Legislature(2021 - 2022)BARNES 124

02/24/2021 01:00 PM RESOURCES

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01:02:03 PM Start
01:03:28 PM Overview(s): Department of Fish & Game
02:50:52 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Overview: Dept. of Fish & Game TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE RESOURCES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                       February 24, 2021                                                                                        
                           1:02 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Josiah Patkotak, Chair                                                                                           
Representative Grier Hopkins, Vice Chair                                                                                        
Representative Zack Fields                                                                                                      
Representative Calvin Schrage                                                                                                   
Representative Sara Hannan                                                                                                      
Representative George Rauscher                                                                                                  
Representative Mike Cronk                                                                                                       
Representative Ronald Gillham                                                                                                   
Representative Tom McKay                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
OTHER LEGISLATORS PRESENT                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Representative Kevin McCabe                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
OVERVIEW(S):  DEPARTMENT OF FISH & GAME                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
DOUG VINCENT-LANG, Commissioner                                                                                                 
Department of Fish and Game                                                                                                     
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Offered an overview of the work that the                                                                 
Department of Fish and Game does.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:02:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  JOSIAH  PATKOTAK  called   the  House  Resources  Standing                                                             
Committee  meeting  to  order  at   1:02  p.m.    Representatives                                                               
Hopkins,  Schrage, Hannan,  Rauscher, Gilham,  Cronk, McKay,  and                                                               
Patkotak  were present  at  the call  to  order.   Representative                                                               
Fields arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
^OVERVIEW(S):  Department of Fish & Game                                                                                        
            OVERVIEW(S):  Department of Fish & Game                                                                         
                                                                                                                              
#hb79                                                                                                                       
#hb80                                                                                                                       
#sb22                                                                                                                       
#sb59                                                                                                                       
#sb60                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                              
[Contains discussion of HB 79, HB 80, SB 22, SB 59, and SB 60.]                                                             
                                                                                                                              
1:03:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR PATKOTAK  announced that the  only order of  business would                                                               
be an overview of the Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G).                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:03:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DOUG  VINCENT-LANG, Commissioner,  Department  of  Fish and  Game                                                               
(ADF&G), expressed that the resources  managed by ADF&G belong to                                                               
the  people  of   Alaska  and  that  by  being   engaged  in  the                                                               
legislative process,  residents are expressing  their preferences                                                               
on how the resources are used.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:05:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  VINCENT-LANG  provided a  PowerPoint  presentation,                                                               
titled  "Alaska  Department  of  Fish  &  Game;  House  Resources                                                               
Committee Department  Overview." He  directed attention  to slide                                                               
2, "Constitutional and Statutory  Mandates" which read as follows                                                               
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
            The Constitution of the State of Alaska                                                                           
        Article 8 Natural Resources; ?4. Sustained Yield                                                                    
       Fish, forests, wildlife, grasslands, and all other                                                                       
      replenishable resources belonging to the State shall                                                                      
         be utilized, developed, and maintained on the                                                                          
       sustained yield principle, subject to preferences                                                                        
                     among beneficial uses.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG  explained that the key  phrase here is                                                               
"sustained  yield principle,"  which  is unique  to  Alaska.   He                                                               
further  noted  that Article  8  of  the Constitution  does  not,                                                               
however, call for a "maximum  sustained yield."  He cited rainbow                                                               
trout  as  an  example  of   something  that  is  managed  for  a                                                               
sustainable yield  rather than a  maximum yield.  He  stated that                                                               
Alaska  doesn't'  try to  get  the  maximum poundage  of  rainbow                                                               
trout, instead  many of Alaska's trout  populations are optimally                                                               
managed to  have populations that  are giving the best  catch and                                                               
release  numbers possible.   He  further clarified  that this  is                                                               
subject  to preferences  amongst  beneficial uses,  which is  why                                                               
there exists a  Board of Fish and  a Board of Game  process -- to                                                               
decide who gets  to utilize these resources.   He reiterated that                                                               
both  those principles  of a  "sustained yield"  and "subject  to                                                               
preference" are in the Alaska constitution.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  VINCENT-LANG continued  onto  the  second point  on                                                               
slide 2,  his duty as  the commissioner,  in the middle  third of                                                               
the   slide,  which   read  as   follows  [original   punctuation                                                               
provided]:                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
                      The Alaska Statutes                                                                                   
     Title 16. FISH AND GAME; Sec. 16.05.020. Functions of                                                                    
                          commissioner                                                                                        
     (2) manage, protect, maintain, improve, and extend the                                                                     
     fish, game and aquatic plant resources of the state in                                                                     
     the interest of the economy and general well-being of                                                                      
                           the state.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG said those  were the authorities he was                                                               
vested  in and  noted that  he had  emergency order  authority to                                                               
work with  the Board of Fish,  the Board of Game,  and the Alaska                                                               
State Legislature  to ensure that  the resources are used  in the                                                               
best interest  of the state's  economy and the well-being  of the                                                               
state.   He explained that  there may be  times where there  is a                                                               
conflict between  what is best for  the economy and what  is best                                                               
for the  well-being of  the people  of the state  of Alaska.   He                                                               
offered the  example of dealing  with human-bear  interactions in                                                               
urban  communities, which  he would  categorize as  being in  the                                                               
well-being of the state.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG concluded  with the departments mission                                                               
statement, which read  as follows on the bottom third  of slide 2                                                               
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
                       Mission Statement                                                                                    
     To protect, maintain, and improve the fish, game, and                                                                      
     aquatic plant resources of the state, and manage their                                                                     
        uses and development in the best interest of the                                                                        
     economy and the well-being of the people of the state,                                                                     
         consistent with the sustained yield principle.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:08:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG  moved on to slide  3, "Core Services,"                                                               
which read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
                           Management                                                                                       
      Provide hunting, fishing and trapping opportunities,                                                                      
     protect state's rights to manage its fish and wildlife                                                                     
      resources, conserve and improve habitat and access.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
                 Stock Assessment and Research                                                                              
     Ensure sustainability and harvestable surplus, improve                                                                     
