Legislature(2021 - 2022)GRUENBERG 120

03/04/2021 11:00 AM FISHERIES

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
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*+ HB 115 AQUATIC FARMING & HATCHERY SITE LEASES TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Invited Testimony --
-- Public Testimony <Time Limit 2 Minutes> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
+= HB 80 SPT FSH HATCHERY FACIL ACCT; SURCHARGE TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON FISHERIES                                                                            
                         March 4, 2021                                                                                          
                           11:07 a.m.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Geran Tarr, Chair                                                                                                
Representative Louise Stutes, Vice Chair                                                                                        
Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins                                                                                          
Representative Andi Story                                                                                                       
Representative Dan Ortiz                                                                                                        
Representative Sarah Vance                                                                                                      
Representative Kevin McCabe                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 80                                                                                                               
"An Act establishing the sport fishing hatchery facilities                                                                      
account; establishing the sport fishing facility surcharge; and                                                                 
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 115                                                                                                              
"An Act  relating to  aquatic farming  and hatchery  site leases;                                                               
and requiring  the director of  the division of lands  to provide                                                               
the  legislature  with  an  annual  report  relating  to  aquatic                                                               
farming and hatchery site leases."                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB  80                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: SPT FSH HATCHERY FACIL ACCT; SURCHARGE                                                                             
SPONSOR(s): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
02/18/21       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/18/21       (H)       FSH, FIN                                                                                               
02/23/21       (H)       FSH AT 10:00 AM GRUENBERG 120                                                                          
02/23/21       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/23/21       (H)       MINUTE(FSH)                                                                                            
02/25/21       (H)       FSH AT 10:00 AM GRUENBERG 120                                                                          
02/25/21       (H)       -- MEETING CANCELED --                                                                                 
03/02/21       (H)       FSH AT 10:00 AM GRUENBERG 120                                                                          
03/02/21       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/02/21       (H)       MINUTE(FSH)                                                                                            
03/04/21       (H)       FSH AT 11:00 AM GRUENBERG 120                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 115                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: AQUATIC FARMING & HATCHERY SITE LEASES                                                                             
SPONSOR(s): STORY                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
02/24/21       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/24/21       (H)       FSH, RES                                                                                               
03/04/21       (H)       FSH AT 11:00 AM GRUENBERG 120                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
DOUG VINCENT-LANG, Commissioner                                                                                                 
Alaska Department of Fish and Game                                                                                              
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions during the hearing on HB
80.                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ANDI STORY                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented HB 115 as prime sponsor.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
GREG SMITH, Staff                                                                                                               
Representative Andi Story                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided a sectional analysis of HB 115 on                                                               
behalf of Representative Story, prime sponsor.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
HEATHER MCCARTY, Chair                                                                                                          
Mariculture Task Force                                                                                                          
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 115.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
ERIC WYATT                                                                                                                      
Ketchikan, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 115.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
TREVOR SANDE                                                                                                                    
Marble Seafoods                                                                                                                 
Ketchikan, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 115.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MARKOS SCHEER                                                                                                                   
Premium Aquatics                                                                                                                
Shoreline, Washington                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 115                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
11:07:03 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GERAN TARR called the  House Special Committee on Fisheries                                                             
meeting to order  at 11:07 a.m.   Representatives Stutes, Kreiss-                                                               
Tompkins, Story, Ortiz,  Vance, McCabe, and Tarr  were present at                                                               
the call to order.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
         HB  80-SPT FSH HATCHERY FACIL ACCT; SURCHARGE                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
