Legislature(2023 - 2024)GRUENBERG 120

02/14/2023 10:00 AM House FISHERIES

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10:00:32 AM Start
10:01:13 AM HJR5
11:17:13 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved CSHJR 5(FSH) Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON FISHERIES                                                                            
                       February 14, 2023                                                                                        
                           10:00 a.m.                                                                                           
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Sarah Vance, Chair                                                                                               
Representative Kevin McCabe                                                                                                     
Representative CJ McCormick                                                                                                     
Representative Ben Carpenter                                                                                                    
Representative Craig Johnson                                                                                                    
Representative Louise Stutes                                                                                                    
Representative Rebecca Himschoot                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
OTHER LEGISLATORS PRESENT                                                                                                     
Representative Dan Ortiz                                                                                                        
Representative Mike Cronk                                                                                                       
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 5                                                                                                    
Urging  the United  States Secretary  of  Commerce, the  National                                                               
Marine  Fisheries  Service, the  Alaska  Department  of Fish  and                                                               
Game, and other federal and  state agencies to defend the state's                                                               
fisheries, including the Southeast Alaska troll fishery.                                                                        
     - MOVED CSHJR 5(FSH) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                      
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: HJR  5                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: ALASKA FISHERIES; TROLL FISHERIES                                                                                  
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) HIMSCHOOT                                                                                         
02/10/23       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/10/23       (H)       FSH                                                                                                    
02/14/23       (H)       FSH AT 10:00 AM GRUENBERG 120                                                                          
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
THATCHER BROUWER, Staff                                                                                                         
Representative Rebecca Himschoot                                                                                                
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   Outlined the  litigation involved  with the                                                             
troller  fishery  during the  hearing  on  HJR  5, on  behalf  of                                                               
Representative Himschoot, prime sponsor.                                                                                        
AMY DAUGHERTY, Executive Director                                                                                               
Alaska Trollers Association                                                                                                     
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   Gave invited  testimony during  the hearing                                                             
on HJR 5.                                                                                                                       
CASEY MAPES, Commercial Fisher                                                                                                  
Yakutat, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT:   Gave invited  testimony during  the hearing                                                             
on HJR 5.                                                                                                                       
TIM O'CONNER, Mayor                                                                                                             
City of Craig;                                                                                                                  
Vice President                                                                                                                  
Alaska Trollers Association                                                                                                     
Craig, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:   Gave invited  testimony during  the hearing                                                             
on HJR 5.                                                                                                                       
TAD FUJIOKA, Fisher                                                                                                             
Sitka, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:   Gave invited  testimony during  the hearing                                                             
on HJR 5.                                                                                                                       
AARON PETERSON, Senior Assistant Attorney General                                                                               
Natural Resources Section                                                                                                       
Civil Division (Anchorage)                                                                                                      
Department of Law                                                                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Answered questions  during the  hearing on                                                             
HJR 5.                                                                                                                          
MARK ROBERTS                                                                                                                    
Petersburg, Alaska                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing on HJR 5.                                                                   
MATT DONAHOE, President                                                                                                         
Board of Directors                                                                                                              
Alaska Trollers Association                                                                                                     
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing on HJR 5.                                                                   
ERIC JORDAN, Salmon Troller                                                                                                     
Sitka, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HJR 5.                                                                           
DAVID RICHY, Commercial Troller                                                                                                 
Sitka, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing on HJR 4.                                                                   
CHARLES "CHARLIE" DIERCY                                                                                                        
Ketchikan, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing on HJR 5.                                                                   
