Legislature(1995 - 1996)

02/26/1996 03:45 PM RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
 SRES 2/26/96                                                                  
                                                                               
         SB 128 NONRESIDENT HUNT, SPORT FISH, TRAP FEES                       
                                                                              
 SENATOR LEMAN announced  SB 128  to be up for consideration.  He              
 noted there was a proposed CS.                                                
                                                                               
 SENATOR DAVE DONLEY, sponsor of SB 128, explained that the CS                 
 deletes all reference to the big game tags because it seemed to               
 cause people the most concern.  He worked with ADF&G to see if                
 there were alternative methods to addressing the problem of non-              
 residents using sportfish licenses to fish for the entire season              
 and ship the fish out.  They had no suggestions other than what is            
 in the bill which is to shorten the length of the license periods.            
 The concept of a seven-day license was added to the bill.                     
                                                                               
 SENATOR HALFORD moved to adopt the CS to SSB 128.  SENATOR TAYLOR             
 objected for a question.  He stated on page 2 there was a 14-day              
 non-resident sportfishing license for $60 and on page 3 there was             
 a king salmon license during that same period for $60 and asked if            
 that was in addition to the sportfishing license.  SENATOR DONLEY             
 answered that wasn't a significant modification from the original             
 bill.  One of the concerns raised in the last committee meeting was           
 that folks who had been in Alaska for six months and intended to              
 stay would have to buy the 14-day licenses.  Under the CS six                 
 months of residency lets you buy a license for six months for $100            
 until you're up to full residency status.  They extended that                 
 through to the king salmon tag.                                               
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR asked how this compares to British Columbia.                   
 SENATOR DONLEY answered he didn't know about the fishing.  With               
 British Columbia he looked at the game tags issue.                            
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR commented that the fees were pretty stiff for a                
 family coming up to visit for a couple of days.  SENATOR DONLEY               
 agreed, but said he didn't really know how to get at that problem.            
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR said of all the tourist activities in his district             
 the one that puts more money into the community individually are              
 those people who come up and stay at a bed and breakfast for four             
 or five days and go fishing with one of the local charter fellows.            
 This issue is important because we are in direct competition with             
 Canada which allows four king salmon to be caught per day.                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR DONLEY said he didn't know how to provide for four king               
 salmon, although he would like to.  In the context of this bill,              
 there is a shortening of the license period to try to address the             
 problem of people coming up and buying a year license and fishing             
 all year with it and catching a lot of fish.  Second, if someone is           
 coming to Alaska, they are going to want to catch fish.  How many             
 fish are available is more important to them than the cost of the             
 license.                                                                      
 Number 370                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR HALFORD said that this addresses fees, but he really cares            
 about how many fish are being taken out.  He suggested amending the           
 statutes relating to possession so the possession limit is twice              
 the daily bag limit and the fish did not go out of possession by              
 processing and freezing.  They do go out of possession when                   
 returning to the angler's home of record.  That would have more               
 impact than the difference in dollars which is actually pretty                
 small.                                                                        
                                                                               
 SENATOR DONLEY agreed with that and wanted the Department to                  
 respond.  He said he would be willing to incorporate that into the            
 bill.                                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 385                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR FRANK said his concern was with our competitiveness with              
 other jurisdictions.  SENATOR DONLEY said he was trying to address            
 that concern by deleting the increases in the tags.  He would be              
 happy, he said, if it simply limited the period of time for the               
 non-resident hunting licenses.  Now, the only option is to buy them           
 for a year.  He is open to any suggestions on how to deal with this           
 problem.                                                                      
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR supported Senator Halford's idea of having a                   
 possession limit as an effective way of dealing with the Winnebagos           
 that come up here every year and ship out tons of fish.                       
 Number 443                                                                    
                                                                               
 GERON BRUCE, ADF&G, said regarding competitiveness with British               
 Columbia, he has a report prepared by the Western Conservation                
 Administration Officers Association which compares various costs of           
 sport fishing in western states.  In British Columbia the cost for            
 an annual license is $42 (non-resident) and currently the cost in             
 Alaska is $50.  So we are slightly above B.C., but within the                 
 ballpark.                                                                     
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR asked if that included a tag limit.  MR. BRUCE said            
 he didn't think they have a tag included.  There is also a one-day            
 license in B.C.                                                               
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR noted that because of the currency exchange rate the           
 $120 U.S. for two weeks compared to $42 Canadian annually is more             
 like $35 U.S.  He thought the difference was very significant.                
                                                                               
 MR. BRUCE replied that although there was a significant difference            
 in terms of the total cost to come to Alaska, it's probably not a             
 big ticket item.  He said that probably king salmon is the species            
 of most concern.  In 1994 there were approximately 100,000 king               
 salmon harvested in the State by non-resident anglers and about 20            
 percent of that were taken by anglers who took six or more king               
 salmon per angler, representing about 5 percent of the total non-             
 resident anglers.                                                             
                                                                               
 SENATOR HALFORD asked where the fishermen were taking more than six           
 king salmon.  MR. BRUCE said his table didn't show those                      
 concentrations by region.  He said he would get that information.             
                                                                               
 SENATOR HALFORD stated that if we actually have non-residents                 
 taking more than six king salmon in any area of the State that he             
 knows of, they should be stopped because there are so many                    
 residents who can't take king salmon.                                         
                                                                               
