Legislature(1995 - 1996)

03/01/1995 08:10 AM RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
 Number 150                                                                    
 HRES - 03/01/95                                                               
 HB 107 - RESTRICTED LIMITED ENTRY PERMITS                                   
 from a moratorium situation.  He said about three years ago there             
 were concerns about the pressures on the dungeness crab stock and             
 the sustainability of the stock while deriving income off of it.              
 The Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission (CFEC) was given the tool           
 for a moratorium.  During that moratorium, the CFEC and people in             
 the fisheries have been looking at the crab questions and have come           
 to the conclusion that it is in the best interest of the stock to             
 enter into some form of limited entry in the dungeness crab                   
 fishery, in Southeast, to protect the stock.                                  
 REPRESENTATIVE GRUSSENDORF stated HB 107 addresses the issue and              
 gives the CFEC the ability to determine a plan to limit the pots,             
 etc., but stressed HB 107 does not address any specific plan.  HB             
 107 simply authorizes the CFEC to do it.  He stressed HB 107 does             
 not affect the ability of the Board of Fish to make their                     
 decisions.  He explained what HB 107 will do is bring people into             
 the dungeness crab fisheries at their historical level of                     
 FRANK HOMAN, COMMISSIONER, CFEC, stated CFEC supports HB 107.  He             
 said HB 107 is a continuation of an earlier effort to look for a              
 solution in the crab fishery.  He noted in the crab fishery, there            
 is a great diversity of effort levels and establishing a limited              
 entry program similar to the current salmon industry would allow              
 that effort level to increase significantly, which is not a good              
 conservation measure but rather is counter-productive to the                  
 resource.  He explained HB 107 would allow a variation to the                 
 typical limited entry system in that the CFEC could keep the effort           
 level at its current capacity by restricting the permits to some              
 historical level of effort.                                                   
 MR. HOMAN told committee members that currently there are                     
 approximately 45,000 pots in Southeast.  If the current system was            
 continued, there would be about 300 permits issued in the fishery             
 and each permit could fish 300 pots each, raising the effort level            
 to 90,000 pots over time.  For that reason, the CFEC has been                 
 reluctant to give the traditional limited entry to the crab fishery           
 and has been searching for the last three years to determine                  
 another effort restriction.  He felt HB 107 is something which can            
 be worked with to keep the fishery at its current level with its              
 participants, while preserving the resource.                                  
 Number 276                                                                    
 CO-CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS stated there are probably fishermen concerned            
 about not being able to get 200 or 300 pots at a time.  For                   
 example, if his son wanted to start fishing but is only fishing 75            
 or 100 pots, he asked how he would get up to 300 pots to make the             
 fishing viable for him.                                                       
 MR. HOMAN responded a proportional pot limit on a permit means the            
 fishery would be similar to what it is today.  For example, if                
 someone was fishing 100 pots, they could continue to fish 100 pots;           
 those who are fishing 300 pots could continue to fish 300 pots.  He           
 said if the 100 pot permit was sold, a 300 pot permit could be                
 purchased, which allows people with 100 pot permits to move up and            
 also allows new entrants to come in at a lower level.                         
 Number 306                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES clarified if a 100 pot permit was sold, a 300           
 pot permit could be purchased.                                                
 MR. HOMAN said all the permits, at whatever pot level allowed,                
 would be transferrable permits, so they could be bought and sold.             
 He stressed that would depend, however, on whether or not a permit            
 was available.                                                                
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES clarified that in Mr. Homan's example there             
 would have to be two permits available.                                       
 MR. HOMAN replied that was correct.                                           
 REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN asked how many permits can a person hold.            
 MR. HOMAN stated a person can hold one permit in each fishery under           
 the current system.                                                           
 REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN clarified a person could not fish 600 pots           
 with two permits.                                                             
 MR. HOMAN responded that would not be allowed.                                
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN made a MOTION to ADOPT CSHB 107(FSH).                     
 CO-CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS asked if there were any objections.  Hearing             
 none, the MOTION PASSED.                                                      
 Number 332                                                                    
 CO-CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS wondered how the amount of gear each fisherman           
 is using can be verified.                                                     
 MR. HOMAN stated that is an issue which the CFEC has to give more             
 analysis to.  He said the CFEC will need to review catch histories,           
 harvest levels and the number of pots claimed on registration forms           
 to determine a ratio or formula.  He noted the CFEC would work with           
 biologists on the issue.  He pointed out the CFEC has all of the              
 harvest fish tickets from the past, so they know what each                    
 individual harvest level has been.                                            
 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN said if the point is reached where there is over            
 fishing with the number of pots allowed and there had to be a                 
 cutback, he wondered how that cutback would happen.                           
