Legislature(2009 - 2010)BUTROVICH 205

03/30/2009 03:30 PM Senate RESOURCES

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                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE RESOURCES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 30, 2009                                                                                         
                           3:33 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Lesil McGuire, Co-Chair                                                                                                 
Senator Bill Wielechowski, Co-Chair                                                                                             
Senator Charlie Huggins, Vice Chair                                                                                             
Senator Hollis French                                                                                                           
Senator Bert Stedman                                                                                                            
Senator Gary Stevens                                                                                                            
Senator Thomas Wagoner                                                                                                          
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
SENATE JOINT RESOULTION NO. 13                                                                                                  
Urging the United States Senate to ratify the United Nations                                                                    
Convention on the Law of the Sea (the Law of the Sea Treaty).                                                                   
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 21                                                                                                   
Requesting the North Pacific Fishery  Management Council to cease                                                               
consideration  of  an  amendment  package that  would  require  a                                                               
Pacific cod endorsement for a  license limitation program license                                                               
holder to  participate in the  Pacific cod fisheries in  the Gulf                                                               
of Alaska.                                                                                                                      
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: SJR 13                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: URGING US TO RATIFY LAW OF THE SEA TREATY                                                                          
SPONSOR(s): RESOURCES                                                                                                           
03/13/09       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/13/09       (S)       RES                                                                                                    
03/27/09       (S)       RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/27/09       (S)       Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                                
03/30/09       (S)       RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
BILL: HJR 21                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: GROUNDFISH FISHERIES LICENSES                                                                                      
SPONSOR(s): AUSTERMAN                                                                                                           
02/27/09       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/27/09       (H)       FSH, RES                                                                                               
03/10/09       (H)       FSH AT 10:15 AM BARNES 124                                                                             
03/10/09       (H)       Moved Out of Committee                                                                                 
03/10/09       (H)       MINUTE(FSH)                                                                                            
03/12/09       (H)       FSH RPT 4DP 3NR                                                                                        
03/12/09       (H)       DP: JOHNSON, MILLETT, KELLER, MUNOZ                                                                    
03/12/09       (H)       NR: KAWASAKI, BUCH, EDGMON                                                                             
03/18/09       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
03/18/09       (H)       Moved Out of Committee                                                                                 
03/18/09       (H)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
03/19/09       (H)       RES RPT 6DP 3NR                                                                                        
03/19/09       (H)       DP:   OLSON,   TUCK,   SEATON,   WILSON,                                                               
                        NEUMAN, JOHNSON                                                                                         
03/19/09       (H)       NR: EDGMON, GUTTENBERG, KAWASAKI                                                                       
03/23/09       (H)       TRANSMITTED TO (S)                                                                                     
03/23/09       (H)       VERSION: HJR 21                                                                                        
03/25/09       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/25/09       (S)       RES                                                                                                    
03/30/09       (S)       RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
ERIC LUND, Intern                                                                                                               
  to Senator Wielechowski                                                                                                       
Alaska Capitol Building                                                                                                         
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT:  Introduced SJR 13 on behalf of the sponsor.                                                              
JAMES KRASKA, Professor of International Law                                                                                    
Naval War College                                                                                                               
Newport, Rhode Island                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided supporting information related to                                                               
SJR 13 and the Law of the Sea Convention.                                                                                       
MEAD TREADWELL, Chair                                                                                                           
U.S. Arctic Research Commission                                                                                                 
Fairbanks, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided supporting information related to                                                               
SJR 13 and the Law of the Sea Convention.                                                                                       
JIM FLOYD, representing himself                                                                                                 
Tok, AK                                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Opposed the Law of the Sea treaty not SJR
STEPHEN TAUFEN, member                                                                                                          
Groundswell Fisheries Movement                                                                                                  
Kodiak, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Commented on SJR 13 and supported HJR 21.                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ALAN AUSTERMAN                                                                                                   
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Sponsor of HJR 21                                                                                        
DON BREMNER                                                                                                                     
Central Council                                                                                                                 
Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska                                                                                         