11:09:51 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR TARR  announced that the  first order of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE  BILL  NO.  80,  "An Act  establishing  the  sport  fishing                                                               
hatchery  facilities  account;  establishing  the  sport  fishing                                                               
facility surcharge; and providing for an effective date."                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
11:10:12 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS referred  to  Section 2  regarding                                                               
fishing license reciprocity between  Yukon [Territory] and Alaska                                                               
allowing Yukon  residents to obtain  licensing at  resident rates                                                               
and suggested  that Yukon is getting  the better deal.   He asked                                                               
Commissioner Vincent-Lang  if he  had data reflecting  the impact                                                               
of  the discount  and how  many  Alaskans take  advantage of  the                                                               
reciprocal resident licensing discount.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
11:11:27 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
DOUG VINCENT-LANG,  Commissioner, Alaska  Department of  Fish and                                                               
Game, answered  that he did  not have the requested  data readily                                                               
available.  He offered that the  topic had come up throughout the                                                               
years between  the premier of  Yukon and the governor  of Alaska.                                                               
He stated that  the matter had not been addressed  by the current                                                               
administration,  and  the  policy  exists  as  a  "good  neighbor                                                               
policy."   He offered  to provide the  requested data  and agreed                                                               
with  Representative  Kreiss-Tompkins  that  access  to  Alaska's                                                               
saltwater fisheries [by Yukoners]  was the more desirable benefit                                                               
of the policy.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS agreed  with  the  sentiment of  a                                                               
good neighbor  policy due  to the  geography of  Southeast Alaska                                                               
and residents'  access to  the rest  of the  state and  asked the                                                               
commissioner to provide foregone  revenues to understand the cost                                                               
benefits of the "good neighbor policy".                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
11:13:07 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE  recalled that the reciprocity  language had                                                               
not been included in a previous  version of the proposed bill and                                                               
questioned  the value  of including  such  reciprocity given  her                                                               
belief that Alaska  was not in a strong  position for negotiation                                                               
and that Alaska  was experiencing a lack of  reciprocity in other                                                               
areas affecting communities in Alaska.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  VINCENT-LANG  suggested  that  a  minor  change  in                                                               
language  had clarified  the intent  of the  bill to  ensure that                                                               
resident rate  licensing fees offered  to Yukoners  would include                                                               
the  surcharge, which  may  not  have been  clear  in a  previous                                                               
version of the bill.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VANCE  asked  if   there  exist  other  areas  of                                                               
negotiation,  including  treaties, that  pose  a  strong need  to                                                               
offer [Yukoners] a nonresident discount.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  VINCENT-LANG offered  his understanding  that those                                                               
needs are a  policy decision between the governor  and Yukon, and                                                               
that he could speak only to the impacts of such decisions.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
11:15:23 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ORTIZ  asked  whether a  hypothetical  conceptual                                                               
amendment to  Section 1,  on page  1, line  9 changing  the words                                                               
"operation  of the  department's sport  fish hatchery  facilities                                                               
and sport fishing  stock", by replacing "fishing  stock" with the                                                               
word "fish" would change the intent of the bill.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER   VINCENT-LANG  suggested   that  there   may  exist                                                               
confusion about what a sport  fish hatchery does.  He exemplified                                                               
that a  sportfish hatchery in  Fairbanks produces  fish primarily                                                               
for  lakes.   He  stated  that  the  Jack Hernandez  Hatchery  in                                                               
Southcentral  produces   fish  for   both  lakes   and  saltwater                                                               
releases.   He stated that  Douglas Island Pink and  Chum (DIPAC)                                                               
in  Southeast Alaska  produces both  fresh water  and salt  water                                                               
fish.   He  stated his  opinion that  including the  word "stock"                                                               
would not affect the intent  of the surcharge for the maintenance                                                               
and operations of hatcheries.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ORTIZ clarified his  question, which he was asking                                                               
on behalf  of a  constituent, whether  changing the  words "sport                                                               
fishing  stock enhancement"  to "sport  fish enhancement"  [would                                                               
change the intent of the bill].                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG stated that he  had no problem with the                                                               
