Legislature(2015 - 2016)BUTROVICH 205

03/09/2016 03:30 PM Senate RESOURCES

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03:31:04 PM Start
03:31:14 PM Confirmation Hearings
04:31:35 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Confirmation on Governor's Appointees: TELECONFERENCED
Board of Fisheries: Al Cain, Robert Ruffner
-- Public Testimony on Appointees --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE RESOURCES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 9, 2016                                                                                          
                           3:31 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Cathy Giessel, Chair                                                                                                    
Senator Mia Costello, Vice Chair                                                                                                
Senator John Coghill                                                                                                            
Senator Peter Micciche                                                                                                          
Senator Bert Stedman                                                                                                            
Senator Bill Stoltze                                                                                                            
Senator Bill Wielechowski                                                                                                       
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
CONFIRMATION HEARINGS                                                                                                           
     Board of Fisheries                                                                                                     
          Alan Cain - Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                         
          Robert Ruffner - Soldotna, Alaska                                                                                     
     - CONFIRMATIONS ADVANCED                                                                                                   
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
ALAN CAIN, Appointee                                                                                                            
Alaska Board of Fisheries                                                                                                       
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified as appointee.                                                                                   
ROBERT RUFFNER, Appointee                                                                                                       
Alaska Board of Fisheries                                                                                                       
Soldotna, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified as appointee.                                                                                   
LYNN WHITMORE                                                                                                                   
Anchor Point, Alaska                                                                                                            
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of  confirming Mr. Cain                                                             
and Mr. Ruffner.                                                                                                                
WES HUMBYRD                                                                                                                     
Homer, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Spoke in opposition  to confirming  Mr. Cain                                                             
and in support of confirming Mr. Ruffner.                                                                                       
RICHARD MCGAHAN                                                                                                                 
Nikiski, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT: Requested careful  consideration for Board of                                                             
Fisheries appointees.                                                                                                           
WILLIAM PETERSON, Administrator                                                                                                 
New Stuyahok Tribal Council                                                                                                     
New Stuyahok, Alaska                                                                                                            
POSITION STATEMENT: Spoke in support of Mr. Ruffner.                                                                          
JIMMY HURLEY                                                                                                                    
Ekwok, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION  STATEMENT:  Encouraged  representation of  Bristol  Bay                                                             
fishing interests on the Board of Fisheries.                                                                                    
GEORGE PIERCE                                                                                                                   
Kasilof, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION    STATEMENT:    Spoke     in    support    of    having                                                             
biologists/scientists on the Board of Fisheries.                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
3:31:04 PM                                                                                                                  
CHAIR  CATHY   GIESSEL  called  the  Senate   Resources  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order at 3:31  p.m. Present at the  call to                                                               
order were Senators Stedman,  Coghill, Stoltze, Wielechowski, and                                                               
Chair  Giessel. Senators  Costello  and  Micciche joined  shortly                                                               
^Confirmation Hearings                                                                                                          
                     Confirmation Hearings                                                                                  
                   Alaska Board of Fisheries                                                                                
3:31:14 PM                                                                                                                  
CHAIR GIESSEL announced confirmation  hearings for the Governor's                                                               
appointees to  the Board of  Fisheries. She invited Alan  Cain to                                                               
tell the  committee about himself  and why  he wants to  serve on                                                               
the Board of Fisheries.                                                                                                         
3:31:39 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COSTELLO joined the committee.                                                                                          
3:32:14 PM                                                                                                                    
ALAN CAIN,  Alaska Board of Fisheries  appointee, Anchorage, said                                                               
there  are two  or three  reasons why  he wants  to serve  on the                                                               
board. He  said he has  observed the board providing  a wonderful                                                               
service to  the state,  and he has  been involved  in protecting,                                                               
enforcing, and helping managers in  managing Alaska's fish. He is                                                               