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Described HJR 21 is an opportunity to                                                                    
influence control over Alaska seafood resources.                                                                                
SHAWN DOCHTERMANN, commercial fishermen representing himself                                                                    
Kodiak, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HJR 21.                                                                                        
DJ VINBERG, commercial fishermen representing himself                                                                           
Kodiak, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Opposes HJR 21.                                                                                          
ALVIN BIRCH, Executive Director                                                                                                 
Alaska Whitefish Trawlers Association                                                                                           
Kodiak, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Stated he has numerous concerns with HJR
PETER ALLEN, commercial fisherman representing himself                                                                          
Kodiak, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HJR 21.                                                                                        
TONY GREGORIO, commercial fisherman representing himself                                                                        
Chignik Lagoon, AK                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HJR 21.                                                                                        
FREDDIE CHRISTIANSEN, commercial fisherman representing himself                                                                 
Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HJR 21.                                                                                        
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
3:33:27 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR MCGUIRE  called the Senate Resources  Standing Committee                                                             
meeting to order  at 3:33 p.m. Present at the  call to order were                                                               
Senators  Wagoner, Stedman,  Stevens,  Wielechowski and  McGuire.                                                               
Senators French and Huggins arrived soon thereafter.                                                                            
        SJR 13-URGING US TO RATIFY LAW OF THE SEA TREATY                                                                    
3:34:00 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR MCGUIRE announced the consideration of SJR 13.                                                                         
ERIC  LUND, Intern  to  Senator Wielechowski,  said  that SJR  13                                                               
urges the U.S. Senate to  ratify the United Nations Convention on                                                               
the Law of the Seas. The Law  of the Seas was established in 1982                                                               
to replace outdated laws governing  oceans worldwide. This treaty                                                               
provides a legal framework to  address ocean activities including                                                               
economic  development,   claim  disputes,   scientific  research,                                                               
environmental protection, and defense.                                                                                          
The U.S.  is the only Arctic  nation that has yet  to ratify this                                                               
treaty, which recognizes a country's  right to a 12 nautical mile                                                               
territorial sea and  a 200 nautical mile  exclusive economic zone                                                               
(EEZ). Claims beyond the EEZ are  allowed if a country is able to                                                               
prove that there is a seabed  extension beyond the 200 mile zone.                                                               
Because the U.S. has not ratified  the treaty, it cannot make any                                                               
such claim.                                                                                                                     
Recent  studies suggest  that  the seabed  off  the Alaska  coast                                                               
could be equivalent  to the size of California  and extend beyond                                                               
the  200-mile zone.  The Arctic  contains significant  amounts of                                                               
oil  and natural  gas, which  presents tremendous  opportunity to                                                               
this  state, he  said.  With  recent Arctic  melt  there are  new                                                               
routes open for maritime activities.  Ratifying this treaty would                                                               
also  help the  U.S. defend  jurisdiction over  a portion  of the                                                               
Beauford Sea that is currently in dispute with Canada.                                                                          
Without ratification of  the Law of the Sea  Convention, the U.S.                                                               
is denied  the opportunity to  make claims and to  participate in                                                               
future policy decisions.                                                                                                        
MR. LUND,  responding to  a question  from Senator  Wagoner, said                                                               
that Mr. James Kraska, Navy  professor of international law; Mead                                                               
Treadwell, Chair, Arctic Research  Commission; and Buck Sharpton,                                                               
Vice  Chancellor for  Research, University  of Alaska,  Fairbanks                                                               
are online to answer questions.                                                                                                 
3:38:02 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR FRENCH joined the committee.                                                                                            
CO-CHAIR  WIELECHOWSKI  said  that  when General  Atkins  gave  a                                                               
presentation   to  the   joint   Armed   Services  Committee   he                                                               
specifically mentioned  the importance of ratifying  this treaty.                                                               
He  asked Mr.  Lund if  other high-rank  members of  the military                                                               
have voiced support for ratification.                                                                                           
MR. LUND answered yes and distributed a list to the committee.                                                                  
SENATOR FRENCH recommended an article  by Scott Borgerson, who is                                                               
a Visiting Fellow for Ocean  Governance at the Council on Foreign                                                               
Relations, and noted  that he makes many of the  same points that                                                               
Mr. Lund just  made. Given the apparent  overwhelming support, he                                                               
asked  who is  opposed  to ratification  of the  Law  of the  Sea                                                               
3:40:17 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGGINS joined the committee.                                                                                           
MR. LUND answered there  are a lot of myths about  the Law of the                                                               
Sea treaty  one of which  is that  the U.S. would  relinquish its                                                               
sovereign  rights. This  is not  accurate.  If the  U.S. were  to                                                               
ratify  the  treaty,  it  could   participate  in  future  policy                                                               
