Legislature(2021 - 2022)GRUENBERG 120

04/13/2021 10:00 AM House FISHERIES

Note: the audio and video recordings are distinct records and are obtained from different sources. As such there may be key differences between the two. The audio recordings are captured by our records offices as the official record of the meeting and will have more accurate timestamps. Use the icons to switch between them.

Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as

* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved HCR 2 Out of Committee
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
Heard & Held
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON FISHERIES                                                                            
                         April 13, 2021                                                                                         
                           10:04 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 CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 2                                                                                               
Supporting the Alaska Ocean Cluster  in its mission, efforts, and                                                               
vision for a vibrant coastal  economy in the state, its promotion                                                               
of a diversified  and resilient state economy  that creates value                                                               
from ocean resources, and its  building of a statewide integrated                                                               
ecosystem  of innovation  and  entrepreneurship  relating to  the                                                               
state's ocean economy.                                                                                                          
     - MOVED HCR 2 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                             
HOUSE BILL NO. 162                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to certain fish; and establishing a fisheries                                                                  
rehabilitation permit."                                                                                                         
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: HCR 2                                                                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: SUPPORTING ALASKA OCEAN CLUSTER                                                                                    
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) STUTES                                                                                            
02/18/21       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/18/21       (H)       FSH, RES                                                                                               
04/08/21       (H)       FSH AT 10:00 AM GRUENBERG 120                                                                          
04/08/21       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/08/21       (H)       MINUTE(FSH)                                                                                            
04/13/21       (H)       FSH AT 10:00 AM GRUENBERG 120                                                                          
BILL: HB 162                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: FISHERIES REHABILITATION PERMITS                                                                                   
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) TUCK                                                                                              
04/05/21       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/05/21       (H)       FSH, RES                                                                                               
04/13/21       (H)       FSH AT 10:00 AM GRUENBERG 120                                                                          
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
SARA PERMAN, Staff                                                                                                              
Representative Louise Stutes                                                                                                    
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  During the hearing on HCR 2, answered a                                                                  
question on behalf of Representative Stutes, prime sponsor.                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE CHRIS TUCK                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  As prime sponsor, introduced HB 162.                                                                     
TRYSTIN LUHR, Intern                                                                                                            
Representative Chris Tuck                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented HB 162 on behalf of                                                                            
Representative Tuck, prime sponsor.                                                                                             
SAM RABUNG, Director                                                                                                            
Division of Commercial Fisheries                                                                                                
Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G)                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  During the hearing of HB 162, answered                                                                   
questions and provided information.                                                                                             
CHARLES PARKER                                                                                                                  
Alaska Village Initiatives                                                                                                      
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided invited testimony in support of HB
EMILY ANDERSON, Alaska Program Director                                                                                         
Wild Salmon Center                                                                                                              
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 162.                                                                       
CATHERINE BURSCH                                                                                                                
Homer, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  During the  hearing of HB 162, expressed her                                                             
concern about hatcheries.                                                                                                       
TOM HARRIS                                                                                                                      
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 162.                                                                          
BRIAN ASHTON                                                                                                                    
Wrangell, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION  STATEMENT:   During  the hearing  of  HB 162,  provided                                                             
information at the sponsor's request.                                                                                           
JOSH VERHAGEN, Mayor                                                                                                            
City of Nenana                                                                                                                  
Nenana, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 162.                                                                          
JESSICA WINNESTAFFER, Staff                                                                                                     
Chickaloon Village Traditional Council                                                                                          
Moose Creek, Alaska                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 162.                                                                          
PENELOPE HAAS                                                                                                                   
Kachemak Bay Conservation Society                                                                                               
Homer, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 162.                                                                       
LOUIE FLORA, Government Affairs Director                                                                                        
The Alaska Center                                                                                                               
Homer, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:   During  the hearing of  HB 162,  urged that                                                             
the bill have more emphasis on habitat restoration.                                                                             
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
10:04:30 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR GERAN TARR called the  House Special Committee on Fisheries                                                             
meeting to  order at 10:04  a.m.  Representatives  McCabe, Vance,                                                               
Story, Kreiss-Tomkins, Ortiz,  and Tarr were present  at the call                                                               
to order.   Representative Stutes  arrived as the meeting  was in                                                               
             HCR 2-SUPPORTING ALASKA OCEAN CLUSTER                                                                          
10:05:42 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR TARR  announced that the  first order of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE CONCURRENT  RESOLUTION NO.  2, Supporting the  Alaska Ocean                                                               
Cluster  in  its  mission,  efforts, and  vision  for  a  vibrant                                                               
coastal economy in the state,  its promotion of a diversified and                                                               
resilient state economy that creates  value from ocean resources,                                                               
and  its   building  of  a  statewide   integrated  ecosystem  of                                                               
innovation  and entrepreneurship  relating to  the state's  ocean                                                               
CHAIR TARR  requested Ms. Sara  Perman share the  discussion that                                                               
was   had  with   Legislative   Legal   Services  regarding   the                                                               
committee's question  from the  resolution's previous  hearing on                                                               
whether this should be a joint or concurrent resolution.                                                                        
10:06:09 AM                                                                                                                   
SARA PERMAN,  Staff, Representative  Louise Stutes, on  behalf of                                                               
Representative  Stutes, prime  sponsor,  explained  that a  joint                                                               
resolution is  usually reserved for  addresses outside  the state                                                               
and  is  used  mainly  to  express   the  view  or  wish  of  the                                                               
legislature to the  President, Congress, or agencies  of the U.S.                                                               
government, whereas  a concurrent  resolution reflects  the will,                                                               
wish, or  view of the  bodies and  is usually for  internal state                                                               
policies.    In speaking  with  the  Alaska Ocean  Cluster  (AOC)                                                               
itself, she related, this resolution  is not intended to directly                                                               
go to  the Alaska  Congressional Delegation, but  rather to  be a                                                               
tool that AOC  could display to the delegation or  other parts of                                                               
the  administration showing  that  AOC  has legislative  support.                                                               
Therefore,  she  continued,  AOC  has   not  asked  for  a  joint                                                               
resolution  in this  case.   She further  related that  Megan Law                                                               
(ph) has  agreed that because  this is  the internal will  of the                                                               
body, it would be a concurrent resolution.                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE   KREISS-TOMKINS  thanked   Ms.  Perman   for  her                                                               
research and said it is helpful to have this clarity.                                                                           
10:08:11 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE ORTIZ moved to report  HCR 2 out of committee with                                                               
individual  recommendations and  the  accompanying [zero]  fiscal                                                               
note.   There being no objection,  HCR 2 was reported  out of the                                                               
House Special Committee on Fisheries.                                                                                           
10:08:40 AM                                                                                                                   
The committee took an at-ease from 10:08 a.m. to 10:10 a.m.                                                                     
            HB 162-FISHERIES REHABILITATION PERMITS                                                                         
10:10:27 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR TARR  announced that the  final order of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE  BILL  NO. 162,  "An  Act  relating  to certain  fish;  and                                                               
establishing a fisheries rehabilitation permit."                                                                                
10:10:53 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  CHRIS TUCK,  Alaska State  Legislature, as  prime                                                               