      assessment and research capabilities, invest in new                                                                       
         technologies, anticipate changing conditions.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
            Customer Service and Public Involvement                                                                         
         Make improvements to information and education                                                                         
      services, the Boards and other regulatory processes,                                                                      
                   licensing and permitting.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG explained that  ADF&G has a fundamental                                                               
management program  that manages the  areas listed on  the slide.                                                               
He  said there  is a  research  program that  is associated  with                                                               
that.   He noted that the  second component in the  department is                                                               
the  "Stock   Assessment  and   Research"  arm,   clarifying  the                                                               
department's management  is based on science-based  research.  He                                                               
shared that  Alaska has a world-wide  recognized stock assessment                                                               
program.    He  described  ADF&G   as  "cutting  edge"  in  stock                                                               
assessment in commercial fisheries.   He said the final component                                                               
is  "Customer  Service  and Public  involvement,"  which  enables                                                               
people  to use  the resources  managed by  ADF&G.   He said  that                                                               
ADF&G  has walk-in  capacity  across the  state  for the  average                                                               
Alaskan to come in and ask about  how and where to go hunting and                                                               
fishing.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  VINCENT-LANG next  directed attention  to slides  4                                                               
and 5,  titled "Return on  Investment" and "Return  on Investment                                                               
Continued," both  of which were subtitled  "The Alaska Department                                                               
of  Fish and  Game  turns a  $198 million  dollar  (of which  $62                                                               
million is GF)  into a return of over $11  billion annually."  He                                                               
summarized the contents of the slides, which read as follows                                                                    
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Economic   Value  of   Commercially  Harvested   Alaska                                                                  
     Seafood:                                                                                                                 
       Directly  employs 60,000 workers annually,  more than                                                                    
     any other  industry in Alaska    Largest private sector                                                                    
     employer in Alaska                                                                                                         
     ? Contributes  $146 million in  taxes, fees,  and self-                                                                    
     assessments which  help fund  state, local  and federal                                                                    
     government                                                                                                                 
     ? Alaska  seafood contributes an  annual average  of $5                                                                    
     billion in economic output to the Alaska economy                                                                           
     ? Alaska exports over 1  million metric tons of seafood                                                                    
     each year, returning over $3  billion of new money into                                                                    
     the U.S. economy                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Economic Value of Sport Fisheries                                                                                        
     ? 15,879 Jobs supported                                                                                                    
     ?  $246  million  in taxes  contributed  (adjusted  for                                                                    
     inflation, $298.64 million in 2019 dollars)                                                                                
     ?  $545  million  in   income  provided  (adjusted  for                                                                    
     inflation, $661.63 million in 2019 dollars)                                                                                
     ?   $1.6  billion   industry   output.  (adjusted   for                                                                    
     inflation, $1.950 billion in 2019 dollars)                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Economic value of Wildlife                                                                                               
     ? More than 27,000 Jobs supported                                                                                          
     ? 1.4 billion in  labor income (adjusted for inflation,                                                                    
     1.566 billion in 2019 dollars)                                                                                             
     ?  3.4 billion  spent by  hunters and  wildlife viewers                                                                    
     (adjusted for inflation, 3.87 billion in 2019 dollars)                                                                     
     ? $4.1  billion economic activity  statewide. (adjusted                                                                    
     for inflation, 4.59 billion in 2019 dollars)                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Economic Value of Subsistence                                                                                            
     ?  2014 Nutritional  replacement  value schedules  show                                                                    
     that   subsistence  provides   Alaskans  with   between                                                                    
     $183,878,022- $367,756,045  ($200,826,510- $391,020,417                                                                    
     adjusted for  inflation to 2019 dollars)  worth of wild                                                                    
     food per year.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:11:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER asked where the $136 million that is not                                                                
in the general fund (GF) is spent.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG  replied that a later  slide will break                                                               
down ADF&G's  budget.  He  noted that subsistence is  a statutory                                                               
and constitutional  requirement in Alaska and  that the fisheries                                                               
are  managed  with  a subsistence  priority,  which  has  greatly                                                               
helped people in rural Alaska.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:12:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG  continued to  slide 6,  titled "Alaska                                                               
Department  of Fish  & Game  Leadership," and  highlighted Deputy                                                               
Commissioner   Rachel  Baker,   who   leads   the  national   and                                                               
international fishery  issues.  He said  that she has a  chair on                                                               
the  North Pacific  Fisheries Management  Council  (NPFMC).   Ben                                                               
Mulligan  is  the other  deputy  commissioner,  who oversees  the                                                               
habitat program,  federal subsistence program, Board  of Game and                                                               
Board  of  Fisheries  activities, and  federal/state  subsistence                                                               
interactions.    He  named   Legislative  Liaison  Rachel  Hanke,                                                               
Special Assistant Rick Green, and  the Division of Administrative                                                               
Services (DAS) Deputy  Director Melissa Hill.  He  also named the                                                               
division  directors   as  Sam  Rabung,  Director   of  Commercial                                                               
Fisheries;  Dave Rutz,  Director  of Sport  Fish; Eddie  Grasser,                                                               
Director  of  Wildlife  Conservation; Kristy  Tibbles,  Executive                                                               
Director, Board  of Game; and  Glenn Haight,  Executive Director,                                                               
Board of Fisheries.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG  said there are two  sections in ADF&G:                                                               
the Habitat  section, and the  Subsistence Research Section.   He                                                               
explained that those used to  be divisions, until about two years                                                               
ago.   He  said that  during the  first round  of budget  cuts, a                                                               
decision was made to forgo  assigning directors, and rather leave                                                               
those as sections.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:14:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HANNAN  asked  for   the  backgrounds  of  Deputy                                                               
Commissioner Ben Mulligan and Deputy Commissioner Rachel Baker.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  VINCENT-LANG   replied  that   Deputy  Commissioner                                                               
Rachel Baker worked for ADF&G a  number of years ago and was more                                                               
recently    with   the    National   Oceanic    and   Atmospheric                                                               
Administration  (NOAA) in  Washington  D.C.   She has  experience                                                               
with national  and international fisheries issues.   He explained                                                               
that  she  understood the  federal  processes  when it  comes  to                                                               
managing  fisheries.   Deputy  Commissioner  Ben  Mulligan was  a                                                               
legislative liaison for  ADF&G for many years  and has experience                                                               
in the Division of Sport Fish.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HANNAN asked  whether  both deputy  commissioners                                                               
have a fisheries background.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  VINCENT-LANG  answered   that  Deputy  Commissioner                                                               
Mulligan's time as  a legislative liaison gave  him experience in                                                               
a  wide  range  of  issues   including  habitat,  fisheries,  and                                                               
subsistence.   Deputy Commissioner  Baker, he continued,  has had                                                               
more experience in fisheries.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:15:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  VINCENT-LANG turned  to  slide  7, "Budget,"  which                                                               
