Legislature(2023 - 2024)GRUENBERG 120

02/21/2023 10:00 AM House FISHERIES

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10:00:30 AM Start
10:02:28 AM Presentation(s): Alaska Bycatch Review Task Force
11:50:10 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Presentation: 2022 Final Report by Alaska Bycatch TELECONFERENCED
Review Task Force
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON FISHERIES                                                                            
                       February 21, 2023                                                                                        
                           10:00 a.m.                                                                                           
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Sarah Vance, Chair                                                                                               
Representative Kevin McCabe                                                                                                     
Representative Ben Carpenter                                                                                                    
Representative Craig Johnson                                                                                                    
Representative Louise Stutes                                                                                                    
Representative Rebecca Himschoot                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative CJ McCormick                                                                                                     
OTHER LEGISLATORS PRESENT                                                                                                     
Representative Mike Cronk                                                                                                       
Representative Dan Ortiz                                                                                                        
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
PRESENTATION(S):  ALASKA BYCATCH REVIEW TASK FORCE                                                                              
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
LINDA KOZAK, Member                                                                                                             
Alaska Bycatch Review Task Force                                                                                                
Kodiak, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Gave the Alaska Bycatch Review Task Force                                                                
presentation via PowerPoint.                                                                                                    
BRIAN GABRIEL, Member                                                                                                           
Alaska Bycatch Review Task Force                                                                                                
Kenai, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions during the Alaska                                                                     
Bycatch Review Task Force presentation.                                                                                         
KEVIN DELANEY, Member                                                                                                           
Alaska Bycatch Review Task Force                                                                                                
Kenai, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Answered   questions  during  the  Alaska                                                             
Bycatch Review Task Force presentation.                                                                                         
ERIK VELSKO, Member                                                                                                             
Alaska Bycatch Review Task Force                                                                                                
Homer, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Answered   questions  during  the  Alaska                                                             
Bycatch Review Task Force presentation.                                                                                         
STEPHANIE MADSEN, Member                                                                                                        
Alaska Bycatch Review Task Force                                                                                                
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Answered   questions  during  the  Alaska                                                             
Bycatch Review Task Force presentation.                                                                                         
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
10:00:30 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  SARAH   VANCE  called  the  House   Special  Committee  on                                                             
Fisheries  meeting   to  order  at  10:00   a.m.  Representatives                                                               
Carpenter, Stutes and Johnson were  present at the call to order.                                                               
Representatives McCabe  and Himschoot arrived as  the meeting was                                                               
in progress.  Also present were Representatives Ortiz and Cronk.                                                                
^PRESENTATION(S):  Alaska Bycatch Review Task Force                                                                             
       PRESENTATION(S):  Alaska Bycatch Review Task Force                                                                   
CHAIR VANCE  announced that the  only order of business  would be                                                               
the Alaska Bycatch Review Task Force presentation.                                                                              
10:02:28 AM                                                                                                                   
LINDA  KOZAK, Member,  Alaska Bycatch  Review Task  Force Member,                                                               
before  beginning the  Alaska Bycatch  Review  Task Force  (ABRT)                                                               
presentation via PowerPoint [hard  copy included in the committee                                                               
packet], suggested the other members  of the task force introduce                                                               
10:04:46 AM                                                                                                                   
BRIAN  GABRIEL,   Member,  Alaska  Bycatch  Review   Task  Force,                                                               
introduced himself and shared his background.                                                                                   
10:06:02 AM                                                                                                                   
KEVIN  DELANEY,   Member,  Alaska  Bycatch  Review   Task  Force,                                                               
introduced himself and provided his background.                                                                                 
10:07:36 AM                                                                                                                   
ERIK   VELSKO,  Member,   Alaska  Bycatch   Review  Task   Force,                                                               
introduced himself and shared his background.                                                                                   
10:08:31 AM                                                                                                                   
STEPHANIE  MADSEN,  Member,  Alaska Bycatch  Review  Task  Force,                                                               
introduced herself and shared her background.                                                                                   
10:08:53 AM                                                                                                                   
MS. KOZAK began the PowerPoint  presentation.  She drew attention                                                               
to information on slide 2, which read as follows:                                                                               
     Governor Dunleavy created  the 17-member Alaska Bycatch                                                                    
     Review  Task Force  (ABRT)  to  help better  understand                                                                    
