Legislature(2003 - 2004)

04/09/2003 01:24 PM House RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 98-SPORT FISHING SEASONS FOR YOUTH                                                                                         
CHAIR FATE  announced that the  first order of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO. 98, "An Act  relating to sport fishing seasons and                                                               
areas for persons under 16 years of age."                                                                                       
Number 0017                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE RALPH SAMUELS,  Alaska State Legislature, sponsor,                                                               
characterized HB  98 as a bill  that would give authority  to the                                                               
Board of Fisheries  (BOF) to open a fishery for  people less than                                                               
16  years of  age only.   This  is also  currently available  for                                                               
people 60 years of age and  older.  The bill doesn't mandate that                                                               
this must be done, but provides  an option that he surmised would                                                               
be used mostly in urban areas.                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  SAMUELS said  Campbell  Creek  flows through  his                                                               
neighborhood  and there  are a  number  of king  [salmon] in  the                                                               
creek,  about 500-600  over the  escapement [goal].   However,  a                                                               
fishery hasn't been opened there because  it would be open to too                                                               
many people.   This [bill]  would allow limitation of  the number                                                               
of fishermen  in a particular fishery  and would allow for  a lot                                                               
of family activities,  such as a father-and-son  fishing day, for                                                               
people  in urban  areas  who probably  don't get  as  much of  an                                                               
opportunity to go  fishing as people that live in  other areas of                                                               
the state.   Representative  Samuels said  another example  is in                                                               
Homer:   when fish  are in  the lagoon and  snagging is  legal, a                                                               
fishery could  be opened up for  [a variety] of hours  for people                                                               
to  take  their children  fishing.    He  added that  the  Alaska                                                               
Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) and the BOF support HB 98.                                                                  
Number 0277                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  asked if there  was any  separation between                                                               
residents and nonresidents.                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE SAMUELS replied no.   He said the reason 16 became                                                               
the cutoff  age is because persons  under 16 are not  required to                                                               
have a  fishing license.   He offered his understanding  that the                                                               
same  [principle applies]  to persons  over  60 [in  the form  of                                                               
receiving] a card from the state, a lifetime license to fish.                                                                   
Number 0407                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE WOLF asked whether  the bill was discriminatory in                                                               
any way.  He said he thought the  bill was a good idea but didn't                                                               
want  to  see a  bill  pass  through  [committee] that  might  be                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  SAMUELS reiterated  that [the  practice] is  done                                                               
for people  over the  age of 60.   He said  the [purpose]  of the                                                               
bill is  to get kids  to go fishing rather  than go to  the mall,                                                               
for  example.   He  offered  his  belief  that  the bill  is  not                                                               
discriminatory,  and   said  he'd  looked   long  and   hard  for                                                               
opposition to it.                                                                                                               
Number 0544                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE WOLF asked  if the bill would  designate a fishery                                                               
in areas that would be specifically for children.                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  SAMUELS replied  yes.   He  offered  Homer as  an                                                               
example of  an area,  citing limitations  that allow  snagging of                                                               
fish  during those  times  of the  year.   He  said a  three-hour                                                               
opening could be held for kids  under 16 years of age that allows                                                               
them to  fish without [competing]  with adults around  the stream                                                               
bank for a given time period.                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE      SAMUELS,   in    response   to   remarks   by                                                               
Representative  Wolf,  said  the   board  may  adopt  regulations                                                               
establishing restrictive seasons and  areas necessary for persons                                                               
60 years  of age  or older for  participating in  sport, personal                                                               
use, or subsistence  fishing.  He said subparagraph  (B) would be                                                               
added to include persons under the age of 16.                                                                                   
Number 0713                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE MASEK asked how HB  98 would impact the Matanuska-                                                               
Susitna  area, specifically,  the  Big and  Little Susitna  River                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE SAMUELS  replied that  HB 98 doesn't  mandate that                                                               
any particular fishery  be opened or closed.  It  would allow the                                                               
BOF to follow  its normally procedures through  ADF&G through the                                                               
advisory boards to open a  particular fishery and provide the BOF                                                               
with the  option to do  that.  Representative  Samuels speculated                                                               
that HB  98 would  be used  more frequently  in urban  areas, but                                                               
said it doesn't  stop persons from other  communities that wanted                                                               
to have this for a given  reason; one could go through the normal                                                               
process  that the  BOF goes  through.   He noted  that he'd  been                                                               
looking  at permits  from the  last  hunting season  and had  run                                                               