 MR. HOMAN stated the crab fishery in Southeast is now under a                 
 moratorium.  He said the CFEC does not have the ability to change             
 the pot level as that is a Board of Fisheries decision.                       
 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN asked if that is a total for all of the fishery.            
 MR. HOMAN replied that was correct--it is not an individual or                
 group total.  He said one of the difficulties which has arisen is             
 the Board of Fisheries only meets about every three years on these            
 issues.  He stated HB 107 says the CFEC can use the maximum allowed           
 by the Board of Fisheries and can issue permits based on a                    
 proportion of that maximum.                                                   
 Number 385                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN clarified if there is a drop in the number           
 of sustainable crab that can be taken, at some point in time there            
 is a limitation put on by ADF&G in regard to the time frames of               
 fishing so the amount of the crab catch can be controlled.                    
 MR. HOMAN explained the department can adjust seasons, limits,                
 sexes and sizes.                                                              
 Number 405                                                                    
 urged committee members to support HB 107.  He said HB 107 is part            
 of continuing process, since 1984, to achieve a protection of the             
 crab resource in Southeast.  He stressed that resource does need              
 some protection.  He stated the problem with the traditional                  
 limited entry is the fleet is so diverse--not everyone fishes the             
 full 300 pot limit and many people fish on the weekends with very             
 few pots.  He pointed out if a traditional limited entry was                  
 created, the potential for growth in the number of pots would                 
 increase dramatically.                                                        
 MR. FLOR said in 1991, SEDCA came to the legislature and presented            
 the problem and a moratorium on the crab fishery was passed so the            
 fishery could be studied.  He noted the CFEC held hearings in the             
 fall and went to all of the Southeast communities.  The Southeast             
 fleet was fairly united in creating a tiered system, even though              
 many other ideas were discussed.  He stressed the tiered system               
 seemed fair, the diversity of the fleet would be grandfathered in             
 as it exists now, and it is a fairly simple plan.                             
 Number 437                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN asked if the moratorium was just on the              
 Southeast crab fishery.                                                       
 MR. FLOR replied it was.                                                      
 REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN clarified HB 107 reflects statewide.                 
 MR. FLOR said it does.                                                        
 BETH FLOR, PETERSBURG, testified via teleconference and stated she            
 is in favor of HB 107.  She felt HB 107 will enable CFEC to design            
 specific limited entry programs that will solve many problems for             
 resource conservation, as well as provide equitable levels of                 
 SCOTT CROSS, PETERSBURG, testified via teleconference, expressing             
 support for HB 107.  He said it is quite clear the traditional                
 limited entry will not work for the dungeness crab fishery.  He               
 stated if the moratorium is allowed to expire, there will be a big            
 impact.  He noted other fisheries are breaking new ground and                 
 moving towards a less derby-style fishery and there is an                     
 opportunity to do the same in the dungeness crab fishery.  He said            
 this will help the value of the crab, as well as the safety of the            
 ANDY WRIGHT, PETERSBURG, testified via teleconference and expressed           
 support for HB 107.                                                           
 MARK JENSEN, PETERSBURG, testified via teleconference and said he             
 would support a bill that would get a limited entry type program              
 going.  He stated he does not agree with the wording in HB 107,               
 especially not being able to change a permit.  He felt if he has a            
 permit for 100 pots and another person is going to sell their 100             
 pot permit, he should be able to buy another permit.  He said when            
 the moratorium bill was passed, it provided for research of the               
 crab stocks and to his knowledge, that has never been done except             
 for dock surveys.                                                             
 Number 489                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE MACLEAN asked Mr. Jensen to explain his first                  
 opposition to HB 107.                                                         
 MR. JENSEN said if a person originally receives 100 pots, he cannot           
 add to that number of pots unless he sells his permit and buys                
 another permit.  He stated he did not understand why, if a person             
 originally got a permit for 100 pots, he could not buy another 100            
 pot permit.                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN stated the committee substitute for HB 107 took           
 care of that issue.  He noted the original bill said, "The fishing            
 capacity allowed under an entry permit may not be changed after the           
 permit is issued."  He explained in the committee substitute that             
 language was deleted.                                                         
 MR. JENSEN said that would alleviate the problem.  He expressed               
 concern also on the fact that many people show 300 pots on their              
 registration when, in fact, they are not fishing that many pots.              