3:42:00 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS  asked for the  rationale behind the  U.S. Senate                                                               
opposition to ratification.                                                                                                     
MR.  LUND explained  that his  research found  that some  members                                                               
continue to  believe it may  threaten U.S. sovereign  rights. One                                                               
argument is  that it  will impede  military activities,  but that                                                               
has been proven  false. A number of  high-rank military officials                                                               
say  that current  laws and  treaties protect  military practices                                                               
and it is a high priority to ratify the treaty.                                                                                 
In 1994 amendments  were made to the seabed  mining provisions to                                                               
address issues  that were initially  raised by  President Reagan.                                                               
Now the  U.S. has exclusive  access to resources within  the 200-                                                               
mile  EEZ and  if it  ratifies the  treaty it  could expand  that                                                               
zone.  He clarified  that  right  now the  U.S.  is in  voluntary                                                               
compliance with  the territorial  sea and  the 200-mile  EEZ. But                                                               
that zone cannot be expanded because of non-member status.                                                                      
3:44:39 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WAGONER said  he wonders who becomes  subservient to whom                                                               
if the  U.S. becomes a  signatory. Would the U.S.  be subservient                                                               
to the United Nations?                                                                                                          
MR. LUND  answered the treaty  serves as  a way for  countries to                                                               
come  together  to  negotiate  their  position.  Since  the  1994                                                               
amendments, the  U.S. has  been guaranteed  a strong  position on                                                               
the Council  of the International Seabed  Authority. Some believe                                                               
that signing  would place the  U.S. in an inferior  position, but                                                               
that  isn't the  case. No  country dominates  but the  U.S. would                                                               
have  a  strong  position  being   on  the  International  Seabed                                                               
SENATOR WAGONER said  he sometimes wonders about  laying claim to                                                               
anything outside  of the 200 mile  limit. IT already costs  a lot                                                               
to police out 200 miles.                                                                                                        
MR. LUND  said the U.S. is  at risk of other  countries violating                                                               
its laws because  it isn't an official member. It  also gives way                                                               
for other countries to make claims within U.S. jurisdiction.                                                                    
3:48:13 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  MCGUIRE asked  Mr. Kraska  to comment  on why  the U.S.                                                               
Senate hasn't ratified the treaty.                                                                                              
JAMES KRASKA, Professor of International  Law, Naval War College,                                                               
said  the treaty  was opposed  primarily  because of  part 11  on                                                               
seabed  mining.  The  treaty  is   basically  a  bargain  between                                                               
maritime and  coastal states and  the creeping  jurisdiction that                                                               
some coastal states have pursued for  100 years. This is to close                                                               
off large areas of the ocean to the international community.                                                                    
The Law  of the Sea  Convention was  negotiated in 1970  with the                                                               
main provisions  protecting all  those navigational  rights. That                                                               
is why the  Department of Defense strongly supports  it. He noted                                                               
that the  letter he  provided is  signed by  the chair  and vice-                                                               
chair of  the Joint Chiefs  of Staff as  well as all  the service                                                               
The opposition to the treaty is  to part 11 on seabed mining. The                                                               
Law  of  the Sea  Convention  sets  up the  International  Seabed                                                               
Authority  to regulate  seabed mining  beyond 200  nautical miles                                                               
from every country's coastline. Part  11 emerged "out of the '70s                                                               
socialist new international  economic order and it  was pushed by                                                               
the  group of  77 developing  countries  at the  time." The  1994                                                               
amendments  eliminated  all  the major  offensive  provisions  on                                                               
seabed mining.  By that time  the Berlin  Wall had come  down and                                                               
the seabed mining regime had adopted market-oriented principles.                                                                
3:51:59 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. KRASKA  said that 1994 was  also the year that  Senator Helms                                                               
was  the chair  of  the Senate  Foreign  Relations Committee.  He                                                               
generally  disagreed to  a large  multi-lateral  treaty that  was                                                               
negotiated by the United Nations  and he wouldn't bring it before                                                               
the committee. All  the objections really demonstrated  a lack of                                                               
understanding  of  the  treaty   and  U.S.  interests.  This  was                                                               
everything from  the environment  to fishing to  oil and  gas and                                                               
national  security that  are promoted  by  the Convention.  After                                                               
Senator Helms stepped down, the  treaty came before Senator Lugar                                                               
and was voted  out of committee 19:0. Senator Frisk  did not take                                                               
it to a  full vote of the  Senate because it was  opposed by some                                                               
on the right.  In 2007 another attempt was made  and it was voted                                                               
out of the Senate Foreign  Relations Committee 17:4. That was the                                                               
last action taken.                                                                                                              
The Law  of the Sea  Convention is the most  comprehensive treaty                                                               
in existence after  the U.N. charter. Every  major ocean interest                                                               
