Legislature(1999 - 2000)

2000-07-14 House Journal

Full 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                 
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,              

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.                                                    
							Tony Knowles