JEFF FARVOUR, Board Member                                                                                                      
Alaska Longline Fishermen's Association                                                                                         
Sitka, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing on HJR 4.                                                                   
MICHAEL KOHAN, Science and Policy Director                                                                                      
Sitka Salmon Share                                                                                                              
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HJR 5.                                                                           
LINDA BEHNKEN, Executive Director                                                                                               
Alaska Longline Fishermen's Association                                                                                         
Sitka, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing on HJR 5.                                                                   
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
10:00:32 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  SARAH   VANCE  called  the  House   Special  Committee  on                                                             
Fisheries  meeting  to  order  at  10:00  a.m.    Representatives                                                               
Himschoot, Stutes, and  Vance were present at the  call to order.                                                               
Representatives  C.  Johnson,  McCormick, McCabe,  and  Carpenter                                                               
arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                                         
            HJR 5-ALASKA FISHERIES; TROLL FISHERIES                                                                         
10:01:13 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR VANCE announced  that the first order of  business would be                                                               
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 5,  Urging the United States Secretary                                                               
of Commerce,  the National Marine  Fisheries Service,  the Alaska                                                               
Department  of  Fish  and  Game,  and  other  federal  and  state                                                               
agencies  to   defend  the   state's  fisheries,   including  the                                                               
Southeast Alaska troll fishery.                                                                                                 
10:01:47 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  HIMSCHOOT, as  prime  sponsor,  presented HJR  5.                                                               
She  spoke of  the prevalence  of trollers  in Southeast  Alaska,                                                               
noting  that 85  percent  of  trollers in  the  fleet are  Alaska                                                               
residents.   Trollers bring in  approximately $85 million  to the                                                               
Alaska economy.   She continued by  paraphrasing information from                                                               
the   sponsor  statement,   which  read   as  follows   [original                                                               
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
     The   Southeast   Alaska   troll  salmon   fishery   is                                                                    
     threatened  by a  lawsuit  filed  by the  Seattle-based                                                                    
     Wild Fish  Conservancy. House Joint Resolution  5 calls                                                                    
     on  the  Federal  Government and  State  of  Alaska  to                                                                    
     continue to  defend the Southeast Alaska  troll fishery                                                                    
     and  do  everything  within their  power  to  keep  the                                                                    
     fishery open  should the  judge rule  in the  Wild Fish                                                                    
     Conservancy's   favor.  With   overwhelming  scientific                                                                    
     evidence to the  contrary, this suit seeks  to hold the                                                                    
     Southeast  Alaska  troll  fishery responsible  for  the                                                                    
     decline in southern resident  killer whiles, about 1000                                                                    
     miles  to  the  south. While  scientists  estimate  the                                                                    
     trollers  may take  3% of  the Chinook  salmon destined                                                                    
     for rivers  important to  the southern  resident killer                                                                    
     whales, the lawsuit does not  take into account threats                                                                    
     from the pollution and habitat  degradation in the home                                                                    
     waters   of  the   southern  resident   killer  whales.                                                                    
     Trolling is  a low  barrier, sustainable  fishery where                                                                    
     fishermen  from  nearly  every community  in  Southeast                                                                    
     Alaska  catch  each  fish  with  hook  and  line.  With                                                                    
     approximately  1450  trollers   contributing  over  $85                                                                    
     million  to  the  economies of  coastal  Alaska  it  is                                                                    
     imperative  the   state  defend  this   fishery,  while                                                                    
     continuing to  support the scientific research  that is                                                                    
     foundational to good  policy and good law.  If the Wild                                                                    
     Fish  Conservancy is  successful with  this lawsuit  it                                                                    
     will set  a dangerous  precedent for  a broad  range of                                                                    
     Alaska's fisheries. House Joint  Resolution 5 urges the                                                                    
     State of Alaska  and Federal Government to  do all they                                                                    
     can to keep our sustainable fisheries in Alaska open.                                                                      
10:04:37 AM                                                                                                                   
THATCHER  BROUWER,   Staff,  Representative   Rebecca  Himschoot,                                                               
Alaska  State   Legislature,      on   behalf  of  Representative                                                               
Himschoot,  prime sponsor  of HJR  5, disclosed  that during  the                                                               
legislative interim he  works as a troller, and he  serves on the                                                               
board  of  the Alaska  Trollers  Association.   He  informed  the                                                               
committee that  the Pacific Salmon  Treaty is  renegotiated every                                                               
10 years; the  last negotiation took place in 2019.   During that                                                               
negotiation,   the   National   Marine   Fisheries   Service   is                                                               
responsible  for  giving  its biological  opinion;  it  makes  an                                                               