sponsor, introduced HB  162.  He deferred to  his intern, Trystin                                                               
Luhr, to present the bill.                                                                                                      
10:11:23 AM                                                                                                                   
TRYSTIN  LUHR, Intern,  Representative Chris  Tuck, Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, presented  HB 162 on behalf  of Representative Tuck,                                                               
prime sponsor.   He explained  that HB  162 is a  restoration and                                                               
rehabilitation  bill  which  would  enable  the  private  sector,                                                               
including    environmental   nonprofits    and   Alaska    Native                                                               
corporations, to apply for permits.   The permits would be vetted                                                               
through  the Alaska  Department  of  Fish and  Game  (ADF&G).   A                                                               
processing fee of  $100 would be charged, and any  other fees for                                                               
prior work or following the  permitting process would fall to the                                                               
applicant.  There are existing  similar permits, particularly the                                                               
aquatic  resource  permit (ARP),  as  well  as multiple  existing                                                               
programs.   Two  of those  are the  Chickaloon Tribe  Moose Creek                                                               
Project and  the Buskin  River Works Project.   The  Buskin River                                                               
Works Project is  similar to what HB 162  proposes, primarily the                                                               
fish  stock  rehabilitation  and   restoration  as  well  as  the                                                               
environmental enhancement,  particularly the removal  of culverts                                                               
to better enhance fish survival rates.                                                                                          
MR. LUHR said  HB 162 is important  culturally, economically, and                                                               
environmentally.   Culturally,  everyone  in  Alaska talks  about                                                               
fish, even  in landlocked areas.   Economically, it  is important                                                               
to resupply  fish stocks  where they are  taken out,  which plays                                                               
into the  environmental factor.   These tools  should be  used to                                                               
leave Alaska's  waterways better  than they  were found.   Alaska                                                               
has  a long  history dating  back to  the late  1970s when  ADF&G                                                               
successfully planted  over 2  million sockeye  eggs in  the upper                                                               
Karluk River, historically the second  largest sockeye run in the                                                               
world,  to  restore  depleted runs  to  the  pre-1921  population                                                               
levels.  It  is better to have  this and not need it,  he said in                                                               
conclusion, than to need it and not have it.                                                                                    
10:14:33 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE ORTIZ inquired about  whether the bill, if passed,                                                               
would all  be in the  name of  trying to enhance  existing stocks                                                               
through a  variety of methods,  or whether  there would be  a set                                                               
general area  where these projects  could have  some similarities                                                               
to them.                                                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  replied that it  would be on  a case-by-case                                                               
situation because  the permit  would have to  be applied  for and                                                               
approved by  ADF&G and  then ultimately  approved by  the [ADF&G]                                                               
commissioner.   A  study  would  have to  be  done beforehand  to                                                               
determine  what  the   proper  stock  levels  should   be  for  a                                                               
particular wild species and then a  game plan put together on how                                                               
to  replenish  or rehabilitate  those  stocks.   There  would  be                                                               
criteria  [in   the  permitting  process]  that   ADF&G  and  the                                                               
commissioner would have to follow.                                                                                              
10:16:24 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  ORTIZ noted  the  term "wild  species" and  asked                                                               
whether these enhancement projects  would be conducted within the                                                               
water system itself as opposed to a hatchery format.                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK responded  that  it would  be  a "moist  air                                                               
incubation process"  - before  the eggs become  fry they  are re-                                                               
introduced back  into their  natural habitat;  it is  making sure                                                               
that there is fertilization success.   The warmer temperatures in                                                               
Alaska's waters make  it more difficult for  the first incubation                                                               
stages to survive, so this  would control the environment to make                                                               
sure that  the eggs  are fertilized  and then  re-introduced into                                                               
their natural habitat.                                                                                                          
10:17:42 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE STORY  stated she is interested  in learning about                                                               
the moist  air incubation  process.   She asked  why the  bill is                                                               
needed  when the  department says  it already  has a  process for                                                               
doing this.   She further  asked how many projects  are currently                                                               
ongoing and using this process.                                                                                                 
MR. LUHR  answered that the  current ARP program is  exclusive to                                                               
government and  university entities.   The bill would open  it to                                                               
more people.   He  deferred to  ADF&G to  answer the  question in                                                               
further detail.                                                                                                                 
10:18:51 AM                                                                                                                   
SAM RABUNG,  Director, Division  of Commercial  Fisheries, Alaska                                                               
Department  of Fish  and Game  (ADF&G), responded  that the  only                                                               
entities qualified for the propagative  permits under the aquatic                                                               
resource permit  regulation are  accredited institutes  of higher                                                               
education or  cooperative governmental  projects.   Regarding how                                                               
many, he  said there  is generally  very few,  he has  never seen                                                               
more than five at a time, and they are very limited in scope.                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE STORY  offered her understanding that  the bill is                                                               
needed to  expand it and make  it available to other  groups that                                                               
are not a part of these two limited groups.                                                                                     
10:19:55 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS related  that  he  had a  hesitant                                                               
orientation toward  the bill  during its  previous rounds  but is                                                               
excited for  the renewed  conversation.   He asked  whether ADF&G                                                               
has a position on HB 162.                                                                                                       
MR. RABUNG replied  that he has not inquired as  to whether ADF&G                                                               
has  a  position,  but  in  previous  administrations  ADF&G  was                                                               
neutral.   Noting that several  people have referred to  [HB 162]                                                               
as enhancement, he clarified  that enhancement and rehabilitation                                                               
are defined  terms and  HB 162 would  specifically not  allow for                                                               
enhancement,  rather it  would be  rehabilitation.   He explained                                                               
that  enhancement  means   producing  augmented  or  supplemental                                                               
production of  a stock above what  nature can produce on  its own                                                               
and continuing that.   The purpose of enhancement is  to create a                                                               
harvestable  surplus or  additional harvestable  surplus, and  if                                                               
the  activity  is stopped  it  drops  backs  down to  its  normal                                                               
production.   A rehabilitation project,  he continued,  assists a                                                               
depressed  stock  in  getting  back   to  its  natural  level  of                                                               
production and  then the  assistance is  stopped.   Under ADF&G's                                                               
genetics policy, rehabilitation projects  are limited to not more                                                               
than  one  generation through  the  process;  so, a  chum  salmon                                                               
project would  be done after  five years  and for most  stocks it                                                               
would be done after four years.                                                                                                 
10:22:00 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE stated she is  excited to see the bill again                                                               
because of its  potential for rehabilitation.   She observed that                                                               
Section 1  talks about the  rehabilitation of  freshwater finfish                                                               
and eggs.  She noted that  the razor clams in Ninilchik were once                                                               
[plentiful] but  are now  in need of  rehabilitation.   She asked                                                               
whether  a   mechanism  is   already  in   place  to   assist  in                                                               
rehabilitation  of  shellfish  or  whether there  is  a  need  to                                                               
include something specifically for shellfish in this bill.                                                                      
MR. RABUNG  confirmed that Section  1 limits it to  anadromous or                                                               
freshwater finfish,  so it would not  apply to razor claims.   He                                                               
advised  that if  the language  were changed  to just  say "fish"                                                               
then it  would apply to  all species  of fish, which  are broadly                                                               
10:23:52 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  VANCE remarked  that making  such a  change could                                                               
have a  lot of impacts and  the legislature may not  want to open                                                               
it so  broadly.   She requested Mr.  Rabung's opinion  given this                                                               
would be under ADF&G's oversight.   She further asked whether the                                                               
commissioner, because  it is under the  commissioner's direction,                                                               
would be able to determine what  is and is not appropriate should                                                               
the legislature open  it that broadly or  whether the legislature                                                               
should keep the [current] defined language.                                                                                     
MR. RABUNG  responded that currently  ADF&G can permit  the razor                                                               
clam  restoration work  through the  aquatic resource  permit; it                                                               
must be  done by a different  qualified user.  So,  a cooperative                                                               