     unintended bycatch  of high-value fishery  resources in                                                                    
     state and federal waters                                                                                                   
     Bycatch is  defined as: Fish  which are harvested  in a                                                                    
     fishery, but are not sold or kept                                                                                          
MS. KOZAK  noted the  link to  the full report,  as shown  at the                                                               
bottom of  slide 2.   She moved  on to slide  3, which  lists the                                                               
four objectives given the taskforce by Governor Mike Dunleavy:                                                                  
     • Study what impacts bycatch has on fisheries.                                                                             
     • Evaluate and recommend  policies informed by a better                                                                    
     understanding  of the  issue of  bycatch of  high-value                                                                    
     Alaska fishery resources.                                                                                                  
     •  Ensure  state   agencies  are  leveraging  available                                                                    
     resources to better understand the issue of bycatch.                                                                       
     • Utilize  the best available science  to inform policy                                                                    
     makers and the public about these issues.                                                                                  
MS. KOZAK  covered the  taskforce process, as  shown on  slide 4,                                                               
which read as follows:                                                                                                          
     club ABRT members agreed to operate on a consensus-based                                                                   
     club Focused on the high-value species of salmon, halibut                                                                  
     and  crab. Regions  addressed were  the Gulf  of Alaska                                                                    
     and  Bering  Sea. ABRT  did  not  address Southeast  or                                                                    
     Aleutian Islands.                                                                                                          
     club Four   committees   were   formed   and   prepared                                                                    
     recommendations which  were submitted to the  full Task                                                                    
     Force for review in August, 2022.                                                                                          
     club Recommendations were made on three categories; State                                                                  
     Engagement,     Research     and    Management.     All                                                                    
     recommendations  were  unanimously approved,  with  the                                                                    
     exception of one management proposal.                                                                                      
     club Final report (43 pages) was submitted  to Governor                                                                    
     Dunleavy on November 30, 2022.                                                                                             
10:12:22 AM                                                                                                                   
MS.  KOZAK,  moving to  slides  5-6,  listed the  following  four                                                               
committees   of  the   taskforce:      Science,  Technology   and                                                               
Innovation;  Western Alaska  Salmon; Gulf  of Alaska  Halibut and                                                               
Salmon; and  Bering Sea  and Gulf  of Alaska Crab.   As  shown on                                                               
slide 7,  she relayed that  the taskforce  met 45 times  in 2022.                                                               
Relating  to   slide  8,   she  said   the  taskforce   heard  30                                                               
presentations, and a  partial list of presenters is  shown on the                                                               
slide.  She showed a breakdown  of the presentations, as shown on                                                               
slides 9-12.                                                                                                                    
10:15:49 AM                                                                                                                   
MS. KOZAK  named the three categories  shown on slide 13:   state                                                               
engagement,  research,   and  management.     Details   on  state                                                               
engagement are shown on slides 14-16, including:                                                                                
     Information and Communication                                                                                              
     Establish  a  process   for  providing  bycatch-related                                                                    
     information and resources to Alaskans  in a format that                                                                    
     is understandable and easily accessible.                                                                                   
     Continue to offer the public  an opportunity to provide                                                                    
     input  on  North  Pacific Council  issues  before  each                                                                    
     meeting.  Consideration should  be given  to additional                                                                    
     methods  to   seek  input  from   stakeholders,  tribal                                                                    
     entities and communities on bycatch issues.                                                                                
10:20:26 AM                                                                                                                   
MS. KOZAK covered the details regarding research, which begin on                                                                
slide 17, as follows:                                                                                                           
     [slide 17]                                                                                                                 
     General  Recommendations  for   Process  in  Developing                                                                    
     Research Priorities                                                                                                        
     The  Task   Force  recommends  the  state   develop  an                                                                    
     inclusive  process  for identifying  bycatch  research,                                                                    
     broadly   share   those   research   needs   and   seek                                                                    
     partnerships to fund the necessary research.                                                                               
     logicalnot Develop State bycatch research priorities, utilizing                                                            
     input   from   communities,   Alaska   Native   tribes,                                                                    
     industry,  and  the  public,   to  share  with  funding                                                                    
     entities that would help  identify and acquire research                                                                    
     logicalnot Implement strategies to encourage and facilitate                                                                
     industry/agency cooperative research  to reduce bycatch                                                                    
