Legislature(2015 - 2016)SENATE FINANCE 532

04/06/2016 05:00 PM Senate FINANCE

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Audio Topic
05:14:06 PM Start
05:15:54 PM SB172
05:39:33 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                 SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                       April 6, 2016                                                                                            
                         5:14 p.m.                                                                                              
5:14:06 PM                                                                                                                    
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
Co-Chair MacKinnon called the Senate Finance Committee                                                                          
meeting to order at 5:14 p.m.                                                                                                   
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Anna MacKinnon, Co-Chair                                                                                                
Senator Pete Kelly, Co-Chair                                                                                                    
Senator Peter Micciche, Vice-Chair                                                                                              
Senator Click Bishop                                                                                                            
Senator Mike Dunleavy                                                                                                           
Senator Donny Olson                                                                                                             
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                                                                           
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
Kevin Brooks, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Fish and                                                                       
Game; Forrest Bowers, Deputy Director, Division of                                                                              
Commercial Fisheries, Department of Fish and Game.                                                                              
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
Seth Beausang, Assistant Attorney General, Department of                                                                        
Law; Julie Decker, Executive Director, Alaska Fisheries                                                                         
Development Foundation, Wrangell.                                                                                               
SB 172    FISH/SHELLFISH HATCHERY/ENHANCE. PROJECTS                                                                             
          SB 172 was HEARD and HELD in committee for                                                                            
          further consideration.                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 172                                                                                                           
     "An Act  relating to management  of enhanced  stocks of                                                                    
     fish; authorizing the  operation of nonprofit shellfish                                                                    
     hatcheries;  relating to  application  fees for  salmon                                                                    
     and shellfish  hatchery permits;  and providing  for an                                                                    
     effective date."                                                                                                           
5:15:54 PM                                                                                                                    
KEVIN BROOKS,  DEPUTY COMMISSIONER,  DEPARTMENT OF  FISH AND                                                                    
GAME,  introduced  the  legislation.   He  stated  that  the                                                                    
purpose of  the legislation was  to allow the  Department of                                                                    
Fish  and  Game (DFG)  to  permit  shellfish enhancement  in                                                                    
rehabilitation projects; and  the construction and operation                                                                    
of the  shellfish hatcheries  by nonprofit  corporations for                                                                    
the purpose  of enhancing  and rehabilitation  the shellfish                                                                    
fisheries.  He explained  that the  bill  would benefit  the                                                                    
state's economy by allowing more public use.                                                                                    
5:17:30 PM                                                                                                                    
FORREST  BOWERS,  DEPUTY  DIRECTOR, DIVISION  OF  COMMERCIAL                                                                    
FISHERIES,  DEPARTMENT  OF  FISH  AND  GAME,  discussed  the                                                                    
Sectional Analysis (copy on file):                                                                                              
     Sec. 1                                                                                                                     
     Provides  the Alaska  Board of  Fisheries authority  to                                                                    
     direct the department to  manage production of enhanced                                                                    
     shellfish  stocks, beyond  broodstock  needs, for  cost                                                                    
     recovery harvest.                                                                                                          
     Sec. 2                                                                                                                     
     Increases the  permit application  fee for  new private                                                                    
     nonprofit salmon hatcheries from $100 to $1,000.                                                                           
     Sec. 3                                                                                                                     
     Adds a  new Chapter  12 to  Title 16,  "Shellfish Stock                                                                    
     Rehabilitation   Efforts,  Enhancement   Projects,  and                                                                    
     Hatcheries. Provides  direction to the  commissioner on                                                                    
     issuance  of permits  for  private nonprofit  shellfish                                                                    
     stock rehabilitation  and fishery  enhancement projects                                                                    
     and associated shellfish hatcheries and establishes a                                                                      
     $1,000  permit application  fee.  This section  directs                                                                    
     the commissioner  to consult with technical  experts in                                                                    
     the  relevant   areas  before  permit   issuance.  This                                                                    
     section provides for  a hearing prior to  issuance of a                                                                    
     permit  and describes  certain  permit terms  including                                                                    