governmental  project could  mean  a  cooperative agreement  with                                                               
ADF&G  to have  a  private  entity do  the  work  and that  would                                                               
qualify it.   A tribal organization, a  tribal government, counts                                                               
as a  governmental project.  So,  the ability to do  that work is                                                               
there  now, but  it  isn't  available to  every  resident of  the                                                               
state, as HB 162 would make it.                                                                                                 
10:25:21 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE  asked whether  the application fee  of $100                                                               
would be  sufficient for the  work that would be  required within                                                               
the department.                                                                                                                 
MR. RABUNG  answered that  it is  probably a  token amount.   The                                                               
processing and a permit for this  would entail having a review by                                                               
ADF&G's geneticists, pathologists, a  management biologist, and a                                                               
research biologist,  as well as going  through the commissioner's                                                               
office chain of  command for approval.  To put  it in context, he                                                               
noted that the aquatic resource permit has no fee.                                                                              
10:26:13 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE MCCABE offered his  understanding that some of the                                                               
genetically modified hatchery fish can  take over the habitat and                                                               
possibly  prevent  the  natural  fish  from  returning  to  their                                                               
habitat.  He further offered  his understanding that under HB 162                                                               
these fish would  not be genetically modified  because they would                                                               
fall under that one generation clause in the regulations.                                                                       
MR.  RABUNG  replied  that  genetically  modified  organisms  are                                                               
illegal  in   Alaska,  no  genetically  modified   organisms  are                                                               
produced or released in Alaska.   He said he therefore he doesn't                                                               
follow the question.                                                                                                            
10:27:17 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE MCCABE  stated that  the fish released  in Diamond                                                               
Lake  where  he  lives  are  different,  so  perhaps  genetically                                                               
modified is the wrong term.                                                                                                     
MR. RABUNG suggested that Representative  McCabe may be referring                                                               
to what  are called "triploids,"  which is where a  thermal shock                                                               
is employed during the egg  development stage so that they become                                                               
sterile, but they  are not genetically modified.   He pointed out                                                               
that using triploids or sterile  organisms for this project would                                                               
defeat  the purpose  because then  they could  not reproduce  and                                                               
there would be no rehabilitation, and  the idea is for when there                                                               
is a depressed stock for whatever reason.                                                                                       
MR. RABUNG described the Buskin  Project as an example, which was                                                               
done by  the Sun'aq Tribe  of Kodiak through an  aquatic resource                                                               
permit.   Perched  culverts that  had barred  coho from  reaching                                                               
their  spawning  grounds for  generations  were  removed and  the                                                               
streams the coho would have to  travel through to get to spawning                                                               
grounds  were reconditioned.   Eggs  were taken  from the  Buskin                                                               
Lake stock  which had not  been using those spawning  grounds but                                                               
were using  other.   The eggs  were incubated  and then  the eyed                                                               
eggs  were  put  above  where   the  repaired  habitat  was;  the                                                               
resulting  returns from  those fry  came back  to those  areas to                                                               
spawn.   The same stock  was used, the stock  wasn't manipulated,                                                               
the project just  brought the stock productivity back  to what it                                                               
was before the habitat was damaged.                                                                                             
MR.  RABUNG said  another example  is propagative  research.   He                                                               
related that  the Norton  Sound Economic  Development Corporation                                                               
(NSEDC)  in  Nome  reconditioned  tributary  streams  to  several                                                               
mainstem streams  that had been  impacted by placer mining.   The                                                               
gravel  was  reconditioned  by   cleaning  it,  breaking  up  the                                                               
compaction, and  removing the  silt.  Eggs  were then  taken from                                                               
mainstem spawners of  those rivers, incubated to  the eyed stage,                                                               
and then  replanted into  the reconditioned  gravel.   When those                                                               
fish  came back  as  adults, they  used those  areas.   The  idea                                                               
behind  this  project is  to  recondition  areas that  have  been                                                               
damaged and help those stocks  recover to what they can naturally                                                               
10:30:11 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE MCCABE stated  he is a fan.  He  surmised that the                                                               
reintroduction of salmon  into Eklutna would be the  same sort of                                                               
deal.   He asked  whether candidates  for this  would be  the two                                                               
lakes in Chignik.                                                                                                               
MR.  RABUNG  answered  that the  spawning  escapement  goals  for                                                               
Chignik are  in the hundreds of  thousands.  He pointed  out that                                                               
the scale of  the proposal in HB 162 is  limited to 500,000 eggs,                                                               
which in salmon  terms is miniscule when just 2  percent of those                                                               
are expected  to survive  to adulthood,  so it  probably wouldn't                                                               
make  an impact  in a  place like  Chignik.   Rather, it  is more                                                               
appropriate for very  small-scale reintroduction near communities                                                               
and villages that have had road  activity.  The bill limits it to                                                               
very small-scale projects.                                                                                                      
10:31:33 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK paraphrased  from pages  1-2 of  the written                                                               
sectional analysis  provided in the committee  packet, which read                                                               
as follows  [original punctuation provided, with  some formatting                                                               
        Section 1  Creates a new section in AS 16.05 to                                                                         
         create a fisheries rehabilitation permit.  AS                                                                          
     16.05.855 consists of the following subsections:                                                                           
          (a) Creates a new subsection for the activities                                                                       
     that    are   allowed    under   the    new   fisheries                                                                    
     rehabilitation  permit:  (1)  Remove fish  from  water,                                                                    
     collect gametes and milt,  fertilize and incubate eggs,                                                                    
     and place  fertilized eggs  or un-fed  fry back  in the                                                                    
     same  water  (2) Enhance  habitat  in  state water  for                                                                    
     survival of the fish.                                                                                                      
          (b) Creates a new subsection that prescribes an                                                                       
     application form created by  the department that states                                                                    
     what type of information must  be on the application to                                                                    
     obtain  a   fisheries  rehabilitation  permit.     This                                                                    
     information  includes:  1)  The  applicant's  name  (2)                                                                    
     Reasoning and  feasibility of  the proposed  project 3)                                                                    
     Documentation  of  conditions justifying  the  project,                                                                    
     any  collaboration  with  local stakeholders,  and  any                                                                    
     other permits required for the  project 4) Locations of                                                                    
     water  in  which applicant  will  take  fish and  place                                                                    
     fertilized eggs or unfed fry;  5) Species and number of                                                                    
     fish taken  from water  6) Applicant's  management plan                                                                    
     for propagation  or repopulation in permitted  water 7)                                                                    
     Applicant's  goals, schedule,  scope  of work,  budget,                                                                    
     means   of   data   collection,   plan   for   genetics                                                                    
     management,   plans   for   project   evaluation,   and                                                                    
     watershed  habitat rehabilitation  plan, if  applicable                                                                    
     8) Application fee of $100.                                                                                                
          (c) Creates a subsection allowing the Alaska                                                                          
     Department  of  Fish  & Game  (ADF&G)  Commissioner  to                                                                    
     issue a permit after determining  if a project: (1) May                                                                    
     restore  a fish  population in  a body  of water  where                                                                    
     subsistence  and escapement  goals have  not been  met,                                                                    
     where  there are  no established  escapement goals  and                                                                    
     local stakeholders  have identified  a decline  in fish                                                                    
     populations,  or the  species  of fish  is limited  (2)                                                                    
     Will  result  in  public benefits  (3)  Will  not  harm                                                                    
     indigenous  wild   fish  stocks  (4)  Will   not  place                                                                    
     fertilized eggs or  un-fed fry into a body  of water if                                                                    
     there are  enough fish for  natural propagation  of the                                                                    
     species   to  occur   (5)  Will   not  introduce   live                                                                    
     fertilized eggs,  larvae, or fry of  nonindigenous fish                                                                    
     in violations of AS 16.35.210.                                                                                             
          (d) Creates a subsection regarding factors that                                                                       
     the   commissioner  of   ADF&G   shall  consider   when                                                                    
