to enter into the sport fish guiding profession that would be an impairment of the peoples' rights under the open access provisions of the constitution. He stated that a limitation would evoke provisions of the constitution and would very well require a constitutional amendment either under the existing provision of the constitution or under a subsequent provision of the constitution. Number 1429 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN referred to Mr. Delaney's statement on limiting the number of guides on a system and not limiting access as being a guide, is a different situation. Number 1438 MR. UTERMOHLE replied that he would agree it is a slightly different situation and he would have to give it some thought. He continued that there is not much of a distinction between restricting entry and the ability to enter a profession without the ability to go into the field and practice it. Number 1460 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN stated that the same thing would apply, for example, in municipalities that have taxicabs and only a certain number of taxicabs are allowed in the system. It is not that one can not own a taxicab license; one can, but one can not operate in the city because there is already the maximum amount. He stated that he thought that was along the lines of what Mr. Delaney was saying. Number 1475 MR. UTERMOHLE stated that would be the exact situation we would be faced with were it not for the open access provisions of the constitution. Number 1482 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN asked if he anticipated any problems with the interstate commerce clause under the scenario of limiting access of peoples' ability to make a living. He continued that there is the precedent of limited entry as it exists for the commercial fisheries. He asked, if the amendment passes which basically does not allow the person to retain ownership of the permit and lets a limited group participate in the profession, could there be a problem with the federal laws. Number 1530 MR. UTERMOHLE responded that he could not promise that the legislature would not run into litigation in the future; but he expected that the state would ultimately prevail in litigations that challenged a fair system that did not discriminate against non-residents. A system of non-transferrable permits should not have that problem because if there is no transfer then there is no interstate commerce of permits involved. As long as non-residents were given a fair chance in applying for those permits, there should not be a problem. He explained that the main issue that has to be addressed under the federal constitution is the privileges and immunities clause which prevents the state from regulating access or discriminating a person's access into the practice of a profession based on their residency. Number 1584 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN asked if because of the privileges and immunities clause he anticipated a hypothetical amendment that would limit ownership. Number 1600 MR. UTERMOHLE responded that provided that constitution does not limit access to the profession; or the legislature in implementing a limited entry scheme does not discriminate against non-residents, there should not be a problem under the privileges and immunities clause. Number 1624 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN stated that there could not be an allocation scheme that would allot a certain number of permits to residents and a certain number to non-residents. It would have to be first come first serve or is there a gray area where allocation could be allowed. Number 1643 MR. UTERMOHLE responded that he would hesitate to make a definite statement but did think there could be trouble if the system limited the possibilities for non-residents to participate. Although it does not completely exclude the ability to favor residents in some ways. Number 1663 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN referred to the 3 to 1 differential between the sport fish licenses and suggested charging non-residents more. He added that there is a court case over the 3 to 1 differential. Number 1675 MR. UTERMOHLE stated that has been the standard that the legislature has used in the past and it is safe to say that standard is no longer valid as a result of the series of Carlson decisions. Non-residents can only be charged the difference between what residents pay in taxes to support sport fisheries management. Number 1698 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN asked if the Carlson case had been settled. Number 1704 MR. UTERMOHLE replied that it had been settled with the exception of disputes over attorneys' fees. Number 1712 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked Mr. Utermohle to research the possibility of holding 75 percent of these permits for Alaskan residents and 25 percent for non-residents. Number 1730 MR. UTERMOHLE responded that he would. Number 1742 MR. DELANEY stated, "Once again, sorry for bringing that grey area in there but it is one that I feel needs to be examined. Very briefly I'll go through these statements that may be helpful for folks. At the current time sport fish guides are required to register with the Department of Fish and Game and identify for us what area of the state they intend to work. In 1997 a total of 3,522 registered. 