Legislature(1995 - 1996)

05/01/1996 11:13 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
  SENATE BILL NO. 285                                                          
       An  Act relating to  management of discrete salmon                      
       stocks and to a  salmon management assessment; and                      
       providing for an effective date.                                        
  Co-chairman Halford directed  that SB 285 be  brought on for                 
  discussion.  KELLY HUBER, aide  to Co-chairman Halford, came                 
  before  committee.     She  explained  that  current  salmon                 
  management centers  on  heavy exploitation  of  mixed  stock                 
  fisheries  and  disregards  the   negative  impact  of  that                 
  approach  on  discrete stocks  of all  salmon species.   She                 
  stressed need  to fulfill  the constitutional  obligation to                 
  preserve a sustained yield of all stocks.  The proposed bill                 
  requires the  board of  fisheries to  adopt and implement  a                 
  discrete salmon  stock management  policy consistent with  a                 
  sustained yield of wild stocks.  It also provides a means to                 
  offset costs incurred by implementing the policy.                            
  END:      SFC-96, #106, Side 1                                               
  BEGIN:    SFC-96, #106, Side 2                                               
  Mrs. Huber provided a sectional analysis of a draft CSSB 285                 
  (Fin) (9-LS1527\F, Utermohle, 4/26/96):                                      
       Section 2 directs  the board of fisheries  to implement                 
       management  of discrete  salmon  stocks  and sets  time                 
       lines   for    gathering   of   data    necessary   for                 
       Section 3 provides for establishment and  collection of                 
       a  $1  salmon management  surcharge  on all  sport fish                 
       Section 4 provides  for a  $20 management surcharge  on                 
       crewmembers' fishing licenses.                                          
       Section 5 provides  for a  $20 management surcharge  on                 
       limited entry permit licenses.                                          
  Senator  Rieger referenced language at Page 4, line 7, noted                 
  that it speaks to deposit of the surcharge into the fish and                 
  game fund, and questioned lack  of expenditure from the fund                 
  on the fiscal note.  Mrs.  Huber referenced the $1.7 million                 
  note  from  the Dept.  of  Fish  and Game  and  advised that                 
  surcharges  within the  bill would  cover that amount.   Co-                 
  chairman Halford directed  that the department submit  a new                 
  fiscal  note  for  CSSB  285   (Fin),  showing  revenue  and                 
  In response to  questions from  Senator Zharoff, Mrs.  Huber                 
  advised of 450,000 sport fishing licenses; 35,000 crewmember                 
  licenses; and 15,000 limited entry permits.  The $20-dollars                 
  increase would  be in addition to existing  $30 resident and                 
  $90 non-resident crewmember licenses.                                        
  Senator Zharoff asked what the state  would realize from the                 
  proposed study.   Co-chairman  Halford responded,  "What you                 
  get is a guarantee that you  don't destroy the weaker stocks                 
  as  you  harvest  the  stronger  stocks  in  a  mixed  stock                 
  fishery."   Compliance  with the constitutional  mandate for                 
  sustained yield  for  all segments  of  the stock  would  be                 
  Senator  Donley MOVED  for adoption  of the  draft CSSB  285                 
  (Fin),   version  "F"   dated   4/26/96,  for   purposes  of                 
  discussion.  No objection having been raised, CSSB 285 (Fin)                 
  was ADOPTED.                                                                 
  BEN ELLIS,  Executive Director,  Kenai River Sport  Fishing,                 
  next came before committee in support of the bill.  He noted                 
  that the developing  problem giving rise to  the legislation                 
  was  documented  in  the  most  recent National  Academy  of                 
  Science  publication  in  December,  1995.     It  lays  the                 
  foundation for the  concern addressed by the  proposed bill.                 
  He cited difficulty  associated with attempting to  manage a                 
  resources  on a sustained yield basis without data to ensure                 
  that discrete (weak, smaller) stocks  are protected as well.                 
  Mr.  Ellis  advised   that  the   board  of  fisheries   has                 
  consistently  asked  for  more  data   upon  which  to  base                 
  management decisions.   The proposed bill will  provide that                 
  data.    It should  help protect  both sport  and commercial                 
  fisheries throughout the state.  Mr. Ellis urged support for                 
  the bill which he termed of "paramount importance."                          