"incidental take  statement," which  allows the fishers  that are                                                               
part of  the treaty "to take  a few endangered chinook  salmon or                                                               
chinook salmon  that might  potentially end up  in the  mouths of                                                               
endangered  species,   such  as  the  southern   resident  killer                                                               
whales."  He continued:                                                                                                         
     In addition  to allowing that, they're  also mitigating                                                                    
     measures  that   are  part  of  that   incidental  take                                                                    
     statement, and  ... one of the  mitigating measures ...                                                                    
     the  National  Marine  Fisheries Service  proposed  was                                                                    
     additional  hatchery production  of  chinook salmon  in                                                                    
     ...  In  2020, the  Wild  Fish  Conservancy sued  [the]                                                                    
     National  Marine Fisheries  Service  ... to  invalidate                                                                    
     the biological opinion.   ... Part of that  suit was to                                                                    
     halt the production of chinook salmon.                                                                                     
MR.  BROUWER   explained  that  this  action   effected  Alaska's                                                               
fishery.   He  said, "Without  this infidel  take statement,  the                                                               
troll fishery's not allowed ... to proceed."                                                                                    
MR.  BROUWER  said  that  in  September  2021,  Magistrate  Judge                                                               
Peterson  issued a  report  recommendation  finding the  analysis                                                               
governing the  Columbia River prey  increase program  was flawed,                                                               
and the  incidental take statement controlling  the troll fishery                                                               
was also  deficient.   In August 2022,  Judge Jones  adopted that                                                               
report recommendation.   Mr. Thatcher noted that  a press release                                                               
was  included in  the committee  packet.   He  said the  National                                                               
Marine  Fisheries Service  is  in the  process  of rewriting  the                                                               
biological opinion,  as it has  been asked  to do, but  that will                                                               
take a couple  of years to complete.  He  said since the adoption                                                               
of  the  initial report  recommendations,  "they"  are trying  to                                                               
figure  out "how  to  account  for the  flaws  in the  biological                                                               
opinion."   In  December  2022, Magistrate  Judge Peterson  again                                                               
recommended the report recommendations  that would invalidate the                                                               
take statement for both the winter and summer troll fisheries.                                                                  
MR. BROUWER  said currently, Judge  Jones is deliberating  on the                                                               
report recommendation  put forward by Magistrate  Judge Peterson,                                                               
and Judge Jones' ruling is expected  "any day now."  Mr. Thatcher                                                               
explained that there  is no more room to  appeal; the opportunity                                                               
for interveners,  such as  the Alaska  State Legislature  and the                                                               
Alaska  Trollers Association,  to submit  comments on  the report                                                               
recommendations ended 1/25/23.   Following Judge Jones' decision,                                                               
the next  step would be to  appeal to the Ninth  Circuit Court of                                                               
Appeals.   He added, "Whoever appeals  the case would be  able to                                                               
request a  stay that would  allow the  fishery to continue  to be                                                               
prosecuted while the Ninth Circuit Court considers the appeal."                                                                 
10:10:11 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  VANCE proffered  that  this is  a  complicated issue,  but                                                               
synopsized  that  "the  3  percent  of  the  chinook  that  might                                                               
possibly result  in a meal  for a southern resident  killer whale                                                               
is  what we're  fighting for  right now,  and the  rights of  our                                                               
1,500  trollers to  continue  their livelihood."    She said  the                                                               
State of  Alaska has "joined  in as  an intervener of  the suit,"                                                               
and  there are  resolutions  in the  committee  packet from  many                                                               
Southeast  communities.   She remarked  on  the fundraisers  that                                                               
have taken  place to  support the  trollers during  this lawsuit.                                                               
Additionally, "there have  been a lot of  private dollars flowing                                                               
in to  support the trollers."   She noted there would  be invited                                                               
10:11:51 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE MCCABE  asked how many  of the 1,500  trollers are                                                               
home ported in Seattle, Washington.                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE HIMSCHOOT said  she does not know how  many are in                                                               
Seattle,  but 85  percent are  home ported  in Southeast  Alaska.                                                               
She added that  100 percent of the catch of  these 1,500 trollers                                                               
is  caught in  Alaska, regardless  of where  each fisher  is home                                                               
10:12:37 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. BROUWER, in response to  Representative McCabe, said the Wild                                                               
Fish Conservancy is located in Seattle.                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE MCCABE asked if HJR 5 is "all we're doing."                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  HIMSCHOOT  said  HJR  5  encourages  the  actions                                                               
already undertaken by  the State of Alaska.   She indicated there                                                               
may be more lawsuits forthcoming.                                                                                               
10:13:22 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  STUTES   asked  whether  the  troll   fishery  in                                                               
