Legislature(1995 - 1996)

03/17/1995 01:23 PM FSH

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ALAN AUSTERMAN called the meeting to order at 1:23 p.m. at           
 the Golden Anchor Restaurant in Kodiak.  He noted, for the record,            
 Representatives Davis and Elton were in attendance and that a                 
 quorum was present.  He explained that the purpose of the meeting             
 was just to take testimony on bills restructuring the Board of                
 Fisheries (BOF) and no action would be taken on any of them.                  
                                                                               
 Number 039                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE GARY DAVIS asked if the committee had received much            
 input on this issue of restructuring the BOF?                                 
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN indicated that he had received calls opposing SB           
 49 and its companion legislation, HB 149, and stated the importance           
 of the BOF.  He said, "I just don't want to rush any bill through             
 that restructures that board without having time to look at it and            
 make sure that we're doing the proper thing."                                 
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS said he appreciated that the BOF conversation            
 was taking place.                                                             
                                                                               
 Number 095                                                                    
                                                                               
 NICK SZABO introduced himself as a former BOF member of seven                 
 years, from 1975 to 1982 and said, "I was chairman of the board               
 from the five years from 1977, until 1982.  This was during Jay               
 Hammond's Administration.  In fact, the first year, it was a Board            
 of Fish and Game.  It was a combined board and it was (in) the                
 legislative session of 1975, the legislature chose to split it into           
 the Board of Fisheries and the Board of Game."  He testified, "I              
 think that we're dealing with a two-fold problem here and, I think            
 the basic structure of the board is a good one, having a citizen-             
 type board and keeping it to a small enough number, such as seven,            
 is a good concept, but over the years the legislature has been                
 constantly besieged with proposals to either expand the membership,           
 or to designate seats, certain types of seats and so forth.  I                
 noticed that some of the bills speak to those types of things.  The           
 problem I see is that we need to change the perception of the role            
 of board members.  Too often I think, both the public, and possibly           
 the legislature because they're responding to their constituents,             
 think of the board as a mini-legislature where you have people who            
 represent either geographic areas, or they represent a particular             
 user group, or a particular gear type, and it's self-defeating to             
 try to accommodate that perception.  There's just no way, with a              
 seven member board, you can accommodate every geographic area and             
 every user group.  Even among sports fishermen, you have the so               
 called elite fly fishermen and then you have the sports fishermen             
 who just want to catch a fish anyway they can and take it home and            
 eat it.  On the board I saw there were conflicts even among that so           
 you can't satisfy every user group.  I think that we've got to                
 change the idea that board members are not supposed to be there               
 representing in the same way that a legislature represents a                  
 particular faction or a particular constituency because, if they do           
 that, then it's at the expense of competing constituencies.  The              
 other part of the problem is the very liberal interpretation the              
 courts have recently made with the conflict of interest law.                  
 They've said that almost anybody with any interest gets                       
 disqualified from voting so now you have: someone puts their                  
 representative up there but then he can't vote and he can't                   
 actually represent them because he's being disqualified because of            
 this ultra-liberal interpretation of the conflict of interest law.            
 Therein you have a real catch 22 problem.  I think you need to sort           
 of refocus the public's perception of the role of the board                   
 members.  I think that it is important that the board members have            
 experience in a lot of different fisheries both commercial and                
 sport and subsistence, commercial in different areas of the state.            
 I don't think it really matters whether they hold an entry permit             
 or not as long as you get good quality people on there.  That's the           
 key to the thing.  Of course that's not your responsibility, it's             
 the Governor's responsibility to choose the people and of course              
 you have the confirmation ability to reject them if you don't think           
 they're qualified.  But if the Governor would spend more time                 
 trying to get good quality people, that are number one, smart                 
 enough.  As the chairman stated, the Board of Fishery is probably             
 one of the most, if not the most important board in the whole                 
 state.  So you need people, and the issues that they deal with are            
 very complex, and most of the issues the board deals with are                 
 allocation issues.  If it were strictly only biological issues than           
 you really wouldn't need a board the professional ADF&G department            
 staff could deal with those.  The role of the board is to act as a            
 buffer between the public and the professional Fish and Game                  
 staff."                                                                       
 Number 185                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. SZABO continued, "You need people with experience and the                 
 reason that you need people with a lot of experience in the                   
 fisheries is because, unlike in the court system, when people come            
 to testify before the board, they don't take an oath that they're             
 telling the truth and the whole truth.  They can come up and tell             
 the board anything they want and there's no way to actually verify            
 the validity of that information unless board members personally              
 have a good understanding of what the real world is all about.                
 Therefore, I think it's important that you have people with a wide            
 range of experience, people with a lot of intelligence and the                
 ability and the willingness to spend tremendous amount of time,               
 because it's not just the board meetings that people have to                  
 attend.  They're expected to attend local advisory committee                  
 meetings.  They're expected to interrelate with department staff.             
 It's much like your own job with the legislature.  The public is              
 continually calling you up on the phone and writing you letters and           
 stopping you on the street, in the grocery stores and so forth,               
 letting you have the benefit of their specialized advise.  It                 
 requires a great amount of time.  I think there is a value though,            
 I mean, theoretically, you could have everybody live in say, Homer,           
 and it really wouldn't make a difference as long as these people              
 had experience.  But there is a value in having a geographic                  
 representation because then, number one, you give more people more            
 direct access to at least one board member.  So that they can                 
 personally contact that person and relay their ideas and concerns             
 to them."                                                                     
                                                                               
