Legislature(1997 - 1998)

02/12/1998 01:20 PM RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
         HOUSE RESOURCES STANDING COMMITTEE                                    
                 February 12, 1998                                             
                     1:20 p.m.                                                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                
                                                                               
Representative Bill Hudson, Co-Chairman                                        
Representative Scott Ogan, Co-Chairman                                         
Representative Beverly Masek, Vice Chair                                       
Representative Ramona Barnes                                                   
Representative Fred Dyson                                                      
Representative Joe Green (via teleconference)                                  
Representative William K.(Bill) Williams                                       
                                                                               
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                 
                                                                               
Representative Irene Nicholia                                                  
Representative Reggie Joule                                                    
                                                                               
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                             
                                                                               
* HOUSE BILL NO. 182                                                           
"An Act relating to the qualifications of the state forester."                 
                                                                               
     - MOVED CSHB 182(RES) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                    
                                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO. 310                                                             
"An Act relating to the utilization of groundfish; and providing               
for an effective date."                                                        
                                                                               
     - MOVED HB 310 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                           
HOUSE BILL NO. 285                                                             
"An Act relating to suspension or revocation of commercial fishing             
permits and privileges."                                                       
                                                                               
     - BILL HEARING CANCELLED                                                  
(* First public hearing)                                                       
                                                                               
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                
                                                                               
BILL: HB 182                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: QUALIFICATIONS OF STATE FORESTER                                  
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVES(S) WILLIAMS                                        
                                                                               
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                          
03/07/97       584     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                  
03/07/97       584     (H)  RESOURCES                                          
02/12/98               (H)  RES AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                         
                                                                               
BILL: HB 310                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: UTILIZATION OF GROUNDFISH                                         
                                                                               
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVES(S) AUSTERMAN                                       
                                                                               
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                          
01/12/98      2025     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                  

01/12/98 2026 (H) FISHERIES, RESOURCES

01/28/98 (H) FSH AT 5:00 PM CAPITOL 124

01/30/98 (H) MINUTE(FSH)

01/30/98 2179 (H) FSH RPT 4DP

01/30/98 2179 (H) DP: OGAN, IVAN, HODGINS, KUBINA

01/30/98 2179 (H) AUSTERMAN

01/30/98 2179 (H) 2 ZERO FNS (DPS, F&G)