Southeast Alaska is a limited entry fishery.                                                                                    
MR. BROUWER answered  yes.  In response to  a follow-up question,                                                               
he estimated the permit value is  $10,000 for a hand troll permit                                                               
and $30,000 for a power troll permit.                                                                                           
10:14:17 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR   VANCE  announced   the  committee   would  hear   invited                                                               
10:14:41 AM                                                                                                                   
AMY DAUGHERTY,  Executive Director, Alaska  Trollers Association,                                                               
first gave  a brief  description of  trolling and  emphasized the                                                               
dependence of trollers on chinook  salmon, with some coho caught,                                                               
and a chum  fishery developing.  She discussed  the background of                                                               
the lawsuit against the fishery,  noting that the Alaska Trollers                                                               
Association was named in the  lawsuit.  She commended the efforts                                                               
of the  community and fishers  in raising awareness and  funds in                                                               
response  to  the  lawsuit.    She  said  most  of  the  trolling                                                               
businesses are family  run; trollers run slowly  with minimal, if                                                               
any, impact to orcas [aka killer  whales].  She said the board of                                                               
the  association  has   13  members.    She   offered  to  answer                                                               
10:16:50 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR VANCE asked how long the fishery has been in existence.                                                                   
MS.  DAUGHERTY offered  her understanding  that the  fishery goes                                                               
back to  1924, and  troll data  dates back to  1911.   There have                                                               
been  three  treaties  that have  reduced  the  chinook  harvest;                                                               
however, the fishery supports conservation measures.                                                                            
CHAIR VANCE asked whether there  have been concerns regarding the                                                               
orcas prior to this.                                                                                                            
MS. DAUGHERTY  answered, "Never."  She  offered her understanding                                                               
that  every other  orca population  "up  and down  the coast"  is                                                               
healthy  and increasing,  with the  exception of  "this localized                                                               
Puget Sound  population."  In  response to a  follow-up question,                                                               
she said  this morning she  saw a bill  proposed in the  State of                                                               
Washington  that  seeks to  expand  "the  distance between  whale                                                               
watching ... vessels" in the area  in order to protect the orcas.                                                               
She saw that  as a recognition that [whale  watching vessels] are                                                               
a factor in [adverse effects on  the orca population].  She said,                                                               
"We don't  believe that  any commercial fishing  up and  down the                                                               
coast is really what's impacting  the orca population; we believe                                                               
that it's largely a toxicity issue.   There's a lot of population                                                               
down there; there's a lot of run-off."                                                                                          
10:19:54 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  MCCABE asked  Ms. Daugherty,  "Why did  they pick                                                               
MS. DAUGHERTY  mentioned "low-hanging  fruit" and said,  "We have                                                               
little  means besides  ... our  will to  defend ourselves."   She                                                               
remarked  that bigger  fisheries have  more money  and lobbyists.                                                               
She added, "It's really just  incomprehensible, ... the fact that                                                               
such a low-impact fishery would be the target of this group."                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  MCCABE said  every fishery  has by-catch  issues.                                                               
He  asked  about the  meaning  of  "low-impact"  as used  by  Ms.                                                               
MS.  DAUGHERTY responded  that the  fishery has  by-catch limits.                                                               
Trollers, in  general, have a  conservationist mindset;  they are                                                               
aware  that a  fish  that  lives will  come  back  [to be  caught                                                               
another day].                                                                                                                   
10:22:27 AM                                                                                                                   
CASEY MAPES,  Commercial Fisher,  began his invited  testimony by                                                               
stating that  he has  been a  gillnetter, troller,  and longliner                                                               
for over  50 years.   He said in  Yakutat, after summer  when the                                                               
lodges are shut down, the only  thing left to support the economy                                                               
in  winter is  fishing.    Trolling makes  up  two-thirds of  his                                                               
income.  He said he is encouraged  to see all the entities in his                                                               
community stepping  up to address  this matter.  He  talked about                                                               
chinook being part of the lifeblood  of Native Alaskans.  He gave                                                               
the  example of  the  spotted  oil controversy  in  the Lower  48                                                               
starting with good intention but  being reused "as a weapon," and                                                               
he warned that if this current  lawsuit is not squashed, the same                                                               
bad precedent could  be set.  Referring to  the previous question                                                               
of "Why  trollers?," he  said it  is because  "we're sort  of the                                                               
weak link  of the  fleet."   He warned that  this lawsuit  is the                                                               
start to  something that could  grow.  He expressed  concern that                                                               
"we're  going to  be regulating  out of  the courthouse  from now                                                               
on."   He  concluded by  stating that  he is  thankful that  [the                                                               