 He felt using the registration criteria would not be realistic                
 information for the program.  He noted also if someone has a bad              
 year, that could affect the criteria used for the program.                    
 Number 520                                                                    
 MR. HOMAN stated what Mr. Jensen is talking about is a provision              
 which was looked at during the public hearing process and it was              
 called a stackable provision where a person could consolidate                 
 permits.  He said there is difficulty with that provision in the              
 current system in that permits are limited to one permit per                  
 fishery.  He noted to accommodate a stackable system, there would             
 be a need to consolidate permits which is a difficult thing to                
 incorporate into the CFEC's current system because it does not                
 occur anywhere else.  He felt it would be a very complicated                  
 provision to incorporate at this time but is something which could            
 be looked at in the future.  He stressed CFEC does not want to do             
 anything to jeopardize any of the other existing limited entry                
 fisheries by having a provision that could consolidate permits.               
 MR. HOMAN noted the CFEC is currently faced with a court case                 
 called the Johns case which says a fishery can become too exclusive           
 by a reduction in the number of permits.  He said if it gets to a             
 point where the court would declare the fishery too exclusive, new            
 permits would have to be issued in that fishery.  He stated that is           
 why the stackable provision was not pursued.                                  
 Number 544                                                                    
 LADD NORHEIM, PETERSBURG, testified via teleconference and                    
 expressed support for HB 107.  He expressed concern about the                 
 viability of the crab fishery and felt HB 107 will help keep the              
 fishery at a viable level.  He stated he likes HB 107 because it              
 gives a kid out of high school the opportunity to buy a small pot             
 permit on which he could build.                                               
 DAVE BEEBE, PETERSBURG, testified via teleconference and expressed            
 support for HB 107.  He stated his main concern is the direction of           
 the fisheries in the Pacific Northwest and those fishermen moving             
 into Southeast Alaska.                                                        
 SHERRI WOHLHUETTER, PETERSBURG, testified via teleconference and              
 said she is strongly in favor of HB 107.  She stated HB 107 will              
 give the CFEC a responsible management tool for the crab resource             
 which is crucial for the longevity of this resource.  She stressed            
 if the resource is not managed responsibly, it will not be                    
 available for anyone.                                                         
 ROCKY LITTLETON, PETERSBURG, testified via teleconference and                 
 expressed support for HB 107.                                                 
 MICHAEL SHELDON, PETERSBURG, testified via teleconference and                 
 expressed support for HB 107 because he is concerned that the                 
 California, Oregon and Washington fleet plan to come up and fish              
 the fishery.  He stated if the fishery is allowed to be accessed by           
 a wide open fishery, the production will be hampered.  He said he             
 would like to see his son get a chance to get into the fishery.               
 DENNIS ONEAL, PETERSBURG, testified via teleconference and                    
 expressed support for HB 107.                                                 
 GWYNNE SHORT, PETERSBURG, testified via teleconference and stated             
 her husband, Joe Short, has been in the fisheries for 15 years.               
 They both support HB 107.                                                     
 TAPE 95-27, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 000                                                                    
 MR. BRUCE stated the department supports HB 107.  He recalled that            
 earlier testimony in the fisheries committee indicated the bill was           
 not needed from a biological standpoint.  He clarified the                    
 department's biologists believe HB 107 does have biological                   
 benefits for protecting the crab stocks from over-exploitation.               
 REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN asked someone to explain the committee               
 MR. HOMAN said the committee substitute removes one sentence from             
 the original bill.  He stated in the original bill on page 2, lines           
 22 and 23, there was reference that the permit could not be changed           
 after it has been issued.  He noted the Attorney General's Office             
 was somewhat concerned that reference may indicate some restriction           
 on the Board of Fisheries.  He stressed the Board of Fisheries                
 still has the final authority on the maximum numbers of pots.                 
 Number 045                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES made a MOTION to MOVE CSHB 107(FSH) with                
 accompanying zero fiscal note out of committee with individual                
 CO-CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS asked if there were any objections.  Hearing             
 none, the MOTION PASSED.                                                      
 CO-CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS announced that the committee was going to hear           
 HB 170 again but due to time, it will be taken up again on Monday,            
 March 6.                                                                      

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