     determining if a permit will  be issued, including: (1)                                                                    
     The  department's assessment  of  the  project (2)  The                                                                    
     capabilities  of  the  applicant   (3)  The  degree  of                                                                    
     communication  that exists  between  the applicant  and                                                                    
     individuals  affected  by   the  project  (4)  Comments                                                                    
     relating to the project,  including those by a regional                                                                    
     planning team  established under  AS 16.10.375.  (5) If                                                                    
     the  project  is   consistent  with  the  comprehensive                                                                    
     salmon   plan   and    constitutional   and   statutory                                                                    
     requirements  imposed on  the department  for the  area                                                                    
     (6) If  the project will increase  scientific knowledge                                                                    
     and understanding of the  natural resources affected by                                                                    
     the project.                                                                                                               
          (e) Creates a new subsection requiring a                                                                              
     permittee: (1) to collect and  provide project data and                                                                    
     reports requested by the  department. (2) To reasonably                                                                    
     communicate with individuals affected by the project.                                                                      
          (f) Creates a subsection which sets the timeline                                                                      
     for  when  ADF&G  must act  on  a  permit  application.                                                                    
     Within  15   days,  the   department  must   notify  an                                                                    
     applicant  whether their  application  is complete  and                                                                    
     can  reject  an incomplete  application  if  it is  not                                                                    
     complete within 30 days of  the notification. After the                                                                    
     notification,   ADF&G  must   approve  or   reject  the                                                                    
     application with 90 days,  otherwise the application is                                                                    
     automatically approved.                                                                                                    
          (g)   Creates   a    new   subsection   to   enact                                                                    
     requirements  of a  permittee to:  (1) Collect  no more                                                                    
     than  500,000  eggs  for fertilization.  (2)  Implement                                                                    
     controls  to avoid  the  introduction of  nonindigenous                                                                    
     pathogens  or to  increase indigenous  pathogens beyond                                                                    
     acceptable levels.                                                                                                         
10:36:51 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE MCCABE inquired as to  the origin of the figure of                                                               
500,000 eggs.                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  replied that  it was from  consultation with                                                               
ADF&G.  He deferred to Mr. Rabung to respond further.                                                                           
MR. RABUNG explained that the 500,000  limit was the limit in the                                                               
aquatic   resource  permit   policy  prior   to  it   becoming  a                                                               
regulation, so the department just kept it consistent.                                                                          
10:37:33 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  MCCABE  questioned  why it  was  not  situational                                                               
depending  on the  stream and  what is  trying to  be done.   For                                                               
example,  he  said,  there  might  be a  fishery  with  a  bigger                                                               
habitat.   He  asked  how long  the 500,000  number  has been  in                                                               
ADF&G's books and whether it has been reconsidered.                                                                             
MR. RABUNG answered  that 500,000 eggs is a pretty  low number in                                                               
salmon  terms.   However, he  explained,  to go  much lower  than                                                               
that, depending  on the species, would  require violating ADF&G's                                                               
genetics policy  which has a minimum  effective population number                                                               
   a minimum  number  of adults  must  be used  to  not create  a                                                               
genetic bottleneck called  a "founder effect."   The intention is                                                               
to maintain the  genetic diversity of the stock,  and that limits                                                               
how small  the number  can go.   The other  side is  limiting the                                                               
upper end of  it.  If it  becomes large and the if  the desire is                                                               
for  large, then  there is  another avenue  which is  the private                                                               
nonprofit hatchery  permit.   He said  HB 162  is intended  to be                                                               
small-scale  localized, and  ADF&G is  more comfortable  with the                                                               
smaller  number  given that  to  qualify  for  one of  these  the                                                               
applicant just has to be a resident.                                                                                            
10:39:26 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  VANCE  observed  that  HB 162  overall  allows  a                                                               
qualified person, which  is defined on page 4 of  the bill, lines                                                               
28-29, as "a  state resident under AS 43.23.295  or a corporation                                                               
organized under  laws of  this state".   She asked  whether there                                                               
are other areas under ADF&G like  this or whether this is a first                                                               
that a  qualified individual would be  able to take on  a project                                                               
of this sort.                                                                                                                   
MR.  RABUNG replied  that  currently there  are  only two  permit                                                               
avenues available  to propagate  finfish in Alaska.   One  is the                                                               
private nonprofit hatchery  permit which is a big  deal and there                                                               
are very few of those.   They are intended for professionals with                                                               
a background  in fish culture, they  are not for just  anybody or                                                               
amateurs.   The  second avenue  is the  aquatic resource  permit,                                                               
which is limited to research  and educational  objectives and for                                                               
propagative  research, which  these  fall under.   The  qualified                                                               
individuals are  institutes of  higher education  and cooperative                                                               
governmental projects,  so those are  also limited to  people who                                                               
will generally  know what they are  doing.  He said  HB 162 opens                                                               
it  up to  anybody who  is  a resident  and that  is the  biggest                                                               
difference.   There are  no other avenues  for finfish  in Alaska                                                               
other  than the  two  existing permits  and  this proposal  would                                                               
allow something that is kind of  in between but still maintains a                                                               
small scale.  The aquatic resource  permits can be used by tribal                                                               
governments  because  they  are   a  governmental  entity.    The                                                               
department  has entered  into cooperative  agreements with  other                                                               
entities that  weren't governmental  entities, such as  NSEDC, to                                                               
allow them to do that work because  it is of interest to ADF&G to                                                               
try  to restore  runs.   The department  used to  have an  entire                                                               
division   devoted  to   this  kind   of   work,  the   Fisheries                                                               
Rehabilitation,  Enhancement,  and   Development  Division  (FRED                                                               
Division), which went  away in the mid-1990s and  was absorbed by                                                               
the  Division   of  Commercial  Fisheries.     [The  Division  of                                                               
Commercial  Fisheries] no  longer  does that  kind  of work,  but                                                               
still oversee it and permits it.                                                                                                
10:42:25 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  VANCE  inquired  whether there  are  any  similar                                                               
qualified persons on the game side.                                                                                             
MR.  RABUNG responded  that  he  is not  aware  of any,  although                                                               
something that comes to mind is "moose mamas."                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE stated  she is trying to get an  idea of the                                                               
impact that  this could  have with  allowing anyone  to undertake                                                               
this.    She said  she  likes  the idea  but  sees  why there  is                                                               
reservation from  a lot of people.   Since it would  be under the                                                               
oversight  of  the commissioner,  she  continued,  it's not  just                                                               
anybody going to be doing this, but rather a qualified person.                                                                  
10:43:24 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR TARR  recalled that when this  bill was seen before  it was                                                               
during many  budget cuts  and there is  work that  the department                                                               
wants to  do but does  not have the resources  to do.   She asked                                                               
whether these would  be projects that the department  would do if                                                               
it had  the resources, and so  the bill would open  an avenue for                                                               
somebody  else's  resources  to  help support  this  work.    She                                                               
surmised the department would want  to do rehabilitation projects                                                               
if it had the resources and money.                                                                                              
MR. RABUNG answered  that AS 16.05.092 directs  the department to                                                               
do  all  things necessary  to  do  these  things,  but it  is  an                                                               
unfunded mandate.  So, HB 162  would be an avenue for the private                                                               
sector to pick up  some of those on a small,  limited scale.  The                                                               
department  doesn't have  an accurate  inventory of  every single                                                               
salmon or  finfish producing stream  or system in the  state, the                                                               
department tends  to focus on  the ones that are  "important" and                                                               
important is broadly defined as  either economically important or                                                               
important to the community, it is  not a size necessarily.  There                                                               
are many smaller systems that may  have produced more fish in the                                                               
past that had something happen  that could be addressed and while                                                               