  Senator Randy Phillips asked if Mr. Ellis also supported the                 
  fee  increases.    Mr. Ellis  responded  affirmatively.   He                 
  voiced  his  understanding that  "every major  sport fishing                 
  organization in the state has supported this bill."                          
  Discussion of licensing of fishing guides followed among Mr.                 
  Ellis, Senator  Zharoff, and Co-chairman  Halford.   Senator                 
  Zharoff took exception  to the  $20 increase for  commercial                 
  fishermen, saying that "They're usually the last ones to get                 
  a shot at the resource under our management system."                         
  GERON BRUCE, Legislative  Liaison, Dept.  of Fish and  Game,                 
  next came  before committee  and highlighted  three elements                 
  within the legislation:                                                      
       1.   The discrete management policy  and the social  or                 
  economic       benefits the board and legislature would want                 
                 to see served  by that policy.  On this issue                 
                 the department is neutral.                                    
       2.   Additional funding and  direction to conduct  more                 
            research,data collection, and analysis  on various                 
            salmon stocks  as they  contribute to mixed  stock                 
            fisheries  and escapement of  those stocks.   This                 
            effort is supported by the department.                             
       3.   Funding mechanism.   The department is  neutral on                 
       this      issue.                                                        
  Mr.  Bruce  told  members  of  new research  techniques  and                 
  focused  upon   genetic  stock   identification  which,   he                 
  explained, has the potential to offer  "a whole new level of                 
  stock  identification in  fisheries."   This  technology has                 
  been applied on  an experimental basis.   Without additional                 
  funding, the  department  will not  be  able to  extend  new                 
  technologies to fisheries  management in  general.  To  that                 
  extent,  the  legislation  would  be  helpful.    Mr.  Bruce                 
  directed attention to Section 5 on Page 4 and noted that the                 
  funding mechanism would  be limited  by language which  says                 
  that funds collected from permit holders could only be spent                 
  within  the  administrative  area  in  which  the  fisherman                 
  operates.  That will fragment the  funding source into small                 
  and large pots of money which cannot be accumulated and used                 
  to support  an entire  program.  That  is of  concern.   The                 
  department would thus recommend removal of that language.                    
  Mr. Bruce further  recommended removal of pink  salmon stock                 
  from the bill.  Genetic  stock identification technology has                 
  not demonstrated its  effectiveness with  pink salmon.   Mr.                 
  Bruce advised that  the fiscal note was  prepared "by taking                 
  two particular fisheries (the Cook Inlet sockeye fishery and                 
  the  Alaska   Peninsula   sockeye/chum   fishery   and   its                 
  relationship  to the  Western Alaska  fishery) and  applying                 
  bill provisions.  Since the note  applies only to several of                 
  the fisheries, sufficient revenues will  not be generated to                 
  add additional fisheries  per the bill's  proposed schedule.                 
  It should be recognized that moneys identified on the fiscal                 
  note reflect start-up funding  based on two fisheries.   Mr.                 