     and associated mortality.                                                                                                  
     logicalnot Create methods for collaboration with Alaska Native                                                             
     tribes,  organizations and  other research  entities to                                                                    
     better  track  proposed  or  funded  bycatch  research,                                                                    
     along  with  developing opportunities  for  cooperative                                                                    
     projects and combined reporting of findings.                                                                               
MS. KOZAK covered the information on slide 18, which lists:                                                                     
gear modifications/improved technology; update discard mortality                                                                
rates; and shifting distribution patterns.                                                                                      
10:25:03 AM                                                                                                                   
MS.  KOZAK discussed  the research  recommendations on  slide 19,                                                               
which also  shows a graph:  Improve our ability to  determine the                                                               
stock of origin of chum and  Chinook salmon taken as bycatch; and                                                               
Reduce  bycatch through  Improved  understanding of  distribution                                                               
and migration patterns of Alaska  chum and Chinook salmon stocks.                                                               
Slide 20, regarding research recommendations read:                                                                              
     Research   that  helps   us  understand   the  relative                                                                    
     importance   of  particular   mechanisms  for   driving                                                                    
     abundance of Western Alaska Chinook and chum                                                                               
     logicalnot Marine migration patterns relative to groundfish                                                                
     logicalnot Improved stock-specific information.                                                                            
     logicalnot Improved understanding of fishery impacts.                                                                      
MS. KOZAK showed slide 21, which read:                                                                                          
     Research on additional non-adult abundance estimates                                                                       
     logicalnot Critical survival periods for Western Alaska salmon.                                                            
     logicalnot Understand how ocean/climate conditions impact                                                                  
     future runs.                                                                                                               
     logicalnot Role of diet, health, and disease on survival and                                                               
     spawning success.                                                                                                          
MS. KOZAK showed slide 22, which read:                                                                                          
     Note:  Much  of  the  salmon  research  recommendations                                                                    
     apply to both the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska.                                                                           
     Gulf    of    Alaska     specific    salmon    research                                                                    
     logicalnot Conduct annual genetic and spatial assessment of                                                                
     Gulf of Alaska (GOA) Chinook salmon.                                                                                       
MS. KOZAK moved to slide 23, regarding the recommendation for                                                                   
Gulf of Alaska halibut, and gave the following information:                                                                     
     Top Priority                                                                                                               
     Investigate  better  ways  to  estimate  total  halibut                                                                    
     removals and discard mortality                                                                                             
     logicalnot Impacts of repeated capture/discarding of females,                                                              
     sublegal and legal males.                                                                                                  
     logicalnot Impacts of fishing gear on habitat.                                                                             
     logicalnot Increase tagging to better understand movement                                                                  
     between management areas.                                                                                                  
     logicalnot Investigate halibut diet and growth rate; changes in                                                            
     length at age.                                                                                                             
     logicalnot Studies on commercial fishery size limit and trade-                                                             
     logicalnot Determine relative fecundity of halibut based on                                                                
     size and age.                                                                                                              
10:27:40 AM                                                                                                                   
MS. KOZAK discussed the research recommendations for crab, shown                                                                
on slides 24-25, as follows:                                                                                                    
     [slide 24]                                                                                                                 
     Address  observed and  unobserved  mortality caused  by                                                                    
     gear interactions                                                                                                          
     logicalnot Impacts of repeated capture/discarding.                                                                         
     logicalnot Address data gaps regarding uncertainties in the                                                                
     directed crab  fisheries and  unobserved state  pot cod                                                                    
     logicalnot Research habitat disturbance utilizing tools such as                                                            
     the fishing effects model.                                                                                                 
     [slide 25]                                                                                                                 
     Continued research  on critical crab habitat  to better                                                                    
     inform on open and closed commercial fishing areas                                                                         
     logicalnot Tagging studies and other research to determine                                                                 
     seasonal movement and distribution.                                                                                        
     logicalnot Improve understanding of preferred habitat at                                                                   
     various life stages.                                                                                                       
     logicalnot Examine Vessel Monitoring System use in developing                                                              
     essential fish habitat models.                                                                                             