70 percent of these were Alaskan residents the other were non-residents. Because they are required to register and tell us where they are going to work, we get some idea. We do not have a follow-up program in place yet, that will allow us to find out how many of those individuals did actually participate and to what extent they participated and where. And so I can't tell you what percentage of that 3,500 are active or where in the state their efforts were distributed with any degree of accuracy. I would say that sport fish guiding is the subject of debate in many forums at the present time. My challenge is, as director of the Division of Sport Fisheries, is to try to kind of tie those things together and hope that what comes out of any one is complimentary and not contradictory to what is happening in others and and as you well know we have a guide licensing bill in the legislature here which we support, that's one. The North Pacific Fisheries Management Council has debated and is working on the charter issue with halibut, halibut only in that case. The Board of Fisheries has acted on registration procedures for sport fish guides, they're going to debate that and other issues in their February meeting, this year. I anticipate some reporting requirements to come out of that. I could not be any more specific on exactly what they will accomplish in that meeting. I would say on a very positive note here, that the ability to adjust or limit the amount of guided angling effort in any specific fishery is a useful tool. It is a tool that is used sparingly, at the present time and only through regulation by the Board of Fisheries. Most typically the method they have chosen is to preclude hours of the day or days of the week from operation by guides or fishing by guided anglers. Federal land managers currently allocate the opportunity to conduct business on refuges and parks through the use of a competitive bid commercial use permit. And I would like to conclude with that and be available as a resource for any questions. Thank you very much for the opportunity to speak." Number 1871 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN stated that there has been a number of discussions in reference to the state of Washington when it basically closed down its guided sport fish operations on its coast. He asked if Mr. Delaney has noticed any impact in Southeast Alaska of guides moving North to continue their profession. Number 1896 MR. DELANEY responded, "We've seen a fairly dramatic increase in the number of people that have registered for -- sport fish guides in Southeast Alaska. And in Southeast Alaska we also have a longer history of requiring people to register their vessels that they intend to operate. In each case we've seen a steady climb over the last ten years. Our ability to assess where those people come from, or if it's a direct cause and effect relationship between what's happening in the Pacific Northwest and what is happening here in Southeast Alaska is a little difficult, when I look back at the residency component or the distribution of people who are registered by residency, it has stayed at a pretty consistent 70 percent of Alaskans. We haven't seen a growth in the non-residents but.... CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked if he was referring to the non-resident sport fish guides. MR. DELANEY said, "The (non-resident) guides that are registered, but all it would take to accomplish that is for someone to move to Alaska establish residency and then the following year register and conduct a business. My best guess is that we have seen far more residents go into the business then we have seen non-residents move up. But we have certainly seen each." Number 1954 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN clarified that Mr. Delaney has said there has been a steady sport fish guide growth in Southeast Alaska and asked if that is the same statewide. Number 1961 MR. DELANEY responded, "The requirement to register has been implemented by the Board of Fisheries incrementally; it started out with vessels only in Southeast then it became registered to guide in Southcentral Alaska, I think specifically in the Cook Inlet area, then it was a registration for guiding in Southeast as well registering the vessels and then it became statewide and I believe the statewide requirement is now in its third year, could be the fourth year. And I don't have the figures from the previous years in front of me, I apologize for that, I could give you a good guess though that it has risen probably 50 percent to 100 percent and that is just the number of people who have registered, once again, not able to tell you how many of those people actually operated. Number 1994 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked if he saw a correspondence between the increase in the number of non-residents sport fishermen in the state over the last ten years to the number of guides. Number 2004 MR. DELANEY replied, "The simple answer to that is yes, but it varies a great deal by region, in Southeast Alaska and in Bristol Bay a large proportion of our non-resident visitors utilize guides for their fishing. In Cook Inlet it is more of even split some do and some don't and the road accessible part of AYK (Arctic Yukon- Kuskokwim) very few non-residents use a guide, probably a larger number or larger proportion do on the wilderness areas up there. It varies a great deal but overall I would say the answer is yes there is a correlation." CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN stated that Bruce Twomley was present from the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission, to answer any questions. He noted that at the time there where no questions for Mr. Twomley. Number 2068 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN stated that the committee would hear HJR 38 at the next meeting and is not planning on moving it out at this meeting. He stated that at this time the committee would hear public testimony via teleconference. Number 2086 SEAN MARTIN, Owner, Halibut Charter Guide Business, testified via teleconference from Homer, that he has been a charter operator for 20 years. He stated that he owns a halibut charter vessel and a business that books other vessels through his business. He stated that he supports the resolution for purely economic reasons. He explained that the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council (NPFMC) has imposed a guideline harvest level on the industry which equals 15 percent of the 1995 catch. When this guideline harvest level is reached halibut operators will be restricted in