 MR. SZABO continued, "The other reason for having geographic                  
 representation is similar to the reason that the legislature has              
 committees that specialize in different issues or laws that deal              
 with different issues.  Your Health and Social Services, and your             
 Natural Resources, and here we have a Special Committee on                    
 Fisheries.  The issues are so complex that no one board member,               
 similar to the legislature, can be an expert on every detail of               
 every facet of every issue.  So it's useful to have board members             
 that are geographically distributed so that they cannot represent             
 that area, but they can specialize on the problems of that area,"             
 and said, "and really become the board's expert, so to speak, for             
 that area.  Not that they represent that area in some allocation              
 conflict.  There should be clear instructions to the board members,           
 they're not representing an area, they're just specializing in an             
 area and that is their specialized area of knowledge.  If somehow             
 you could convey that through legislation.  It's easy to say all              
 this but then it's another matter to write this into law. Then I              
 think we would have a better product."                                        
                                                                               
 Number 255                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. SZABO added, "The other aspect of the problem which I mentioned           
 is this ultra-liberal interpretation by the courts of the Conflict            
 of interest law.  When I was appointed to the board, there was a              
 mass resignation from the board because of the conflict of interest           
 law and Governor Hammond, actually it worked out well for him cause           
 he had a whole clean slate because the Board of Fish and Game at              
 the time resigned because of the legislature enactment of the                 
 conflict of interest law.  But our instructions at that time, from            
 the Department of Law were that, well you're supposed to act in the           
 public interest and even though you are part of a class, say you're           
 a fisherman in Bristol Bay, or a fisherman in Kodiak, as long as              
 the effect of the regulation doesn't benefit you exclusively, it              
 may benefit the class that you're in, as long as you can show that            
 you considered all the evidence and you voted for what you thought            
 was in the best interest of the public, then you ought to be able             
 to vote whether you had a vested interest in that fishery or not.             
 The board is so small and it requires four votes to move anything,            
 no matter how many votes are actually present that if you                     
 disqualify two or three people, you tip the whole balance of the              
 board and you can have one or two people controlling the outcome              
 because you've already disqualified two or three already.  So I               
 would hope that possibly, the legislature would consider not                  
 exempting the board from the conflict of interest law but making it           
 similar to how the legislature operates.  You're not exercising a             
 vote for yourself, your exercising a vote for the people of Alaska.           
 And you may have a vested interest in the outcome, but you should             
 go ahead and state what your interests are and then vote because              
 you can't have a situation where you disqualify everybody that has            
 some kind of interest in the outcome.  I understand that they're              
 looking at an even more liberal interpretation.  Now they have a              
 representative from the Department of Law at board meetings that              
 sort of has this sort of authority to say who can vote and who                
 can't.  I think that's wrong.  It would be almost the same as if              
 the members of the legislature that served on the Special Committee           
 on Fisheries couldn't vote when these (fisheries related) bills               
 came to the floor because they had more knowledge and more                    
 expertise and they were involved in these bills and, therefore,               
 they shouldn't vote on them.  That's almost what you're talking               
 about by disqualifying people with the most knowledge about a                 
 situation.  Because they are now saying that not only can you not             
 vote, you cannot discuss the issue, you cannot debate the issue, so           
 all of this expertise that you're supposed to have is completely              
 lost to the board.  So that's my view of what the problem is.                 
 Speaking specifically to some of the bills here, with all due                 
 respect to our chairman, I guess I'm not that excited about                   
 splitting the Board of Fisheries into a marine fisheries and a                
 freshwater fisheries.  Particularly with salmon where you have to             
 have total management of the species throughout it's range.  I                
 think you would have an unworkable situation whether it's the Kenai           
 River or the Bristol Bay systems or whatever where you had one                
 board regulating the harvest in the freshwater part of it and                 
 another board regulating the harvest in the saltwater part of it.             
 I don't honestly see how that's a workable situation.  I know there           
 have been proposals in the past to have a finfish board and                   
 shellfish board.  There have been proposals to have a regional                
 board but you still have the same problem because there's a lot of            
 overlapping jurisdictional problems when you start splitting these            
 things up."                                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 321                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. SZABO concluded, "If you could change the perception and                  
 possibly mandate some standards for the members that the Governor             
 had to follow.  I think it also would be useful if there was a                
 requirement that board members went through some type of                      
 orientation.  I know I didn't when I was there and I don't know               
 whether they do now.  I don't think they do.  But similar to what             
 the freshman legislators go through.  Where they really understand            
 what the law provides, what the conflict of interest law provides,            
 what their role is, and so they don't get off on the wrong foot as            
 far as thinking they're supposed to be representing a group when              
 they're really not supposed to be and that type of thing.  I think            
 that might be useful.  But otherwise I guess I would propose                  
 leaving the basic structure the way it is."                                   
                                                                               