proud  of  that service  and  wants  to  apply  it to  the  board                                                               
process. He  said he  has seen many  groups and  individuals come                                                               
before  the board  with a  lot of  differences, and  by listening                                                               
very   carefully,  evaluating   needs,  and   referring  to   the                                                               
constitution  and  applicable  laws,  "we  can  usually  find  an                                                               
agreeable solution to  most things." He said he will  be happy to                                                               
be part of that.                                                                                                                
3:32:26 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MICCICHE joined the committee.                                                                                          
3:33:29 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  STOLTZE asked  if he  was  a DNR  [Alaska Department  of                                                               
Natural Resources] contract employee in the Knik area.                                                                          
MR. CAIN  said yes; he was  hired to establish the  peace officer                                                               
and law  enforcement program.  He said  he provided  training and                                                               
assisted with the regulations over the years.                                                                                   
SENATOR STOLTZE  said he  did a  good job  setting the  stage for                                                               
[the program].                                                                                                                  
3:34:48 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI asked  for Mr.  Cain's thoughts  on how  to                                                               
solve Cook Inlet issues, like  dipnetting, and if there should be                                                               
any  priority users.  He asked  about  curtailments of  emergency                                                               
openings in Cook  Inlet when fish runs are low,  or if dipnetting                                                               
and sport fishing should be curtailed first.                                                                                    
MR.  CAIN  said  he  has  no preferences  other  than  the  legal                                                               
precedent  set forth  in  Title 16  of  Alaska's statutes,  which                                                               
gives  a subsistence  preference. He  noted that  he sat  through                                                               
"five different cycles  of Cook Inlet" and is  very familiar with                                                               
the  user groups  involved and  the passions  they have.  He said                                                               
that things change,  like user groups becoming  more efficient in                                                               
harvesting, and the  board members need to  listen very carefully                                                               
to all input. The Alaska Department  of Fish and Game (ADF&G) has                                                               
a  tremendous amount  of management  experience and  has done  an                                                               
excellent job  of managing  "that river"  and the  adjacent river                                                               
systems.  Things are  in reasonable  condition at  this time,  he                                                               
added, so big changes have to  be looked at very carefully. There                                                               
will always  be minor  adjustments, he  said, and  he is  open to                                                               
listening to each user group.                                                                                                   
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI asked  if he  agreed with  the conservation                                                               
corridor established for the "Mat-Su" recently.                                                                                 
MR. CAIN answered yes.                                                                                                          
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI asked  if there  are any  salmon management                                                               
plans that are not working.                                                                                                     
MR. CAIN said that he does  not feel strongly that any management                                                               
plan is not working, but  adjustments and improvements are always                                                               
needed.  He assumes  that ADF&G  and  the user  groups will  have                                                               
suggestions for  the board's Cook  Inlet fishery cycle,  he said,                                                               
and he will take a look at each one very carefully.                                                                             
3:38:27 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  noted that the Kenai  and Kasilof personal-                                                               
use fisheries  have increased  lately, and he  asked if  Mr. Cain                                                               
supports  any proposals  that would  institute  fees, limit  boat                                                               
use, or reduce the number of fish that can be taken.                                                                            
MR. CAIN said he does not  oppose those options; all options need                                                               
to be considered carefully.                                                                                                     
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI asked  if he  agrees with  the drift  fleet                                                               
closures  so  that  Southcentral  dipnetters  can  fish  "usually                                                               
Friday through Saturday or Sunday."                                                                                             
MR.  CAIN  answered  yes;  that  has been  an  effective  way  to                                                               
increase the take in the river for personal use.                                                                                
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI noted  that there  was an  increase in  the                                                               
number of  fish that could be  taken on the Copper  River so that                                                               
it matches Kenai River limits, which  many people think is a good                                                               
thing, but because  there are limited places to  fish, people are                                                               
spending a  lot more  time dipnetting,  so it  may have  had some                                                               
negative impacts.                                                                                                               
MR. CAIN said  any change has to be reevaluated  year after year.                                                               
The board's  cyclical schedule  provides a  chance to  assess the                                                               