  Bruce  further attested to  costs associated with monitoring                 
  escapement in remote areas.   He reiterated that  revenue to                 
  be  generated would  not  cover the  range of  fisheries set                 
  forth in the legislation.                                                    
  Senator Rieger  reiterated his previous  question concerning                 
  fiscal note information which shows revenues flowing to both                 
  the  general fund  and fish and  game fund  but expenditures                 
  from only the  general fund.   Mr. Bruce explained that  the                 
  original funding  mechanism  for  the  legislation  did  not                 
  contemplate revenue from  recreational users.   The  current                 
  draft incorporates  those users.   He  further advised  that                 
  recreational moneys could  flow either to the fish  and game                 
  fund  or  the general  fund.    Senator  Rieger  voiced  his                 
  understanding  that the  department  would submit  a revised                 
  fiscal  note with the  correct allocation from  the fish and                 
  game fund.  Mr. Bruce concurred.                                             
  Senator Sharp referenced  Section 5 and spoke  to difficulty                 
  associated with  allocation  to administrative  areas.   Co-                 
  chairman  Halford advised  that  it was  not  his intent  to                 
  include  allocation   language.    He   suggested  that  the                 
  concluding sentence  from  Sections  3 and  4  be  added  to                 
  Section  5  and   that  Section   5  language  relating   to                 
  administrative areas be deleted.                                             
  Mr.  Bruce  voiced  need  for  flexibility in  allowing  the                 
  department  and board  of fisheries  to identify  priorities                 
  when  applying  the proposed  program.   That would  draw on                 
  board  expertise in  determining  critical conservation  and                 
  allocation needs and  which areas and species should  be the                 
  focus  of  intensive work.   Co-chairman  Halford referenced                 
  staging  provisions within  the bill  providing  for certain                 
  sections  to  become  effective  in  2006  and   2011.    He                 
  acknowledged that a fiscal note could not be written in 1996                 
  that would cover  the cost of discrete  stock identification                 
  in 2011, with any degree of  certainty.  Areas scheduled for                 
  earlier enaction are those where concern is greatest.  There                 
  is  adequate  time,  in  the  future,  to  change  or  amend                 
  Mr.  Bruce  further  commented on  need  for  flexibility to                 
  adjust to priority needs.                                                    
  Senator Sharp  MOVED to  delete language  within Section  5,                 
  commencing with "A" at  the end of line 23  through line 29,                 
  and replace it with the last  sentence of Sections 3 and  4.                 
  No objection having been raised,  the amendment was ADOPTED.                 
  Senator Zharoff cited fiscal  note information referencing 5                 
  permanent and 20 seasonal people  and asked how the  program                 
  would be operated  within the current department  structure.                 
  Mr.  Bruce  acknowledged  that  the  program  could  not  be                 
  implemented  without new staff.   Senator Zharoff questioned                 
  the benefit of  the program to  localized fisheries such  as                 
  Atka.  Fishermen in  that area will be assessed  for studies                 
  to  be done elsewhere.  He suggested that assessments should                 
  be conducted  on stocks  connected to particular  fisheries.                 
  Mr. Bruce  acknowledged that  some stocks  would not  be the                 
  subject of assessment  because they are localized  and there                 
  is  no  competition  among  various  users.   He  suggested,                 
  however, that the state's  salmon resource as a whole  would                 
  Senator  Sharp directed  attention  to Page  2, line  4, and                 
  MOVED to add the  Copper River to the Cook  Inlet and Kodiak                 
  fisheries listed within  subsection (B).  Mr. Bruce said the                 
  amendment would  involve additional costs.   He acknowledged                 
  that the department would be reworking the fiscal note based                 
  on the Senate  Finance Committee  version of the  bill.   He                 
  further acknowledged that  the department  has "fairly  good                 
  information" on the Copper River fishery so the effort would                 
  not  be  starting from  scratch.   No objection  having been                 
  raised, the foregoing amendment was ADOPTED.                                 
  Senator  Donley MOVED  for passage  of CSSB  285  (Fin) with                 
  individual recommendations.   Senator Zharoff OBJECTED.   He                 
  voiced  his  belief that  current department  assessment and                 
  management  of fisheries  is more than  adequate.   He spoke                 
  specifically  to  Section  4  and  said the  $20  management                 
  surcharge was  not equitable, particularly for  fishermen in                 
  areas that will  not benefit from  data acquisition.  It  is                 
  also inequitable for fishermen who  must obtain a commercial                 
  license but  are not  fishing for salmon.   Senator  Zharoff                 
  said  that while  he agreed  with the  intent,  the proposed                 
  procedure is wrong.   Co-chairman Halford called  for a show                 
  of  hands.   The motion  CARRIED on  a vote  of 4 to  1 (Co-                 
  chairman Frank and  Senator Rieger  had left the  meeting.).                 
  CSSB 285 (Fin) was  REPORTED OUT of committee with  a fiscal                 
  note from the  Dept. of Fish  and Game (Sport Fish)  showing                 
  revenues of $118.3,  a Dept.  of Fish and  Game (CFMD)  note                 
  showing revenues of $604.0,  and a zero note from  the Dept.                 
  of  Revenue.    Co-chairman  Halford  and  Senators  Donley,                 
  Phillips,  and Sharp signed the  committee report with a "do                 
  pass" recommendation.  Senator Zharoff signed "do not pass."                 

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