in the U.S. government and on  the civilian side supports it, but                                                               
the  opposition is  generally related  to a  fear that  the three                                                               
international organizations set up  under the Convention will try                                                               
to assume  too much  power. Some  of the  fears are  fanciful, he                                                               
MR.  KRASKA said  that  the treaty  allows the  U.S.  to make  an                                                               
extended continental shelf claim  and assert sovereign rights and                                                               
jurisdiction  over  the  seabed  that  is  co-terminus  with  the                                                               
extended continental shelf. The  U.S. would have exclusive rights                                                               
to all  oil and gas and  minerals in that extended  area. All the                                                               
other  areas  throughout  the  seabed would  be  managed  by  the                                                               
International  Seabed Authority.  That Authority  would charge  a                                                               
levy in  order that  multinational corporations  or conglomerates                                                               
could access seabed minerals and oil  and gas. A major problem is                                                               
that  some people  believe  that  if you  find  something in  the                                                               
middle of  the ocean you  should be able  to keep it  rather than                                                               
going through the International Seabed Authority.                                                                               
SENATOR WAGONER  asked what  process Shell Oil  would need  to go                                                               
through if it  wanted to drill 285 miles off  the coast of Alaska                                                               
with or without the U.S. having signed the treaty.                                                                              
MR.  KRASKA replied  Shell Oil  effectively cannot  do so  if the                                                               
U.S.  is not  a party  to the  treaty because  it would  not have                                                               
security of  legal tenure. Shell  is a multinational  country and                                                               
it could be  sued in the courts  of any of the  156 countries and                                                               
European  Union  that  are  a  party   to  the  Law  of  the  Sea                                                               
Convention. If  the U.S. were  a party  to the treaty,  Shell Oil                                                               
could  approach  the  International  Seabed  Authority  with  its                                                               
proposal.  Some  marginal fees  are  associated  with claiming  a                                                               
mining site. The  ISA council, which has  36 members, distributes                                                               
those  funds  on  a  consensus basis.  Because  of  a  Convention                                                               
provision  the  U.S.  would  have  a  seat  on  the  council  and                                                               
effectively a permanent veto on  how those development funds that                                                               
are  extracted from  the seabed  mining fees  or levies  would be                                                               
distributed. Some say that the fees  are nothing more than a U.N.                                                               
tax that  U.S. corporations  would be subject  to and  they don't                                                               
like it.                                                                                                                        
MR.  KRASKA  acknowledged that  this  approach  to seabed  mining                                                               
isn't perfect,  but 156 countries and  the EU have signed  on and                                                               
the Law of  the Sea Convention has already moved  into the domain                                                               
of  customary  international  law.  In other  words,  it  can  be                                                               
binding even  if the U.S.  is not a  party. In fact,  U.S. courts                                                               
have viewed it as a binding  set of legal regimes even though the                                                               
U.S. isn't a party. You'll  certainly see that in foreign courts,                                                               
he said.                                                                                                                        
3:58:58 PM                                                                                                                    
MEAD TREADWELL, Chair, U.S. Arctic  Research Commission, said the                                                               
Commission has seven  members appointed by the  President to work                                                               
with federal  research agencies, the  State of Alaska,  and other                                                               
nations on its $400 million  per year Arctic research program. He                                                               
said the  timing here is  interesting. This treaty has  come into                                                               
force, people are beginning to  carve up the extended continental                                                               
shelf  of the  Arctic Ocean,  and there  is a  greater perception                                                               
that the  Arctic Ocean is  an accessible  ocean. It was  for that                                                               
reason that the commission went to  the White House two years ago                                                               
to ask  for a review of  U.S. Arctic policy. Bedrock  to that new                                                               
policy is  the need  for the U.S.  to ratify the  Law of  the Sea                                                               
Convention. If it isn't a member the  U.S. is not at the table as                                                               
the Arctic Ocean is carved up. If  it is a member, the U.S. would                                                               
have the  opportunity claim land  in the extended  OCS equivalent                                                               
to twice the size of California.                                                                                                
MR. TREADWELL pointed  out that the U.S.  has unresolved boundary                                                               
issues  with  Canada in  the  Bering  Strait.  If the  U.S.  were                                                               
signatory  to the  Convention  it would  have  the capability  to                                                               
manage the  living resources offshore outside  the 200-mile limit                                                               
and it  would give the U.S.  rights to the economic  resources on                                                               
the ocean  floor in the extended  OCS. Article 234 of  the Law of                                                               
the   Sea  allows   the   extension   of  certain   environmental                                                               
regulations into the EEZ in  traditional ice-covered waters. This                                                               
may be important  to the U.S. in protecting  against "rust bucket                                                               
ships"  that might  traverse the  newly accessible  ocean without                                                               
concern for oil spills, he said.                                                                                                
The Commission  doesn't normally  take a position  on legislation                                                               