read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     FY 2020 Authorized Budget                                                                                                  
     ? $202,781 million                                                                                                         
     ? 835 permanent full-time positions                                                                                        
     ? 605 permanent part-time positions and 8 non-                                                                             
     permanent position                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  VINCENT-LANG  explained  the two  pie  charts  also                                                               
included  on  the  slide show  funding  sources  as  undesignated                                                               
general  fund (UGF),  designated general  fund (DGF),  other, and                                                               
federal, and  he clarified  that the  category "other,"  which is                                                               
the single largest source of funds,  is a combination of Fish and                                                               
Game fund with DGF receipts.   Unique to Alaska, he explained, is                                                               
the  dedicated Fish  and Game  fund.   He  explained that  voters                                                               
chose  to  designate that  fund  to  allow access  to  additional                                                               
matching federal  funds such as  the Pittman-Robertson  (PR) fund                                                               
and  the  Dingell-Johnson  funds,  which  are  created  by  taxes                                                               
collected on  hunting and fishing  licenses at the  federal level                                                               
and returned  to the  states with  a matching ratio  of 1:3.   He                                                               
noted the  high amount of  federal and  UGF dollars used  to fund                                                               
ADF&G.   By  component,  he continued,  the  largest division  is                                                               
Commercial Fisheries,  which is followed closely  by the Wildlife                                                               
and  Sport  Fish.    Next   is  the  Support  Services  and  then                                                               
Subsistence and Habitat, he concluded.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:18:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GILLHAM  inquired about  CARES Act  funds totaling                                                               
$50  million and  asked whether  that money  was included  in the                                                               
budget as described.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:18:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  VINCENT-LANG  explained  that the  National  Marine                                                               
Fisheries  Service   (NMFS)  made  $300  million   available  for                                                               
nationwide  fisheries  relief,  of   which  Alaska  received  $50                                                               
million.  The  money was added to NMFS's budget  and given to the                                                               
Pacific   States   Marine   Fisheries  Commission   (PSMFC)   for                                                               
distribution,  assigning  to the  State  of  Alaska the  task  of                                                               
creating  a spending  plan.   He  noted frustration  at the  slow                                                               
progress and  explained that the  plan was to allow  all affected                                                               
fisheries eligibility  for relief; however, two  factors affected                                                               
the pace  of the funding rollout.   Some fisheries opened  in the                                                               
fall, he said,  and they shouldn't be ineligible simply  due to a                                                               
late start  date.   Another factor was  that a  fishing operation                                                               
was required to  have suffered a 30 percent loss  in revenue over                                                               
the calendar year; this necessitated  waiting until the fisheries                                                               
were closed,  since a loss over  two months could be  made up for                                                               
in the longer term.   He also noted that the  public needed to be                                                               
engaged in the  process, and the plan was open  for two rounds of                                                               
public  comment before  being submitted  to  PSMFC for  approval.                                                               
Commissioner  Vincent-Lang   related  that  PSMFC   is  currently                                                               
awaiting approval from  NMFS.  He concluded by  stating that none                                                               
of that money is in ADF&G budget.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:21:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN  noted that  the Dingell-Johnson  funds are                                                               
federal funds  but are  included in the  "other" section  of fund                                                               
sources instead of the "federal" section.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG answered, "Yes."                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HANNAN   asked  how   much  of  the   "other"  is                                                               
recaptured  by license  fees  and how  much  is federal  Dingell-                                                               
Johnson money.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  VINCENT-LANG  answered  that   PR  funds  are  much                                                               
greater than the Dingell-Johnson right now.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:22:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  FIELDS asked  where  PR funds  are  shown in  the                                                               
chart.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG  responded that  PR funds  are included                                                               
in the "other" section.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FIELDS  asked how much  money is received  from PR                                                               
and Dingell-Johnson funds.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG responded that  the funds total $14-$15                                                               
million and that he would get the exact amounts.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  FIELDS asked  about spending  restrictions on  PR                                                               
and Dingell-Johnson funds.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG  explained that the funds  must be used                                                               
for  wildlife  management,  development of  shooting  ranges,  or                                                               
access.   He noted that there  has been an issue  in recent years                                                               
in  not having  enough  money  in the  ADF&G  fund  to match  all                                                               
eligible PR monies.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:23:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS  asked how specific [the  allocation of PR                                                               
dollars must be] to hunting  and fishing access and whether there                                                               
exists a gray area.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  VINCENT-LANG  replied  citing a  proposal  for  the                                                               
Chugach  State Park  to  develop  a parking  area  for access  to                                                               
wildlife viewing.   It  was difficult  to use  PR funds  for this                                                               
project because the area is closed  to hunting, he explained.  He                                                               
finished  by  saying  PR  funds  are  intended  for  hunting  and                                                               
fishing.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS asked  if  the funds  could  be used  for                                                               
conserving land as a hunting area.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG  replied that they could  but explained                                                               
that  land  purchased  with  federal   dollars  has  a  long-term                                                               
expectation that the land is used for that specific purpose.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:25:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  RAUSCHER asked  whether  the Advisory  Committees                                                               
(ACs) are paid for by the GF or by federal dollars.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG  responded that they are  funded by the                                                               
GF and explained that PR  and Dingell-Johnson funds can't be used                                                               
for regulatory measures.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:26:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  VINCENT-LANG resumed  presentation by  paraphrasing                                                               
slide  8,  "FY2022  Budget Highlights,"  which  read  as  follows                                                               
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
          ·The  Department  will  be  able  to  continue  to                                                                    
     provide an  excellent return on  investment as  we have                                                                    
     in the past under the governor's proposed budget.                                                                          
          ·The  proposed  budget  includes  $26  million  to                                                                    
     fisheries, wildlife, and resource projects.                                                                                
          ·We do  not anticipate  any reduction  in services                                                                    
     as a result of the proposed budget.                                                                                        
          ·We were  able to use alternative  funding sources                                                                    
     and  cost  efficiencies  to  reduce  our  general  fund                                                                    
     needs.                                                                                                                     
          ·We   are   consolidating   the   various   budget                                                                    
     components  in  the  Division of  Commercial  Fisheries                                                                    
     into a single unit to improve efficiency.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:27:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG  explained the  structure of  ADF&G, as                                                               
addressed  on  slide  9,  "Office   of  the  Commissioner."    He                                                               
explained that  his office provides management  and oversight, as                                                               
well as handling  the obligations to approximately  76 boards and                                                               
commissions such as  the Pacific Salmon Commission  and the North                                                               
Pacific  Fishery  Management  Council.   He  explained  that  the                                                               