committee/legislature] is "considering helping us out."                                                                         
10:28:04 AM                                                                                                                   
TIM  O'CONNER,  Mayor, City  of  Craig;,  Vice President,  Alaska                                                               
Trollers  Association, began  his  invited  testimony by  sharing                                                               
that he  has been a troller  and longliner since 2008.   He noted                                                               
the City of Craig has a  population of just under 1,000, with 500                                                               
people living just outside the city.   Prince of Wales Island has                                                               
a  population of  approximately 4,000.   He  said the  21 million                                                               
pounds of fish  that enter the port in Craig  are valued at $22.7                                                               
million.    Fishing  is  the  mainstay of  the  City  of  Craig's                                                               
economy.   He said, "We  stand to lose all  of this if  this Wild                                                               
Fish  Conservancy  lawsuit  is successful."    He  indicated  the                                                               
lawsuit could  set a  precedent that would  end up  effecting not                                                               
only  the trollers,  but the  subsistence fishers  and the  sport                                                               
fishing industry.   He said  the Alaska Trollers  Association and                                                               
the City  of Craig need  the state's  help and resources  to stop                                                               
the lawsuit  and challenge  the state's right  to manage  its own                                                               
fisheries.  He asked the committee to support HJR 5.                                                                            
10:31:05 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE MCCABE  noted that the lawsuit  makes frequent use                                                               
of  the term  "unsustainable."   He  asked Mr.  O'Connor for  his                                                               
opinion whether the  state is actually managing  the resource for                                                               
MR.  O'CONNER  opined  that  the fishery  is  being  managed  for                                                               
sustainability.   To  illustrate this,  he talked  about hatchery                                                               
efforts.   He  added that  the City  of Craig  would "shut  down"                                                               
without the troll fishery.   In response to a follow-up question,                                                               
he stated his assumption that  orcas would eat hatchery fish "the                                                               
same as  they eat the wild  fish."  Regarding migration  of fish,                                                               
he remarked, "Our fish would be feeding their orcas."                                                                           
10:34:26 AM                                                                                                                   
TAD FUJIOKA, Fisher,  began his invited testimony  by noting that                                                               
although he is  the chair of the board of  his local cooperative,                                                               
he  was speaking  on behalf  of himself.   He  noted that  he had                                                               
provided  handouts to  the committee  [included in  the committee                                                               
packet].   He  said he  has fished  King salmon  for the  last 43                                                               
years,  and  became a  commercial  troller  in  2010.     Chinook                                                               
effects this  livelihood in  his community.   He spoke  about the                                                               
style of  trolling allowing for fish  to be caught one  at a time                                                               
and  for bycatch  to be  thrown back.   He  noted the  history of                                                               
trolling in Alaska  is shown on handout "A."   He offered further                                                               
history  of   the  aforementioned   treaties.    He   echoed  the                                                               
statements  of  previous  speakers regarding  the  importance  of                                                               
troll fishing and the positive impact  it has on the economy, and                                                               
he warned that the fishery  is threatened by the Washington-based                                                               
Wild Fish  Conservancy, which sued the  National Marine Fisheries                                                               
Service  (NMFS)  [within  the National  Oceanic  and  Atmospheric                                                               
Administration (NOAA)], claiming that  the 423 biological opinion                                                               
pertaining  to the  treaty was  insufficient,  that the  southern                                                               
resident killer  whales are not  getting enough to eat,  and that                                                               
Alaska's [trolling] fishery    700 miles away   is  to blame.  He                                                               
said the fish  most important to the southern  resident orcas are                                                               
the Puget  Sound fall chinook,  of which Alaska catches  only 100                                                               
per year.  He noted further  information on a map on handout "B."                                                               
He  echoed  the  comments  of  a previous  speaker  that  if  the                                                               
plaintiff wins  this lawsuit, then no  fishery will be safe.   He                                                               
pointed out  that if Alaska's  fishery was the reason  orcas were                                                               
in trouble, then there wouldn't be  the steady rise in the number                                                               
of  orcas in  the  Alaska and  British Columbia  orca  pods.   He                                                               
stated  the  real problem  for  the  southern resident  orcas  is                                                               
pollution  in the  Puget  Sound.   He  noted  that Governor  Mike                                                               
Dunleavy  has said  Alaska will  appeal any  adverse ruling.   He                                                               
said  he  appreciates  that  support   and  the  support  of  the                                                               
legislature for the fishery.                                                                                                    
10:41:15 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE CARPENTER  pointed to the handout  showing a graph                                                               
and asked for the origin of that data.                                                                                          
MR.  PUGIOKA  answered  that   the  Pacific  Salmon  Commission's                                                               
Chinook Technical  Committee has  compiled the  "abundance index"                                                               
of chinook in Southeast Alaska annually since 1979.                                                                             
10:43:00 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR VANCE  inquired why  the state chose  to intervene  in this                                                               