ADF&G is not tracking many of  those things, locals are.  He said                                                               
his  understanding  is that  this  bill  came from  stakeholders,                                                               
local users.                                                                                                                    
MR. RABUNG  added that he  has been aware  of this bill  for many                                                               
years.  He worked with  Representative Talerico during the bill's                                                               
initial drafting to get it to  its current state of comporting to                                                               
existing statutes, regulations, and  policies because it would be                                                               
easy  to build  something that  required ADF&G  to permit  things                                                               
that were not  in compliance with the  statutes, regulations, and                                                               
policies,  which are  designed to  safeguard and  sustain natural                                                               
production.     The  department's  mandate  is   to  provide  for                                                               
sustained  yield  of  natural  production.    This  current  bill                                                               
comports  with ADF&G's  genetics policy,  pathology requirements,                                                               
and  salmon plans  for the  areas.   It would  be a  way for  the                                                               
private sector who  wanted to do something for  their local small                                                               
system or stock to be able to do that.                                                                                          
10:47:34 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  TARR commented  that the  $100  fee seems  too modest  for                                                               
covering the staff  work that would be necessary.   She requested                                                               
Mr.  Rabung's thoughts  about a  number that  might more  closely                                                               
reflect the costs to the department.                                                                                            
MR. RABUNG replied that he was  not consulted on the $100 fee and                                                               
so doesn't know where  it came from.  If viewed  as a filing fee,                                                               
he  said,  then  it  may  be adequate.    The  private  nonprofit                                                               
hatchery permit fee  is $100 and that was written  in 1974 and is                                                               
still in the  statute.  In inflationary terms the  $100 from 1974                                                               
is  probably closer  to $900  or  $1,000 today.   The  department                                                               
doesn't charge  any fee for  the aquatic resource permit,  it's a                                                               
scientific  and educational  objective.   Regardless of  what the                                                               
fee amount is, it is unlikely  to be a revenue generator as there                                                               
probably will  not be a  lot of people  doing this because  it is                                                               
hard work and expensive work.                                                                                                   
10:50:06 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE STORY inquired about the  need for this around the                                                               
MR.  RABUNG  suggested  that  the need  is  probably  a  personal                                                               
decision.   He  related that  during his  previous work  visiting                                                               
smaller  communities and  villages  the elders  would talk  about                                                               
where there used  to be a run  of reds in a stream  but now there                                                               
is none  because it is full  of weeds and mud  from people riding                                                               
four-wheelers.    These  are anecdotal  sayings  and  traditional                                                               
knowledge, so if they feel there  is a need for those things this                                                               
would provide them  an opportunity to do that.   The corporations                                                               
can't qualify  right now for this  work unless they enter  into a                                                               
cooperative  agreement   with  a  governmental  entity   that  is                                                               
qualified for it  under the aquatic resource permit.   This gives                                                               
another avenue  for doing similar  work.   It is built  into this                                                               
bill that one of the first  things the applicant must document is                                                               
the conditions justifying  the project and the  applicant must be                                                               
in communication  with stakeholders,  so the  nearby communities.                                                               
The aquatic  resource permits for propagative  research came from                                                               
local  communities saying  that there  used to  be fish  here and                                                               
they want to have fish here  again.  But first the applicant will                                                               
have  to identify  what the  problem is  and have  a plan  to fix                                                               
that, and  this would  be the rehabilitation  step for  the stock                                                               
10:52:53 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE STORY commented  that based on one  of the letters                                                               
received  by the  committee on  traditional  knowledge, it  seems                                                               
very valuable  work that needs  to be done  and this would  be an                                                               
avenue on how to do that.                                                                                                       
MR. LUHR  responded that when it  comes to need, it  is dependent                                                               
on the  city, village, or  town.  He  said he is  originally from                                                               
Petersburg, and it  is 100 percent fishing.  This  bill would add                                                               
a tool for the private sector to  have it and not need it or need                                                               
it and not  have it.  Without  fish, his hometown would  not be a                                                               
thing and that is  why he feels so strongly for HB  162 as a tool                                                               
for good.                                                                                                                       
10:53:53 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR TARR opened invited testimony.                                                                                            
10:54:08 AM                                                                                                                   
CHARLES    PARKER,    Alaska   Village    Initiatives,    thanked                                                               
Representative Tuck  for putting HB  162 forward and  stated that                                                               
his organization  has been  a supporter of  this bill  for years.                                                               
He explained  that this is  based on traditional  Tlingit culture                                                               
and the  story of  Fog Woman.   This is  something that  has been                                                               
utilized in the  Pacific Northwest to great  success.  Currently,                                                               
Indiana has  a limit of five  kings a day, while  in Ketchikan it                                                               
is only  three.  In Sacramento  80- and 90-pound kings  are being                                                               
caught out  of rivers that were  once thought dead.   New Zealand                                                               
is also  outperforming [Alaska] in king  salmon and traditionally                                                               
New Zealand didn't even have king salmon.                                                                                       
MR. PARKER  said he likens  it to an acorn  analogy   if  all the                                                               
acorns fall  off the  tree a  very small  percentage of  them are                                                               
going to  grow into  seedlings, but  if someone  carefully plants                                                               
each one as  it drops, three to  five times as many  are going to                                                               
sprout.   It is  the same  thing with  salmon eggs    if  a small                                                               
amount of effort is taken at just  the right time all it is doing                                                               
is  maximizing the  natural return,  so  more of  those eggs  are                                                               
going  to  hatch  and  they  will  hatch  stronger  and  be  more                                                               
successful.  It has been proven  time and again over thousands of                                                               
MR.  PARKER related  that 18  tribal conservation  districts, and                                                               
dozens  of  watershed  councils   and  regional  nonprofits,  are                                                               
looking to implement  similar programs.  He  said [Alaska Village                                                               
Initiatives] has  been working with  the USDA to consider  this a                                                               
traditional  practice and  to fund  this  if Native  corporations                                                               
were then  eligible.  This would  provide an avenue to  allow the                                                               
local folks  to participate  and work with  the state  to rebuild                                                               
stocks, as  well as to  then provide federal support  and funding                                                               
to those  same projects.   Alaska Village Initiatives  is excited                                                               
to see this move forward.                                                                                                       
10:56:31 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR TARR opened public testimony on HB 162.                                                                                   
10:57:01 AM                                                                                                                   
EMILY  ANDERSON, Alaska  Program  Director,  Wild Salmon  Center,                                                               
testified in  opposition to HB  162.   She stated that  while she                                                               
appreciates  the sponsor's  desire to  boost fish  populations in                                                               
areas  where  numbers  are down,  rehabilitation  using  hatchery                                                               
enhancement  can  have  unintended   consequences  and  make  the                                                               
situation  much worse.    While they  are  not perfect,  Alaska's                                                               
current fish  enhancement and hatchery development  policies seek                                                               
to  segregate wild  fish  from hatchery  fish  where possible  to                                                               
avoid   interbreeding,   competition,  and   harvest   management                                                               
problems.    The  current  law  also  establishes  safeguards  to                                                               
protect  wild  fish  from  disease   and  inbreeding.    Alaska's                                                               
hatcheries  are managed  by professionals  who work  closely with                                                               
pathologists  to prevent  disease  outbreaks  and geneticists  to                                                               
ensure inbreeding is not occurring.                                                                                             
MS. ANDERSON said that while  HB 162 requires the commissioner to                                                               
issue  a permit  to  determine  that the  project  will not  harm                                                               
indigenous  wild fish  populations,  there is  no requirement  to                                                               
segregate  hatchery  fish from  wild  fish.   The  bill  contains                                                               
inadequate safeguards to prevent  inbreeding or disease outbreaks                                                               
and there are no requirements that  a permit holder needs to have                                                               
any  qualifications at  all except  to  demonstrate residency  in                                                               
this state.  From a wild  fish perspective when dealing with weak                                                               
stocks, more care is needed, not less.                                                                                          