01/30/98 2179 (H) REFERRED TO RESOURCES 02/12/98 (H) RES AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 124 WITNESS REGISTER TOM BOUTIN (Address not provided) Telephone: (Not provided) POSITION STATEMENT: Provided testimony on HB 182. JEFF JAHNKE, State Forester Division of Forestry Department of Natural Resources 400 Willoughby, 3rd Floor Juneau, Alaska 99801-1724 Telephone: (907) 465-3379 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided testimony in support of HB 182. WAYNE NICOLLS, Representative Alaska Society of American Foresters 9723 Trappers Lane Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (Not provided) POSITION STATEMENT: Provided testimony in support of HB 182. AMY DAUGHERTY, Legislative Administrative Assistant to Representative Alan Austerman Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 434 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-2487 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided sponsor statement for Representative Alan Austerman, sponsor of HB 310. RICK LAUBER, Representative North Pacific Fishery Management Council; Alaska Manager/Vice President Pacific Seafood Processors Association 321 Highland Drive Juneau, Alaska 99801-1442 Telephone: (907) 586-6366 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided testimony in support of HB 310. GERON BRUCE, Legislative Liaison Office of the Commissioner Department of Fish and Game P.O. Box 25526 Juneau, Alaska 99802-5526 Telephone: (907) 465-6141 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided testimony in support of HB 310. CHRIS BLACKBURN P.O. Box 948 Kodiak, Alaska 99615 Telephone: (907) 486-3033 POSITION STATEMENT: Provide testimony in support of HB 310. ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 98-10, SIDE A Number 0001 CO-CHAIRMAN BILL HUDSON called the House Resources Standing Committee meeting to order at 1:20 p.m. Members present at the call to order were Representatives Hudson, Ogan, Dyson, Green and Williams. Representatives Masek and Barnes arrived at 1:25 p.m. and 1:30 p.m., respectively. HB 182 - QUALIFICATIONS OF STATE FORESTER CO-CHAIRMAN HUDSON announced the first order of business was House Bill No. 182, "An Act relating to the qualifications of the state forester." Number 0113 REPRESENTATIVE BILL WILLIAMS, sponsor of HB 182, explained he introduced the bill to further strengthen the state's forestry program. The state already has one of the toughest Forest Practices Act in the nation. And, there has been legislation introduced by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate to make the act even stronger. Thus, HB 182 follows the trend to make the state's forestry program the best in the country. The bill would require the head of the Division of Forestry to have a bachelors degree or higher from a program accredited by the Society of American Foresters (SAF) and three years of field experience. The state's forests are becoming even more important with the decrease of available federal timber. Therefore, it is necessary to have a professional (indis.) in the division where approximately 70 percent of employees are either professional foresters or forestry technicians. The bill would also give the Alaska Fire Chiefs Association a formal opportunity to provide input during the hiring process. He encouraged the committee members to pass the bill from the House Resources Standing Committee. Number 0289 TOM BOUTIN stated he first moved to Alaska in 1973 at the age of 23. It is an excellent idea to consult with the Alaska Fire Chiefs Association for the selection of a state forester and other issues that come before the Division of Forestry. However, he is concerned about the current deputy state forester, a lady who has been acting state forester at least two times under different administrations. She is very well qualified, but she grew up in Nome. She is a contemporary of Representative Richard Foster. She attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks and her degree is in geology. The bill would eliminate her as a potential candidate for state forester at any time in the future. He said, "When you have been out of school for so long, it is more what you have learned along the way than how your degree might read." Number 0449 REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAMS stated he has been talking with Mr. Boutin over the past few days in regards to his concerns. If there was a way to fix the bill for him, he would, but as it reads now it is good for the state. Number 0479 REPRESENTATIVE BEVERLY MASEK asked Representative Williams whether there have been problems in the past with the way the division has been run and what was his reasoning for the bill. CO-CHAIRMAN HUDSON asked Representative Masek to hold her question. Number 0532 JEFF JAHNKE, State Forester, Division of Forestry, Department of Natural Resources, stated we support the intent of the bill. It is important that the Alaska Fire Chiefs Association has input into the selection of state foresters because they are a major cooperator of state forestry activities. The language regarding qualifications is more restrictive than necessary so we recommend the language refer to the "definition of a professional forester as defined by the SAF" rather than "graduation from a SAF certified institution." In April of 1997 the Board of Forestry looked at the bill and unanimously agreed to include the Alaska Fire Chiefs Association as part of the selection process, but failed to support the requirement of a bachelors degree and three years of field experience. Number 0636 REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAMS explained he had been in contact with the commissioner and agreed to the