impacts of any change, he stated.                                                                                               
3:41:04 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR   STOLTZE  asked   about   limitations  on   personal-use                                                               
fisheries, since Mr. Cain said he is open to those restrictions.                                                                
MR. CAIN answered  that he is open to discussion  on any changes.                                                               
User groups  suggest many  changes every year,  he said,  and for                                                               
the Cook  Inlet cycle there  are usually about 500  proposals for                                                               
the Board of Fisheries to consider.  He will listen, he said, and                                                               
he  is  not interested  in  disenfranchising  any individuals  or                                                               
groups. His goal is to allocate as equally as can be.                                                                           
SENATOR STOLTZE said  there is not the capacity "to  put an equal                                                               
number up the river as  that are harvested by that ever-efficient                                                               
drift fleet."  He said the  smaller user groups are  personal and                                                               
sport fishers, and  he asked what limits Mr. Cain  is not opposed                                                               
to for "the Goliath" drift fleet.                                                                                               
MR.  CAIN said  there have  been many  ideas from  different user                                                               
groups  to  limit  one  another   and  even  themselves,  and  he                                                               
considers some  to be  extreme and  others reasonable.  The seven                                                               
people  on the  board are  there  to evaluate  every proposal  as                                                               
fairly as possible and come  up with equitable solutions. In Cook                                                               
Inlet, there are  lot of people interested  in harvesting salmon,                                                               
and sometimes  the debates become very  passionate and emotional.                                                               
The board  needs to calmly listen  to all of the  suggestions and                                                               
sort out the best for that cycle.                                                                                               
3:45:06 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STOLTZE said that answer  is appropriate, and he does not                                                               
expect him to come in aligned one  way or the other. Any time the                                                               
system is fair, Senator Stoltze's  constituents benefit, he said,                                                               
because they cannot  afford to hire lobbyists. Fair  is about all                                                               
they can expect from the process that is often driven by ADF&G.                                                                 
MR. CAIN  remarked that  he has  seen well-organized  user groups                                                               
with very strong  voices and others who are more  subdued, and he                                                               
has watched board members listen  to both. Listening carefully is                                                               
the key to finding a fair solution, he stated.                                                                                  
SENATOR  MICCICHE said  if  there is  not  a transparent,  public                                                               
process, it is tough to bring  people together. He asked Mr. Cain                                                               
how  his  service can  improve  public  confidence, because  both                                                               
sides often  feel like they  are not  heard, whether they  are or                                                               
MR. CAIN said that the board  made a huge improvement by going to                                                               
the  committee  process, because  the  previous  model of  taking                                                               
public testimony for three to  five minutes and going straight to                                                               
deliberations  didn't give  board  members  the information  they                                                               
needed.  Public confidence  improved dramatically,  he said,  and                                                               
each  individual  or group  can  speak  before those  committees,                                                               
which takes more days, but  "I've watched very polarized factions                                                               
move a  little bit  closer together when  they hear  each other's                                                               
opinions  and   explanations  about   effects  on   families  and                                                               
livelihoods …."                                                                                                                 
3:47:32 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. CAIN said people feel that  they have been heard, and the new                                                               
process really  helps the discussion  move along. He  stated that                                                               
he wished  there was  more time  for the  public process,  but he                                                               
supports the new committee process.                                                                                             
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI opined that  the biggest management tool "is                                                               
to  send the  commercial  fleet  out …  and  have more  emergency                                                               
openers." It seems  like the last resort is to  allow sport users                                                               
to  take more  fish and  dipnetters to  go longer  hours, and  he                                                               
asked if  Mr. Cain would  be open  to changing the  management of                                                               
over-escapement to allow more sport fishing and dipnetting.                                                                     
MR. CAIN said he would be  open to that and any suggestions, "and                                                               
any way  we can  more equitably spread  the harvest  between user                                                               
groups, I  would be open  to listening to." He  acknowledged that                                                               
the commercial  fleet is very  efficient when there  are dramatic                                                               
spikes in  returns to the  river, but  there are other  ways, and                                                               
some are difficult to manage but not impossible.                                                                                
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI asked  for his  thoughts on  the commercial                                                               
setnet  fishery.  It has  been  closed  for numerous  years,  and                                                               