 Number 333                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN thanked Mr. Szabo for his testimony and said,              
 "HB 254, splitting the board:  That whole concept behind that was             
 to hopefully address, at some point in time, the workload that the            
 board is under.  By splitting it we thought, possibility, of                  
 splitting that workload as well," and regarding HB 165 said, "I               
 think you made comments that regionalization of the board does have           
 some merit as long as the best people end up getting in the                   
 positions."                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. SZABO responded, "I was just looking at this HB 165, that                 
 doesn't set up regional boards that just requires that the board              
 membership come from various regions, right?  I'm not hung up one             
 this geographic representation other than like, I say, it's useful            
 to have a distribution so that the public can have more access.  If           
 they're all concentrated in one area then it's the access the                 
 public has to the individual board members.  So I'm not sure I'm in           
 favor of specifying that there has to be a geographic                         
 representation or not.  I'm just saying it's a useful thing to                
 have.  I think the most important thing is to have good quality               
 people."  He said, "Other than having something as to the best                
 qualified, best educated people.  I think you can say though that             
 they have to have experience and maybe you can mandate that they              
 have to have experience in more than one area of the state, or more           
 than two areas of the state, or more than one fishery of the state            
 but I think that's critical that you have to have people with a               
 broad base of experience.  We had the problem when I was on the               
 board with some of the members on the board who had very limited              
 experience outside of their own particular area.  They just didn't            
 understand what was going on in the rest of the state.  So that's             
 why I think that it's so imperative that you have people with a               
 broad range of experience."                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 402                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. SZABO continued, "If I can shift over to this thing about time            
 that you were speaking of, the time thing was something that we               
 grappled with continuously when I was on the board.  During the               
 time I was on the board was the enactment of the Magnuson Fisheries           
 Act, commonly known as the 200 mile law, the enactment of the                 
 Alaska National Interest Lands Act, which provided for the federal            
 subsistence oversight that we're grappling with now, in addition to           
 the board meetings we were constantly going.  I was traveling to              
 Washington D.C. on fisheries stuff with National Marine Fisheries             
 Service.  We were dealing with the Department of the Interior                 
 constantly trying to draft the state's position on the National               
 Interest Lands Act.  It was just an inordinate amount of time and             
 we grappled with going on these three year cycles and trying to               
 limit public testimony.  Every time you turned around though, the             
 public said well you can't limit public access, we need more                  
 advisory committees.  I don't know how much money we put into                 
 upgrading the advisory committees.  When I was on there it went               
 from 20 advisory committees to over 60 advisory committees.                   
 Governor Hammond, that was his big thing.  We had to upgrade the              
 advisory committee system so I think we tripled the number of                 
 advisory committees and the public they complain about how long the           
 board meetings are and how long they have to sit there and wait for           
 their turn but when it becomes their turn, every individual wants             
 the board to spend, to study in great detail, every facet of every            
 issue that pertains to them.  It's just an unwinable situation and            
 I don't know what the solution is.  I know there's people that are            
 opposed to the concept of having a professional board and I guess             
 I'm not real keen on that idea either.  I know we have members of             
 the Limited Entry Commission here and I have great respect for all            
 of what they've done, but I would hate to see the board would turn            
 into something like that where you had three people concentrated in           
 Juneau that have political appointed jobs that they felt they had             
 to play the whole political game in order to maintain their jobs              
 and so forth.  But yet, how can you expect a person, with the                 
 amount of time that it takes, how can you expect a person to make             
 a living outside of all this and still make a fair living for their           
 family, unless they're semi-retired or independently wealthy or               
 whatever, the average person cannot spend the amount of time that's           
 demanded by the public without some fair compensation.  So I think            
 it might be of value to have maybe a quasi professional board where           
 at least you got compensated, say maybe even to the same range as             
 a department head, or something like that, for the amount of time             
 that you spend at board meetings and so forth.  Because right now             
 you're burning people out.  I was on there for seven years and I              
 think that's one of the longest times except for Gordon Jensen from           
 Southeastern who was on there for 20.  You're just burning people             
 out after every two years and the whole arguments about term limits           
 aside, I think it is useful to have some historical perspective and           
 some continuity so that you're not continually replowing the same             
 ground all the time.  So I think it is beneficial to have people              
 stay for more than one term but you can't expect people to do that            
 if they can't make a living outside of the large amount of time               
 that they spend on the board."                                                
                                                                               