suggested change to the language in the bill.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
11:18:10 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MCCABE referred to Section  2, which read: "If the                                                               
commissioner determines that residents  of the state are entitled                                                               
to  obtain licenses  for sport  fishing, including  sport fishing                                                               
for anadromous  king salmon, in  Yukon, Canada".  He  stated that                                                               
currently one  may not drive there;  therefore, the [reciprocated                                                               
licensing benefit to Alaskans] would be zero.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  VINCENT-LANG  stated   that  the  determination  is                                                               
vested   at  his   discretion;  however,   he  would   request  a                                                               
conversation  with   the  governor  regarding  policy   with  our                                                               
neighbors and that  decisions predicated on this  policy may have                                                               
broader implications on other policies.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MCCABE  asked whether the commissioner  would have                                                               
an estimate  between 500 to  10,000 Yukon  residents [benefitting                                                               
from the policy].                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
11:19:28 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  VINCENT-LANG  estimated the  number  to  be in  the                                                               
hundreds, not tens of thousands.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
11:19:54 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  TARR  noted   that  in  the  committee   packet  were  two                                                               
amendments.   The first was  Amendment 1,  labeled 32-GH1609\A.4,                                                               
Bullard, 2/24/21, which read as follows:                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, lines 8 - 9:                                                                                                       
          Delete "to ongoing maintenance and operation of"                                                                      
          Insert "equally between"                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 10:                                                                                                           
          Delete "intended to directly benefit license                                                                          
     purchasers"                                                                                                                
          Insert "projects for ongoing maintenance and                                                                          
     operation and for the direct benefit of sport fishing                                                                      
     license holders"                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR TARR noted that Amendment 1 had been submitted by                                                                         
Representative Ortiz.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
11:20:06 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ORTIZ stated his intention to revise the                                                                         
amendment after consultation with the department and offer it at                                                                
a later time.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
11:20:44 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR TARR moved on to Amendment 2.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
11:20:54 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES moved to adopt Amendment 2, labeled 32-                                                                   
GH1609\A.5, Bullard, 3/3/21, which read as follows:                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 21:                                                                                                           
          Delete "4"                                                                                                            
          Insert "6.50"                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 22:                                                                                                           
          Delete "4"                                                                                                            
          Insert "6.50"                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 23:                                                                                                           
          Delete "4"                                                                                                            
          Insert "6.50"                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 24:                                                                                                           
          Delete "25"                                                                                                           
          Insert "27.50"                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 25:                                                                                                           
          Delete "20"                                                                                                           
          Insert "22.50"'                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 26:                                                                                                           
          Delete "10"                                                                                                           
          Insert "12.50"                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 27:                                                                                                           
          Delete "5"                                                                                                            
          Insert "7.50"                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 28:                                                                                                           
          Delete "40"                                                                                                           
          Insert "42.50"                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, lines 29 - 30:                                                                                                     
          Delete all material.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Renumber the following paragraph accordingly.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 31:                                                                                                           