across a couple of hunts for kids only; this would be similar.                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE MASEK  observed that  the fiscal note  reflected a                                                               
zero  impact and  asked  if  [HB 98]  would  result  in a  larger                                                               
workload for BOF and ADF&G to implement.                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE SAMUELS said both BOF  and ADF&G support HB 98 and                                                               
had provided the  fiscal notes.  He said he  assumed it would not                                                               
[result in a larger workload].                                                                                                  
Number 0846                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO  asked  if  the  bill  would  simply  allow                                                               
persons 16 years of age and  under to fish, and whether [the law]                                                               
currently allowed fishing during special seasons.                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE SAMUELS  explained that persons under  16 years of                                                               
age  don't need  a  license  to fish;  that  subparagraph (A)  is                                                               
currently law;  and that subparagraph  (B) is being added  and is                                                               
the  only  change  being  made.   Currently,  the  BOF  can  have                                                               
[fisheries specifically]  for persons  60 years  of age  or over,                                                               
and   this  would   provide  the   option   to  have   [fisheries                                                               
specifically for] persons 16 years of age and under.                                                                            
Number 0922                                                                                                                     
CHAIR FATE  asked where  this law  would apply.   He  offered his                                                               
understanding  that most  areas don't  require a  fishing license                                                               
and season  [for persons  16 years  of age  and under],  with the                                                               
probable exception of some urban areas.                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE  SAMUELS answered  that the  bill would  allow the                                                               
[BOF] to [designate fisheries] anywhere  [in the state].  He said                                                               
he  didn't  imagine the  number  of  fishermen would  be  limited                                                               
unless there were a specific reason to do that.                                                                                 
Number 0994                                                                                                                     
GORDY WILLIAMS, Legislative Liaison,  Office of the Commissioner,                                                               
Alaska Department  of Fish and  Game, testified that the  bill is                                                               
permissive.   It just  adds powers  that the BOF  could use  in a                                                               
public process to  consider proposals brought before  them if the                                                               
department  or public  requested a  certain method  and means  to                                                               
enhance  the quality  of a  sport  fishery for  kids wherein  the                                                               
pressure wouldn't be  such that they were  [subjected to] "combat                                                               
fishing," or  to bring kids  into an area  for fishing in  a more                                                               
controlled atmosphere and  have special kids' fishing  days.  The                                                               
bill  doesn't do  anything  other  than give  that  power to  the                                                               
board, he explained.                                                                                                            
Number 1092                                                                                                                     
MR. WILLIAMS, in  response to a comment  by Representative Gatto,                                                               
said the BOF is pretty sensitive  to how it manages fisheries and                                                               
accommodates  different  interests.   This  would  be a  proposal                                                               
brought before and  established by the board, and  there would be                                                               
plenty of public testimony on all sides prior to its happening.                                                                 
Number 1141                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  GUTTENBERG asked  if there  had been  any similar                                                               
proposals or processes for people over  the age of 60 and, if so,                                                               
whether any had been denied.                                                                                                    
MR. WILLIAMS indicated  he was unsure whether  that had occurred.                                                               
He said  the board has  been approached  to do the  youth seasons                                                               
and has  routinely had  to tell people  that it  cannot entertain                                                               
those proposals because it doesn't  have the authority.  He noted                                                               
that the BOF  had submitted a letter of support  for the bill and                                                               
said  he thought  it  is a  tool  the board  would  like to  have                                                               
available  to  it  and  the   public.    He  told  Representative                                                               
Guttenberg  he could  get back  to  him with  the information  on                                                               
senior citizens.                                                                                                                
Number 1207                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE WOLF  asked why  page 2,  line 10,  paragraph (7),                                                               
was  included if  the  intention  is to  allow  ADF&G  to set  up                                                               
fisheries for kids.                                                                                                             
MR. WILLIAMS  said the statute relates  to the powers of  the BOF                                                               
and what it  may consider, and is current law;  the only addition                                                               
is the underlying language on page 1, subparagraph (B).                                                                         
CHAIR FATE asked whether anyone else  wished to testify.  He then                                                               
closed public testimony.                                                                                                        
Number 1298                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE MASEK moved to report  HB 98 out of committee with                                                               
individual  recommendations and  the  accompanying fiscal  notes;                                                               
she  asked for  unanimous  consent.   There  being no  objection,                                                               
HB 98 was reported from the House Resources Standing Committee.                                                                 

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