 Number 448                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE KIM ELTON said, "I think we're getting to the point            
 where a person who wants to serve on the board is maybe too crazy             
 to put on the board.  It's an incredible demand on your time.  A              
 person tends to, over time, make more enemies than friends," and,             
 "I share your concern that we're not only taking from a rather                
 small pool of people who can take the time to do it, but you're               
 also narrowing that pool because of the demands that are placed on            
 it and the terrible nature of the job.  And the scary part is that            
 we're now getting proposals that do lead to a three person                    
 professional board."  He emphasized, "The public's perception being           
 that a region needs to represented, or a user group needs to be               
 represented, but I guess from my relative short time in the                   
 legislature, even more scary about what the public perception                 
 (indisc.) is what the legislative perception of what the Board of             
 Fisheries should be and I don't know how you get around the problem           
 of changing the public's perception.  I think there needs to be               
 some attention paid on the part of everybody involved in the                  
 industry, commercial side and the sport side, on what the                     
 legislative perception (is) because the legislative perception I              
 think is becoming more and more destructive to the board process.             
 Because there is a tremendous political drive toward                          
 regionalization, towards making sure a user group is represented on           
 the board.  It's not just the Legislative Branch, it's also the               
 Executive Branch.  I don't know how you get around that other than            
 keeping after us who are involved in the confirmation process or              
 keeping after the Governor."                                                  
                                                                               
 Number 478                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS said, "The biggest concern I have I think that           
 you indicated is where the board might become similar to the                  
 legislature where you're almost campaigned for the board or someone           
 campaigns for you where then a particular person is brought forward           
 by a group and they've campaigned for him, they've promoted him,              
 they've lobbied for his appointment.  Not only in the Governor's              
 Office but in the legislature and that person representing that               
 group is put on that board after all this campaigning, promoting              
 and lobbying.  So who's he going to protect on that board?  He's              
 supposed to be looking at the overall picture like you indicate."             
 He also stated, "It appears that that approach has been expanding             
 itself, promoting itself more in the last two or three cycles of              
 appointments than previously.  That's the big concern I have and if           
 that approach continues then the whole value of a citizen board is            
 going to be mute.  It won't be there."                                        
                                                                               