MS. ANDERSON  stated that  Alaska's policy up  to this  point has                                                               
avoided  many of  the pitfalls  that hatcheries  in the  Lower 48                                                               
have experienced.   In the Pacific  Northwest hatchery production                                                               
is used  to enhance and  rehabilitate salmon runs that  have been                                                               
devastated  by   habitat  destruction,  dams,   and  overharvest.                                                               
Rather   than  supporting   wild   salmon  recovery,   hatcheries                                                               
developed to  mitigate damage  to fisheries  or to  increase fish                                                               
numbers  while  wild stocks  are  struggling  to make  escapement                                                               
goals, have  only continued to  drive those depleted  wild salmon                                                               
populations  to the  brink.   As a  result, not  a single  listed                                                               
salmon population in  the Pacific Northwest has  been delisted as                                                               
a result  of these  efforts.   In short,  hatchery rehabilitation                                                               
projects that  seek to  recover weak  stocks may  appear to  be a                                                               
tool  for increasing  fish numbers  but over  a relatively  short                                                               
time  they  decrease  the productivity  of  wild  salmon  stocks,                                                               
thereby decreasing  the ability  of wild populations  to rebound.                                                               
The Wild Salmon  Center hopes that efforts will  focus on habitat                                                               
rehabilitation and strong mixed stock fisheries management.                                                                     
11:00:20 AM                                                                                                                   
CATHERINE BURSCH related  that in the early 1980s  when she first                                                               
started  fishing in  Prince  William Sound,  she  toured the  new                                                               
hatchery.   Hatcheries  in Prince  William Sound  were originally                                                               
started to  mitigate the habitat  differences that  happened from                                                               
the  [1964] earthquake  but  ADF&G didn't  stick  to its  policy,                                                               
which was  to get it  going again and then  back off.   It became                                                               
big business  and now there  are hatchery  fish in 90  percent of                                                               
the creeks of wild fish in Prince William Sound.                                                                                
MS. BURSCH  said it  sounds easy  to just put  eggs in  and "spin                                                               
gold,"  but asked  why the  rest of  the world  hasn't benefitted                                                               
from that.   She  knows seven  people in  their twenties  who are                                                               
starting their careers in commercial  fisheries and they're going                                                               
to Bristol  Bay, not  the Pacific  Northwest.   Nobody goes  to a                                                               
place  that has  hatcheries to  be  a commercial  fisherman.   It                                                               
doesn't work.  It has so  many promises but in looking around the                                                               
world  it has  never  worked.   This is  not  new technology;  in                                                               
Ireland they knew  how to mix sperm  and eggs in the  1700s.  The                                                               
habitat  can't be  destroyed and  then the  fish brought  back by                                                               
just mixing eggs and milt, it  doesn't work.  This isn't anything                                                               
new on the  slate.  It is  scary because it's taking  a very well                                                               
thought out  hatchery system  policy and opening  it way  up with                                                               
the only excuse being "we don't  have money anymore so we're just                                                               
going to let anyone run around  and do this."  The hatcheries are                                                               
the death  knell to the  wild fish, and  she is astounded  at the                                                               
lack  of  knowledge  of  what  has  happened  in  the  past  with                                                               
11:03:52 AM                                                                                                                   
TOM HARRIS stated  he is a member of the  Tongass Tribe where the                                                               
Fog Woman story came from.  He  said the story explains a lot and                                                               
can  be found  on  YouTube by  typing in  "fog  woman and  Alaska                                                               
traditional knowledge."   Canadian scientists have  documented it                                                               
as being 14,000 years old.                                                                                                      
MR. HARRIS  stated that this  is not hatcheries, it  is in-stream                                                               
incubation.   He  said  the  video shows  evidence  in the  Great                                                               
Lakes, Washington, Oregon, Idaho,  California, and New Zealand of                                                               
having  successfully used  this program.   These  are very  small                                                               
projects that  in many cases cost  less than $100.   The question                                                               
that must be  asked of the commercial fishing industry  is an old                                                               
question   feed it  and it will grow, starve it  and it will die.                                                               
Our resources should not be expected to survive without help.                                                                   
11:05:36 AM                                                                                                                   
BRIAN ASHTON  related that Representative Tuck  requested he dial                                                               
in to  answer questions related  to his area of  expertise, which                                                               
is restoration of  wild salmon.  He said Mr.  Rabung answered the                                                               
questions well.   Regarding testimony in opposition  to the bill,                                                               
he said  that saying  everything fits  into hatcheries  is highly                                                               
inaccurate  and that  those testifiers  have not  read the  bill.                                                               
The restoration of wild stocks  using these types of processes in                                                               
the Northwest  has been  highly documented  and effective.   Last                                                               
week an article talked about  how sockeye salmon were restored in                                                               
the Okanogan  tributaries of the  Columbia River  watershed where                                                               
there hasn't  been salmon for over  50 years.  The  data is clear                                                               
that this does work.                                                                                                            
MR.  ASHTON  stated that  regarding  the  process for  getting  a                                                               
permit, ADF&G is not going to  ignore if someone is not qualified                                                               
to  do  this.   The  process  requires  that someone  knows  what                                                               
they're doing  and has done the  work and received training.   He                                                               
said he suspects  that the number of eggs allowed  will relate to                                                               
the applicant's capacity to do this so that no harm is done.                                                                    
11:07:33 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  VANCE  recalled   one  testifier  mentioning  the                                                               
segregating of the wild and the  enhanced.  She asked whether Mr.                                                               
Ashton  sees the  need to  add specific  language or  whether the                                                               
department already uses its discretion in projects like this.                                                                   
MR. ASHTON replied that the  permit was written mostly with ADF&G                                                               
input to  reflect these  issues of  genetic integrity.   Removing                                                               
wild fish  from the creek  increases the survival of  the gametes                                                               
and  then they  are put  right  back into  the creek.   When  the                                                               
little fish swims  and makes decisions as a fish  it doesn't know                                                               
it even  left the creek.   To differentiate that those  eggs that                                                               
were  touched are  different  than wild  stocks  is something  he                                                               
challenges as a moot point because they are wild fish.                                                                          
MR. RABUNG added  that the person was  talking about enhancement,                                                               
for which there would be  segregation because the intention of an                                                               
enhancement project is to create  harvestable surplus in addition                                                               
to  natural production;  but this  is  rehabilitation of  natural                                                               
stocks so that's  why it is intended to be  right back where they                                                               
came from.   The most vulnerable  state in a fish's  lifecycle is                                                               
from egg  deposition until a fry.   By collecting them,  they are                                                               
protected  during that  time when  they are  most vulnerable  and                                                               
where  most  mortality  occurs   because  of  drought,  freezing,                                                               
mudslides, or predation.  Then they  are put back [in the stream]                                                               
and  that is  where  the increase  comes from.    After that  all                                                               
things are equal.   That is what this is designed  to do and that                                                               
is the  difference.  It  is another important  difference between                                                               
enhancement and rehabilitation.                                                                                                 
11:10:25 AM                                                                                                                   
JOSH VERHAGEN, Mayor, City of  Nenana, testified in support of HB
162.  He said this is not a  new idea, is long overdue, and would                                                               
help  restore Alaska's  ever declining  wild salmon  populations.                                                               
Currently  there  is  no  policy  or permit  that  allows  for  a                                                               
proactive wild  salmon restoration process other  than escapement                                                               
management and  some research projects.   What is  being proposed                                                               
in HB  162 doesn't currently  exist - if a  qualified experienced                                                               
individual wishes  to participate  in wild  restoration processes                                                               
right now  there is  no legal process  for them to  do so.   This                                                               
doesn't  mean that  folks can  go  tamper with  fish without  any                                                               
oversight, which is why it would  have to be through a permitting                                                               
process.     If  an  individual   cannot  prove   capability  and                                                               
competence, then no permit is given.                                                                                            
MR.  VERHAGEN   stated  that  the  bill   specifies  wild  salmon                                                               
specifically because nothing is being  done to modify them.  This                                                               
is  not  a  hatchery,  or experimental,  or  enhancement,  it  is                                                               
rehabilitation.   All  that is  being  done here  is to  increase                                                               
their chance  of survival by  collecting eggs, using a  moist air                                                               
incubation process,  reintroducing them right back  to where they                                                               