[setnetters]  are  concerned  about  that, and  sport  users  are                                                               
concerned about the impact on Kenai Chinook salmon runs.                                                                        
MR. CAIN  said it is  an awkward  issue because of  the potential                                                               
for harvest  of king  salmon returning to  the Kenai  and Kasilof                                                               
rivers and  the upper reaches  of Cook Inlet.  "They're efficient                                                               
at doing  that, and  that's been  one of  the major  reasons that                                                               
they had to  take the concessions that they have,"  he stated. He                                                               
opined that they  are a valid and historic user  group that needs                                                               
careful consideration, but he has  no specific suggestions on how                                                               
to  minimize the  king  salmon  harvest. He  said  ADF&G and  the                                                               
setnet fleet have made good progress.                                                                                           
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI asked  if he  would recommend  having areas                                                               
limited to only drift boats on the Kenai River.                                                                                 
3:51:12 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. CAIN  answered that  such areas could  be considered,  but he                                                               
would need  to know the  specifics. Typically, users  have shared                                                               
areas because fish  are where they are. He said  he would like to                                                               
hear from ADF&G on its ability to manage the fishery.                                                                           
SENATOR STOLTZE  said Cook Inlet  has a mixed-stock  fishery, and                                                               
he  asked if  there should  be a  focus on  "more discrete  stock                                                               
MR. CAIN  said he is  not familiar  with the most  recent genetic                                                               
studies on  where fish run,  especially for the streams  in Upper                                                               
Cook Inlet.  He said he  does not know  "if there's been  any big                                                               
increases in  patterns of  where those fish  are located  or not,                                                               
and,  probably, if  they were  able to  discover that,  the first                                                               
thing  you  could count  on  is  …  change."  He stated  that  he                                                               
supports an equitable distribution of  fish into all streams that                                                               
fulfills  the   constitutional  mandate  to   sustain  fisheries.                                                               
Additional  genetic research  on harvest  and migration  patterns                                                               
can  help  determine  where  fisheries  can  be  open  and  where                                                               
corridors should allow for passage, he added.                                                                                   
SENATOR STOLTZE  stated that his question  was about conservation                                                               
of the  species when harvesting a  mixed stock. He wants  to make                                                               
sure fish  get back to  the right rivers,  and it is  a difficult                                                               
prospect,  he  said. Some  political  entities  are resistant  to                                                               
getting  information and  do not  want  the question  to come  up                                                               
about discreet  stock management,  he stated, because  the system                                                               
is now advantageous to "those who  do the mass harvests." He said                                                               
the Mat-Su Valley led the effort  to analyze genetics, but it was                                                               
resisted  by the  status  quo. Pure  frustration  might drive  an                                                               
[Endangered Species  Act] lawsuit, he added.  His constituency is                                                               
the  fish, "because  we don't  have a  constituency that  can use                                                               
them if we don't have the fish."                                                                                                
MR. CAIN  said mixed stock  management is difficult all  over the                                                               
state. The board  will consider every factor and may  have to err                                                               
on the side of conservation to not deplete any particular run.                                                                  
3:56:59 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MICCICHE noted  that  the Board  of  Fisheries meets  in                                                               
specific areas;  however, some of "those  interceptions" occur in                                                               
other areas.  He asked how that  system can be improved.  He said                                                               
that Alaskans tend to be  concerned about their closest neighbors                                                               
instead  of the  other fisheries  that may  be involved.  How can                                                               
there be  "more of  a relationship  between the  different areas,                                                               
particularly when  we have a stock  of concern on how  far out we                                                               
should consider the best management practices for that species?"                                                                
MR. CAIN  said it is a  very challenging area. He  pointed to the                                                               
difficulties  between  the  Area  M harvesters  on  the  [Alaska]                                                               
Peninsula and the Yukon and  Kuskokwim area harvesters, where the                                                               
river  groups  feel strongly  that  a  lot of  interceptions  are                                                               
happening. He  said the board  has tried several  strategies, and                                                               
he does not  have any new ones to suggest,  but he feels strongly                                                               
that more scientific genetic studies  are needed at all points of                                                               
interception. The board  needs to be very careful  about how they                                                               
support management plans for mixed harvests, he stated.                                                                         
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  asked what factors  led to the  decrease in                                                               
salmon returns to [the Matanuska  River and Susitna River Basin],                                                               