budget  for the  Office  of  the Commissioner  of  ADF&G is  $1.2                                                               
million, with seven full-time staff.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:29:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  RAUSCHER  asked  about  the  Board  of  Fisheries                                                               
"doubling up" on  meetings and whether residents  in remote areas                                                               
are able to participate in meetings held via online.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  VINCENT-LANG   replied  with  the  note   that  the                                                               
regulatory  process is  publicly driven,  and any  individual can                                                               
submit a  proposal for consideration;  the ACs  offer individuals                                                               
an opportunity  to voice  their concerns on  a proposal  while in                                                               
their local  area.  He  said ADF&G ensures  that every AC  has an                                                               
opportunity to send somebody to  participate in the board process                                                               
during   proposal   deliberations.     He   explained   that   in                                                               
transitioning to COVID-19 protocols  it was his recommendation to                                                               
the Board of Fisheries (BOF) and  Board of Game (BOG) to not rely                                                               
heavily on  virtual meetings because of  the possible compromises                                                               
to the  public process; BOG decided  to move all of  its meetings                                                               
into  "out years,"  while BOF  decided to  double up  on meetings                                                               
next  year at  a  cost of  approximately  $500,000 not  currently                                                               
included in  the budget.  He  clarified that he has  informed BOF                                                               
that  he doesn't  have  the  additional money  in  his budget  to                                                               
double the meetings.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:33:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  VINCENT-LANG  continued   his  explanation  of  the                                                               
structure  of  ADF&G  with  slide  10,  "Division  of  Commercial                                                               
Fisheries,"   which  read   as   follows  [original   punctuation                                                               
provided]                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Contribution to Department Mission                                                                                       
     The mission of the  Division of Commercial Fisheries is                                                                    
     to  manage subsistence,  commercial,  and personal  use                                                                    
     fisheries in  the interest of  the economy  and general                                                                    
     well  being of  the citizens  of the  state, consistent                                                                    
     with  the sustained  yield  principle,  and subject  to                                                                    
     allocations through public regulatory processes.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Core Services                                                                                                            
     Ensure  the conservation  of  natural  stocks of  fish,                                                                    
     shellfish  and aquatic  plants based  on scientifically                                                                    
     sound assessments.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     FY 2020 Authorized Budget                                                                                                
          ·$70.5 million                                                                                                        
          ·295 permanent full-time positions                                                                                    
          ·373 permanent part-time positions                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG  moved on  to slide 11  which contained                                                               
more  information about  the  Division  of Commercial  Fisheries,                                                               
which manages all of the  salmon, herring, shellfish, groundfish,                                                               
and dive fisheries, as well as  many but not all personal use and                                                               
subsistence fisheries.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  VINCENT-LANG then  addressed the  structure of  the                                                               
division  as  outlined  on  the  slide;  management  regions  are                                                               
Southeast, Central,  Westward, and  Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim (AYK).                                                               
The  division   has  chief  scientists  to   oversee  the  salmon                                                               
fisheries research  and groundfish/crab  research, and  it houses                                                               
the  federal  fisheries  coordination staff  and  Pacific  Salmon                                                               
Treaty staff.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:35:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN noted that ADF&G  gets $70 million from the                                                               
GF and  asked how much the  commercial fish taxes bring  into the                                                               
GF.                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  VINCENT-LANG  replied that  he  did  not have  that                                                               
information,  but  Alaska  collects   more  in  fish  taxes  than                                                               
budgeted to ADF&G.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:36:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG  continued onto slide 12,  "Division of                                                               
Sport  Fish"   which  read   as  follows   [original  punctuation                                                               
provided]]:                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Contribution to Department Mission                                                                                       
     The  mission  of  the  Division of  Sport  Fish  is  to                                                                    
     protect   and  improve   the   state's  sport   fishery                                                                    
     resources.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Core Services                                                                                                            
          Fisheries  Management:  Manage the  state's  sport                                                                  
     fisheries for sustained yield and angler satisfaction.                                                                     
          Fisheries   Research:    Perform   objective-based                                                                  
     research  based   on  sound  scientific   practices  to                                                                    
     support sport fisheries management.                                                                                        
          Fisheries Enhancement: Create  and diversify sport                                                                  
     fishing opportunities for anglers.                                                                                         
          Fish  Habitat: Protect  and restore  fish habitats                                                                  
     for the benefit of fish and sport anglers.                                                                                 
          Communication    and    Outreach:    Inform    and                                                                  
     communicate with the public about sport fishing.                                                                           
          Internal   Operations:   Provide  leadership   and                                                                  
     administrative   support   for  the   Division's   core                                                                    
     functions.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     FY 2020 Authorized Budget                                                                                                
          $40.9 million                                                                                                         
          187 permanent full-time positions                                                                                     
          145 permanent part-time positions                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMISSIONER  VINCENT-LANG   said  "the  division   is  "basically                                                               
funded" by  federal Dingell-Johnson funds and  ADF&G funds, "with                                                               
a little  bit of UGF  and comes in to  that section to  do things                                                               
that   aren't  eligible   for  funding   under   the  other   two                                                               
categories."   He  added, "So,  they're  basically a  user-funded                                                               
division;  they're funded  through license  fees and  ... federal                                                               
excise taxes on sport fishing."                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:37:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FIELDS asked about  the part-time positions in the                                                               
department.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  VINCENT-LANG replied  that the  permanent positions                                                               
are  mostly research,  management, and  administrative positions.                                                               
The part time positions are  the positions on the weirs [counting                                                               
fish returns] and survey work.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:37:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG next presented  slide 13, which offered                                                               
more  information on  the  Division  of Sport  Fish  and read  as                                                               
follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Major Fisheries                                                                                                          
          Salmon                                                                                                                
          Freshwater fisheries                                                                                                  
          Groundfish                                                                                                            
          Personal Use Fisheries                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Structure                                                                                                                
       Houses    3    management   regions    (Southeast,                                                                       
     Southcentral, Interior)                                                                                                    
          Houses Sport Fish Hatchery Operations                                                                                 
          Houses one chief fisheries scientists                                                                                 