various ways. He stated that he would like to avoid that, the ultimate goal being to keep the season at its historical length; one way to do that is to reduce the number of participants. He stated that the limited entry system would be the best for us. He explained that the problem he does not want to see is a situation of restricted access; such as reduced bag limits or reduced days of fishing. He stated that he thought the charter guides could stay within the guideline harvest level as long as there is something like limited entry to restrict the amount of the participants. Number 2145 MR. MARTIN asserted that they would like to see the permits issued on a basis of past participation. A person who has fished 60 percent of the time over the last 5 to 10 years would have a 60 percent chance of access to the resource. He declared that tax returns would be the best vehicle to use, in order to find out how much of a person's income is through the guided sport fishery. MR. MARTIN stated that he did not understand what the committee meant by having the permits revert back to the state. He explained that it would preclude anyone from ever selling their vessel or business. He asked how could any one ever sell their assets if they could not transfer the right to fish to whoever bought their business or their boat. Number 2186 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN stated that it is an issue that the committee is going to raise as to whether the permits would be transferrable or not. He declared that there are a lot of people who oppose the transferability or the benefit of selling the permit after the state gives it to them. Number 2203 MR. MARTIN replied that there does not seem to be any reasonable explanation for not having a transferrable permit. He asked what the point would be, irregardless of profitability, it would be fine if there was no value placed on it, but one would have to be able to transfer it to the person who bought the business. He clarified that the issue is not the guides who fish as employees but owners, like himself, who have a substantial investment in the business over a 20-year-period. He stated that they could not sell the business or the boat unless they were able transfer everything to the buyer. Number 2235 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN responded that is the argument that will take place on the issue, he indicated that there would be an amendment at the next meeting. Number 2225 GARY AULT, Owner, Charter Business, testified via teleconference in Homer, that he been in the charter business for 19 years. He asked what the purpose was to limited entry. He stated that the reason the NPFMC has tried to cap the guides is strictly for economic reasons. He felt that there is no problem with the resource and indicated that the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) has given allocation raises. He reiterated that the only motive is economic. He said "It was in their best interest, they're going to divide up the spoils, so to speak, if they can actually run us out of business." He stated that the guides have talked to the IPHC about a limited entry proposal and their solution was to issue a cap. He wondered where the pressure to limit entry of sport fish guides is coming from and why, when it appears to him that there is no problem with the resource. He explained that a license issued by a lottery would "do him in" and his business would be worthless. Number 2377 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN stated that he would not speak for people that want a limited entry system in the sport fish guide industry, as there are probably a number of different reasons that they are interested in it. For example, keeping the number of people down that are impacting an area or keeping the pristine value of an area. He stated that he has never supported limited entry in the commercial industry, but that did not mean he would not support this system. He stated that it depends on how the value of the permits would end up. Number 2407 DALE BONDURANT, testified via teleconference from Kenai in opposition to HJR 38. He stated that he sees the hidden purposes in this proposal. He referred to a document called Equal Access to Alaska's Fish and Wildlife and quoted it, "The Alaska courts have held that the common use of fish and wildlife is entitled to a high degree of constitutional protection." He went on to explain that there is no distinction between professional and personal use and the constitution protects derivative and the direct use of the fish and wildlife. He referred to a court decision regarding hunting guides that found there was no basis to distinguish between the rights of the guide and the right of the hunter under the common use clause. He asserted that the constitution under its open access provisions provides equal access among users of the resources. He explained that a limited entry system would be unconstitutional. TAPE 98-1, SIDE B Number 0007 MR. BONDURANT stated "To amend our constitution about the only thing we will have is something to use for toilet paper." Number 0019 DONALD WESTLUND, testified via teleconference from Ketchikan that he has been in the guided sport fishing business for 12 years. He stated that if the permits are non-transferable the businesses will not be worth anything. He stated that there should be single ownership of the permit and once it is transferred from the state it should be the property of the person. He stated that he is not sure if there is a need for limited entry versus the other regulatory restrictions that could be imposed. He questioned if this would be in conflict with the North Pacific Salmon Treaty, that states no new fisheries can be formed. He continued that the NPFMC has increased the halibut allowable catch quota by 11 million pounds and capped the guides at 125 percent of the 1995 catch. He asserted that the Department of Fish and Game does not have a clear number on the poundage caught, as it is