like  this, he  said,  but  this has  been  a  driver for  Arctic                                                               
research and would  add significant Arctic resources  to the U.S.                                                               
The supporting  letter that Governor  Palin submitted  helped the                                                               
Alaska congressional  delegation mitigate  objections to  the Law                                                               
of the Sea.  The Commission is also cosponsoring  a conference on                                                               
the issue  in Seward  in mid-May.  The Center  of Law  and Oceans                                                               
Policy will bring  world experts in to focus on  the value of the                                                               
Law of the Sea in the Arctic.  Without being at the table some of                                                               
the minor  problems that  the U.S.  has with the  Law of  the Sea                                                               
can't be fixed. He hopes the resolution passes.                                                                                 
4:04:14 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WAGONER asked  if they can see a "poison  pill" on either                                                               
side of the issue at this time.                                                                                                 
MR. TREADWELL answered  no. This will be the  largest addition to                                                               
U.S. territory  since the  Louisiana Purchase,  and it  gives the                                                               
U.S.  the  power  to  regulate   offshore  resources  instead  of                                                               
allowing somebody else to do so.                                                                                                
MR. KRASKA  agreed. The Law  of the  Sea has a  mandatory dispute                                                               
resolution process  that includes  an international  tribunal and                                                               
arbitration.  Because international  tribunals don't  necessarily                                                               
favor  the U.S.  some people  have expressed  concern that  other                                                               
countries  could  attempt to  regulate  U.S.  naval activity  off                                                               
their coast in the EEZ. That  zone is open for high seas freedoms                                                               
and over flights by foreign military  and as a global naval power                                                               
the  U.S. is  dependent upon  those rights.  He noted  the recent                                                               
incident off the  coast of China over this very  issue. Some fear                                                               
that a  country like China  would take the  U.S. to one  of these                                                               
tribunals and  the U.S. would  lose because of  an interpretation                                                               
within the Law  of the Sea Convention that the  U.S didn't concur                                                               
with. But  if an international  tribunal overstepped  its bounds,                                                               
the  U.S. simply  wouldn't recognize  the jurisdiction.  Military                                                               
vessels and aircraft  have sovereign immune status  so a tribunal                                                               
would not be  entitled to assert jurisdiction  over U.S. military                                                               
activities.  That is  one  of the  claims that  really  is not  a                                                               
problem, he said.                                                                                                               
MR. TREADWELL highlighted that in  his last job Mr. Kraska helped                                                               
the  military  sort  through  issues of  missile  defense  as  it                                                               
relates to  the Law of  the Sea. His  work resulted in  the joint                                                               
chiefs giving this treaty a clean bill of health.                                                                               
MR. KRASKA said it's correct  that the senior Pentagon leadership                                                               
has been briefed  and every chief of naval  operations since 1994                                                               
has  supported  the  Convention.   It's  understood  that  global                                                               
mobility, maneuverability and access  beyond 12 nautical miles as                                                               
well as the ability to  transit through international straits are                                                               
guaranteed in the  Law of the Sea Convention.  Regardless of what                                                               
critics  say,  the U.S.  has  more  authority and  expends  fewer                                                               
resources when it operates under color of law.                                                                                  
4:09:25 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  KRASKA pointed  out  that the  U.S.  has disagreements  with                                                               
friendly countries like Australia and  Canada so it's in its best                                                               
interest that this treaty ensures  a liberal regime of freedom of                                                               
navigation for  commercial vessels  and military forces.  If this                                                               
treaty was  negotiated today, there  likely wouldn't be  the same                                                               
generous  provisions for  transiting throughout  the world.  When                                                               
the  treaty first  came  about  in 1982  all  the major  maritime                                                               
powers supported those navigational  provisions, which means that                                                               
at the height of the Cold War  both the U.S. and the Soviet Union                                                               
were in complete agreement on  this. The Soviet Union realized it                                                               
was  zone-locked and  needed  navigational  freedom perhaps  more                                                               
than the U.S. did. It was  really the U.S., Soviet Union, France,                                                               
U.K.,  and Japan  that worked  on  ensuring navigational  freedom                                                               
throughout the globe. It's in  the treaty. It's unlikely that the                                                               
U.S. and  Russia today  would have as  much coastal  influence as                                                               
they did back in 1982.                                                                                                          
JIM FLOYD, representing himself, Tok,  said he opposes the treaty                                                               
not the resolution.  His perspective is that the  only people who                                                               
don't  know  about  this  treaty are  the  average  citizens.  He                                                               
encouraged  the  committee  to  investigate  some  of  the  legal                                                               
arguments against the  treaty because it has a lot  of holes. His                                                               
understanding is  that it would  subjugate the  U.S. Constitution                                                               
to international control.                                                                                                       
4:14:43 PM                                                                                                                    