          Houses Department Invasive Species Program                                                                            
          Houses Sport Fish Access Program                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  VINCENT-LANG   noted  that  according   to  federal                                                               
statute, a portion  of the Dingell-Johnson funds  must go towards                                                               
boating  access; this  is an  annual  appropriation matched  with                                                               
ADF&G funds, a small component  of which goes towards non-boating                                                               
access in the form of developing trailheads.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:38:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS referred  to slide  12 and  asked whether                                                               
the UGF is composed of user and licensing fees.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG  answered that a bit  of additional UGF                                                               
covers things  that cannot  be paid  for with  Dingell-Johnson or                                                               
federal funds, such as regulatory support.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:39:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GILLHAM asked whether  by-catch for ground fish is                                                               
managed by either one of the divisions.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  VINCENT-LANG  explained  that  by-catch  management                                                               
falls under  interactions with  the federal  fisheries management                                                               
with NPFMC,  which uses the  limited entry program to  reduce by-                                                               
catch by  spreading out the  fisheries or by setting  hard limits                                                               
on by-catch.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:41:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GILLHAM  asked  whether  it's  state  or  federal                                                               
responsibility  to manage  halibut by-catch,  considering halibut                                                               
is federally-managed.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG responded that  the State of Alaska has                                                               
no  distinct  management authority  over  halibut,  since it's  a                                                               
federal program  covered by a treaty.   He added that  one of the                                                               
priorities  of the  NPFMC  is to  get  accurate by-catch  numbers                                                               
while maintaining affordability for fishing operations.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:42:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG  turned to slides 14  and 15, "Division                                                               
of Wildlife."   Slide  14 read  as follows  [original punctuation                                                               
provided]:                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Contribution to Department Mission                                                                                       
     The mission  of the  Division of  Wildlife Conservation                                                                    
     is  to  conserve  and  enhance  Alaska's  wildlife  and                                                                    
     habitats and  provide for a  wide range of  public uses                                                                    
     and benefits.                                                                                                              
     Core Services                                                                                                            
          Maintain and enhance  opportunities to hunt, trap,                                                                    
     and view wildlife.                                                                                                         
          Provide   opportunities  for   Alaskans  to   gain                                                                    
     knowledge  of and  appreciation for  Alaska's wildlife,                                                                    
     its  management,  and  ways  to  safely  and  ethically                                                                    
     interact with wildlife.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     FY 2020 Authorized Budget                                                                                                
          $50.5 million                                                                                                         
          231 permanent full-time positions                                                                                     
          52 permanent part-time & non-permanent positions                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  VINCENT-LANG then  directed attention  to slide  15                                                               
which read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Major Activities                                                                                                         
         Management of hunting and trapping across the                                                                          
     state                                                                                                                      
          Management of Special Areas                                                                                           
          Participation in Board of Game process                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Structure                                                                                                                
       Houses    3    management   regions    (Southeast,                                                                       
     Southcentral, Interior, Central/Southwest)                                                                                 
          Houses Department ANILCA/State Defense program                                                                        
          Houses one chief wildlife scientist                                                                                   
          Houses Department Veterinary Program                                                                                  
          Houses Shooting Range Program                                                                                         
          Houses Department Waterfowl Program                                                                                   
          Houses Department ESA Program                                                                                         
          Houses Department Marine Mammal Program                                                                               
          Houses Department Wildlife Diversity Program                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  VINCENT-LANG  elaborated  on  the  Alaska  National                                                               
Interest  Lands  Conservation  Act  (ANILCA),  explaining  how  a                                                               
primary  driver for  gaining statehood  was the  right to  manage                                                               
state  resources, which  had previously  been subject  to federal                                                               
oversight.  As part of the  compact, Alaska attempted to gain the                                                               
right to manage fish and  game regardless of whether the resource                                                               
was on  state or federal land.   He said that  the state believed                                                               
ANILCA further aided  Alaska in obtaining management  rights.  He                                                               
opined that federal agencies were  intruding into the authorities                                                               
granted  by  statehood  and  ANILCA  and  that  ADF&G  needed  to                                                               
"defense up at  a state level to try to  defend those rights that                                                               
we had guaranteed at statehood and through ANILCA."                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:47:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER  asked which is the  deciding entity when                                                               
the hunt structure changes, and how funding is affected.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG  answered that the money  goes into the                                                               
Fish and  Game fund, and that  BOG decides who has  the authority                                                               
to make the changes.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:48:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HANNAN  asked  about   the  recent  migration  of                                                               
cougars  into  Alaska, and  whether  increased  numbers had  been                                                               
measured by ADF&G.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:49:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  VINCENT-LANG described  the increasing  movement of                                                               
various animals  from the  Yukon into Alaska  and opined  that as                                                               
the climate changes,  wildlife will move.  He said  that ADF&G is                                                               
somewhat concerned  about disease  vectors presented  by wildlife                                                               
not historically present in the state.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:50:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS  referred to  a moose  hunt in  the Nenana                                                               
area for which  all of the permits were sold  out online in under                                                               
a minute, so residents with  internet access problems didn't have                                                               
a chance  for a  permit.   He asked whether  ADF&G is  looking at                                                               
diversifying ways to access permits.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG  replied that having  permits available                                                               
only in  rural communities, ensuring  local access  to resources,                                                               
creates   a   different    problem   when   encountering   travel                                                               
restrictions.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS asked  how the  BOG will  address similar                                                               
issues in the future.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG said that  the BOG will discuss options                                                               
next year.  He noted that  the Fortymile Caribou hunt resulted in                                                               
damage to the habitat.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS  asked what some possible  proposals would                                                               
be, especially those relating to the Fortymile herd.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG  replied that the winter  hunt is still                                                               
ongoing, so  proposals will  be considered  later; he  noted that                                                               
some  of  the   hunt  happens  on  federal  land   and  that  the                                                               
requirements are different.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:54:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER  asked if there  is a long-term  plan for                                                               
the herd in the Nelchina River Basin.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  VINCENT-LANG  replied  that the  state's  intensive                                                               