 Number 505                                                                    
                                                                               
 MARK KANDIANIS, F/V PROVIDER, Kodiak Fish Company, testified                  
 saying, "I have resided in Kodiak, Alaska since 1980.  I have been            
 registered with the state of Alaska for scallop fishing for fifteen           
 years and worked under Alaska's fish and game regulations for the             
 same period.  In 1990, I attended a fisheries meeting in Kodiak               
 chaired by Senator Ted Stevens on the pending vessel moratorium for           
 vessels fishing in the federal waters off Alaska.  I found out at             
 this meeting that this vessel moratorium would not apply to the               
 scallop fishery.  There had never been a federal management plan              
 written for this species, though this fishery has taken place off             
 Alaska in federal waters since the late 60s.  In 1991, I started              
 talking to Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the North Pacific              
 Management Council and the National Marine Fisheries Service about            
 developing a Fisheries Management plan for scallops in the EEZ                
 (exclusive economic zone) waters off Alaska.  It has been a long              
 process with little reward.  A moratorium control date was set for            
 July 1, 1993.  Still after this date, new arrivals from the                   
 collapsed overcapitalized east coast fishery entered the scallop              
 fishery here.  The control date was moved ahead after some                    
 questionable lobbying and the new arrivals' efforts to invalidate             
 the original control date in the federal register in Washington               
 D.C.  All of these new entrants arrived with two boats each.  Some            
 of the earlier ones came with unusually large crews.  The results             
 were quick depletion of some localized stocks and intense scrutiny            
 of potential bycatch problems.  Since the arrival of these new                
 boats, we have had regulation upon regulation imposed on us as well           
 more than doubling of the fleet size.  We started the process of              
 developing a management plan with the intent of trying to maintain            
 a viable fishery and we have come out this process the biggest                
 losers period.  Our fishing time and income has been cut in less              
 than half.  We are now outnumbered by the newly arrived east coast            
 scallop boats by more than two to one.  All of the long time                  
 participants in the Alaska scallop fishery are now suffering severe           
 financial distress without exception.  This appears to be the                 
 reward for years of hard work trying to maintain a once viable                
 fishery."                                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 638                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked if there is scalloping within the three              
 mile limit.                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. KANDIANIS indicated approximately 25 percent of the scallop               
 fishery in the last five or six years took place within three                 
 miles.  He added, "And after this episode with `Mr. Big,' it looks            
 like the state may lose its management outside of three miles out             
 to the EEZ, unless there's a change in the Magnuson Act or the                
 council somehow can delegate authority back to the state.  It's a             
 real dilemma.  The scallop fishery is just the tip of the iceberg.            
 It also will apply to other fisheries in the Gulf here and possibly           
 the Bering Sea, the crab fisheries.  A little known fishery like              
 ling cod could be affected.  It's quite a dilemma.  And this outfit           
 from the east coast is taking it to the test and proven himself               
 right so far."                                                                
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked if the North Pacific Management Council is           
 currently in the process of planning for fisheries in this area.              
                                                                               
 MR. KANDIANIS said, "They're probably going to come up with some              
 kind of plan but all these new management regimes that we've worked           
 hard to work with the state to developed may have to be completely            
 redone again under the federal guidelines.  And I know that the               
 state does not want to lose management of the fishery.  It's a                
 pretty tough deal and, again, the same applies to species such a              
 crab in the Gulf and possibly up in the Bering Sea.  I don't know             
 if anybody would be foolish enough to test it up in the Bering Sea            
 but it's still out there."                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 658                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS said in reference to HJR 25, "It sounds like             
 a similar situation that Representative Grussendorf brought to us             
 a couple of weeks ago."  He added, "The Governor, the other day,              
 indicated he's working with NMFS to reinstitute state control in              
 state waters.  To what degree, what stage they're at, and what the            
 opportunities are to any favorable outcome in the negotiations,               
 it's still yet to be seen."                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. KANDIANIS said, "We're being held hostage by the whole process            
 and we've been the backbone of the fishery for the last 15 years              
 and we're losing every day.  The only scenario that we see, the               
 outcome for us to come out of this, is that IFQ problem which gives           
 the historical participants the most favorable quota share and the            
 longer we delay, these guys who just showed up from the east coast,           
 after we had already come up and developed the plan, they come in             
 on the tail end of the deal, with a couple of boats each and the              
 longer we delay, or if it takes five years, all that past history             
 that we had is lost and gone.  These guys (indisc.) boats from                
 South Carolina and Virginia, they walk away with the fishery.  The            
 residents of the state would lose."                                           
                                                                               
 MR. KANDIANIS then commented about the BOF saying, "We see this               
 board process:  It's become an inshore sport board and they're                
 making policies for offshore fisheries which is Magnuson Act.  You            
 may not even have that option anymore.  There's a lot of offshore,            
 large boat fisheries that the new inshore sport board is making               
 legal things on and they don't have a clue as to what's going on.             
 We'd like to maybe see a split board or an interjurisdictional                
 board to handle those kinds of problems.  I wouldn't want to sit on           
 a board and discuss salmon issues.  I've always pretty much fished            
 offshore fisheries and I wouldn't want to be in that position,"               
 and, "Every three years we get five minutes to testify for                    
 something that our whole life depends on."                                    
                                                                               