MS. KOZAK moved on to slides 26-27, covering management                                                                         
recommendations, which read:                                                                                                    
     [slide 26]                                                                                                                 
     Management  recommendations   were  developed   at  the                                                                    
     committee   level  after   many  meetings,   dozens  of                                                                    
     informational  presentations  and public  comment.  The                                                                    
     ABRT  had additional  discussion,  made some  revisions                                                                    
     and came to consensus on all but one issue.                                                                                
     The   ABRT  considered   and   adopted  17   management                                                                    
     recommendations   by   unanimous  consent   for   fixed                                                                    
     (longline and  pot) and trawl  gear for the  Bering Sea                                                                    
     and Gulf of Alaska.                                                                                                        
     [slide 27]                                                                                                                 
     The  following recommendation  applies to  all species,                                                                    
     gear groups and regions                                                                                                    
     Bycatch Utilization                                                                                                        
     The State  of Alaska should support  taking incremental                                                                    
     measures  through  the  regulatory process  to  improve                                                                    
     bycatch utilization with a  particular focus on species                                                                    
     that  are otherwise  marketable,  but  are caught  with                                                                    
     non-targeted  gear or  discards in  a directed  fishery                                                                    
     that are required by regulation.                                                                                           
10:30:29 AM                                                                                                                   
MS. KOZAK brought attention to information on slides 28-30,                                                                     
management recommendations for the Bering Sea, which read:                                                                      
     [slide 28]                                                                                                                 
     Bering Sea Fixed Gear (longline and pot)                                                                                   
     logicalnot Evaluate the observer coverage and monitoring for                                                               
     the directed crab and pot cod fisheries.                                                                                   
     logicalnot Evaluate possible seasonal closures in hot spot                                                                 
     areas for  pot gear  both inside  and outside  of state                                                                    
     managed waters.                                                                                                            
     logicalnot Examine the impact of retaining all legal crab in                                                               
     the directed crab fishery and counting toward IFQ.                                                                         
     logicalnot Recommend a rationalization program for the 60' and                                                             
     greater pot cod vessels as  a way to manage bycatch and                                                                    
     examine   prohibited  species   caps  as   part  of   a                                                                    
     rationalization program.                                                                                                   
     [slide 29]                                                                                                                 
     Bering Sea Trawl Gear                                                                                                      
     logicalnot Work to achieve real time genetic reporting that                                                                
     provides the  composition of  Western Alaska  salmon in                                                                    
     the bycatch.  This can  then be  used in  management of                                                                    
     the  pollock  fishery to  avoid  areas  and times  when                                                                    
     Western Alaska salmon are on  the grounds in the Bering                                                                    
     logicalnot The State should work to establish a scientific-                                                                
     based  chum salmon  cap to  reduce  bycatch of  Western                                                                    
     Alaska  salmon in  the pollock  fishery  in the  Bering                                                                    
     [slide 30]                                                                                                                 
     Bering Sea Trawl Gear                                                                                                      
     logicalnot Review effectiveness of fixed open and closed areas                                                             
     for  trawling  and  continue   to  examine  methods  to                                                                    
     develop flexible spatial management.                                                                                       
     logicalnot A review is recommended for the Bering Sea trawl                                                                
     prohibited species  caps (PSC) in relation  to crab, to                                                                    
     be supported by the State  of Alaska. This review would                                                                    
     examine the  impacts to the  resource and  trawl sector                                                                    
     if trawl crab PSC were  to be applied across the entire                                                                    
     Bering Sea, instead of only the current sub-areas.                                                                         
MS. KOZAK covered the information from slides 31-34, regarding                                                                  
management recommendation for the Gulf of Alaska, which read:                                                                   
     [slide 31]                                                                                                                 
     Gulf of Alaska Fixed Gear (longline and pot)                                                                               
     logicalnot Following gear modification research, consider                                                                  
     regulations for  the directed crab fishery  and pot cod                                                                    
     fishery   to  reduce   incidental   take  and   discard                                                                    
     logicalnot Address the lack of monitoring in the directed                                                                  
     Tanner crab and state waters pot cod fisheries.                                                                            
     [slide 32]                                                                                                                 
     Gulf of Alaska Trawl Gear                                                                                                  
     logicalnot Recommend the State of Alaska initiate review of the                                                            