management statute is the authority  for that herd and that there                                                               
are harvest  objectives which have been  met.  He said  that part                                                               
of the  complexity is  that the  herd overlaps  occasionally with                                                               
the Fortymile  Herd.  He also  noted that even though  there were                                                               
enough animals to meet federal  subsistence needs as well as non-                                                               
federally qualified users, the  Federal Subsistence Board limited                                                               
access   for  the   non-federally  qualified   users  and   legal                                                               
proceedings are ongoing.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER asked where it  is "on the radar" to make                                                               
a plan for the Nelchina herd.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG  responded that  the herd  is monitored                                                               
annually and managed  based on access, permits,  and past success                                                               
rates.   He  explained that  caribou are  very habitat-dependent,                                                               
and  the  populations  can  fluctuate   for  reasons  other  than                                                               
hunting; a bad  winter that naturally thins the  herd will affect                                                               
the hunt later.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:58:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GILLHAM referred  to Commissioner  Vincent-Lang's                                                               
earlier  note of  deer migrating  from Canada  and asked  whether                                                               
someone can shoot one.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG said that the deer may be shot.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:59:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CRONK referred  to the emergency order  for a "two                                                               
caribou bag limit" and asked  whether the decision for that order                                                               
was sudden.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG  responded that after the  survey there                                                               
were more  animals than expected  in the Fortymile herd  and many                                                               
discussions on harvesting were had.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CRONK asked what the last survey number was.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  VINCENT-LANG  said  that  he was  unsure  what  the                                                               
number was, but herd size was still a concern.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:01:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  VINCENT-LANG resumed  presentation  with slides  16                                                               
and  17,  "Habitat  Section," which  read  as  follows  [original                                                               
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Contribution to Department Mission                                                                                         
     Protect Alaska's valuable fish and wildlife resources                                                                      
     and their habitats as Alaska's population and economy                                                                      
     continue to expand.                                                                                                        
     Core Services                                                                                                              
          logicalnot Review applications and issue permits for                                                                  
     activities  in  fish-bearing waters  and  legislatively                                                                    
     designated Special areas;  provide expertise to protect                                                                    
     important   fish   and    wildlife   habitat;   monitor                                                                    
     authorized projects and conduct compliance actions.                                                                        
          logicalnot Manage Alaska's Special Areas in accordance                                                                
     with   legislative  guidelines;   prepare  and   update                                                                    
     management plans for these areas.                                                                                          
          logicalnot Review proposed timber harvest activities;                                                                 
     conduct  field  inspections;  work  cooperatively  with                                                                    
     timber operators and other governmental agencies                                                                           
          logicalnot Review development projects (e.g., oil and gas,                                                            
     hard  rock  mining,   hydroelectric)  authorized  under                                                                    
     other agencies' authorities.                                                                                               
          logicalnot Maintain and update the "Catalog of Waters                                                                 
     Important  for  Spawning,   Rearing,  or  Migration  of                                                                    
     Anadromous Fishes."                                                                                                        
          logicalnot Conduct applied research to develop methods and                                                            
     means to  minimize impacts  of development  projects on                                                                    
     fish and wildlife resources                                                                                                
          logicalnot Seek opportunities to improve and protect                                                                  
     habitat   in  cooperation   with   state  and   federal                                                                    
     agencies,    local     governments,    non-governmental                                                                    
     organizations, and others.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     FY 2020 Authorized Budget                                                                                                  
          ? $5.4 million                                                                                                        
          ? 37 permanent full-time positions                                                                                    
            3 permanent part-time & non-permanent positions                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Major Activities                                                                                                           
          logicalnot Title 16 permitting                                                                                        
          logicalnot Special Areas permitting                                                                                   
          logicalnot Maintenance of the Anadromous Fish Catalog                                                                 
          logicalnot Involvement in the DNR Project Management and                                                              
     Permitting     Program                                                                                                     
          logicalnot Pipeline Office Liaison                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Structure                                                                                                                  
          logicalnot Houses 3 management regions (Southeast,                                                                    
     Southcentral, Interior) 1                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:03:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   HANNAN  asked   about   Department  of   Natural                                                               
Resources' (DNR's) proposed regulations  on water reservations as                                                               
they would affect anadromous fish.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  VINCENT-LANG explained  that the  concept of  water                                                               
reservations comes  from the western  U.S. where water  is owned;                                                               
he explained that  instream flow reservations are  often based on                                                               
model data,  which could give  an inaccurate average  stream flow                                                               
and affect  the amount of water  available to be drawn.   He said                                                               
that  it's a  better  approach  to decide  on  the instream  flow                                                               
requirement at  the time of  permitting any large  project, using                                                               
real data collection as a condition of the permit.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HANNAN  asked whether  Commissioner  Vincent-Lang                                                               
was saying that the new  regulations would affect ADF&G's ability                                                               
to say  that the volume  of water in a  body needs to  remain the                                                               
same.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG  replied, "Let's  say a mine  was going                                                               
to be developed.   My staff would have to look  at the water flow                                                               
requirements  of the  context of  what's occurring  out there  as                                                               
part of out Title 16 permitting,  and we would not issue a permit                                                               
unless  we were  sure  we  were protecting  the  fish down  below                                                               
there."    He  added  that  a  stream  flow  requirement  may  be                                                               
established at that time.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:07:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN  remarked that the Anadromous  Fish Catalog                                                               
is  not inclusive  of  all relevant  streams  and is  continually                                                               
updated, and  she asked how  many of Alaska's  anadromous streams                                                               
are catalogued.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  VINCENT-LANG  replied  that with  the  major  river                                                               
systems and tributaries already  catalogued, he is confident that                                                               
most  of the  water is  catalogued and  that it's  likely missing                                                               
headwaters in remote areas.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:08:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  VINCENT-LANG  tuned  to  the  Subsistence  Research                                                               
Sections and  emphasized that ADF&G  takes the  state subsistence                                                               
program seriously and considers the  program in decisions to open                                                               
sport and personal  use fisheries.  He paraphrased  slides 18 and                                                               
19, titled  Subsistence Research Section," which  read as follows                                                               
