Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/18/1996 05:06 PM FSH

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
 HB 538 - VESSEL MORATORIUM FOR HAIR CRAB FISHERY                            
 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked Amy Daugherty to explain how the current             
 committee substitute for HB 538 differed from the previous one.               
 Number 0063                                                                   
 AMY DAUGHERTY, Committee Aide, House Special Committee on                     
 Fisheries, and Legislative Assistant to Representative Alan                   
 Austerman, said the committee substitute that had passed out of               
 committee previously was a general moratorium for the Bering Sea              
 Korean Hair Crab.  After it reached the House Rules Committee,                
 there had been misgivings about it, especially by the                         
 representative of the district most directly affected by the bill.            
 MS. DAUGHERTY explained the current draft established a five-mile             
 buffer area around the Pribilof Islands, to be utilized exclusively           
 by small crabbing vessels no greater than 58 feet in length.                  
 Ms.Daugherty said a compromise among many people had been reached             
 and that, to her knowledge, everyone was currently satisfied with             
 Number 0178                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE KIM ELTON made a motion to adopt work draft 9-                 
 LS1736\Z, dated 4/18/96, CSSB 538.  There being no objection, it              
 was so ordered.                                                               
 MS. DAUGHERTY referred to the intent language on page 2, lines 15-            
 16, and said, "The Department of Fish and Game has been through               
 this document and this plan, and they felt very strongly that we              
 needed to leave the ... 100 percent observer program intact, or at            
 least put intent language in there so that that would remain."                
 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked if that was new language.                            
 MS. DAUGHERTY affirmed that.                                                  
 Number 0270                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON noted that it maintained 100 percent observer            
 coverage for all vessels engaged.  He asked if that meant skiff               
 fishermen around the Pribilofs would need an observer aboard.                 
 MS. DAUGHERTY replied that the department was concerned about the             
 resource.  There were also several other species of crab in the               
 area.  "That's exactly what it is right now, 100 percent crab                 
 observer coverage," she said.  "Since we are essentially providing            
 for that fishery, they wanted us to include that.  The industry has           
 not resisted that yet."  She pointed out that within the five-mile            
 zone, there was not much of an industry, nor many boats 58 feet or            
 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON suggested it was almost mutually exclusive               
 language if they were trying to establish a skiff fishery.                    
 Number 0361                                                                   
 MS. DAUGHERTY explained it was not a skiff fishery.  "I'm sure the            
 waters are way too rough for a skiff fishery," she said.                      
 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON replied he may be misstating it.  He asked               
 whether a boat in the small-boat fleet off the Pribilofs would be             
 required to have an observer on board.                                        
 MS. DAUGHERTY affirmed that.                                                  
 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON maintained that it still might be mutually               
 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN noted there was already 100 percent coverage               
 with the existing fishery.  If more boats were entering the                   
 fishery, the department wanted to continue to have 100 percent                
 coverage to protect this fragile fishery.  Chairman Austerman                 
 called on Mr. Winther to testify.                                             
 Number 0433                                                                   
 JOHN WINTHER testified that he owned a vessel that fished for hair            
 crab in the Bering Sea.  He agreed there had been compromises on              
 both sides and said, "Our group can live with what's been done                
 here.  We're happy with it.  And the alternative, we know, would be           
 nothing.  And if that happens, after this year, we can forget about           
 trying to do something for the fisheries because of the added                 
 effort that will come into the fisheries the next season,                     
 November1."  Mr. Winther indicated the reason there was currently             
 100 percent observer coverage was the high number of small king               
 crab stocks in the general area, the by-catch for which the                   
 department wanted to monitor closely.  "So, they want to continue             
 to have 100 percent observer coverage on any vessel that might                
 participate in this fishery," he said.  "And it's a real fine line.           
 You can be fishing along and, all of a sudden, just get into the              
 king crab.  And they have to monitor that very closely."  Mr.                 
 Winther thanked everyone for their work in reaching the compromise.           
 Number 0530                                                                   
 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked if there was discussion.                             
 REPRESENTATIVE GARY DAVIS made a motion that CSHB 538 move from               
 committee with individual recommendations and attached zero fiscal            
 REPRESENTATIVE SCOTT OGAN objected so that his presence could be              
 noted, then withdrew his objection.                                           
 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked if there were further objections.  There             
 being none, CSHB 538 moved from the House Special Committee on                

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