always a guess, therefor the guideline harvest is probably low. He stated he would like to see more of the information that the committee has other then the mission statement. Number 0130 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN advised him or anyone else who would like additional information to contact his office. Number 0160 BARRY BRACKEN, Owner and Operator, Kaleidoscope Cruises, testified via teleconference from Petersburg that he is an independent charter operator and has been doing so for four years. He stated that he had no objection to going forward with HJR 38, as it would clarify the state's legal position for allowing limited entry on sport fish guides in the future. However, it does frighten him to hear how the program would be implemented. He suggested to go forward with a more general proposal and then allowing the details such as state versus individual ownership to develop as the program evolves. He stated that most of the guides would not be able to support a non-transferable program for the reasons that have been stated. He asked that the committee keep in mind that the sport fish guide industry is very important to the economy of the state and suggested that the Alaska Tourism Council be involved in the discussion to discuss visitor impacts. Number 0231 RICK STONE, testified via teleconference in Valdez that all his questions were answered. Number 0237 DAVID AUSMAN, Owner, Gold Coast Lodge, testified via teleconference from Ketchikan, that he has been in business since 1986 and he is opposed to HJR 38. He stated that sport fishing guides have become the favorite target in a divide and conquer policy by commercial fishing interests to break up the one voice of the people, in order to gain control for private ownership of the fishing resources. He stated that the IPHC's decision is an example of this through the cap. He asserted that he did not think the resolution will result in conserving the resource, instead it will take people's rights away to enter into a business in a free enterprise system. He suggested that if this resolution would prevent economic distress among guides, why not apply it to any and all businesses in the state; car dealers, supermarkets, et cetera. He declared that the growth of the sport fish guide industry reflects the increased demand of tourism. He felt the resolution would give privilege to a select few through legal action. He stated, "My argument is that if you put 1,000 more guides in the business tomorrow you're not going to bring one more sport fishermen to Alaska this summer, I think it is supply and demand." Number 0373 GARY SALTER, Owner and Booking Agent, Charter Business, testified via teleconference from Kodiak that he is in agreement with the amendment but it is difficult to support it without a better understanding of what the parameters are. He asked if the permits are not transferrable, what is the point of having limited entry. He stated that the criteria of who would qualify and the cut-off dates need to be decided, without this information it would be hard to support the resolution. He asserted that he would rather see exclusive area registration for operators that live in the communities to prevent people from jumping around after they clean out an area. Number 0437 PATRICK CHIKLAK Jr., Commercial Fisherman, testified via teleconference from Dillingham that he is an Alaskan Native and that he is thinking about going into the sport fish guide operation. He stated that he is currently opposed to the resolution as it would create another hardship to Alaskan residents. He felt it would effect the villages that only have a few jobs to offer. He stated that he went commercial fishing for four weeks and only made $146. Number 0544 RICHARD HOFFMAN, President, Alaska Trollers Association, stated that he is a commercial fishermen and has been involved in the limited entry issue for 20 years, and has learned a lot about it. He referred to the resolution, Section 19, line 6, "For purposes of resource conservation". He stated that is the issue; conservation of the resource. Limited entry is a valuable tool for the department to limit the effect on the resource so they can control and manage the resource in order to keep it healthy. He declared that it is for those reasons that he is in favor of HJR 38. He continued that he does have the same concern as the charter operators in regards to the non-transferability of the permit. It will create hardship. He suggested there are other alternatives and suggested a transfer fee that the buyer has to pay when he buys the permit with the business, which would go back into the system to help administer the cost of the program. Number 0622 MR. HOFFMAN stated that there is another concern that has not been addressed and he called it cannery collection. When limited entry was imposed on the commercial fleet, it was clarified that it was important that the permits went to individuals not to businesses which could accumulate a large number of permits and then somewhat control an industry. He continued that there are charter operations in the Southeast that employ 20 or more boats over a summer. He asked if it was going to be the boat operators who would get the permits or would it be the lodge owners. He questioned how that was going to be kept equitable to control that collection of the resource in that faction. Number 0654 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN stated that Mr. Hoffman's last comments were important and it would be an issue that would be debated heavily within the legislature if HJR 38 were to pass. Number 0667 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN stated that he wanted to have more discussion on the amendment and recommended that it be something to look for at the next meeting. ADJOURNMENT Number 0682 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN adjourned the House Special Committee on Fisheries meeting at 6:10 p.m.

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