and what can be done to increase them.                                                                                          
MR. CAIN  said original  escapement, harvests,  predation, global                                                               
warming, water  column temperatures,  and other  ocean conditions                                                               
influence returns. The board needs to  focus on the things it can                                                               
control, he stated.                                                                                                             
CHAIR GIESSEL announced that the  next order of business would be                                                               
the confirmation hearing for Robert Ruffner.                                                                                    
4:01:40 PM                                                                                                                    
ROBERT RUFFNER,  Alaska Board  of Fisheries  appointee, Soldotna,                                                               
said he  graduated from the  University of Minnesota  in geology,                                                               
focusing on  river mechanics. He  studied numerical  modeling and                                                               
statistics, which will  be helpful to the Board  of Fisheries. He                                                               
said  he   worked  for  a  conservation   organization  that  was                                                               
balanced, and it worked hard to  seat board members from all user                                                               
groups.  It worked  on habitat  issues, and  he is  familiar with                                                               
user  groups that  "use some  of the  habitat issues  as a  sword                                                               
against  another  group."  He  said he  just  resigned  from  his                                                               
position there, but  he is still working for  the organization in                                                               
a  very  limited capacity  on  a  restoration project  along  the                                                               
Tesoro pipeline route.                                                                                                          
4:04:16 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. RUFFNER  said he  has served on  the Kenai  Peninsula Borough                                                               
planning  commission and  a  road [service]  board.  He wants  to                                                               
serve on  the Board  of Fisheries  because he  wants his  kids to                                                               
have the experiences he had as a  child. He noted that there is a                                                               
focus on  Cook Inlet, but the  board has a tremendous  job with a                                                               
multi-billion-dollar  industry working  across the  entire state,                                                               
and one  reason he wants  to serve is  to learn more  about other                                                               
parts of the state. He said  he will bring the proper temperament                                                               
to hear  the various user  groups. It  is important to  listen to                                                               
the impassioned people with concerns  and issues and try to bring                                                               
people together  to find  the best solution.  Others tell  him he                                                               
has that skill, he said.                                                                                                        
4:07:48 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. RUFFNER said  his science and statistical  background will be                                                               
helpful.  Understanding  how  numerical  models  are  derived  is                                                               
important, and he hopes to  illuminate the sophisticated modeling                                                               
techniques used in  fishery and economic analysis.  He added that                                                               
he  has  a strong  commitment  to  the public  process.  Alaska's                                                               
process is unique  in the world, and he strongly  believes in the                                                               
"AC" process and having proposals  brought forward to a body that                                                               
can  arbitrate them  with neutrality  and  transparency. He  will                                                               
always state the reasons for his votes, he added.                                                                               
4:08:40 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STOLTZE said  he is more open to Mr.  Ruffner now that he                                                               
is applying  for a different  seat. He asked  him if he  wants to                                                               
revise  anything from  last year's  testimony, particularly  with                                                               
regard to  his commitment to  the board action on  corridors. Has                                                               
anything changed?                                                                                                               
MR. RUFFNER said he put a number  of points on the record, and he                                                               
did  not see  any fishery  that was  carried out  this year  that                                                               
would lead  him to  change any  of his  positions. He  noted that                                                               
there was a good showing of coho in the valley and on the Kenai.                                                                
SENATOR STOLTZE  said there  is no statutory  Kodiak seat  on the                                                               
board, and  Mr. Ruffner  is applying  for what  has traditionally                                                               
been  a commercial  seat for  Bristol Bay.  Senator Stoltze  said                                                               
that Mr. Ruffner  spoke of only two days  of commercial [fishing]                                                               
experience, but  "I suspect  you've probably tried  to bone  up …                                                               
you probably have  broader knowledge." He said this is  more of a                                                               
commercial  seat, and  he is  comfortable with  that designation,                                                               
but  he asked  Mr. Ruffner  if he  has a  broader involvement  or                                                               
understanding that might make him more qualified for this seat.                                                                 
MR.  RUFFNER  said  he  fished  two  years  in  the  inlet  [then                                                               
corrected himself  later and  said he had  fished for  two days],                                                               
but  last   year  he  did   personal-use  fishing.  He   said  he                                                               
understands  the fisheries  and  how  they operate,  particularly                                                               
salmon. He will have to study  up on other species, like crab and                                                               
