HJR 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.
00 HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 21 01 Requesting the North Pacific Fishery Management Council to cease consideration of an 02 amendment package that would require a Pacific cod endorsement for a license 03 limitation program license holder to participate in the Pacific cod fisheries in the Gulf of 04 Alaska. 05 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 06 WHEREAS the Alaska seafood industry is the largest private sector employer in the 07 state; and 08 WHEREAS the commercial fishing industry generates the most revenue of any 09 renewable resource industry in the state; and 10 WHEREAS there are more than 125 communities in Alaska that depend on 11 commercial fisheries for their economic well-being; and 12 WHEREAS there are numerous interior Alaska communities and regional hubs like 13 Anchorage, Juneau, and Fairbanks that indirectly depend on commercial fisheries for their 14 economic well-being; and 15 WHEREAS commercial fisheries provide tax revenue to the state and municipalities;
01 and 02 WHEREAS commercial fishing vessel owners, skippers, crewmembers, processing 03 workers, and their families are residents of Alaska; and 04 WHEREAS many Alaska businesses provide goods and services to the commercial 05 fishing industry and exist for the support of the industry; and 06 WHEREAS the fishery resource in both state waters and federal waters off of Alaska 07 is a public resource; and 08 WHEREAS broad participation in the harvest of this public resource by Alaskans 09 supports stronger local economies; and 10 WHEREAS the fishery management in 900,000 square miles of ocean off the coast of 11 Alaska is managed by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council; and 12 WHEREAS federal fishery management programs implemented by the North Pacific 13 Fishery Management Council increasingly favor the award of limited access privileges, in the 14 form of individual transferable quotas, to individuals and corporations without requiring their 15 active participation in Alaska's commercial fisheries; and 16 WHEREAS these limited access privilege programs are also known as fishery 17 rationalization; and 18 WHEREAS these rationalized fishery management programs have led to significant 19 job losses and fishing fleet consolidation in Alaska's fisheries and coastal communities; and 20 WHEREAS these fishery management programs have caused significant negative 21 effects on businesses in coastal Alaska communities and regional hubs; and 22 WHEREAS the same fishery management programs have enabled many owners to 23 stop active participation in Alaska's commercial fisheries, while continuing to extract 24 significant income from the fisheries; and 25 WHEREAS federal fishery rationalization programs have been largely responsible for 26 the 35 percent decline in the number of commercial fishermen in the state since 1990; and 27 WHEREAS, in rationalized and consolidated fisheries, the costs of access to fishing 28 permits and individual transferable quotas have increased substantially and created significant 29 barriers to entry for new entrants in commercial fisheries; and 30 WHEREAS, because of these increased economic barriers, the median age of 31 Alaska's commercial fishermen has increased to 47 years of age; and
01 WHEREAS the fixed gear groundfish fisheries are among the last significant fisheries 02 in the Gulf of Alaska not to have been limited through a fishery rationalization program; and 03 WHEREAS fixed gear groundfish fisheries are typically prosecuted by small-boat 04 fishermen; and 05 WHEREAS Pacific cod is the most important species for fixed gear fishermen in the 06 Gulf of Alaska groundfish fisheries; and 07 WHEREAS access to these fisheries requires possession of a groundfish limited 08 license program permit; and 09 WHEREAS the possession of a groundfish limited license permit allows fishermen to 10 harvest all groundfish species in the Gulf of Alaska identified under federal law, including 11 Pacific cod; and 12 WHEREAS the North Pacific Fishery Management Council is considering placing 13 Pacific cod endorsements, a form of license restriction, on only those licenses that are 14 currently being used; and 15 WHEREAS placement of cod endorsements on currently active fixed gear licenses 16 would have the effect of rendering all other Gulf of Alaska fixed gear licenses valueless to 17 their owners; and 18 WHEREAS placement of cod endorsements on currently active fixed gear licenses 19 would preclude license holders without the endorsement from using their licenses to 20 participate in the Pacific cod fishery; and 21 WHEREAS elimination of currently inactive limited license program licenses or 22 placement of cod endorsements on currently active licenses would have nearly identical 23 effects, namely rendering all other limited license program licenses worthless to their owners; 24 and 25 WHEREAS this action would hinder fishermen from entering or reentering the 26 commercial fisheries for Pacific cod; and 27 WHEREAS Alaskans own an estimated 75 percent of the Central Gulf limited license 28 program permits and 65 percent of the Western Gulf limited license program permits that 29 would be affected by those actions; and 30 WHEREAS Governor Palin requested a halt in the progress of rationalization of the 31 groundfish fisheries in the Gulf of Alaska because of the likely negative effects on Alaskans;
01 and 02 WHEREAS the reduction of the number of limited license program permits or the 03 placement of cod endorsements on permits is a step toward fishery rationalization; and 04 WHEREAS the reduction of the number of limited license program permits by more 05 than 60 percent will consolidate the vessels in the fishery, reduce the number of participants 06 in the fishery, eliminate crew jobs, diminish the demand for shore side support goods and 07 services, increase the costs of entry to the fishery, and serve as a step toward rationalization of 08 the fishery; and 09 WHEREAS consolidation of vessels, reduction of participants, elimination of crew 10 jobs, decreased demand for shore side support goods and services, and the increased costs of 11 entry will cause harm to Alaska's fishery dependent communities and reduce commercial 12 fishing related revenue to these communities and other regional hubs in Alaska; and 13 WHEREAS the Alaska State Legislature is a voice on behalf of its constituents, the 14 citizens of the State of Alaska; 15 BE IT RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature supports a policy of broad 16 participation in the harvest of marine resources in the Gulf of Alaska; and 17 FURTHER RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature supports the retention of 18 the current license limitation program so that Gulf of Alaska fixed gear license limitation 19 program license holders will be able to continue participation in all groundfish fisheries; and 20 FURTHER RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature requests the North Pacific 21 Fishery Management Council to cease consideration of an amendment package that would 22 require a Pacific cod endorsement for a license limitation program license holder to 23 participate in the Pacific cod fisheries in the Gulf of Alaska. 24 COPIES of this resolution shall be sent to the members of the North Pacific Fishery 25 Management Council; Robert D. Mecum, Acting Administrator, Alaska Region, National 26 Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries; the Honorable Denby Lloyd, 27 Commissioner, Department of Fish and Game; and Cora Crome, Fisheries Policy Advisor, 28 Office of the Governor.