          Delete "4"                                                                                                            
          Insert "6.50"                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR TARR objected for the purposes of discussion.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES offered a summary description of the                                                                      
proposed amendment as follows:                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Amendment  2 meets  the department's  proposal halfway.                                                                    
     Instead of  reinstating the surcharge with  a reduction                                                                    
     of $ 5.00, this amendment  proposes a reduction of only                                                                    
     $ 2.50.  This amount  is what the committee passed last                                                                    
     year, and it remained in the  bill until it died in its                                                                    
     final  committee of  referral  in the  other  body.   I                                                                    
     believe this  amendment reflects a delicate  balance of                                                                    
     reducing the  surcharge, as the  bonding has  been paid                                                                    
     for  the   Ruth  Burnett  and  the   ...  William  Jack                                                                    
     Hernandez   hatcheries,  while   still  retaining   the                                                                    
     necessary  revenue  for   enhancement  projects.    The                                                                    
     addition of the  $ 2.50 back into this  bill will raise                                                                    
     over a  million dollars  in additional revenue  that is                                                                    
     badly  needed  to  support  the  activities  of  sports                                                                    
     anglers.    I  would  note that  the  deletion  of  the                                                                    
     special  nonresident  military  small  game  and  sport                                                                    
     fishing  license on  page 2,  lines  10 and  11 of  the                                                                    
     amendment is  a housekeeping measure at  the request of                                                                    
     the department.  They no  longer offer this license and                                                                    
     request  that it  be removed  from the  bill.   I would                                                                    
     also  remind members  ... and  the public  ... that  82                                                                    
     percent  of  the  surcharge  revenue  is  derived  from                                                                    
     nonresidents.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
11:22:32 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MCCABE  stated  his   interest  in  Amendment  2,                                                               
provided  that Amendment  1 should  not pass.   He  asked whether                                                               
Amendment 1 would  be revised, stating his view  that amendment 1                                                               
would blatantly  push money  to a Southeast  hatchery when  it is                                                               
not  needed,  and   that  the  two  larger   hatcheries  are  the                                                               
facilities most in need due to the larger populations served.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
11:23:21 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 11:23 a.m. to 11:29 a.m.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
11:29:07 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR TARR  called the meeting  back to order and  clarified that                                                               
the  committee was  still considering  Amendment  2, which  would                                                               
"split  the  difference"  in  the  proposed  restoration  of  the                                                               
surcharge.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
11:29:43 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ORTIZ stated  that 82 percent of  the revenues are                                                               
[derived] from  nonresident fees, and his  anecdotal interactions                                                               
with charter  operators and  lodges in  his region  revealed that                                                               
[nonresident anglers]  have no concern  whether the  surcharge is                                                               
$2.50 or $5.00,  and the guests of operators  have traveled great                                                               
distances to take advantage of  Alaska's resources.  He asked why                                                               
the  $5.00 should  not  be maintained  when  those affected  have                                                               
expressed no concern over the increase.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
11:30:52 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG stated that  he had participated in the                                                               
original plan  for the bond reimbursement  through the surcharge,                                                               
and it was his view that  there existed a commitment to eliminate                                                               
the surcharge  once the bonds had  been repaid.  He  stated that,                                                               
while he  is in  a different role  currently and  now responsible                                                               
for  the  maintenance  of  the   hatcheries,  he  maintained  his                                                               
commitment  to   the  agreement  that  the   surcharge  would  be                                                               
eliminated, or  that it  would not be  charged indefinitely.   He                                                               
suggested  his  agreement  with Representative  Ortiz'  statement                                                               
that nonresidents would likely not  take issue with the surcharge                                                               
and that  a balance  of those  priorities should  be sought.   He                                                               
referenced the ruling  in Carlson v. State in which  it was ruled                                                               
that  it  was  unconstitutional  to have  a  full  surcharge  for                                                               
nonresidents  and   a  partial  surcharge  for   residents.    He                                                               
expressed  his  appreciation  that   the  need  for  funding  the                                                               