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Contribution to Department Mission                                                                                         
     The   mission  of   the  Subsistence   Section  is   to                                                                    
     scientifically gather,  quantify, evaluate,  and report                                                                    
     information  about customary  and  traditional uses  of                                                                    
     Alaska's fish and wildlife resources. (AS 16.05.094)                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Core Services                                                                                                              
          logicalnotCompile and analyze existing data; conduct                                                                  
     research to  gather information on the  role of hunting                                                                    
     and fishing  by Alaskans for customary  and traditional                                                                    
     uses.                                                                                                                      
          logicalnotDisseminate current subsistence use information                                                             
     to the public;  appropriate agencies and organizations;                                                                    
     and fisheries and wildlife management divisions.                                                                           
          logicalnotAssist the Board of Fisheries, the Board of                                                                 
     Game,  and the  Joint Board  of Fisheries  and Game  to                                                                    
     evaluate  customary and  traditional  uses of  Alaska's                                                                    
     fish  and  wildlife  resources and  amounts  reasonably                                                                    
     necessary   for  subsistence   uses   (ANS)  of   those                                                                    
     resources.                                                                                                                 
          logicalnotAssist fisheries and wildlife managers in                                                                   
     preparing  management plans  to  ensure information  on                                                                    
     customary and  traditional uses  and fish  and wildlife                                                                    
     harvests is incorporated.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     FY 2020 Authorized Budget                                                                                                  
          ? $5.3 million                                                                                                        
          ? 22 permanent full-time positions                                                                                    
          ?   27   permanent   part-time   &   non-permanent                                                                    
     positions                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Major Activities                                                                                                           
          logicalnot Collection of Subsistence Use Information                                                                  
          logicalnot Participation in the Board process                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Structure                                                                                                                  
          logicalnot Houses 2 management regions (Southern and                                                                  
     Northern)                                                                                                                  
          logicalnot Houses statewide program manager position                                                                  
     overseeing research activities                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:11:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG summarized slides 20-21, "Board                                                                       
Support Section" which read as follows [original punctuation                                                                    
provided]:                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Contribution to Department Mission                                                                                         
     The  Boards Support  Section  facilitates an  effective                                                                    
     board  and  public process  for  the  state's fish  and                                                                    
     wildlife regulatory system.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Core Services                                                                                                              
          logicalnot Ensure citizens participating in the fish and                                                              
     game   regulatory  process   have  clear   and  helpful                                                                    
     information in advance to engage effectively.                                                                              
          logicalnot Provide and support an environment for board                                                               
     members to make effective decisions.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     FY 2020 Authorized Budget                                                                                                  
          ? $1.2 million                                                                                                        
          ? 6 permanent full-time positions                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Major Activities                                                                                                           
          logicalnot Support of the Boards of Fisheries and Game                                                                
     process                                                                                                                    
     Structure                                                                                                                  
          logicalnot Houses 2 executive director positions (Board of                                                            
     Game and Board of Fisheries)                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG paraphrased slide 22, titled "Advisory                                                                
Committee Support Section," which read as follows [original                                                                     
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Contribution to Department Mission                                                                                         
     The  Boards Support  Section  facilitates an  effective                                                                    
     board  and  public process  for  the  state's fish  and                                                                    
     wildlife regulatory system.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Core Services                                                                                                              
          logicalnot Ensure citizens participating in the fish and                                                              
     game   regulatory  process   have  clear   and  helpful                                                                    
     information in advance to engage effectively.                                                                              
          logicalnot Provide and support an environment for board                                                               
     members to make effective decisions.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     FY 2020 Authorized Budget                                                                                                  
          ? $0.5 million                                                                                                        
          ? 0 permanent full-time positions                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:12:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG  directed attention to slide  24, "Last                                                               
Year," which read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     The Department  worked to ensure  we had  the necessary                                                                    
     research  and  management  infrastructure in  place  to                                                                    
     safely conduct fisheries and hunts across Alaska                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     ?  Nearly  all  commercial  fisheries  were  conducted,                                                                    
     allowing  commercial fishermen  to  fish their  permits                                                                    
     and thereby make  a living and contribute  to the state                                                                    
     and local economies through collected fish taxes.                                                                          
     ? Sport  and personal use fisheries  operated, allowing                                                                    
     anglers  an opportunity  to fill  their freezers,  feed                                                                    
     their families, and get outside.                                                                                           
     ?  Subsistence fisheries  and hunts  occurred, allowing                                                                    
     subsistence  harvesters  opportunities  to  feed  their                                                                    
     communities and pass on traditions.                                                                                        
     ?  Hunts occurred  throughout  Alaska, giving  Alaskans                                                                    
     opportunities  to  fill  their  freezers  and  pass  on                                                                    
     traditions.                                                                                                                
     ?   Charter  fishing   and  guided   hunting  operated,                                                                    
     providing   needed   recreational   opportunities   and                                                                    
     economic boosts to the state and local economies.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  VINCENT-LANG expressed  his  appreciation to  ADF&G                                                               
staff  for  working hard  throughout  the  COVID-19 pandemic  and                                                               
noted that almost all fisheries were open.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:13:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG presented  slide 25, "Issues/Concerns,"                                                               
which read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     ? Reduced marine survivals of salmon                                                                                       
     ? Federal intrusion into state management authority                                                                        
     ? COVID-19  impacts e.g., lost license  revenue to Fish                                                                    
     and Game Fund                                                                                                              
     ?   Impacts  associate   with  implementation   of  the                                                                    
     Endangered   Species   Act   and  the   Marine   Mammal                                                                    
     Protection Act                                                                                                             
     ? Urban wildlife management issues                                                                                         