STEPHEN TAUFEN,  Groundswell Fisheries Movement, Kodiak,  said he                                                               
generally  supports  U.S. ratification  of  the  Law of  the  Sea                                                               
Convention,  but   it's  important  to  recognize   that  it  was                                                               
established when  world trade was conducted  differently. It does                                                               
not recognize new knowledge in the  conduct of trade in an era of                                                               
globalized casino-like  economics that  quickly devolve  in times                                                               
of financial  crisis. He  suggested that the  U.S. needs  to heed                                                               
the  National   Intelligence  Council's  2025   report  regarding                                                               
strategic  national  resource  protections.  He  asked  committee                                                               
members to read his written  submission that focuses on fisheries                                                               
and the international trade aspects of the treaty.                                                                              
4:18:48 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR   HUGGINS  commented   that  he   supports  international                                                               
cooperation, but it's important that  U.S. soldiers are not under                                                               
U.N. command. He isn't saying that  the U.S. shouldn't be a party                                                               
but he  wants to  understand what  it is that  the U.S.  might be                                                               
giving up if it signs the treaty.                                                                                               
CO-CHAIR  WIELECHOWSKI  said  that  is  why  he  is  particularly                                                               
heartened by  the June 26  letter from  the vice chair  and every                                                               
member of  the Joint  Chiefs of Staff  under President  George W.                                                               
Bush.  They said  that becoming  a party  to the  Convention will                                                               
ensure the U.S. leadership role  in the continuing development of                                                               
oceans  law and  policy.  They also  stated  that the  Convention                                                               
furthers  the U.S.  national security  strategy, strengthens  the                                                               
coalition,  and supports  the President's  Proliferation Security                                                               
Initiative.  He has  a high  degree of  confidence that  the U.S.                                                               
military wouldn't urge  signing a treaty that  would threaten the                                                               
troops or U.S. sovereignty.                                                                                                     
4:25:25 PM                                                                                                                    
O-CHAIR  MCGUIRE  announced  that  she   would  hold  SJR  13  in                                                               
              HJR 21-GROUNDFISH FISHERIES LICENSES                                                                          
4:25:34 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR MCGUIRE announced HJR 21 to be up for consideration.                                                                   
4:26:19 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ALAN AUSTERMAN,  Alaska State Legislature, sponsor                                                               
of HJR 21, said the resolution  is a message to the North Pacific                                                               
Fisheries  Management Council  (NPFMC). [The  NPFMC oversees  the                                                               
management of federal fisheries  beyond the three-mile limit] and                                                               
it  has a  history of  either  giving away  fishery resources  to                                                               
individual   fishermen  or   restricting   access.  The   halibut                                                               
Individual Fishing Quotas (IFQ) is  one such example. As a result                                                               
of quota  prices, a young  upstart halibut fisherman  today would                                                               
need to invest up to $1 million to enter that fishery.                                                                          
The NPFMC was moving the Gulf  of Alaska [Pacific] cod fishery in                                                               
the same direction  until 2006 when the governor asked  it not to                                                               
rationalize  that  fishery.  To  its credit,  the  NPFMC  changed                                                               
course and  established a limited license  program for groundfish                                                               
in the  Gulf of Alaska.  About 800  permits were issued  based on                                                               
catch  history  from  the  1990s with  the  primary  catch  being                                                               
[Pacific] cod.  Currently about  65 percent  of the  licenses are                                                               
latent and haven't been used for some time.                                                                                     
After  2006 the  NPFMC looked  at catch  histories in  a specific                                                               
range  of  recent  years  for   the  purpose  of  placing  a  cod                                                               
endorsement on the  LLP license. Without this  endorsement an LLP                                                               
license  would  be  functionally   useless.  This  works  to  the                                                               
advantage of  those who  receive an  endorsement and  creates yet                                                               
another barrier for young people to enter the industry.                                                                         
HJR 21 simply  asks the North Pacific  Fishery Management Council                                                               
not to  reduce reasonable access  to this fishery. Don't  place a                                                               
cod endorsement  on these licenses  and make 500 some  latent LLP                                                               
licenses non-usable.  Part of  the goal of  the resolution  is to                                                               
raise awareness on some of the  options that the NPFMC may not be                                                               
looking at.  This includes looking  at how to control  the growth                                                               
in fisheries so the need  to rationalize doesn't arise. There are                                                               
ways  to do  that,  but the  NPFMC is  only  looking at  reducing                                                               
access  so that  just  "X"  number of  boats  will  fish in  that                                                               
4:33:55 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN said that when  he worked for the former                                                               
governor on  fishery issues  it was an  eye-opener to  learn that                                                               
the administration,  through the  commissioner of  the Department                                                               
of  Fish and  Game, and  the five  Board of  Fisheries appointees                                                               
make  policy  calls in  federal  fisheries  that directly  affect                                                               
Alaskans  and put  them  out of  work.  The Crab  Rationalization                                                               
Program  is a  prime example.  Over 1,000  jobs were  lost; about                                                               
