Legislature(1995 - 1996)
05/01/1996 11:13 AM FIN
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= 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 implementation. Section 3 provides for establishment and collection of a $1 salmon management surcharge on all sport fish licenses. 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 expenditure. 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 achieved. 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 provisions. 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 benefit. 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."