programs  was one  recognized by  the maker  of the  amendment as                                                               
needing  support  and  cautioned  that  increasingly  restrictive                                                               
language  would  result  in  difficulties  in  meeting  needs  in                                                               
different areas  of the state.   He suggested that  the governor,                                                               
[as sponsor of the bill  through House Rules] should be consulted                                                               
to arrive at a compromised language to balance the needs.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
11:32:38 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ORTIZ allowed  that there  exist complexities  in                                                               
arriving at  the best language  for the  bill and he  stated that                                                               
the department  had experienced at  least a 32  percent reduction                                                               
in unrestricted general  funds (UGF); however, it  had been asked                                                               
to do  the same crucial mandate  of managing the resource  to the                                                               
maximum sustained  yield.  He  stated that the  funding reduction                                                               
was a hindrance to that mandate.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
11:34:06 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MCCABE asked why there  exists a difference in the                                                               
bill proposed  last year  which included a  list of  programs not                                                               
included in this version.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
11:34:40 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  VINCENT-LANG  stated  his understanding  that  this                                                               
version of  the bill  contained the same  programs as  last year,                                                               
and the  legislative process of  developing the language  had led                                                               
to what is currently before the committee.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
11:34:52 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES  suggested that  the list of  programs that                                                               
Representative McCabe  had referred to  had been left out  of the                                                               
version currently under consideration  to allow the department to                                                               
function with  fewer restrictions  and to allow  the commissioner                                                               
more discretion in the use of  limited funds.  She added that the                                                               
reduction from $5.00 to $2.50 was  a compromise to allow for some                                                               
funds to be collected, while  the reduction could be perceived as                                                               
an  act of  good faith  on the  part of  the commissioner  having                                                               
reduced the surcharge overall.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
11:35:59 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR TARR  suggested that the  bill could be amended  further to                                                               
allow  for another  sunset on  the surcharge,  and that  could be                                                               
decided in the bill's next committee of referral.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
11:36:20 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  TARR  removed  her  objection   to  the  motion  to  adopt                                                               
Amendment 2.   There being no further objection,  Amendment 2 was                                                               
adopted.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
11:36:33 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR TARR announced that HB 80, as amended, was held over.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
11:36:51 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 11:36 a.m. to 11:38 a.m.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
         HB 115-AQUATIC FARMING & HATCHERY SITE LEASES                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
11:38:04 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR TARR  announced that the  final order of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO. 115,                                                                                                             
 "An Act  relating to aquatic  farming and hatchery  site leases;                                                               
and requiring  the director of  the division of lands  to provide                                                               
the  legislature  with  an  annual  report  relating  to  aquatic                                                               
farming and hatchery site leases."                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
11:38:18 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ANDI STORY,  Alaska  State Legislature,  provided                                                               
introductory  remarks   on  HB  115   as  prime  sponsor.     She                                                               
paraphrased the  sponsor's statement  [included in  the committee                                                               
packet], which read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     House  Bill 115  simplifies the  Department of  Natural                                                                    
     Resources  (DNR)  lease  renewal  process  for  aquatic                                                                    
     farms  to  support  Alaska's aquaculture  sector  while                                                                    
     reducing administrative  overhead. Examples  of aquatic                                                                    
     farm   products  include   oysters,  kelp,   and  other                                                                    
     shellfish. HB115  makes the aquatic farm  lease renewal                                                                    
     process consistent  with the renewal process  for other                                                                    
     DNR  leases such  as agricultural  grazing, cabins  and                                                                    
     lodges,  fish   processing  docks,   and  hydroelectric                                                                    
     facilities.  HB 115  does  not  affect salmon  hatchery                                                                    
     leases.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     If  enacted, HB115  would  expedite  the lease  renewal                                                                    