half were  lost by  Alaskans and  the other  half were  by people                                                               
from the  West Coast that  came to  Alaska to fish.  Clearly, the                                                               
Alaska Legislature should  be involved in the  policy issues that                                                               
affect Alaskans so greatly.                                                                                                     
4:37:05 PM                                                                                                                    
DON BREMNER,  Central Council  Tlingit &  Haida Indian  Tribes of                                                               
Alaska  (CCTHITA), said  HJR 21  is an  opportunity to  influence                                                               
control over  the Alaska seafood resources.  CCTHITA has actively                                                               
opposed steps  by the North Pacific  Fisheries Management Council                                                               
toward  rationalization, but  has had  limited success.  When the                                                               
Magnuson-Stevens  Act passed  in  1976 it  was  designed for  the                                                               
average  Alaska fisherman.  Rationalization came  as a  result of                                                               
large  open  ocean  fishermen lobbying  their  interests  at  the                                                               
expense of  inshore fisheries and  communities. HJR 21 is  a good                                                               
idea, it helps the little guy.                                                                                                  
4:40:55 PM                                                                                                                    
SHAWN  DOCHTERMANN   said  he  is  a   second  generation  Kodiak                                                               
commercial  fishermen  who supports  HJR  21.  He is  opposed  to                                                               
eliminating  LLP  licenses  and  implementation  of  Pacific  cod                                                               
endorsements.  The NPFMC  should stick  with the  status quo  for                                                               
Gulf of  Alaska groundfish  management. He  noted that  a council                                                               
member  recently  told  him  the  endorsements  will  go  through                                                               
regardless  and said  he has  a hard  time understanding  why the                                                               
council  doesn't  listen  to the  stakeholders.  Over  17  Native                                                               
villages or organizations support the resolution.                                                                               
MR.  DOCHTERMANN said  the  purpose and  need  statement for  the                                                               
amendments is flawed.  There is no increased  market value, there                                                               
is nothing wrong with competition,  and this will not insure that                                                               
active fisherman will be able  to participate in these fisheries.                                                               
The  Magnuson-Stevens   Act  was  brought  forward   for  habitat                                                               
protection  and sustainability  of resources  yet the  amendments                                                               
don't mention that. It's for  economic allocation, which violates                                                               
a standard in the Sustainable Fisheries Act of 1996.                                                                            
Removing the latent licenses from  groundfish permit holders will                                                               
leave state  waters as the  dumping ground for new  entrants. Why                                                               
shouldn't  federal  waters have  a  place  for active  new  entry                                                               
fishermen to transition to all  fisheries? Fishing rights need to                                                               
remain with  those who go  out on  boats. Removing the  LLPs from                                                               
fixed  gear fishermen  will take  rights from  active and  future                                                               
fishermen and  give exclusive rights to  an investor-only faction                                                               
that does not fish.                                                                                                             
4:45:03 PM                                                                                                                    
DJ VINBERG said he is a  third generation Kodiak fisherman and he                                                               
opposes  HJR 21.  Morally  he  agrees with  the  concept of  open                                                               
fishing, but  without restriction the  cod fishery is  becoming a                                                               
derby  not unlike  halibut fishing  of the  past. The  cod season                                                               
used to  last 3-4 months  and this year  it lasted just  26 days.                                                               
This year  30 more  boats participated than  two years  ago. Most                                                               
disturbing were  the boats  that came that  have crab  IFQs. They                                                               
are free to  participate in any open fishery at  no risk to their                                                               
already banked crab  money. In an open  fishing environment these                                                               
highly competitive fishermen  will receive a bonus  season at his                                                               
expense.  If   unchecked  the  cod  fishery   will  become  over-                                                               
There  should be  more restrictions  on  access to  the gulf  cod                                                               
fishery including  some qualifying years.  The more than  800 LLP                                                               
licenses in  the gulf do nothing  to protect people like  him who                                                               
live in Kodiak and are committed  to the fishery. His options are                                                               
limited; he  is too small to  fish cod out west  and his business                                                               
is  jeopardized  if his  piece  of  the  "cod pie"  continues  to                                                               
shrink. While  he doesn't favor  further privatizations  or IFQs,                                                               
he  believes  that limiting  the  number  of  permits is  a  good                                                               
starting tool.                                                                                                                  
The Legislature  should be concerned  about Alaska  fisheries and                                                               
knowledgeable about  the situation,  but it should  respect those                                                               
whose  sole responsibility  it is  to  make fisheries  management                                                               
4:48:41 PM                                                                                                                    
ALVIN  BIRCH,  Executive   Director,  Alaska  Whitefish  Trawlers                                                               
Association,  said he  submitted  written testimony.  He is  well                                                               
familiar with  fisheries management issues and  his concerns with                                                               
HJR  21 are  numerous. In  particular he  is concerned  about the                                                               
precedent it  sets for the  Legislature to make a  quick decision                                                               
