Legislature(1995 - 1996)
05/06/1995 09:40 AM FIN
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 107(FSH) An Act relating to restrictions attached to certain commercial fisheries limited entry permits. Co-chairman Halford directed that CSHB 107 (FSH) be brought on for discussion. SENATOR TAYLOR came forward, directed attention to SCS CSHB 107 (Res), and explained that changes therein would result in a title change and subsequent debate. He suggested that the bill is of sufficient importance that consideration should revert to the version transmitted by the House. Senator Taylor acknowledged that problems with the present limited entry system should be addressed. However, the proposed bill is not the vehicle in which to do so. If it is not possible to act on the House bill, Senator Taylor suggested a two-year extension of the moratorium to prevent depletion of the resource by "outside boats." That could occur since the original moratorium is in its wind-down year, and open season on entry into the dungeness fishery would result if something is not passed this year. Co-chairman Halford voiced interest in ensuring that permits are not transferable. Prior discussion indicates that such action is too late in coming. While permit entry to individual fisheries is acceptable, transfer of permits for money is wrong. KATHERINE BUCHANAN, aide to Representative Grussendorf, came before committee. She explained that the original bill would allow the limited entry commission to use "a few more tools to decide how to limit the entry . . . ." Original limited entry provisions were for salmon. The crab fishery is different. The proposed bill would allow the commission to base the limited entry permit on the past number of pots fished, if it chose to do so. BRUCE TWOMLEY, Limited Entry Commission, Dept. of Fish and Game, came before committee. He explained that the bill only applies to fisheries not yet limited. The net fishery would not be impacted. In response to a question from Senator Rieger, Mr. Twomley explained that all net salmon fisheries are 100% limited. He acknowledged that some herring and other species are not under limited entry provisions. Responding to a further comment by Senator Rieger, Mr. Twomley said that the commission has no authority over halibut, advising, "The feds have captured that through a treaty entered some time ago." The proposed bill is directed to a specific fishery with an existing deadline. The Southeast dungeness fishery is under a moratorium authorized by legislation. The moratorium expires in January. A dungeness fleet is poised outside of Alaska ready to take advantage of the opening unless the state can follow through with a plan. The proposed bill represents a plan and "something near a consensus" that members of fleet, bureaucrats, and legislators have been able to work out. This solution would maintain controls and avoid the threatened invasion. Ms. Buchanan explained that the Senate Resources version of the bill would allow permits to be stacked. An individual fisherman issued a 50-pot permit could purchase additional permits up to a 300-pot maximum. Co-chairman Halford reiterated that the change necessitated a title amendment and suggested that need for new title language be avoided at this late stage of the session. Senator Rieger asked if the limited entry commission would support the change within SCS CSHB 107 (Res) had it not necessitated a title change. Mr. Twomley explained that the commission did not oppose the change nor would it oppose deletion. Of primary interest is the bill transmitted by the House. Further discussion of the reach of the Senate version followed. Senator Zharoff inquired concerning additional tools provided to the commission by the proposed bill. Mr. Twomley referenced ability to limit growth in fisheries which are not now limited. He spoke specifically to fisheries consisting of a large variety of people fishing at different levels of participation and cited the Southeast dungeness fishery as an example. In response to an additional question from Senator Zharoff concerning public input, Mr. Twomley assured that maximum public input would be guaranteed under existing law. Any proposal would have to be put before the public and proceed through the "entire process." Senator Zharoff asked if the bill would impact sea urchin or sea cucumber fisheries. Mr. Twomley acknowledged that both the House and Senate versions could encompass those areas. Discussion followed between Senator Rieger and Mr. Twomley regarding limited entry permit transfer procedures and laws governing transfer. Mr. Twomley said that Alaska law generally controls because transfer does not occur until or unless the limited entry commission approves the transfer. He acknowledged limited intrusion of federal law. Senator Zharoff MOVED for passage of CSHB 107 (FSH) with individual recommendations and the accompanying zero fiscal note. No objection having been raised, CSHB 107 (FSH) was REPORTED OUT of committee with a zero fiscal note from the Dept. of Fish and Game. Senator Rieger and Senator Zharoff signed the committee report with a "do pass" recommendation. Co-chairman Halford and Senators Phillips and Sharp signed "no recommendation." RECESS Co-chairman Halford announced that the meeting would be recessed at this time prior to commencement of work on HB 78 and HB 217. The meeting was recessed at approximately 10:55 a.m. and scheduled to reconvene at 12:30 p.m.