 TAPE 95-17, SIDE B                                                            
 Number 000                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON asked, "What's your perception of the advisory           
 groups in the pre-board process, do you use those?"                           
                                                                               
 MR. KANDIANIS replied, "For the most part, the advisory boards seem           
 to be comprised mostly of salmon, herring and game people.  We have           
 an advisory meeting here and we get finally something worked out              
 and it might be something that's actually happening down at Sand              
 Point or Dutch Harbor and we never know when those are going to               
 take place."                                                                  
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON asked, "So you're saying that for your portion           
 of the industry anyway, the subgroups, the pre-board process is not           
 all that beneficial?"                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 045                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. KANDIANIS clarified, "It really does have it's place for the              
 inshore fisheries," and, "And they do seem to do well with those.             
 It's always controversial but they do seem to work things out.  And           
 we'd like to have the same opportunities.  Only with our own                  
 offshore board."                                                              
                                                                               
 JEFF PETERSON testified, "I grew up commercial fishing with my                
 father.  He doesn't fish anymore.  He lost his permit to the I.R.S.           
 and when I was growing up he insisted that I have a background in             
 (something) other than commercial fishing to fall back on.  So I              
 went into the Marine Corps for four years and got a military police           
 training and became a village public safety officer.  What I've               
 seen in the last week when we had the BOF meeting is, and that was            
 the first time I ever attended a meeting and participated, what I             
 see lacking on the fish board, it's not lacking but I see a                   
 potential for it, is the original, the status quo of subsistence,             
 commercial and sport.  It's not being followed in this state.                 
 There's only a few native people attending the meeting to testify             
 and here you're discussing who can catch what fish and here we're             
 talking about large numbers of fish caught by draggers and the                
 bottom line is you've got to maintain your resource and not worry             
 about making a living for next year and this year, you've got to be           
 worrying about keeping the fishery alive forever instead of having            
 the user group move from east coast, the Gulf of Mexico, to the               
 west coast, now up in Alaska, now they're going to go to Russia               
 because they're going to fish out the area.  People want a board              
 that live right here, right next to the water year 'round.  You               
 can't have somebody coming in from a fishery that died off on the             
 east coast sitting on the board, just because he claimed residency            
 in Alaska.  I believe you have to have somebody that lives in                 
 Alaska year 'round, grew up here, lives here, intends to live here.           
 Those are the people you want on the board because we want to see             
 this ocean stay as it is right now."                                          
                                                                               
 Number 112                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN agreed that the first priority in all decision             
 making should be the fish resource.                                           
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS commented that many Alaska fishery decisions             
 are made by the federal government in Washington, D.C.                        
                                                                               
 Number 156                                                                    
                                                                               
 AL BURCH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, Alaska Draggers Association,                    
 testified, "First off, the BOF and the North Pacific Council need             
 to be complimented on the excellent job that they have both done              
 protecting the fisheries over the years.  We still have fish.  The            
 east coast doesn't," and "I became involved when the board was the            
 Board of Fish and Game.  They met maybe a week to ten days.  They             
 took care of all the fish and game issue during that short period             
 of time.  The state has grown, the fisheries have evolved.  We have           
 a BOF, we have a Board of Game, and they're both overloaded.                  
 Absolutely overloaded with the work that they have to do.  I've               
 read these bills.  I don't agree with a professional board at all.            
 I don't know if we need it by geographical areas or if we need it             
 by gear type fisheries interest, but something needs to be done.              
 Things aren't going to get easier.  We have a tremendous whitefish            
 fisheries here.  We had the state involved for a short time.  We              
 had a budget for a bottom fish person here in Kodiak.  The person             
 went to American Samoa, the money went to the King Crab fisheries.            
 They didn't refill the position.  That was the last time the state            
 was really involved in the bottom fish fisheries.  We have one                
 person in Southeast now that takes care of the black cod inside, a            
 bottom fish biologist down there.  Very, very minimal involvement.            
 If the state does get involved in whitefish management then we                
 would have to have a separate board, a board of interjurisdictional           
 fishers.  As it was stated before, we need people on that board               
 that understand our fisheries.  The makeup of the board now is                
 salmon.  They hear some very, very controversial issues.  We just             
 went through one here in Kodiak and Kodiak won this time,                     
 proposition 333.  Next year we might not.  It comes up again in               
 November.  But those people are (indisc.), they sat down, they                
 listened to the fishermen, they understood the issues and they made           
 what I felt was a fair decision.  That same board in the five                 
 minutes that I would have before that board, I could not even begin           
 to educate those people to the issues of whitefish.  So something             
 does have to be done with the board.  I don't see the answers here.           
 I wrote a letter to Rod Swope when Cooper was in, about a five page           
 letter stating what I thought would be an answer, I copied that               
 letter, ran it through the copy machine and sent it to Tony.                  
 Before the transition team met that letter got into (indisc.) I               
 still believe that that's the way to go, we should have a third               
 board."                                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 237                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN confirmed that Mr. Burch supported HB 254 which            
 creates a separate board for groundfish.                                      
                                                                               