herring, and he has the time to do that.                                                                                        
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  commented that he  is glad to see  him back                                                               
at it; "last year  was rough, and it had nothing  to do with you.                                                               
It was just simply over the  seat designation." He added that Mr.                                                               
Ruffner is immensely qualified.                                                                                                 
4:13:57 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR GIESSEL opened public testimony.                                                                                          
4:14:10 PM                                                                                                                    
LYNN WHITMORE, Anchor  Point, said Mr. Cain has been  at Board of                                                               
Fisheries  meetings for  at  least 30-some  years  and he  cannot                                                               
imagine a  better candidate. "He's  about as  fair a man  as I've                                                               
ever seen  sitting in that arena,"  he stated. He added  that Mr.                                                               
Ruffner is a river scientist,  which the board sorely needs. Both                                                               
candidates  are fair,  he said.  He  has seen  prejudices on  the                                                               
board,  "and I  look forward  to watching  these guys  go through                                                               
that  process, and  I'm guessing  they're going  to be  real fair                                                               
about it."                                                                                                                      
4:15:20 PM                                                                                                                    
WES HUMBYRD, Homer,  said he has commercial fished  in Cook Inlet                                                               
since 1966, "and I  was all for Mr. Cain until he  said … that he                                                               
thought  the  conservation corridor  in  Cook  Inlet was  a  good                                                               
thing." He now does not want  Mr. Cain confirmed, because that is                                                               
one of  the worst things  the Board  of Fisheries has  ever done,                                                               
and it  put a lot of  commercial fishermen out of  business. Many                                                               
went bankrupt,  he added, because  they were  not able to  get to                                                               
where the sockeye salmon were, and  almost 1 million fish went to                                                               
waste.  He said  neither  the dipnetters  nor  anyone else  could                                                               
catch  them.  Mr.  Ruffner,  on  the  other  hand,  needs  to  be                                                               
confirmed because he was dragged over  the coals last year due to                                                               
politics. Mr. Humbyrd believes that he will be very fair.                                                                       
4:16:48 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STOLTZE said  Mr. Ruffner also supports  the corridor. He                                                               
asked Mr. Humbyrd if he should vote against him.                                                                                
MR. HUMBYRD told  Senator Stoltze that that is  his own decision.                                                               
Mr. Ruffner has a lot of  background in biology, and "I just want                                                               
somebody on that  board that uses biological data  and science to                                                               
make  a  decision."  He  said  he  is  against  the  conservation                                                               
corridor "because we  do not fish like Bristol  Bay, Mr. Stoltze,                                                               
and everybody  up there  thinks we  do." If  people want  them to                                                               
fish like  that, then they  should be  allowed to fish  the first                                                               
five miles  of the Kenai River,  he said, and that  way they will                                                               
not  be wasting  millions  and millions  of  dollars of  revenue,                                                               
which would  have been $120 million  in 2014. He opined  that the                                                               
conservation corridor  was created  to benefit the  silver salmon                                                               
fishermen and the  guides in the Mat-Su valley.  When his fishery                                                               
had to  let the  fish go  by, "you  went ahead  and gave  all the                                                               
sport  fishermen up  there a  new bag  limit at  the cost  of the                                                               
commercial people, and  we didn't get to fish anymore.  We sat on                                                               
the beach." Last year was the worst  year he has had in 49 years,                                                               
and he knows what he is doing, he concluded.                                                                                    
SENATOR  STOLTZE   said,  "I'm   sorry  that  we   supported  our                                                               
SENATOR MICCICHE  said he is not  going to condemn folks  that he                                                               
sees as  credible board members  "for single statements  that are                                                               
identical to other folks that are  applying." He said he needs to                                                               
choose good  board members, and,  based on Mr.  Cain's testimony,                                                               
he will look at every issue fairly.                                                                                             
4:19:05 PM                                                                                                                    
RICHARD MCGAHAN,  Nikiski, said he  started fishing in  1955, and                                                               
he hopes  Mr. Ruffner remembers  his promise of  putting Alaskans                                                               
first.  Regarding  Mr.  Cain,  he  said, "We  have  got  to  quit                                                               
splitting  this  inlet  up."  In  2014,  over-escapement  was  81                                                               
percent in  Cook Inlet, and  that adds  up to about  $120 million                                                               
lost to fishermen. Alaska is  talking about budgets, he said, and                                                               
things  need  to be  straightened  out.  The Alaska  Constitution                                                               
tells ADF&G to  utilize the fish, and the governor  has the right                                                               
to appoint  the people to make  sure that job is  done, "so let's                                                               
keep it  for Alaskans." If  people read the mission  statement in                                                               