came from, and ensuring that  the fertilization process is closer                                                               
to 90 percent instead of 2 percent.                                                                                             
MR. VERHAGEN related that he grew  up on the Tanana River and has                                                               
watched fish populations  dwindle and fish wheels  and setnets go                                                               
away.   He said he  likes this bill not  only because of  what it                                                               
could do to  help restore wild salmon populations  but because it                                                               
could potentially help with subsistence  for tribal and nontribal                                                               
members in the  Nenana area.  He  has met with Mr.  Ashton who is                                                               
one of these  qualified individuals and Mr.  Ashton advocated for                                                               
how this can  also be used for educational purposes.   He said he                                                               
would like  for students  to see  how this  process works  and he                                                               
would like for this bill to become law.                                                                                         
11:13:09 AM                                                                                                                   
JESSICA  WINNESTAFFER,  Staff,   Chickaloon  Village  Traditional                                                               
Council,  testified in  support of  HB 162.   She  noted she  has                                                               
worked  for  the  Chickaloon Village  Traditional  Council  since                                                               
2003.   She  started  as a  fisheries  biologist and  implemented                                                               
moist air  incubation on  Moose Creek near  Palmer.   The council                                                               
led an  award-winning fish passage  restoration project  on Moose                                                               
Creek,  which was  directed by  traditional ecological  knowledge                                                               
from the  elders.   These elders  also shared  that traditionally                                                               
Moose  Creek had  all  five species  of salmon  and  was a  major                                                               
source of sustenance  for the tribe.  Since the  1970s when ADF&G                                                               
started counting  fish in  Moose Creek, there  have not  been all                                                               
five species and  they have been limited to only  the lower three                                                               
miles of  Moose Creek.   The  council's fish  passage restoration                                                               
project bypassed manmade waterfalls at  mile three on Moose Creek                                                               
and allowed  fish passage  to the entire  stream, which  is 10-20                                                               
miles depending on which tributaries the fish go.                                                                               
MS.  WINNESTAFFER  related  that  this  successful  fish  passage                                                               
restoration  project   was  followed  up  with   fish  population                                                               
rehabilitation.   Chinook salmon were specifically  targeted, and                                                               
Mr.  Ashton's moist  air incubation  system was  used to  collect                                                               
chinook salmon  from the mouth of  Moose Creek and plant  them in                                                               
the upstream reaches at about mile  eight.  This was done through                                                               
partnership  with  and permission  from  ADF&G  and with  ADF&G's                                                               
oversight.   This  project was  successful, utilized  traditional                                                               
knowledge, and was guided by the council's elders.                                                                              
MS. WINNESTAFFER said the  Chickaloon Village Traditional Council                                                               
chose this system over ADF&G's  major hatchery system because the                                                               
council wanted  to be in  charge of  this effort to  restore fish                                                               
passage  and help  reintroduce salmon  to  the upstream  reaches.                                                               
Also,  it is  low cost  to buy  and to  operate and  requires one                                                               
less-than-full-time staff member for a  few months.  The juvenile                                                               
salmon were  planted in the  eyed egg stage before  they required                                                               
nutritional supplement by a hatchery.   This project was combined                                                               
with  curriculum  at a  tribal  school  and for  other  community                                                               
groups and visitors.                                                                                                            
MS. WINNESTAFFER  stated that many  Alaskan fish  populations are                                                               
under attack from  past and present impacts by  known and unknown                                                               
threats,  including development  and  climate  changes.   Alaskan                                                               
fish  need help  to successfully  survive and  thrive for  future                                                               
generations.   This  bill  will  give an  opportunity  to aid  in                                                               
rehabilitation of natural, wild fish populations.                                                                               
MS.  WINNESTAFFER noted  that the  council's  permit for  chinook                                                               
salmon was for  100,000 eggs, which was  approximately 20 females                                                               
and approximately 20 males for  fertilizing the females.  A limit                                                               
of 500,000  chinook eggs  would only take  about 100  females for                                                               
this project,  which is a very  small number and yet  the benefit                                                               
can be dramatic.  She offered  to give more information to people                                                               
who have  concerns about the  process or are flat-out  against it                                                               
and stressed that this is not a hatchery system.                                                                                
11:19:06 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  ORTIZ asked  whether the  council's efforts  have                                                               
been concluded  or are ongoing in  terms of continuing to  try to                                                               
rehabilitate the traditional runs that were once in Moose Creek.                                                                
MS. WINNESTAFFER  replied that  the council  did the  project for                                                               
five years,  which was  what ADF&G  initially allowed  and guided                                                               
the council to do.  The council  has a small amount of funding to                                                               
continue  and would  like to  continue,  but at  this moment  the                                                               
council is  waiting to see where  the policies here go.   Success                                                               
has been  measured.  To identify  if the juvenile eggs  reared in                                                               
the moist air  system survived, the council  collected ear bones,                                                               
otoliths,  for  many  years from  carcasses  that  had  naturally                                                               
spawned  and died  in Moose  Creek.   The otoliths  were sent  to                                                               
ADF&G's  lab in  Juneau to  analyze.   The  moist air  incubation                                                               
system requires that the council  thermally or in other ways mark                                                               
the  otoliths  to identify  them  as  being  from its  moist  air                                                               
incubation  system.   Two pairs  of otoliths  from the  council's                                                               
system have  been found, so it  is known that the  eggs reared in                                                               
the  council's  moist  air  incubation  system  did  successfully                                                               
return to spawn and naturally die in Moose Creek.                                                                               
11:21:37 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE related  that she read about  the project on                                                               
the internet  and finds it  fascinating.  She inquired  about the                                                               
dollar  amount associated  with this  five-year project  that was                                                               
MS. WINNESTAFFER  responded that  the council  had one  moist air                                                               
incubation  unit, which  costs $15,000-$20,000  depending on  how                                                               
much technical support  is received with it, and  that one system                                                               
was  used  for  the  five-year project.    The  council  targeted                                                               
chinook salmon and only did  one species per moist air incubation                                                               
unit as guided  by the manufacturer.  The brood  stock was fished                                                               
for and collected in late June  and July; that generally took two                                                               
staff members  for two or  three weeks in  the field.   The moist                                                               
air  incubation  system  was   maintained  until  October,  which                                                               
required very  limited checking each  day.  The staff  time costs                                                               
more  than the  unit, but  over  a period  of five  years it  was                                                               
probably in the range of $5,000  per year for staff-time since it                                                               
is very part-time once the eggs are in the incubator.                                                                           
11:23:55 AM                                                                                                                   
PENELOPE HAAS,  Kachemak Bay  Conservation Society,  testified in                                                               
opposition to  HB 162.   She said the  intent behind the  bill is                                                               
appreciated, but it  is ill-conceived because it is  long on fish                                                               
propagation  and short  on  assessment  of impacts.    This is  a                                                               
problem endemic to rehabilitation  and enhancement efforts across                                                               
Alaska because  fish are  produced but then  the impacts  are not                                                               
looked at.   For example,  in the  project discussed by  the last                                                               
testifier,  it  was  [20]  females   and  [20]  males.    In  the                                                               
commercial hatchery  environment, a successful hatchery  is going                                                               
to have  an 80  percent survival  rate for  those eggs  and milt.                                                               
What is being done there  is prioritizing and selecting for those                                                               
particular very  narrow genetics and  if this is done  year after                                                               
year it  is going to  significantly augment the diversity  of the                                                               
genetic  stocks  there.   So,  while  it  is starting  with  wild                                                               
stocks,  what is  being done  is narrowing  the diversity  of the                                                               
stock, which  is so important  to the  survival of those  fish in                                                               
that system.                                                                                                                    
MS. HAAS  urged committee  members, before  voting, to  look into                                                               
the similarity to  what is being proposed here and  what is going                                                               
on in Washington and Oregon and  the failures there.  Many listed                                                               
species  of  king salmon  are  in  that area  and  rehabilitation                                                               
efforts  with similar  methodology have  been tried  for over  10                                                               
years and it  is failing.  A  big part of the reason  is that the                                                               
fish that  are being selected  end up competing with  the diverse                                                               