changes that are in the bill today. Number 0684 WAYNE NICOLLS, Representative, Alaska Society of American Foresters, read the following statement into the record: "The Alaska Society of American Foresters believes, consistent with the national Society's position relative to federal resource management agencies, that Alaska's state resource management agencies should be lead by professionals pertinent to the agencies' responsibilities. "As regards to the Division of Forestry, we believe the state's best interests in behalf of professional scientific management of the state's forest resources, are best served by a professional forester. Requirements for professional membership in the Society of American Foresters (SAF) should serve as a working definition for this purpose. They follow: "A. Must be a graduate of an SAF accredited forestry curriculum or of a candidate curriculum for accreditation or, "B. be a recipient of a graduate degree in forestry from an institution that has an SAF accredited forestry curriculum or one that is a candidate for accreditation or, "C. be a scientist or practitioner who holds a bachelor's or higher degree within the broad field of forestry based on a curriculum that is neither SAF accredited nor a candidate for accreditation and who has three or more years of qualifying experience within the broad field of forestry. "The characteristics of natural resources are such that their most effective management should not be subject to frequent leadership and personnel turnover and policy shifts that preclude continuity. "We support House Bill 182 to the extent that it would require a professional forester to fill the position of Director of the Division of Forestry, Department of Natural Resources, also called the State Forester." Number 0839 CO-CHAIRMAN SCOTT OGAN commented that the bill says a bachelor's or higher degree in a forestry-related program and stated there is a bachelor of art degree and bachelor of science degree. A bachelor of science is more of a discipline than a bachelor or art. He asked Mr. Nicolls whether a bachelor of art would be enough to be a state forester. Number 0859 MR. NICOLLS replied it would depend on what it is in. CO-CHAIRMAN OGAN stated the bill says a forestry-related program. MR. NICOLLS replied the criteria in the bill are directly out of the membership requirements for SAF. They are broadly interpreted - experience is the lynchpin for membership. It just says bachelor's degree, it does not specify bachelor of science. It was intended to be a biological science, but it has not been restricted to that. He knows of a member who has a degree in theology. Number 0922 REPRESENTATIVE JOE GREEN noted as well that the degree is not specified. He wondered whether there could be an environmentally sanctioned program, for example, that would pass muster. Number 0953 MR. NICOLLS replied, "I would say so." REPRESENTATIVE GREEN stated he is concerned that the bill would prevent the state from wanting a forester who would promote the development of a renewable resource like our forests, for example. MR. NICOLLS replied, "I don't think that would be precluded by that." The breadth of forestry includes a lot of things beyond timber management, for example. It is entirely possible that there are people with forest degrees who could not begin to administer a timber program. It would come with the screening of the applicants. The bill calls for basic qualification requirements. At last count, there are 62 accredited forestry curriculum programs. There is a large pool of candidates out there. And, all of the state foresters that he knows would have met the qualifications. Number 1048 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked Mr. Nicolls whether the 62 programs mentioned are accredited by the SAF. MR. NICOLLS replied, "Yes." Number 1075 CO-CHAIRMAN HUDSON announced the chair would like to have a motion to adopt the proposed committee substitute. Number 1082 REPRESENTATIVE RAMONA BARNES made a motion to adopt the proposed committee substitute for HB 182, version 0-LS0627\B, Luckhaupt, 2/10/98. There being no objection, it was so adopted. Number 1102 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN referred the committee members to page 1, line 13, "(2) at least three years of field experience in forestry", and asked Representative Williams whether three years is adequate. Number 1126 REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAMS replied he believes so. It was also recommended by the Alaska Society of American Foresters. Number 1145 CO-CHAIRMAN OGAN made a motion to move the proposed committee substitute for HB 182, version 0-LS0627\B, Luckhaupt, 2/10/98, from the committee with individual recommendations and the attached zero fiscal note. There being no objection, CSHB 182(RES) moved from the House Resources Standing Committee. HB 310 - UTILIZATION OF GROUNDFISH CO-CHAIRMAN HUDSON announced the next order of business was House Bill No. 310, "An Act relating to the utilization of groundfish; and providing for an effective date." Number 1203 AMY DAUGHERTY, Legislative Administrative Assistant to Representative Alan Austerman, Alaska State Legislature, explained HB 310 would extend to other groundfish species the current ban in state law regarding the waste of pollock. It would enable the Board of Fisheries to require processors to meet minimal standards for the utilization of other groundfish in addition to pollock, similar to regulations adopted by the secretary of commerce for offshore processors. The legislation is necessary because current state law only prohibits the waste of pollock, not other groundfish species such as, Pacific cod, rock sole and yellowfin sole. Pacific