the  Board   of  Fisheries  regulations,  he   said,  they  would                                                               
understand how the  fisheries were supposed to  be managed, which                                                               
is  based on  the federal  and  state constitutions.  He said  to                                                               
consider these [appointments] very carefully.                                                                                   
4:21:00 PM                                                                                                                    
WILLIAM  PETERSON, Administrator,  New  Stuyahok Tribal  Council,                                                               
New  Stuyahok, said  he has  been a  commercial fisherman  in the                                                               
Bristol Bay region, and he asked  if the Board of Fisheries has a                                                               
representative from Bristol Bay. He  wished to ask the appointees                                                               
questions [and was  told he could not], but he  confirmed that he                                                               
supported Mr. Ruffner, but he was not sure about Mr. Cain.                                                                      
4:23:43 PM                                                                                                                    
JIMMY  HURLEY,  Ekwok, said  he  has  lived  in Ekwok  along  the                                                               
Nushagak  River  for about  60  years,  and  he was  hesitant  to                                                               
support  Mr.  Ruffner  for  the commercial  seat  on  the  board,                                                               
because he lacks commercial fishing  experience. There are people                                                               
in Bristol  Bay who  have fished  all their  lives, and  the area                                                               
represents 50 percent  of the fish in the world,  so "I don't see                                                               
how we're getting  left out in Bristol Bay." He  said that awhile                                                               
back  Nushagak River  was number  one for  king salmon.  He noted                                                               
that  he  sat  on  the Nushagak  Advisory  [Committee]  when  the                                                               
river's kings were  in trouble, and it took five  years for every                                                               
user  group  to  agree  on  one  thing:  commercial,  sport,  and                                                               
subsistence users all had to limit their take.                                                                                  
MR. HURLEY stated that on the  Kenai River, every user is cutting                                                               
each other's  throats, and the  resource will be  depleted, which                                                               
is  what happened  over 20  years ago  on the  Nushagak, "but  we                                                               
built  this  fishery," and  the  river  is  number one  for  king                                                               
salmon. People might  not know what is at stake,  "but we live on                                                               
the river and put  our fish up," and this is  why they fought the                                                               
Pebble mine.  "We need  representation on that  Board of  Fish, a                                                               
real  commercial fisherman,  not  a one-two  time fisherman,"  he                                                               
added. He said he  picks more fish than anybody, and  he is a guy                                                               
out of  Ekwok, so  the experience  is there,  but they  need good                                                               
representation.  If not,  the  entire fishery  will  go down  the                                                               
drain, he stated. He recommended  against confirming Mr. Cain and                                                               
Mr. Ruffner and asked for someone from Bristol Bay.                                                                             
4:28:01 PM                                                                                                                    
GEORGE PIERCE,  Kasilof, said  the boards  of fisheries  and game                                                               
are stacked with  friends and neighbors, and  they are controlled                                                               
by fishing and  hunting guides. "That's why the fish  and game is                                                               
so messed  up today," he  stated. Nominees must be  biologists or                                                               
scientists in the appropriate  field, not friends, good-old-boys,                                                               
or nice  guys. The state  needs to take  control of the  fish and                                                               
game  boards;  legislators need  to  have  control. He  said  Mr.                                                               
Ruffner is  a good guy, but  he is a geologist,  not a biologist,                                                               
neither  is Mr.  Cain. "You  can't keep  confirming these  people                                                               
that don't  have any knowledge  of fish  or game," he  opined. He                                                               
said Mr.  Ruffner would be  good for  the position, but  the fish                                                               
board is  uncontrollable right now,  so he urged  the legislature                                                               
to put scientists on the board.                                                                                                 
4:30:09 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  GIESSEL,  finding  no   further  comments,  closed  public                                                               
testimony.  She stated  that accordance  with AS  39.050.080, the                                                               
Senate  Resources Committee  recommended that  the names  of Alan                                                               
Cain and Robert  Ruffner be forwarded to the  full legislature in                                                               
joint session for consideration. This  does not reflect an intent                                                               
by any member  to vote for or against the  individuals during any                                                               
further sessions.                                                                                                               
4:31:35 PM                                                                                                                    
The Senate Resources Standing Committee adjourned at 4:31 p.m.                                                                  

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
BOF-Resume-Al Cain.pdf SRES 3/9/2016 3:30:00 PM
Board of Fisheries
BOF-Resume-Robert Ruffner.pdf SRES 3/9/2016 3:30:00 PM
Board of Fisheries
BOF-Ruffner-Cain-Payton-Comments from SEAS.pdf SRES 3/9/2016 3:30:00 PM
Board of Fisheries
BOF-Ruffner-Comments from ATA.pdf SRES 3/9/2016 3:30:00 PM
Board of Fisheries
UFA Support for Ruffner Cain BOF 030816.pdf SRES 3/9/2016 3:30:00 PM
Board of Fisheries
BOF-Cain-Comments from ATA.pdf SRES 3/9/2016 3:30:00 PM
Board of Fisheries
BOF-Written Testimony-John McCombs.pdf SRES 3/9/2016 3:30:00 PM
Board of Fisheries