lawsuit  and invited  the person  representing the  Department of                                                               
Law (DOL) to speak to this matter.                                                                                              
AARON  PETERSON,  Senior   Assistant  Attorney  General,  Natural                                                               
Resources  Section,  Civil  Division (Anchorage),  Department  of                                                               
Law, stated that his office has  been dealing with this issue for                                                               
a long  time.  The state  intervened, he reported, because  it is                                                               
critical  to  defend   the  state's  fisheries.     He  said  the                                                               
Department  of Law's  (DOL's) actions  in  fighting this  lawsuit                                                               
reflect a  commitment from the  state to protect  its industries,                                                               
including commercial fishing.   He pointed out that  DOL has been                                                               
litigating this  case since  the beginning and  that it  has been                                                               
working with a  Washington state firm that is  very familiar with                                                               
litigating similar issues.  He  indicated that the involvement of                                                               
outside resources attests to the importance of this matter.                                                                     
10:45:00 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR VANCE  questioned the  impact to the  state if  Alaska lost                                                               
the case in court.                                                                                                              
MR. PETERSON defined the concept of  "lose" for this case to mean                                                               
that the Article 3 judge  adopts the report and recommendation on                                                               
remedy  as written.   He  said  that there  are opportunities  to                                                               
appeal  this decision,  which  the governor  has  supported.   He                                                               
suggested that the  worst-case scenario is the  winter and summer                                                               
troll fishery  would be closed  for a  period of time.   However,                                                               
there are several steps that would  have to happen to get to that                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE MCCABE asked if this  case is similar to the Lower                                                               
Kuskokwim fishery  litigation, which deals with  federal takeover                                                               
of Alaska fishery management.                                                                                                   
MR.  PETERSON  explained  that  it   is  not  the  same  kind  of                                                               
litigation.     The  Lower  Kuskokwim  litigation   is  based  on                                                               
subsistence  issues  and  deals  with  jurisdiction,  while  this                                                               
current case deals with federal  environmental law.  He continued                                                               
to detail specifics of the case  and went into the history of the                                                               
plaintiff,  which  shows  that  they  usually  target  hatcheries                                                               
rather than specific fisheries.                                                                                                 
10:48:47 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE C. JOHNSON inquired if  this was a public interest                                                               
litigation and asked who would be paying for it.                                                                                
MR. PETERSON answered that it was not a public interest case.                                                                   
MR. BROUWER added  his belief that the Wild  Fish Conservancy has                                                               
been able to be reimbursed  for similar suits regarding the Equal                                                               
Access  of  Justice  Act  and  that  they  could  potentially  be                                                               
reimbursed this time as well.                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  C. JOHNSON  responded that  Mr. Brouwer  answered                                                               
his initial question,  that the State of Alaska could  be "on the                                                               
hook" for the Wild Fish Conservancy's legal fees.                                                                               
10:50:08 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR VANCE opened public testimony on HJR 5.                                                                                   
10:50:50 AM                                                                                                                   
MARK ROBERTS, said  he has been a troller from  Petersburg for 45                                                               
years.   He responded to  Representative McCabe's  question about                                                               
the proper  releasing of  fish by  mentioning that  most trollers                                                               
have new ways of "shaking  and releasing" unwanted fish that keep                                                               
the fish alive.  He detailed  an underwater method of shaking the                                                               
fish that keeps  them from ever breaking the surface.   He closed                                                               
his testimony by emphasizing that  [the Wild Fish Conservancy] is                                                               
going after Section  7, and if it were to  succeed, it would hurt                                                               
the entire state of Alaska.                                                                                                     
10:52:25 AM                                                                                                                   
MATT  DONAHOE, President,  Board  of  Directors, Alaska  Trollers                                                               
Association,  spoke on  several different  points related  to the                                                               
lawsuit.   He brought up  hiring issues in the  processing plants                                                               
due to the  uncertainty caused by this suit.   In relation to why                                                               
the  Wild Fish  Conservancy is  targeting trollers,  he described                                                               
them as "serial litigators" and  insisted that they were making a                                                               
lot of money off of the current  suit.  He addressed the issue of                                                               
net  harvest  and referenced  the  Alaska  Department of  Fish  &                                                               
Game's (ADFG's)  data that there  are fewer than 600  Puget Sound                                                               
King salmon  caught in Alaska in  a year.  He  said he attributes                                                               
this to the path migration for  most of these salmon not entering                                                               
Alaska waters.                                                                                                                  