about a fisheries  issue that is going through the  long and very                                                               
public NPFMC  process. The  stated purpose  of the  resolution is                                                               
far  from  accurate and  is  an  example of  why  it  is so  very                                                               
important  to have  a long  decision-making  process for  fishery                                                               
issues. That  way all sides  and opinions can be  weighed against                                                               
scientific data.  Without scientific  data, all fisheries  are at                                                               
risk. The recent NPFMC amendment package  is the result of a long                                                               
public  process, scientific  input, and  months of  deliberation.                                                               
New  entrants are  allowed into  the fisheries  and those  with a                                                               
long history of fishing cod are protected.                                                                                      
4:51:44 PM                                                                                                                    
PETER  ALLEN, representing  himself, said  he is  a fisherman  in                                                               
Kodiak who has been fishing a  small boat for over 25 years. This                                                               
has been  possible because  he's been flexible  to adapt  as fish                                                               
stocks and markets rise and  fall. Small boat fishermen need this                                                               
flexibility. Currently he has an  inactive LP, an inactive salmon                                                               
seine  permit,  an  inactive  herring   gillnet  permit,  and  an                                                               
inactive  crab permit.  All  these permits  make  up his  fishing                                                               
business. If  the federal government  takes away his  cod fishing                                                               
rights and  the state  takes away  other rights  he'll be  out of                                                               
business. This resolution tells the  council what a lot of people                                                               
feel and it's right on, he said.                                                                                                
4:53:43 PM                                                                                                                    
TONY GREGORIO, representing himself,  Chignik Lagoon, said he has                                                               
fished since 1959  and when people talk  about rationalization he                                                               
thinks back  to the time  when Del Monte  owned all the  boats in                                                               
Chignik  and told  the skippers  how many  fish they  could catch                                                               
every day.  "That's where we're going  back to," he said.  In the                                                               
'50s villages  like Squaw  Harbor, Unga,  and Chignik  Lagoon had                                                               
private salteries but when the cod  fishing died out they went to                                                               
somewhere  else.  Now  those  villages   are  gone.  He  applauds                                                               
Representative  Austerman  for  bring  this  to  the  Legislature                                                               
because  "trying  to  deal  with  the  North  Pacific  [Fisheries                                                               
Management Council]  is like trying to  tell your wife not  to go                                                               
shopping anymore."                                                                                                              
4:56:02 PM                                                                                                                    
FREDDIE  CHRISTIANSEN, representing  himself, Anchorage,  said he                                                               
was born  and raised on Kodiak  Island. He has fished  his entire                                                               
life and  believes there  comes a  time when  the state  needs to                                                               
stand up  and say, "Enough  is enough." These  communities aren't                                                               
asking  for  a  handout;  they're asking  that  their  needs  are                                                               
considered when fish  are rationalized, he said. When  he grew up                                                               
his family  and others  fished many  different fisheries  and now                                                               
participation is  very limited.  He noted that  the new  chief of                                                               
NOAH  recently stated  that she  knows that  what Americans  want                                                               
from  the  ocean is  clean  beaches,  safe and  healthy  seafood,                                                               
abundant  wildlife,  and  stable fisheries.  This  means  vibrant                                                               
coastal  communities for  us,  our kids,  and  our grandkids,  he                                                               
said.  He  thanked  Representative  Austerman  for  bringing  the                                                               
resolution forward.                                                                                                             
4:58:30 PM                                                                                                                    
STEPHEN TAUFEN,  Groundswell Fisheries Movement, Kodiak,  said he                                                               
agrees with  earlier testimony that  the purposes and  needs that                                                               
the NPFMC  is basing its  action on are inaccurate.  The argument                                                               
for the cod  endorsement eschews efficiencies and  makes it clear                                                               
that    this   council    "is    nothing    but   hell-bent    on                                                               
privatizations…even   when   things  become   disconnected   from                                                               
reality."  For  a  lot  of  reasons  the  Legislature  should  be                                                               
involved in  the council's action.  Number one is to  ensure that                                                               
their problem  and purpose and  need statements are  accurate and                                                               
sensible before  there is  a regulatory  review. Also,  the state                                                               
needs  to have  a  deputy attorney  general  ensure that  coastal                                                               
communities, small  business people,  and other  stakeholders are                                                               
represented   and   protected.    He   applauded   Representative                                                               
Austerman's efforts.                                                                                                            
CO-CHAIR  MCGUIRE closed  public  testimony and  held  HJR 21  in                                                               
5:01:10 PM                                                                                                                    
There being nothing further to come before the committee, Co-                                                                   
Chair Wielechowski adjourned the Senate Resources Standing                                                                      
Committee at 5:01 p.m.                                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SJR 13 - Bill Packet.pdf SRES 3/30/2009 3:30:00 PM
SJR 21 - Bill Packet.pdf SRES 3/30/2009 3:30:00 PM