Legislature(1999 - 2000)
2000-07-14 House JournalFull Journal pdf
2000-07-14 House Journal Page 3837 HB 429 The following letter, dated May 11, 2000, was received: "Dear Speaker Porter: On this date I have signed the following bill passed by the second session of the Twenty-first Alaska State Legislature and am transmitting the engrossed and enrolled copies to the Lieutenant Governor's Office for permanent filing: HOUSE BILL NO. 429 "An Act extending the termination date for the vessel permit moratoria for the Bering Sea Korean hair crab fishery and the weathervane scallop fishery; and providing for an effective date." Chapter No. 30, SLA 2000 ¦Effective Date: May 12, 2000á In 1996, the Legislature enacted a four-year moratorium in the Bering Sea Korean Hair Crab fishery, and in 1997, in the Weathervane Scallop fishery. Upon signing HB 538, the bill establishing the Hair Crab moratorium, on July 3, 1996, I sent a letter to Senate President Pearce and then-Speaker of the House, Representative Gail Phillips. In that letter I explained that I was signing the moratorium bills because I recognized important pragmatic reasons to implement the provisions of the bills, but that I was, "concerned about the legislation from a public policy and resource management standpoint." 2000-07-14 House Journal Page 3838 HB 429 This bill I have signed today extends the moratoria in the Korean Hair Crab and Weathervane Scallop fisheries. I remain concerned about this approach and urge passage of legislation next session authorizing the tools our state agencies need to manage Alaska's fisheries effectively. In my 1996 letter, I stated that, "Addressing management of specific fisheries through legislation is not the ideal approach. Alaska's fisheries management system has proven highly effective in maintaining healthy and sustainable resources because it is run by scientists, professional fisheries administrators, and boards and commissions, rather than through the legislative process." I went on to note that I was asking the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission (CFEC) and the Department of Fish and Game to review existing statutes and to recommend changes to make the fishery moratorium provisions in the law more workable and effective. Additionally, the legislature itself included language in the original hair crab moratorium bill directing CFEC to draft and bring before the legislature legislation establishing a vessel permit program. Clearly, the legislature recognized that without such a program, CFEC would not have the tools to implement needed permanent limitation of certain fisheries, such as Korean Hair Crab and scallops. Since that time, CFEC did indeed prepare and have introduced a bill to create workable provisions for administratively enacting fisheries moratoria (HB 104), and another bill authorizing the establishment of a vessel-based permit program (SB 143), which could be used in fisheries where the standard owner-operator model of limited entry would not serve the purposes of the Limited Entry Act. HB 104 passed the House unanimously, and there was evidence of support among legislators and the public for SB 143. However, neither bill moved from the Senate Resources Committee. Without the tools those bills would have provided, or an extension of the current moratoria, the Korean Hair Crab fishery would have reverted to open access upon expiration of the moratorium July 1, 2000, and the scallop fishery would have done the same on July 1, 2001. 2000-07-14 House Journal Page 3839 HB 429 Given the failure of the legislature to pass HB 104 and SB 143, I have reluctantly signed HB 429 into law. It serves as a stopgap measure to avoid the chaos, and probably the complete closure, of these two fisheries that would have resulted from a return to open access. A long-term solution for these particular fisheries, and the availability of good tools and options for managing other evolving fisheries in Alaska is critical. This will require the passage of legislation in the next two years in order to have a workable program in place prior to the new expiration dates under HB 429. Repeated moratorium extensions will not provide a solution. Such an approach would create further uncertainty in these fisheries and would eventually raise constitutional issues as well. I urge you to work with the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission and the Department of Fish and Game to ensure legislation is passed next session to provide the tools needed for the sound management of Alaska's diverse fisheries. Sincerely, /s/ Tony Knowles Governor"