Legislature(2003 - 2004)

03/30/2004 01:35 PM Senate L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
               CSHB 409(FSH)-SEINE VESSEL LENGTH                                                                              
CHAIR CON  BUNDE called  the Senate  Labor and  Commerce Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order  at 1:35  p.m. Present  were Senators                                                               
Gary Stevens,  Bettye Davis, Hollis  French and Chair  Con Bunde.                                                               
The  first order  of business  to come  before the  committee was                                                               
CSHB 409(FSH).                                                                                                                  
MR. TIM  BARRY, staff to  Representative Bill  Williams, sponsor,                                                               
noted  that a  member of  the United  Fishermen of  Alaska had  a                                                               
concern with this bill.                                                                                                         
MR. JERRY MCCUNE, Executive Director,  United Fishermen of Alaska                                                               
(UFA), said he  talked to that person, Mr.  Larson, who disagrees                                                               
with changing the bill. However,  all 34-member groups of the UFA                                                               
voted in  support of  it. There  are about  2,000 seiners  in the                                                               
state. Mr.  Larson was concerned  that he would  be disadvantaged                                                               
because  he  had IfQs  in  halibut  and has  a  60  ft. boat  and                                                               
couldn't get a bigger boat than that.                                                                                           
In response, though,  Mr. McCune pointed out  if Southeast Alaska                                                               
decided  to  change its  length  to  70  ft. they  couldn't  fish                                                               
halibut in his  area under class C and didn't  see how Mr. Larson                                                               
would be disadvantaged.                                                                                                         
MR. BARRY added that the kinds  of arguments Mr. Larson is making                                                               
will  be discussed  before the  Board of  Fisheries in  the event                                                               
that it will  ever consider this kind of a  change. The intent of                                                               
this legislation  is to make  that the appropriate venue  for the                                                               
argument to be made.                                                                                                            
SENATOR HOLLIS FRENCH said the  original bill required two-thirds                                                               
of the permit  holders to approve a change, but  the bill doesn't                                                               
have that  provision now. He  asked what the thinking  was behind                                                               
the original idea and how it was changed.                                                                                       
MR. BARRY explained that this  legislation came out of the Salmon                                                               
Industry  Task Force  and required  changes to  be approved  by a                                                               
vote of  two-thirds plus  one of  the permit  holders in  a given                                                               
fishery. A  lot of permit  holders feel significant  changes need                                                               
strong  safeguards.  The  House Special  Committee  on  Fisheries                                                               
amended the legislation to remove  that requirement, which would,                                                               
in effect, leave the issue up to the Board of Fisheries.                                                                        
MR. MCCUNE  added that the idea  that the board has  to listen to                                                               
all  public  members, whether  they  are  fishermen or  not,  was                                                               
perceived  as  putting a  restriction  on  making or  changing  a                                                               
regulation. Requiring  a two-thirds vote of  permit holders might                                                               
not be legal.                                                                                                                   
CHAIR BUNDE asked if there was a legal opinion on it.                                                                           
MR. BARRY  answered that  the Legislative  Council had  written a                                                               
letter and  the Commercial Fisheries Entry  Commission (CFEC) and                                                               
the  Alaska  Department  of  Fish   and  Game  (ADF&G)  expressed                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE BILL WILLIAMS commented,  but it was indiscernible                                                               
because of poor telephone reception.                                                                                            
SENATOR GARY STEVENS  moved to pass CSHB  409(FSH) from committee                                                               
with  individual recommendations  and zero  fiscal note.  Senator                                                               
Gary Stevens, Bettye  Davis, Hollis French and  Chair Bunde voted                                                               
yea; and CSHB 409(FSH) moved from committee.                                                                                    

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