     cost recovery fisheries, harvest,  sale, and release of                                                                    
     hatchery-produced    shellfish,   and    selection   of                                                                    
     broodstock  sources. This  section describes  reporting                                                                    
     requirements and  terms for modification  or revocation                                                                    
     of a permit.                                                                                                               
     Sec. 4                                                                                                                     
     Provides  the commissioner  authority to  issue special                                                                    
     harvest  area  entry  permits  to  holders  of  private                                                                    
     nonprofit  shellfish   rehabilitation,  enhancement  or                                                                    
     hatchery permits.                                                                                                          
     Sec. 5                                                                                                                     
     Defines  legal fishing  gear for  special harvest  area                                                                    
     entry permit holders.                                                                                                      
     Sec. 6                                                                                                                     
     Exempts  shellfish   raised  in  a   private  nonprofit                                                                    
    shellfish project from the farmed fish definition.                                                                          
     Sec. 7 and 8                                                                                                               
     Establish  tax exemption  for  a nonprofit  corporation                                                                    
     holding  a   shellfish  hatchery,   rehabilitation,  or                                                                    
     enhancement permit.                                                                                                        
     Sec. 9                                                                                                                     
     Exempts  shellfish harvested  under  a special  harvest                                                                    
     area entry permit from certain taxes.                                                                                      
     Sec. 10                                                                                                                    
     Establishes  an effective  date of  the fee  for salmon                                                                    
     hatchery permits described in sec. 2.                                                                                      
     Sec. 11                                                                                                                    
     Authorizes   the  department   to  adopt   implementing                                                                    
     Sec. 12                                                                                                                    
     Establishes  an immediate  effective date  for sec.  12                                                                    
     pursuant to AS 01.10.070(c).                                                                                               
     Sec. 13                                                                                                                    
     Establishes an  effective date  for sec.  9 concomitant                                                                    
     with sec. 2 effective date.                                                                                                
5:21:05 PM                                                                                                                    
Senator Dunleavy  noted that the  bill allowed  for hatchery                                                                    
permits for  salmon and other  fish. Mr. Bowers  stated that                                                                    
Section 2 was  the only portion of the bill  that related to                                                                    
salmon.  The  section  changed   the  fee  for  new  private                                                                    
nonprofit salmon hatchery applications from $100 to $1000.                                                                      
Senator  Dunleavy  queried the  purpose  of  Section 5.  Mr.                                                                    
Bowers replied  that Section 5  related to the  fishing gear                                                                    
used for cost-recovery harvest in  special harvest areas for                                                                    
the shellfish enhancement or rehabilitation projects.                                                                           
Co-Chair MacKinnon noted  that bill did not  change the gear                                                                    
for  salmon fisheries,  rather added  shellfish. Mr.  Bowers                                                                    
replied in the affirmative.                                                                                                     
Senator Dunleavy  queried an example  of legal  fishing gear                                                                    
as it  pertains to Section  5. Mr. Bowers replied  that crab                                                                    
pots would be an example.                                                                                                       
Senator Bishop wondered whether  the immunity from liability                                                                    
related  to  donations  of  shellfish to  a  food  bank  was                                                                    
removed from the legislation. Mr.  Brooks replied that there                                                                    
had been  a concern  about the shellfish  donations, because                                                                    
the requirements  for donation  was a visual  inspection. He                                                                    
remarked  that  it  was   difficult  to  visually  determine                                                                    
whether shellfish was spoiled or problematic.                                                                                   
Vice-Chair Micciche  wondered if the concern  was related to                                                                    
paralytic shellfish  poisoning. Mr. Brooks indicated  in the                                                                    
Co-Chair MacKinnon  looked at page  2, lines 28  through 30.                                                                    
She read,  "the commissioner  may not  issue a  permit under                                                                    
this section,  unless the  commissioner determines  that the                                                                    
action will result in substantial  public benefit, and would                                                                    
not jeopardize  natural stocks."  She wondered how  that was                                                                    
different  was benefitting  what hurdle  must be  met for  a                                                                    