10:54:59 AM                                                                                                                   
ERIC JORDAN,  Salmon Troller, testified  in support of HJR  5 and                                                               
relayed  that  he  has  been  a salmon  troller  for  decades,  a                                                               
profession passed  down from his  grandparents and on to  his own                                                               
grandchildren.    He stated  that  he  has  been an  activist  to                                                               
conserve, sustain, and enhance Alaska  salmon runs for all of his                                                               
career.  He characterized the  litigation against the trollers as                                                               
the  most vicious  attack on  Southeast Alaska  fisheries he  has                                                               
witnessed since  beginning as  a fisheries  activist.   He echoed                                                               
Mr. Donahoe's concern that uncertainty  caused by this lawsuit is                                                               
making it  extremely difficult to  hire and plan for  the season.                                                               
He asked the  committee to join the  individuals, businesses, and                                                               
communities that have rallied in support of this resolution.                                                                    
10:56:33 AM                                                                                                                   
DAVID  RICHY, Commercial  Troller, reminded  the committee  about                                                               
the  biological  opinion  ("bio-op")   issued  by  NMFS  that  he                                                               
believed  put all  Alaska  fisheries in  legal  jeopardy, and  he                                                               
agreed with a  previous testifier, Ms. Dougherty,  that the troll                                                               
fishery  was targeted  because it  was "low-hanging  fruit."   He                                                               
emphasized  that if  the lawsuit  prevails, it  sets a  precedent                                                               
that makes  every other King  salmon fishery vulnerable  to legal                                                               
action.   He  commended the  state's legal  statements about  the                                                               
case and highlighted its argument  that the Pacific Salmon Treaty                                                               
supersedes any bio-op made by NMFS.   In closing, he refenced the                                                               
fact  that there  has been  a continuous,  uninterrupted, chinook                                                               
run in  Southeast Alaska  for over  100 years  to argue  that the                                                               
troll  fishery   is  sustainable,  contrary  to   the  Wild  Fish                                                               
Conservatory's claims.                                                                                                          
10:58:47 AM                                                                                                                   
CHARLES  "CHARLIE" DIERCY  responded to  some of  the committee's                                                               
questions  from earlier  in  the discussion.    He reported  that                                                               
about  15 percent  of [trolling]  permits are  from other  states                                                               
like  Washington and  California.   He  opined  that Alaska  King                                                               
salmon, and specifically  King salmon caught by  trollers, is the                                                               
best  fish in  the world,  which this  lawsuit [obliterate].   He                                                               
emphasized  the  long history  of  data  collection the  trolling                                                               
fishery has,  especially in  comparison to  other fisheries.   He                                                               
continued with  anecdotal information  about the increase  of the                                                               
orca  population in  Ketchikan from  his experience  living there                                                               
since the  '70s, which  he indicated proved  that the  decline in                                                               
the  Puget Sound  orcas  must be  caused by  other  factors.   To                                                               
address  the  question  of   sustainability,  he  referenced  the                                                               
state's  constitution and  his belief  that  [trollers] have  not                                                               
violated it  by having an  unsustainable fishery.  He  wrapped up                                                               
his  testimony by  calling the  whole  issue a  "snow ball"  that                                                               
needs to be stopped before it gets too big.                                                                                     
11:01:41 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  ORTIZ thanked  Mr. Dersey  for his  testimony and                                                               
longtime experience in the trolling industry.                                                                                   
11:02:09 AM                                                                                                                   
JEFF   FARVOUR,  Board   Member,   Alaska  Longline   Fishermen's                                                               
Association,  stated that  trolling is  in the  top three  of the                                                               
most valuable commercial fisheries in  Alaska.  He explained that                                                               
trolling  provides year  round  employment,  and other  community                                                               
benefits such  as the  raw fish  tax.  This  tax goes  to fishing                                                               
communities  and helps  them with  harbor upkeep  and maintaining                                                               
their working waterfronts.   He referenced the  broad support for                                                               
HJR  5  he   has  seen  in  letters   and  other  community-based                                                               
resolutions.  He emphasized that  the range of both killer whales                                                               
and  their food  is  limited.   In  conclusion,  he declared  the                                                               
lawsuit a publicity stunt by  the Wild Fish Conservatory meant to                                                               
further "eliminate marine fisheries."                                                                                           
11:04:33 AM                                                                                                                   
MICHAEL KOHAN,  Science and Policy Director,  Sitka Salmon Share,                                                               
testified in  support of  HJR 5 based  on her  experience working                                                               
with  local  fishers  and  processors in  Alaska.    Her  company                                                               
supplies  Alaska  seafood,  including troll-caught  King  salmon,                                                               
directly to  home cooks across  the country, and she  shared that                                                               
closing  the  chinook  trolling fishery  not  only  would  impact                                                               