wild stocks because  they are being selected for and  it winds up                                                               
with losing  the whole stock.   There  needs to be  clear concise                                                               
language  for what  is going  to happen  with the  habitat.   Any                                                               
rehabilitation  effort  needs  to  be  coordinated  with  habitat                                                               
efforts at the very minimum.                                                                                                    
11:27:40 AM                                                                                                                   
LOUIE  FLORA, Government  Affairs  Director,  The Alaska  Center,                                                               
offered his organization's appreciation  for looking at solutions                                                               
for problem areas in Alaska's  salmon returns.  He suggested that                                                               
HB 162  have more emphasis on  habitat restoration.  He  said The                                                               
Alaska Center shares  the concerns expressed by  others about the                                                               
impacts  of this  and the  potential for  decreasing the  genetic                                                               
diversity  of salmon  stocks.   Alaska's wild  salmon populations                                                               
already have  may stressors impacting them,  including increasing                                                               
climate change,  trawl by-catch,  and other  factors in  the open                                                               
ocean  such  as  competition with  international  hatchery  fish.                                                               
This would be adding another  potential threat to stock diversity                                                               
and could have a negative impact  down the line.  He advised that                                                               
thought needs  to be  given to  the long  term and  the committee                                                               
should hear from geneticists within ADF&G and the university.                                                                   
11:29:48 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR TARR closed  public testimony on HB  162 after ascertaining                                                               
that no one else wished to testify.                                                                                             
11:30:22 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  ORTIZ requested  Mr.  Rabung's opinion  regarding                                                               
the validity  of the  concerns expressed  by those  testifying in                                                               
opposition to HB 162.                                                                                                           
MR. RABUNG replied that the concerns  are valid, which is why the                                                               
department has come  up with policies and guidance  to guide this                                                               
kind of  work.  Much of  the concern about genetics  is addressed                                                               
with  ADF&G's finfish  policy -  there is  the minimum  effective                                                               
population number  so there  isn't too  few; it's  a mathematical                                                               
calculation.  The department requires  a minimum number that must                                                               
be used,  and it's based on  the species and the  lifecycle.  For                                                               
pink salmon, a  single year class, 400  individuals minimum would                                                               
be needed to meet the  minimum effective population.  For chinook                                                               
salmon,  which has  five-year overlapping  age classes,  doing 40                                                               
fish  a  year for  five  years  achieves that  same  mathematical                                                               
combination.  Chum salmon are 63 pairs per year.                                                                                
MR.  RABUNG specified  that another  part  of that  policy is  to                                                               
reduce  the potential  for domestication  effects  by not  having                                                               
more  than  one  generation  can   go  through  a  rehabilitation                                                               
project.  That  is what defines a rehabilitation  project, so the                                                               
progeny from a  project would not be spawned  and their offspring                                                               
put  through it  again.    That would  be  prohibited by  ADF&G's                                                               
existing policy.   That is how  domestication effects, artificial                                                               
selective pressures, start to take hold.                                                                                        
MR.  RABUNG said  he  feels  [the department]  has  the tools  to                                                               
address those  concerns and they  are valid concerns and  that is                                                               
one of the things that sets  Alaska's program apart from the rest                                                               
of the world.   Regarding the concerns expressed about  how it is                                                               
being done down  south, he would agree if things  were being done                                                               
in  Alaska  like they  are  done  down  south,  and he  would  be                                                               
testifying in  opposition as  well.   That is  not to  say Alaska                                                               
isn't trying to improve when there is new information.                                                                          
MR. RABUNG  said he  believes [the department]  has the  tools in                                                               
hand  to  make sure  that  these  things  have minimal,  if  any,                                                               
negative  impacts   on  natural   productivity.    Some   of  the                                                               
commenters echoed  what he  has been saying    identify  what the                                                               
problem  is.   Part  of  the  prerequisite  in  this bill  is  to                                                               
identify what  is causing the  stock to  be depressed and  try to                                                               
fix that  and then try  to rehabilitate by increasing  the number                                                               
of eggs  that survive  after spawning.   Examples are  the Buskin                                                               
and Moose Creek projects.   Perched culverts in the Buskin system                                                               
that prevented  coho from reaching spawning  grounds were removed                                                               
and  the  stream  gravel  was reconditioned.    Moose  Creek  was                                                               
reconditioned, and barriers were  removed that had prevented fish                                                               
from getting where  they used to be.   Then the work  was done to                                                               
bring back the fish.  Those things  are part and parcel of HB 162                                                               
as  ADF&G sees  it.    Their comments  are  valid  and are  being                                                               
addressed.  There is no guarantee  that if somebody applies for a                                                               
project that  ADF&G is going to  permit it because if  it doesn't                                                               
meet the department's criteria to  protect natural production the                                                               
department is not going to be able to permit it.                                                                                
11:34:58 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR TARR requested  Mr. Rabung to send her the  link to ADF&G's                                                               
genetics policy.                                                                                                                
MR. RABUNG agreed to do so.                                                                                                     
11:35:13 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK offered closing comments.   He stated that HB
162  is  basically  maximizing natural  returns  of  the  natural                                                               
species  of  that  specific  river,  because  it  is  known  that                                                               
chinooks  are different  between each  river system.   This  does                                                               
have the  greatest impacts on wild  salmon and the reason  why it                                                               
works  is because  it  is  small scale.    It's  small scale  and                                                               
dealing with  a small  window of opportunity  for the  success of                                                               
those eggs  to fertilize and  move on.  This  is part of  a total                                                               
habitat  rehabilitation program,  it cannot  work alone,  it must                                                               
have some sort of habitat  rehabilitation along with it to ensure                                                               
it succeeds.                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  stated that habitat rehabilitation  can only                                                               
be taken so  far, nothing that can be done  about the temperature                                                               
of the waters  and the temperatures are rising.   A study done on                                                               
chinook  salmon looked  at  [temperatures  between] 10.4  degrees                                                               
Celsius, which is 50 degrees  Fahrenheit, and 14 degrees Celsius,                                                               
which  is 57.2  degrees  Fahrenheit.   It was  found  that at  50                                                               
degrees  Fahrenheit [during]  moist air  incubation salmon  start                                                               
deteriorating, and  the success of  those eggs dropped  off until                                                               
zero success  at 57.2 degrees Fahrenheit.   A study in  2010 took                                                               
30 females  and spawned all  of them the  same day.   The 122,256                                                               
eggs [were incubated]  at 45 degrees [Fahrenheit],  which is five                                                               
degrees  less than  when they  start  deteriorating, and  113,700                                                               
eggs were  successful, only a loss  of 8,000.  This  is what this                                                               
is about, it is using  traditional knowledge that has been around                                                               
for  14,000 years  and applying  it  modernly so  streams can  be                                                               
11:37:52 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR TARR stated that she  is thinking about the fee, tightening                                                               
up the  qualified person  language, and  making it  clearer about                                                               
the habitat  even though it seems  inherent in the process.   She                                                               
asked whether Mr. Luhr's internship is ending soon.                                                                             
MR. LUHR replied yes.                                                                                                           
CHAIR TARR said she shared her thoughts on the bill so that Mr.                                                                 
Luhr would know about them in case Mr. Luhr's internship is over                                                                
when the bill is next before the committee.                                                                                     
[HB 162 was held over.]                                                                                                         
11:39:42 AM                                                                                                                   
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Special Committee on Fisheries meeting was adjourned at 11:39                                                                   

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HCR 2 Sponsor Statement 03.16.2021.pdf HFSH 4/8/2021 10:00:00 AM
HFSH 4/13/2021 10:00:00 AM
SRES 2/21/2022 3:30:00 PM
HCR 2 Version A 3.16.2021.pdf HFSH 4/8/2021 10:00:00 AM
HFSH 4/13/2021 10:00:00 AM
HCR 2 Fiscal Note - LEG-SESS-04-07-21.pdf HFSH 4/8/2021 10:00:00 AM
HFSH 4/13/2021 10:00:00 AM
HCR 2 Supplemental Document - Alaska Ocean Cluster Overview 4.7.21.pdf HFSH 4/8/2021 10:00:00 AM
HFSH 4/13/2021 10:00:00 AM
SRES 2/21/2022 3:30:00 PM
HCR 2 Testimony Received by 4.12.21.pdf HFSH 4/13/2021 10:00:00 AM
SRES 2/21/2022 3:30:00 PM
HB 162 Sponsor Statement 4.7.2021.pdf HFSH 4/13/2021 10:00:00 AM
HB 162
HB 162 version A 4.7.2021.pdf HFSH 4/13/2021 10:00:00 AM
HB 162
HB 162 Sectional Analysis 4.7.2021.pdf HFSH 4/13/2021 10:00:00 AM
HB 162
HB 162 Testimony Tom Harris- Received as of 4.7.2021.pdf HFSH 4/13/2021 10:00:00 AM
HB 162
HB 162 Testimony Alaska Village Initiatives - Received 4.8.2021.pdf HFSH 4/13/2021 10:00:00 AM
HB 162
HB 162 Fiscal Note - DFG-DCF 4.11.21.pdf HFSH 4/13/2021 10:00:00 AM
HB 162
HB 162 Letter of Opposition - Adkison 4.12.21.pdf HFSH 4/13/2021 10:00:00 AM
HB 162