     ? Hatchery-wild stock interactions                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER   VINCENT-LANG  explained   that  while   freshwater                                                               
habitats throughout  the state  have remained  largely unaltered,                                                               
marine survivals of  salmon have been clearly reduced  and he has                                                               
assigned a  fisheries scientist  to take a  lead role  in finding                                                               
out how the  ocean is affecting the fish.   He discussed the push                                                               
by federal partners into the  state's resource management and how                                                               
national   diversity  guidelines   don't  necessarily   apply  to                                                               
Alaska's  resources.   He  discussed  his  concerns with  impacts                                                               
associated with the Endangered Species  Act and the Marine Mammal                                                               
Protection Act  and opined that  Alaska is being singled  out for                                                               
climate-related listings.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:19:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MCKAY said  that he  understood that  Bristol Bay                                                               
has been  having record  salmon runs.   He  also asked  about how                                                               
engine size impacts salmon spawning on the Kenai River.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG  explained that  Bristol Bay  is likely                                                               
"masking"  marine   survival  numbers   due  to   its  freshwater                                                               
capacity, but other  habitat areas are in complete  collapse.  He                                                               
then said,  as far as Cook  Inlet is the "breadbasket"  of Alaska                                                               
and the  most complex  fishery managed  by ADF&G,  the department                                                               
will consider all possibilities.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:22:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FIELDS asked a question  related to the impacts of                                                               
the pandemic on fisheries.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG  replied that with the  delay of cruise                                                               
ships,  there may  be  fewer fishermen  in  Southeast Alaska,  so                                                               
ADF&G will be creative in how the sport fisheries are managed.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:23:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CRONK expressed his  concern about the Yukon River                                                               
salmon run.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  VINCENT-LANG   responded  that   the  Yukon   is  a                                                               
transboundary river,  so it's managed differently,  and ADG&G has                                                               
an  obligation  to pass  a  certain  amount  of fish  across  the                                                               
border.  There  is extra funding from the  federal government and                                                               
ADF&G will be assessing the salmon's survival rate.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:27:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN said that in  a typical year there would be                                                               
12 bears  killed in the Haines  area, but in 2020  the number was                                                               
over 36  and the  bears were  causing an excess  of damage.   She                                                               
asked what is being done about that problem.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  VINCENT-LANG said  that ADF&G  missed the  shift in                                                               
attitude from  tolerance to  an issue of  personal safety  and is                                                               
examining what  happened in  2020 and  whether there  should have                                                               
been more control of the situation.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR   PATKOTAK  spoke   of  his   observations  with   what  he                                                               
characterized as "federal overreach" and  said that he is looking                                                               
forward to working with ADF&G.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:31:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG  concluded his presentation  with slide                                                               
26,  "Legislative   Bill  Priorities,"  which  read   as  follows                                                               
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     ? Sport fish hatchery license surcharge (SB60/HB80)                                                                        
       ? Saltwater guide licensing for saltwater logbook                                                                        
     program (SB59/HB79)                                                                                                        
     ? Intensive management surcharge sunset (SB22)                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG  described how hatcheries  in Anchorage                                                               
and Fairbanks  were funded and how  SB 60 and HB  80 are intended                                                               
to fund  the maintenance of  those facilities as well  as fulfill                                                               
the commitment to  produce chinook and coho  in southeast Alaska.                                                               
He  then  discussed  SB  59  and HB  79,  which  would  reinstate                                                               
sportfishing  guide  licensing  standards and  address  fees  and                                                               
logbook reporting requirements.   He then described  SB 22, which                                                               
would repeal  the termination date  for the  intensive management                                                               
hunting  license  surcharge.    Last, he  discussed  the  capital                                                               
budget  for marine  mammal research  and  Endangered Species  Act                                                               
issues.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:40:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HANNAN  asked  whether there  were  any  concerns                                                               
regarding  verification of  eligibility for  the Senior  Resident                                                               
Permanent Identification Card.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG  replied that currently  an enforcement                                                               
officer may ask  someone to prove residency, and  that any action                                                               
taken  on lifetime  licensing would  be the  call of  a different                                                               
department.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HANNAN asked  whether,  from  the perspective  of                                                               
ADF&G, possible abuses of the benefit are a problem.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  VINCENT-LANG responded  that in  terms of  harvest,                                                               
it's not a problem.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:42:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  FIELDS commended  ADF&G on  the work  done during                                                               
the COVID-19 pandemic.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG noted that all offices were kept open.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:43:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GILLHAM  asked  whether  HB  79  is  for  halibut                                                               
counting.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  VINCENT-LANG  replied  that it's  for  halibut  and                                                               
salmon  in  southeast  Alaska  and  that  the  state  has  treaty                                                               
obligations for salmon.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GILLHAM said  that all catches are  written on the                                                               
back of  the fishing license,  so he doesn't  see the need  for a                                                               
logbook.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  VINCENT-LANG  replied   that  currently  one  isn't                                                               
required to report  what's on the back of  their fishing license;                                                               
ADF&G is  working on a  new licensing program using  a smartphone                                                               
application.   He said  that the  issue is  regarding allocations                                                               
set  for  the  charter  industry,  which have  no  way  of  being                                                               
reported except for in a logbook.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GILLHAM asked  whether  the electronic  reporting                                                               
system is in place.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG responded that it's in the works.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:45:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SCHRAGE  asked whether there are  broad efforts to                                                               
understand the changes  that are coming as the  result of climate                                                               
change.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  VINCENT-LANG explained  that research  efforts have                                                               
recently  become more  focused on  management-related activities,                                                               
and questions of  climate change are broader than  ADF&G would be                                                               
able  to  answer.     He  said  that   fisheries  scientists  are                                                               
interacting  with  international  boards  and  commissions,  some                                                               
staff members  have been assigned  to the cruises  moving through                                                               
the Arctic Ocean  to collect samples, and overall the  plan is to                                                               
be engaged, watch carefully, and  participate where possible.  He                                                               
remarked  that it  would  be irresponsible  to  not consider  the                                                               
effects of climate change.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:49:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR   PATKOTAK  summarized   those  questions   requiring  more                                                               
discussion,   thanked  the   commissioner,   and  asked   whether                                                               
Commissioner Vincent-Lang had any closing remarks.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG  stressed that  he has been  trusted as                                                               
the  commissioner  to  manage  ADF&G,  but  that  the  department                                                               
belongs to the residents of Alaska.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:50:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Resources Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 2:51 p.m.                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HRES DF&G Overview 2.24.21.pdf HRES 2/24/2021 1:00:00 PM