nonprofit   to   start   shellfish  enhancement   based   on                                                                    
substantial  public benefit.  Mr.  Bowers  replied that  the                                                                    
determination would be made from public input.                                                                                  
Co-Chair  Kelly  looked  at   section  2,  and  queried  the                                                                    
reasoning  for  the  commissioner's  ability  to  waive  the                                                                    
permit in  order to operate  a hatchery. Mr.  Brooks replied                                                                    
that it was the existing  language for salmon hatcheries. He                                                                    
agreed to provide more information.                                                                                             
Co-Chair  Kelly  wanted  to   know  what  the  waiver  would                                                                    
Senator  Dunleavy queried  the number  of total  waivers and                                                                    
the reasoning behind the waivers.                                                                                               
Co-Chair MacKinnon looked  at lines 28 through  30, and felt                                                                    
that substantial  public benefit  would be  determined based                                                                    
on opposition by the public.  She felt that folks were often                                                                    
opposed to  any issue related  to a waterway.  She requested                                                                    
assurance  that the  word,  "substantial" was  appropriately                                                                    
used on line 29.                                                                                                                
5:27:55 PM                                                                                                                    
SETH  BEAUSANG, ASSISTANT  ATTORNEY  GENERAL, DEPARTMENT  OF                                                                    
LAW  (via teleconference),  replied  that  the language  was                                                                    
vague,   and  left   discretion  to   the  commissioner   in                                                                    
determining what was a "substantial public benefit."                                                                            
Co-Chair   MacKinnon  wondered   whether  statute   defined,                                                                    
"substantial public  benefit." Mr. Beausang replied  that it                                                                    
was  not defined  in the  bill. He  did not  know if  it was                                                                    
defined elsewhere in Alaska law.                                                                                                
Co-Chair  MacKinnon requested  research regarding  how other                                                                    
state resources were protected,  and used substantial public                                                                    
benefit.  She  queried  parameters  related  to  substantial                                                                    
public benefit,  in order to  provide guidelines as  to what                                                                    
the  public  would be  testifying.  Mr.  Beausang agreed  to                                                                    
provide that information.                                                                                                       
Senator Dunleavy  felt that the language  seemed subjective.                                                                    
He felt  that there should be  a set of criteria  in regards                                                                    
to  qualification. Mr.  Brooks replied  that there  was some                                                                    
criteria  used in  the aquaculture  program,  and agreed  to                                                                    
provide that information.                                                                                                       
Vice-Chair Micciche  remarked that the bill  only dealt with                                                                    
mollusk  and  crustaceans. He  queried  the  purpose of  the                                                                    
bill. Mr.  Bowers replied that  the purpose of the  bill was                                                                    
to look  at the  depleted crab or  shellfish stocks;  and to                                                                    
examine areas where  fisheries had been closed  for a number                                                                    
of  years without  the possibility  of current  management's                                                                    
ability to rebuild  the stocks. He shared that  the bill was                                                                    
a new tool to rebuild the stocks.                                                                                               
5:34:07 PM                                                                                                                    
JULIE   DECKER,   EXECUTIVE   DIRECTOR,   ALASKA   FISHERIES                                                                    
DEVELOPMENT   FOUNDATION,  WRANGELL   (via  teleconference),                                                                    
testified  in support  of the  legislation. She  stated that                                                                    
the  bill played  an important  role in  the development  of                                                                    
mariculture  in  Alaska.  The   bill  created  a  regulatory                                                                    
framework,   so   DFG   could   manage   shellfish   fishery                                                                    
enhancement.  She stated  that the  development would  allow                                                                    
interested   stakeholders  to   either  continue   or  begin                                                                    
Co-Chair MacKinnon CLOSED public testimony.                                                                                     
Senator Dunleavy  wondered if species  not native  to Alaska                                                                    
could be farmed under the  legislation. Mr. Bowers asked for                                                                    
a restatement.                                                                                                                  
Senator Dunleavy  restated his question. Mr.  Bowers replied                                                                    
that the  bill related  only to  enhancement of  wild stocks                                                                    
native to Alaska. The bill did not relate to fish farming.                                                                      
SB  172  was  HEARD  and   HELD  in  committee  for  further                                                                    
5:39:33 PM                                                                                                                    
The meeting was adjourned at 5:39 p.m.                                                                                          

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