fishing communities,  but would have  great economic impact  to a                                                               
variety businesses  in Alaska.   She maintained that  her company                                                               
supports  efforts  toward  sustainability in  the  management  of                                                               
Alaska's  resources and  the  impacted  ecosystems but  disagreed                                                               
with the  merits of  the lawsuit,  characterizing it  as "lacking                                                               
scientific   basis,   irresponsible,  and   likely   irreversibly                                                               
detrimental to the troll fleet."                                                                                                
11:06:31 AM                                                                                                                   
LINDA  BEHNKEN, Executive  Director, Alaska  Longline Fishermen's                                                               
Association, emphasized  that the  longevity of  the 100-year-old                                                               
troll  fishery  is  a  testament  to  its  sustainability.    She                                                               
underscored  previous  comments  about  the  economic  impact  of                                                               
closing the fishery by mentioning  the communities and members of                                                               
her association that it would  negatively affect without any real                                                               
benefit to  the orcas [in Puget  Sound].  She referenced  a study                                                               
her  association worked  on to  discover "what  the real  threats                                                               
are"  to the  orcas in  Puget  Sound, which  revealed that  these                                                               
killer whales  are exposed to  some of the  highest concentration                                                               
of industrial  toxins of any marine  mammal in the world.   Among                                                               
other threats  to these  whales, she  listed noise  pollution and                                                               
general  water  pollution,  but   not  commercial  fishing.    In                                                               
comparison to  Alaska's efforts to  protect salmon  habitats, she                                                               
described  the   rest  of  the   Pacific  Northwest   as  "making                                                               
compromises"   in  these   efforts   since   they  lean   towards                                                               
industrialization by  building dams  and other  infrastructure to                                                               
support the  "nearly 5 million  people" now living in  the [Puget                                                               
Sound]  area.    She  claimed   that  when  it  comes  to  salmon                                                               
conservation,  "Alaska has  done their  part and  it is  time for                                                               
Washington to do theirs."                                                                                                       
11:09:40 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR VANCE,  after ascertaining that  there was no one  else who                                                               
wished  to  testify, closed  public  testimony  on  HJR 5.    She                                                               
announced  that  those who  were  unable  to testify  during  the                                                               
meeting  could submit  written testimony  to  the committee's  e-                                                               
11:10:53 AM                                                                                                                   
The committee took an at-ease from 11:10 a.m. to 11:13 a.m.                                                                     
11:13:38 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR VANCE invited discussion of amendments.                                                                                   
11:13:55 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE HIMSCHOOT moved to  adopt [Conceptual] Amendment 1                                                               
to HJR 5, as follows:                                                                                                           
     Page 2, line 16:                                                                                                           
     Between "and" and "Columbia River"                                                                                         
     Insert "lower"                                                                                                             
11:14:15 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  HIMSCHOOT explained  the proposed  amendment more                                                               
accurately describes a physical area  in the resolution by adding                                                               
the word "lower" to "Columbia River".                                                                                           
11:14:31 AM                                                                                                                   
[REPRESENTATIVE   CARPENTER]   objected   for  the   purpose   of                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  HIMSCHOOT  maintained  that the  purpose  of  the                                                               
amendment is  to give  the utmost  clarity as  to which  fish the                                                               
resolution is referencing.                                                                                                      
11:15:00 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE CARPENTER  removed his objection.   There being no                                                               
further  objection,  [Conceptual]  Amendment   1  to  HJR  5  was                                                               
11:15:25 AM                                                                                                                   
The committee took an at-ease from 11:15 a.m. to 11:16 a.m.                                                                     
11:15:59 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  VANCE ascertained  there were  no other  amendments to  be                                                               
11:16:14 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE MCCABE moved  to report HJR 5, as  amended, out of                                                               
committee  with  individual   recommendations  and  the  attached                                                               
fiscal  notes.    There  being no  objection,  CSHJR  5(FSH)  was                                                               
reported out of the House Special Committee on Fisheries.                                                                       
11:17:13 AM                                                                                                                   
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Special  Committee on  Fisheries meeting  was adjourned  at 11:17                                                               

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HJR 5 - Sponsor Statement.pdf HFSH 2/14/2023 10:00:00 AM
HJR 5 - v.S.PDF HFSH 2/14/2023 10:00:00 AM
HJR 5 - Testimony - Received as of 2.12.23.pdf HFSH 2/14/2023 10:00:00 AM
HJR 5 - Presentation - Fujioka 2.14.23.pdf HFSH 2/14/2023 10:00:00 AM
HJR 5 - Research KCAW Article 2.1.23.pdf HFSH 2/14/2023 10:00:00 AM
HJR 5 - Research ATA and ALFA Letter to Delegation 1.8.23.pdf HFSH 2/14/2023 10:00:00 AM
HJR 5 - Research ADFG Press Release 8.8.22.pdf HFSH 2/14/2023 10:00:00 AM
HJR 5 - Research - ATA and ALFA Orca White Paper Handout 12.7.22.pdf HFSH 2/14/2023 10:00:00 AM
HJR 5 - Research - ATA Troll Fishery 101 January 2023.pdf HFSH 2/14/2023 10:00:00 AM