     open  and  closed  areas  in the  Gulf  of  Alaska  for                                                                    
     pelagic  and   non-pelagic  trawl  gear   and  consider                                                                    
     closing new/additional  areas to reduce the  bycatch of                                                                    
     halibut, salmon and Tanner crab.                                                                                           
     logicalnot To better quantify removal of prohibited species, it                                                            
     is recommended  that trawl catcher vessels  in the Gulf                                                                    
     of Alaska  be required  to have 100%  observer coverage                                                                    
     when  engaged in  non-pelagic trawling.  It is  further                                                                    
     recommended  that the  State of  Alaska work  to obtain                                                                    
     funding, either through  specific appropriations and/or                                                                    
     grants for the additional coverage.                                                                                        
10:32:37 AM                                                                                                                   
MS.  KOZAK,  in  response  to  Representative  Stutes,  said  the                                                               
proposal she had been speaking to  was specific to trawl gear and                                                               
a lack of monitoring.  She  noted that the tanner crab fishery in                                                               
the  Gulf of  Alaska does  not have  observer coverage    in  the                                                               
Bering Sea it does.                                                                                                             
10:34:18 AM                                                                                                                   
MS. KOZAK, in  response to Chair Vance, talked  about the history                                                               
of observer coverage percentages.                                                                                               
10:36:38 AM                                                                                                                   
MS.  KOZAK, in  response to  Representative Ortiz,  described 100                                                               
percent  observance versus  "200  percent,"  which she  explained                                                               
just means  there are  two observers,  day and  night.   To Chair                                                               
Vance, she said she could not give more exact details.                                                                          
10:38:37 AM                                                                                                                   
MS.  MADSEN,  in  response  to  a  question  from  Representative                                                               
McCabe, said  federal law  requires two  observers on  board, and                                                               
that  does  not  include  the  captain.   She  said  100  percent                                                               
observer  coverage usually  applies  to  "catcher vessels"  where                                                               
there is  also an observer on  shore in the plant.   Regarding 30                                                               
percent coverage,  she shared  that "all  catch is  calculated by                                                               
those vessels  that have  coverage."  In  response to  a question                                                               
about mortality  rate, she  said, "Trawl  is usually  100 percent                                                               
MS. KOZAK noted the different  mortality rates for crab depending                                                               
on fishing method.                                                                                                              
10:42:12 AM                                                                                                                   
MS.  KOZAK, in  response  to Representative  Ortiz, provided  the                                                               
background for current research.  She stated that halibut funding                                                               
is on-going.  To a follow-up  question, she said funding  is both                                                               
at the federal and state level.                                                                                                 
10:43:43 AM                                                                                                                   
MS.  KOZAK returned  to  the PowerPoint,  to  the information  on                                                               
slide 33, which read:                                                                                                           
     Gulf of Alaska Trawl Gear                                                                                                  
     logicalnot It is recommended that a regulatory requirement be                                                              
     approved for  the Gulf of  Alaska pelagic  trawl fleet,                                                                    
     including any tenders of pelagic  trawl caught fish, to                                                                    
     have   100%  electronic   monitoring.  It   is  further                                                                    
     recommended  that   the  State  of  Alaska   work  with                                                                    
     National   Marine   Fisheries  Service,   our   federal                                                                    
     delegation, and  others to work  to acquire  funding to                                                                    
     install  electronic  monitoring  equipment on  all  GOA                                                                    
     catchers and tenders.                                                                                                      
     logicalnot It is recommended the State of Alaska propose that                                                              
     the  NPFMC consider  development of  an abundance-based                                                                    
     management program for halibut bycatch  in the GOA as a                                                                    
     way to  address bycatch during fluctuations  of halibut                                                                    
     biomass. 3                                                                                                                 
10:45:42 AM                                                                                                                   
MS.  KOZAK,  to  a  question  from  Representative  McCabe  about                                                               
halibut "high grading," deferred to Brian Gabriel.                                                                              
10:46:38 AM                                                                                                                   
MR.   GABRIEL   discussed   mortality,  size   limit,   and   the                                                               
International     Pacific    Halibut     Commission's    (IPHC's)                                                               
consideration of eliminating "the U32 requirement."                                                                             
10:48:04 AM                                                                                                                   
MS. KOZAK noted  that IPHC determined that at this  point in time                                                               
it would not  remove the under 32-inch requirement.   In response                                                               
to a  follow-up question from Representative  McCabe about making                                                               