 MR. BRUCE said the Department has some reluctance with stepping               
 into the middle of allocation issues, and prefers to leave that to            
 the Board of Fisheries or to the legislature.  From a conservation            
 standpoint an export limit or a field limit doesn't add much to               
 their tool box.  He supported Senator Taylor's comments recognizing           
 the importance of the visitor industry to the State's economic                
 needs.                                                                        
                                                                               
 SENATOR HALFORD asked him to see if there was a proposal before the           
 Board of Fish allowing them in the current cycle to redefine                  
 possession limit.  He said he would be much more comfortable with             
 the Board of Fish looking at the solution and he thought it was               
 within their power; but, because their system is so overloaded with           
 issues, it may not be something they would get to for the next two            
 years. In which case the legislature could deal with it now.  MR.             
 BRUCE said he would check, but he knew the Board over the past few            
 years had addressed the question of export limits on more than one            
 occasion and they could not get the votes.                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR asked if the Department intended to implement                  
 regulations concerning king salmon fishing, especially in southeast           
 Alaska, like the 40-inch limit and one per day.  MR. BRUCE replied            
 that in Southeast Alaska the king salmon fishery is regulated                 
 according to a quota that is established by the Board of Fisheries            
 under the total quota provided under the Pacific Salmon Treaty.               
 The recreational fishery takes about 20 percent of that.  The                 
 allocation for Southeast Alaska will determine what the State will            
 have to do to maintain their recreational fishery within its share            
 of that quota.  The particular year he was referring to was an                
 exceptional year.  There was a very high catch rate and very early            
 in the season the recreational fishery was about to bust its quota.           
 Measures were taken to slow down that catch so it could stay within           
 the quota.  On most years the 40,000 or so that the recreational              
 fishery has available to it seems to be adequate.  If we were to              
 get half of the total allowable catch the recreational fishery                
 would be down to 20,000 fish which they could certainly exceed                
 without some kinds of limitations.                                            
                                                                               
 Unfortunately, Alaska does not know until the season begins what              
 number we have to work with, he said.                                         
 Number 530                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR said it seemed strange to him that we could be                 
 contemplating charging someone $60 to go fishing for a couple of              
 weeks in Southeast, and another $60 for a tag so they can go out              
 and try to catch a fish with a 40-inch limit.  MR. BRUCE clarified            
 that the 40-inch limit is actually a Board of Fisheries regulation.           
 It is the very last option of a number of options under their                 
 Southeast Alaska King Salmon Management Plan.                                 
                                                                               
 CAPTAIN RICHARD GRAHAM, Fish and Wildlife Protection, said he                 
 hadn't had a chance to look at the CS closely.  He said the                   
 Enforcement Division receives no funding through any type of                  
 license fee structure, so they really don't have an opinion on                
 that.  One concern he had was in creating a special six-month                 
 classification for non-resident licensing.  He thought it could               
 result in increased residency violations and investigations.                  
                                                                               
 He commented that the new definition of residency that                        
 Representative Ogan introduced in HB 357 might have an affect on              
 this bill.                                                                    
                                                                               
 CAPTAIN GRAHAM said they have had numerous conversations within his           
 Department about the Winnebago/canning problem and they haven't               
 been able to come up with any helpful suggestions, but whatever               
 they come up with will need some kind of recording or tagging                 
 requirement.                                                                  
                                                                               
 TAPE 96-19, SIDE B                                                            
 Number 580                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR asked him to elaborate on the tagging                          
 recommendations.  CAPTAIN GRAHAM said that an angler is required to           
 record on the back of his license the number of king salmon they              
 have taken.  They have talked about recording on a piece of paper             
 the date and the amount of fish taken and the location.  They have            
 talked about a walking tag to be placed on a fish regardless of its           
 state of preservation.  He said they have been very successful in             
 enforcing the seasonal bag limits on king salmon by having the                
 recording requirement.                                                        
                                                                               
 SENATOR FRANK asked for the Department's position on game fees                
 going from $300 to $500.                                                      
                                                                               
 WAYNE REGELIN, ADF&G, said they were satisfied with the bill from             
 the wildlife standpoint.  They are concerned with the increased               
 game fee because non-resident aliens already pay a significantly              
 higher amount than almost anywhere else and they are adding $200 to           
 that.                                                                         
                                                                               
 SENATOR HOFFMAN asked about having $300 for the 30 days.  MR.                 
 REGELIN replied on the hunting side he didn't think the 30-day                
 license would have any impact at all.  Almost any hunter comes up             
 to trophy hunt for two weeks at the most and will rarely come back.           
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR reiterated that he thought a possession limitation             
 was a good idea.  He suggested using metal tags on fish the way               
 they are used on deer.                                                        
                                                                               
 SENATOR DONLEY said he was interested in the tag idea and would               
 like to work with it.                                                         
                                                                               
 SENATOR HOFFMAN said it would be very expensive for a family of               
 four or five to come up here and fish.                                        
                                                                               
 Number 498                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR HALFORD said they should find out if the Board of Fish                
 would welcome their help because they are so far behind before they           
 go ahead and try to do something.  He suggested keeping the bill to           
 work on it.                                                                   

Document Name Date/Time Subjects