cod is already affected by federal law, and rock and yellowfin sole will go into effect in 2003. MS. DAUGHERTY explained in the bill packet for the committee members is an excerpt from the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act that talks about bycatch reduction. It is included to point out that bycatch reduction is a step-by- step process that will be revisited every year for the next four years. Information from the "Federal Register" is also included that talks about the improved retention/improved utilization program and how it has been addressed by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council. MS. DAUGHERTY stated, essentially, the catcher boat operators, required by federal regulations to retain pollock and cod, need the processors to fall under regulations to require them to take those products as well. Number 1339 RICK LAUBER, Representative, North Pacific Fishery Management Council; Alaska Manager/Vice President, Pacific Seafood Processors Association, explained the state of Alaska has had a retention program for pollock for many years. House Bill 310 is an offshoot of the roe-stripping ban on salmon and other products in Alaska. Alaska has a philosophy of banning wanton waste and the bill is a continuation of that philosophy. The council has been attempting for a number of years to get the offshore factory trawler fleets to improve their utilization and retention of their waste. An amendment was passed and approved by the United States Secretary of Commerce that went into effect this year that requires them to retain their pollock and cod. In the year 2003 other species will come to play. This has not been the situation in Alaska for onshore processors because they fully utilize all species. Thus, to level the playing field, the council and the state of Alaska have agreed to bring forth this type of statute. The idea is, as it moves along, the Board of Fisheries will pass appropriate regulations requiring fishermen and processors operating inside of three miles to comply with the same rules that apply offshore. Number 1481 GERON BRUCE, Legislative Liaison, Office of the Commissioner, Department of Fish and Game, stated the department supports the bill. The department went through a process of working with the industry and other interested parties in developing the approach taken by the state. The need for the bill is because the current pollock statute does not extend the authority to the Board of Fisheries to deal with Pacific cod and the other species scheduled to come on line in the year 2003. Number 1526 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN stated there must be a significant amount of waste now to specify groundfish. He wondered whether dropping the ground on this would be an act to prevent the waste of fish in general. Number 1564 MR. BRUCE stated waste needs to be approached on a species-by- species basis. There is no known use for the arrowtooth flounder, for example. If the bill was drafted as broadly as Representative Green suggested, fishermen and processors would be required to retain a species for which there is no commercial or other use for it at this time. Number 1599 MR. LAUBER stated, currently, Alaska has a roe-stripping ban, with some exceptions to allow for flexibility. There is a bill that would terminate the flexibility, however. But, by-and-large, Alaska has a pretty good record. House Bill 310 calls for state law to conform with federal regulations. It would not change anything that is currently taking place in Alaska. He cited pollock, cod, and other species are being fully utilized by shore- based plants. There is no discard in the onshore component. There was discard in the offshore component, but it is beyond the jurisdiction of Alaska which is why it is handled through the federal government. There will be full retention of pollock and cod in the year 2003. Right now, whether the bill passes or not, there will be no discard of species of any significant amount in Alaska. Number 1690 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN referred to bycatch and wondered whether there is something in the mill dealing with it. MS. DAUGHERTY replied there is not another piece of legislation dealing with bycatch right now. CO-CHAIRMAN HUDSON stated there is a bill by Representative Ivan M. Ivan that deals with roe stripping. He does not know of any other legislation that deals with bycatch, however. Number 1735 CHRIS BLACKBURN testified via teleconference in Kodiak. She was part of the group and council that helped develop the improved retention and utilization regime. We all feel that all vessels, whether at sea or at shore, should learn to use what they catch and for the processors to processes what they catch. Kodiak has been 110 percent supportive of this and is very eager that the state of Alaska, a leader in conservation measures, also makes sure that this applies to state waters and fisheries. We do not have a discard problem nor do we want to have one in the future. She also noted that because of the measure there are factory trawlers in the Bering Sea now that are making extraordinary efforts to try to stay out of Pacific cod which leaves more cod to those that are going to use it. CO-CHAIRMAN HUDSON called for a motion to move the bill out of the committee. Number 1796 REPRESENTATIVE BARNES made a motion to move HB 310, version 0- LS1347\A, from the committee with individual recommendations and the attached zero fiscal note. There being no objection, HB 310 moved from the House Resources Standing Committee. CO-CHAIRMAN HUDSON called for a brief at ease at 1:50 p.m. to prepare for an overview.

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