the price  per pound the same  for all sizes of  halibut to avoid                                                               
high grading, indicated  that this issue is not as  big a problem                                                               
as  it once  was.    She said  the  mortality  rate for  handling                                                               
halibut is "not that high."                                                                                                     
10:50:22 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. VELSKO  confirmed the  problem may have  been greater  in the                                                               
past but  is not significant  now, with a 50-60  cents difference                                                               
between smaller and larger fish.                                                                                                
10:52:28 AM                                                                                                                   
MS. KOZAK,  in response to  Chair Vance, spoke about  the process                                                               
of reviewing abundance space management.                                                                                        
10:54:03 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. GABRIEL,  referring back  to a  question previously  asked by                                                               
Representative Ortiz, spoke about  lost gear in halibut fisheries                                                               
and regulations for halibut trolling.                                                                                           
MS. KOZAK returned to the PowerPoint, to slide 34, which read:                                                                  
     Gulf of Alaska Trawl Gear                                                                                                  
     logicalnot It is recommended that the State  of  Alaska                                                                    
     investigate the  value of  requiring full  retention of                                                                    
     Tanner crab in all GOA  trawl fisheries for a period of                                                                    
     time to adequately assess removals.                                                                                        
     logicalnot As a means of reducing and managing bycatch and                                                                 
     associated mortality  of high value species  within the                                                                    
     Gulf    of    Alaska,    it   is    recommended    that                                                                    
     rationalization-type management tools be considered.                                                                       
MS. KOZAK,  in response to  Chair Vance, offered  details related                                                               
to the term "rationalization-type management."                                                                                  
10:57:37 AM                                                                                                                   
MS. KOZAK, in response to  Representative Cronk, said trolling is                                                               
done on the  East and West Coasts of the  United States, but said                                                               
she cannot  speak as to  the Hawaiian  or Caribbean Islands.   In                                                               
response  to   Representative  McCabe,   she  talked   about  the                                                               
individual  fishing  quota  (IFQ).   She  then  acknowledged  the                                                               
expertise of the members of the taskforce.                                                                                      
11:01:04 AM                                                                                                                   
MS. KOZAK  returned to the  PowerPoint, to slide 35,  to describe                                                               
research and management relationships.                                                                                          
11:02:44 AM                                                                                                                   
MS. KOZAK,  in response to Representative  Himschoot, offered her                                                               
understanding  that  while the  chum  and  chinook salmon  crisis                                                               
occurring in  the Yukon-Kuskokwim region  was a catalyst  for the                                                               
governor's administrative  order, he  expanded the  scope.   To a                                                               
follow-up question, she deferred to Ms. Madsen for response.                                                                    
MS. MADSEN talked about a  salmon by-catch committee and upcoming                                                               
report in April.   She mentioned 67 percent  by-catch being Asian                                                               
in  origin,  which  makes  it  difficult  to  develop  mitigation                                                               
measures for Western Alaska.                                                                                                    
11:05:28 AM                                                                                                                   
MS. KOZAK added that the  Board of Fisheries currently is working                                                               
on Area  M salmon proposals.   She  said 3.8 billion  chum salmon                                                               
are released  annually.   She echoed  Ms. Madsen's  comment about                                                               
the tremendous amount  of Asian fish annually.  In  response to a                                                               
comment by  Representative McCabe about determining  the genetics                                                               
of fish, she deferred to Ms. Madsen.                                                                                            
MS. MADSEN said cannot respond to that question.                                                                                
11:08:28 AM                                                                                                                   
MS.  KOZAK,  in response  to  Representative  Ortiz, said  ABRT's                                                               
recommendations  went to  the governor.   Recommendations  on how                                                               
bycatch research  is done are  reviewed by the  Alaska Department                                                               
of Fish & Game, she indicated.                                                                                                  
CHAIR VANCE stated  the purpose of the  taskforce presentation is                                                               
to  determine the  legislature's next  steps regarding  research,                                                               
jurisdiction, and management [of the state's fisheries].                                                                        
11:11:55 AM                                                                                                                   
MS. KOZAK, in response to  Representative Ortiz, talked about the                                                               
appointment of  taskforce members.   She noted that the  State of                                                               
Alaska has a seat on the North Pacific Council.                                                                                 
11:13:16 AM                                                                                                                   
MS.  KOZAK,  in response  to  remarks  from Representative  Cronk                                                               
about the disappearance of salmon  from the Yukon River, said she                                                               
is not  familiar with  Western Alaska.   In response  to comments                                                               
from Representative  McCabe regarding  the crucial need  for fish                                                               