 MR. BURCH also stated that he would like to see the Alaska Marine             
 Safety Education Association's (AMSEA) budget supported.  He said,            
 "We feel that AMSEA's doing an excellent job."                                
                                                                               
 Number 282                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHRIS BURNS, AREA K SEINERS, testified that the Legislative                   
 Research Agency had found no precedent in any state for a                     
 professional board overseeing natural resource issues.  He said, "I           
 think that a professional board would be purely experimental and              
 since it would be experimental, you wouldn't know the outcome and             
 we have a lot to lose in this state as we are basically natural               
 resource based.  I think it's a pretty far out idea, myself."  He             
 then described the recent decision on the Kodiak versus Cook Inlet            
 issue and added, "What the BOF found at this last meeting here in             
 Kodiak (is) they didn't have enough scientific information like               
 scale-pattern analysis and genetic code sampling, things like that            
 they know for sure what's going on.  They were doing things like              
 weighted averages and stuff off of fish tickets to determine what             
 was going on and they found that the science was really lacking               
 there.  But all this other science is fairly costly and with the              
 ADF&G budget being basically down to forty million dollars and even           
 threatened to go below that, there isn't enough money to get good             
 science.  So what we're going to end up with is basically just a              
 bunch of fighting going on with no way to prove a point unless you            
 just rake out the money and hire your own biologist and then come             
 in with a biased biologist on one side or the other.  So obviously,           
 the best thing to do would be to get more money into the Fish and             
 Game budget, not to go to any other area except some kind of                  
 genetic studies or scale pattern studies in salmon.  That would               
 save a lot of allocation issues."  He added, "If we had scale                 
 pattern analysis of the fish that we catch I think that we would              
 come out good with the Anchorage people and they would find,                  
 because of timing of the fish we catch and everything doesn't match           
 up to the rivers that are lacking in Anchorage.  But what we would            
 find is that we might have a problem with the Canadian's hatchery             
 fish.  So we might be getting into jumping out of the frying pan              
 into the fire."                                                               
                                                                               
 MR. BURNS said, "The Canadians are playing real hard ball with us.            
 If Alaska was Iceland or Russia or England, they have battleships             
 out fighting over little pieces of rock they have 200 miles around.           
 Alaska is just playing like `Oh yea, it's okay we'll pamper you               
 guys between Ketchikan and Seattle, that little coast of Canadian             
 water there.'  The Canadians aren't letting our boats pass safely.            
 And you know the only reason that we don't control halibut in state           
 waters is because of the IPHC treaty we have with Canada.  If a guy           
 really wanted to play hard ball, he'd dissolve the treaty."                   
                                                                               
 Number 402                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON agreed, "Because of the Fish and Game budget,            
 I think that the Board is relying an awful lot more on 'seat of the           
 pants' kind of stuff.  Anecdotal information.  I think that is a              
 very very dangerous situation.  And as you say, sometimes good                
 knowledge can hurt but at least it's good knowledge."                         
                                                                               
 MR. BURNS said any increments in the ADF&G budget should go towards           
 "people doing the scientific work."                                           
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS asked if there were presently increments                 
 included in the budget for a scale pattern studies.                           
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON indicated that there was no such increment and           
 cuts would be coming for Bering Sea crab research.                            
                                                                               
 Number 450                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. PETERSON voiced concern about the chum salmon shortage in the             
 Yukon River.                                                                  

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