     process  lowering the  risk  for businesses  investment                                                                    
     and  reducing the  workload of  an overstretched  state                                                                    
     agency.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Current statute  requires DNR  to approve  both initial                                                                    
     and  renewal   aquatic  farm  leases  using   the  same                                                                    
     process,  called a  "945  authorization" (referring  to                                                                    
     the adjudication process found  in AS 38.05.945), which                                                                    
     takes around  200 days. HB115 would  allow aquatic farm                                                                    
     or hatchery renewals  to be renewed in  the same manner                                                                    
     as  most  DNR  leases  like those  listed  above.  This                                                                    
     optional process  allows the  Director of  the Division                                                                    
     of  Mining, Land  and  Water  to renew  a  lease for  a                                                                    
     business  in good  standing and  takes around  90 days.                                                                    
     Applied    to   aquatic    businesses,   this    option                                                                    
     significantly  shortens   the  renewal   process  while                                                                    
     continuing appropriate regulatory  oversight and public                                                                    
     engagement.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     HB115 also requires DNR to  submit an initial report on                                                                    
     the backlog  of pending aquatic farm  and hatchery site                                                                    
     lease  applications,   estimate  economic   impacts  of                                                                    
     pending   leases,  and   provide  recommendations   for                                                                    
     streamlining  the  lease approval  process.  Subsequent                                                                    
     annual  reports would  detail  the application  backlog                                                                    
     and list  the number of leases  renewals that underwent                                                                    
     the time-intensive lease renewal process.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     This bill  makes clear  ecotourism and  educational use                                                                    
     of sites is allowed,  and explicitly prohibits DNR from                                                                    
     charging   additional  fees   for  persons   using,  or                                                                    
     traversing, land leased for  aquatic farms and hatchery                                                                    
     sites.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     I respectfully ask  for your support in  the passage of                                                                    
     HB115.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
11:42:34 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
GREG  SMITH,  Staff,  Representative  Andi  Story,  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature,  on behalf  of Representative  Story, prime  sponsor                                                               
provided  a sectional  analysis  of  HB 115  as  provided in  the                                                               
committee packet, which read as follows [original punctuation                                                                   
provided]:                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Section  1:  Amends  AS  38.05.035(a)  to  require  the                                                                  
     Director of the Division of  Mining, Land, and Water to                                                                    
     submit an  annual report to the  legislature, primarily                                                                    
     detailing  aquatic   farm  and  hatchery   site  leases                                                                    
     pending with the department.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Section  2:   Amends  AS  38.05.070(e)  by   adding  AS                                                                  
     38.05.083  (aquatic   farm  leasing  statute)   to  the                                                                    
     general  leasing renewal  section of  law. This  change                                                                    
     allows  the director  to renew  an  aquatic farm  lease                                                                    
     under general  lease renewal  procedure. ?  A technical                                                                    
     amendment  on  lines  20-21 specifies  which  types  of                                                                    
     leases may be renewed under this procedure.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Section  3: Amends  AS  38.050.083(a)  by deleting  the                                                                  
     term  "or renew"  from this  section  of statute.  This                                                                    
     removes the requirement that  the renewal procedure for                                                                    
     an aquatic  farm or hatchery undergo  the more detailed                                                                    
     AS 38.05.945 adjudication process.                                                                                         
     Section  4: Amends  AS  38.050.083(b)  by deleting  the                                                                    
     term "or  renewal" from this  section of  statute. This                                                                    
     removes  the renewal  procedure from  the aquatic  farm                                                                    
     leasing statute.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Section  5:  Adds  new subsections  to  AS  38.050.083,                                                                  
     including:                                                                                                                 
     ? (g):  stating the  Commissioner of the  Department of                                                                    
     Natural  Resources  may  renew an  aquatic  farm  lease                                                                    
     under the general leasing renewal;                                                                                         
     ?  (h): explicitly  states  ecotourism and  educational                                                                    