to keep some cultures  alive, she said it was a  big job to study                                                               
fisheries in the  Bering Sea and the Gulf of  Alaska.  She agreed                                                               
there may be a need for  targeted taskforce advisory groups.  She                                                               
said ABRT  made a recommendation  for a permanent  advisory body,                                                               
but as  yet no final decisions  have been made on  development of                                                               
11:17:37 AM                                                                                                                   
MR.  VELSKO replied  to  previous  questions from  Representative                                                               
McCabe  regarding Canadian  management  of  bycatch and  observer                                                               
11:22:41 AM                                                                                                                   
MS.  MADSEN  noted  that  vessel  catch  information  is  on  the                                                               
National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) website.                                                                               
11:23:41 AM                                                                                                                   
MR.  VELSKO, in  response to  a question  from Representative  C.                                                               
Johnson, said  he does  not know what  percentage of  catch falls                                                               
under the category of "zero observer."                                                                                          
11:25:40 AM                                                                                                                   
MS.  KOZAK,  in  response  to   a  question  from  Representative                                                               
Carpenter about  whether consideration  had been  made as  to the                                                               
relation  of the  technology used  by the  fisheries to  bycatch,                                                               
said it  had been,  indirectly; one  of the  recommendations from                                                               
the taskforce  was improvement  of technology  and for  the fixed                                                               
gear  fleet   to  put  some  modifications   of  technology  into                                                               
regulation.  In  response to a follow-up  question, she explained                                                               
that  the taskforce  had just  9.5 months  to do  its work,  thus                                                               
limited its discussion topics.                                                                                                  
11:31:24 AM                                                                                                                   
MS.  KOZAK, in  response  to Chair  Vance,  offered some  history                                                               
regarding   the   MagnusonStevens    Fishery   Conservation   and                                                               
Management Act.                                                                                                                 
11:34:23 AM                                                                                                                   
MS.  KOZAK, in  response  to  Representative McCabe's  expressing                                                               
frustration  that too  many entities  manage Alaska's  fisheries,                                                               
pointed out that within three  miles [of Alaska's coastline], the                                                               
state  manages  its  fisheries;   outside  of  that  the  federal                                                               
government   manages  the   fisheries,   and   that  process   is                                                               
"convoluted."   In  response to  a follow-up  question, she  said                                                               
allowed  catch  in  halibut  sport  fishing     specifically  the                                                               
biological  management  of the  halibut  -  is regulated  by  the                                                               
International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC).                                                                                
11:37:51 AM                                                                                                                   
MS.  MADSEN, in  response to  questions asked  by Chair  Vance on                                                               
behalf  of the  public, explained  the concept  of throwing  back                                                               
bycatch.  Prohibited species must  be thrown back; they cannot be                                                               
sent to  foodbanks; in  general, they are  those that  have "high                                                               
value."   There is by-catch  that can be kept,  but only up  to a                                                               
certain level.  She clarified that  salmon is allowed to be given                                                               
to foodbanks,  as is  halibut.  She  noted that  SeaShare manages                                                               
the fish  to foodbank operations  out of  Bainbridge, Washington,                                                               
but with locations in many parts of Alaska.                                                                                     
MS.  KOZAK noted  that  the taskforce  had  heard a  presentation                                                               
given by SeaShare.                                                                                                              
MS.  MADSEN continued  sharing information  about  bycatch.   She                                                               
said  she is  not  aware  of anything  that  was  changed by  the                                                               
aforementioned Act as relates to the  way bycatch is managed.  In                                                               
response to  a previous  question from  Representative Carpenter,                                                               
she spoke  about the  number of great  climate scientists  in the                                                               
North Pacific Region.                                                                                                           
11:45:07 AM                                                                                                                   
MS.  KOZAK,  in  response  to   a  question  from  Representative                                                               
Carpenter as to  whether a gillnetter must follow  the same rules                                                               
regarding bycatch as  does a trawler, answered yes.   In response                                                               
to follow-up  clarification that Representative  Carpenter sought                                                               
to  know whether  the risk  is  the same,  she said  that is  not                                                               
something the taskforce addressed.                                                                                              
CHAIR VANCE  thanked the presenters  and speakers for  their work                                                               
on the taskforce.                                                                                                               
11:50:10 AM                                                                                                                   
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Special  Committee on  Fisheries meeting  was adjourned  at 11:50                                                               

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
ABRT Report to House Fisheries Committee 2.21.23.pdf HFSH 2/21/2023 10:00:00 AM
ABRT Final Report 2022.pdf HFSH 2/21/2023 10:00:00 AM