     purposes  are allowable  uses for  aquatic farming  and                                                                    
     hatchery sites; and                                                                                                        
     ?  (i):   explicitly  prohibits  the  charging   of  an                                                                    
     additional fee  to aquatic  farming and  hatchery sites                                                                    
     for the use or, or passage, across these sites.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Section  6: Adds  a new  section to  uncodified law  to                                                                  
     require Director  of the Division of  Mining, Land, and                                                                    
     Water to  submit an initial  report to  the legislature                                                                    
     detailing  aquatic   farm  and  hatchery   site  leases                                                                    
     pending  with  the  department, estimates  of  economic                                                                    
     impact   if   all   the  leases   were   granted,   and                                                                    
     recommendations  by DNR  and  other  state agencies  to                                                                    
     streamline the lease approval process.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
11:45:12 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
HEATHER   MCCARTY,  Chair,   Mariculture  Task   Force,  provided                                                               
background on  the Mariculture Task  Force, established  in 2016,                                                               
including its goal  of creating a $ 100 million  industry over 20                                                               
years by developing  the new industry in Alaska.   She added that                                                               
this   process   included  identifying   regulatory,   statutory,                                                               
economic,  educational,   and  environmental   as  some   of  the                                                               
industry's barriers and  hurdles, among others.   She stated that                                                               
the task force developed a strategic  plan and, in 2019, it began                                                               
implementation plans  to establish priorities among  the barriers                                                               
identified.   She stated that  one of the barriers  identified by                                                               
the  task force  was  the primary  permitting  and renewals,  for                                                               
which there  existed a large  backlog.   She added that  the task                                                               
force in cooperation  with the Alaska executive  branch helped to                                                               
identify areas  in statute that  could improve the  processes and                                                               
work towards  eliminating the backlogs.   She lauded HB 115  as a                                                               
step in  the direction of better  rules and better laws,  and she                                                               
said it would remove barriers  to new and current participants in                                                               
the industry.   She added that  the task force also  supports the                                                               
inclusion of ecotourism in the bill.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
11:48:08 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE  asked Ms. McCarty  to speak in  more detail                                                               
about the  hurdles identified  by the task  force in  the renewal                                                               
process  that  included  public testimony,  and  the  reason  for                                                               
removing public testimony in the renewal process.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MCCARTY  answered  that  the  biggest  hurdle  is  the  time                                                               
[required   for  renewal]   consisting   of  a   year-and-a-half,                                                               
compounded by  the increases  in new and  renewed [leases].   She                                                               
added that  the public  [input] process  had occurred  during the                                                               
initial permitting  and added that  it is her  understanding that                                                               
there does  not exist any  intent to  remove the public  from the                                                               
process.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
11:49:56 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
ERIC WYATT  shared that he  is a third-generation  fisherman from                                                               
Southeast  and had  diversified  into aquatic  farming  16 to  17                                                               
years ago,  now with a  focus on oyster  farming.  He  stated his                                                               
reasons for  choosing to participate in  the aquaculture industry                                                               
were economic and  environmental.  He stated  that his investment                                                               
in aquaculture is substantial, and  he attributed higher revenues                                                               
as a  [contributing factor to  the cost  of doing business].   He                                                               
recalled  his  experience  in  renewal  and  the  uncertainty  of                                                               
remaining in business  for a period of over 18  months.  He added                                                               
that  a farmer  in good  standing may  experience an  abbreviated                                                               
process; however,  the renewal processing is  intimidating, as is                                                               
the process for transferring permitting.   He stated his hope for                                                               
continued growth despite  the barriers.  He added  that he viewed                                                               
ecotourism  as a  positive addition  to the  bill and  that there                                                               
exists consumer interest in the "green" industry.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
11:54:56 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR TARR opened public testimony on HB 115.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
11:55:02 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
TREVOR SANDE, Marble Seafoods, stated  that he had been following                                                               
legislation  pertaining to  aquaculture closely  and had  applied                                                               
for  his  business  permit  in  2010.    He  suggested  that  the                                                               
committee consider extending the  period between renewals from 10                                                               
to as  much as  20 years due  to the length  of time  required to                                                               
establish and  develop his business.   He added that some  of the                                                               
financing he had  obtained had been granted over  a 20-year term,                                                               
and  a  lease renewal  timeline  could  more closely  align  with                                                               
available funding vehicles  to result in more surety  on the part                                                               
of investors.   He  added that  the public  has avenues  to voice                                                               
displeasure  or  claims of  negligent  behavior  on the  part  of                                                               
farmers through  Alaska Department of  Fish & Game  and suggested                                                               
that he  was ambivalent  to the public  comment component  of the                                                               
renewal process.  He added that  he is currently due for renewal.                                                               
He  added that  he had  amended  [his lease  permit] three  times                                                               
since  starting his  business, and  that  each one  had taken  in                                                               
excess  of  24 months  to  complete,  which he  characterized  as                                                               
onerous.   He supported  adding ecotourism  and education  in the                                                               
language  of the  bill since  he had  been required  to hold  two                                                               
leases to both farm and bring visitors to the farm.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR TARR  commended the value  of Mr. Sande's testimony  to the                                                               
committee to  aid in its  understanding of the experience  of the                                                               
farmers.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
12:00:25 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MARKOS SCHEER, President, Premium  Aquatics, testified in support                                                               
of  HB 115  in  his role  as  a  kelp farmer  in  Ketchikan.   He                                                               
explained that  he has spent  approximately six years  engaged in                                                               
the development  of the business.   He stated that  creditors are                                                               
quick to ask for the term of the lease, which may not align with                                                                
the length credit note available.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
[HB 115 was held over.]                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
12:02:42 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Special Committee on Fisheries meeting was adjourned at 12:02                                                                   
p.m.                                                                                                                            

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 80 Transmittal Letter 1.28.21.pdf HFSH 2/23/2021 10:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/4/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/9/2021 11:00:00 AM
HB 80
HB 80 v A 2.18.21.PDF HFSH 2/23/2021 10:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/4/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/9/2021 11:00:00 AM
HB 80
HB 80 Sectional Analysis - ver. A 2.18.21.pdf HFSH 2/23/2021 10:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/4/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/9/2021 11:00:00 AM
HB 80
HB 80 Fiscal Note #1 ADF&G 2.18.21.pdf HFSH 2/23/2021 10:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/4/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/9/2021 11:00:00 AM
HB 80
HB 80 Support Doc - Surcharge Revenue Breakdown 1.27.21.pdf HFSH 2/23/2021 10:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/4/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/9/2021 11:00:00 AM
HB 80
HB 80 Support Document ADF&G Stocking FAQ 2.22.21.pdf HFSH 3/4/2021 11:00:00 AM
HB 80
HB 80 Amendment One (A.4) - Ortiz 2.24.21.pdf HFSH 3/4/2021 11:00:00 AM
HB 80
HB 80 Amendment Two (A.5) - Stutes 3.3.21.pdf HFSH 3/4/2021 11:00:00 AM
HB 80
HB 80 Support Letter ATA 2.23.21.pdf HFSH 2/23/2021 10:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/4/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/9/2021 11:00:00 AM
HB 80
HB 80 Support Letter-UFA 2.22.21.pdf HFSH 2/23/2021 10:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/4/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/9/2021 11:00:00 AM
HB 80
HB 80 Support Letter-SEAFA 2.22.21.pdf HFSH 2/23/2021 10:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/4/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/9/2021 11:00:00 AM
HB 80
HB 80 Support Letter-Alaska Salmon Hatchery Operators 2.21.21.pdf HFSH 2/23/2021 10:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/4/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/9/2021 11:00:00 AM
HB 80
HB 80 Email of Opposition - Derrick 3.2.21.pdf HFSH 3/4/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/9/2021 11:00:00 AM
HB 80
HB 115 ver W 02.24.21.PDF HFSH 3/4/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/9/2021 11:00:00 AM
HB 115
HB 115 Fiscal Note - DNR-MLW 02.26.21.pdf HFSH 3/4/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/9/2021 11:00:00 AM
HB 115
HB 115 Seagrove letter of support 03.02.21.pdf HFSH 3/4/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/9/2021 11:00:00 AM
HRES 3/19/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 115
HB 115 MTF Letter of Support 03.01.21.pdf HFSH 3/4/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/9/2021 11:00:00 AM
HRES 3/19/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 115
HB 115 Marble Seafoods Hump Island letter of support 03.02.21.pdf HFSH 3/4/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/9/2021 11:00:00 AM
HRES 3/19/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 115
HB 115 Global Seas letter of support 03.02.21.pdf HFSH 3/4/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/9/2021 11:00:00 AM
HRES 3/19/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 115
HB 115 AFDF Letter of Support 03.01.21.pdf HFSH 3/4/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/9/2021 11:00:00 AM
HRES 3/19/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 115
HB 115 Southeast Conference Letter of Support 3.3.21.pdf HFSH 3/4/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/9/2021 11:00:00 AM
HRES 3/19/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 115
HB 115 Sponsor Statement 02.24.21.pdf HFSH 3/4/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/9/2021 11:00:00 AM
HRES 3/19/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 115
HB 115 ver W Sectional Analysis 02.24.21.pdf HFSH 3/4/2021 11:00:00 AM
HB 115