Legislature(1995 - 1996)
04/12/1996 04:24 PM RES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SB 285 DISCRETE SALMON STOCK MANAGMNT & ASSESSMT CHAIRMAN LEMAN brought SB 285 before the committee as the next order of business. DAN CASTLE , testified from Ketchikan on his own behalf, as well as president of the Southeast Alaska Seiners Association, which unanimously opposes SB 285. They disagree with the first paragraph in the bill which suggests that a discrete salmon stock management policy could possibly be consistent with the sustained yield of wild salmon stock. He said there are over 2,000 salmon bearing streams in Alaska, and to try to individually manage each of those stocks would be nearly impossible and a very expensive proposition. He noted the bill carries a fiscal note of $1.7 million. TAPE 96-53, SIDE A Number 001 Continuing his testimony, Mr. Castle referred to paragraph (2) on page 2 which discusses non-Alaska stock originating elsewhere in North America, and he said their association does not think that is the type of thing that the Alaska Department of Fish & Game should be looking at. Although some of that is research through the U.S.- Canada Pacific Salmon Commission process, interpreting and managing Alaska's fishery for those other stocks is something that's taken up in another forum. Mr. Castle stated he would be submitting written testimony for the committee record on SB 285. DAN WINN , testifying from Homer in opposition to SB 285, stated he doesn't think it is a good idea for legislators to try to run fish and game. He said they are doing that in Washington State and California and they are ruining the fisheries. Mr. Winn said one of the main points is that this is a tax, and it could cost as much as $50 million to try to implement it. Also, it is definitely taxes for one segment of the population that would be going into the general fund. He suggested that if this is going to done, then charter operators should also pay their way, as well as the sport fishermen who aren't Alaskans. MS. LIZ CABRERA , Director of the Petersburg Vessel Owners Association testifying from Petersburg, voiced their opposition to any attempt to significantly alter the way the state manages the salmon fishery, as well as the provisions contained in SB 285. She urged defeat of the legislation. LEONARD EFTA , testifying from Kenai, stated he has one major opposition to SB 285. He said if it's followed to its logical conclusion, it is going to eliminate the drift fisherman, and he is a drift fisherman. He added that he is not opposed to the provision relating to genetic identification because he thinks that as a fisherman it will benefit him. Number 090 SAM MCDOWELL , testifying from Kenai, voiced his support for SB 285, which he believes is necessary, basing his decision on the Cook Inlet area. He pointed out that in 1951 there were 187,511 king salmon harvested in upper Cook Inlet and 20 years later only 8,465 kings were harvested. Also, the sockeye salmon in the northern district are being totally depleted because they are not making it up there. CHAIRMAN LEMAN asked him if all of the sockeye that were bound for the northern district had not been harvested and had gone on through, what that number would have been. MR. MCDOWELL responded that when Carl Rosier closed the drift fleet down for two fishing periods, they almost made the complete escapement, so it proves those fish are being intercepted. DALE BONDURANT , testifying from Kenai, said he cannot understand the opposition to SB 285 by anyone who truly supports a sustained yield principle. At the recent hearing, he listened to the testimony of some commercial fishermen that were adamantly opposed to discrete stock management because it would cost them, which only proves they are too interested in bottom line profits today. He said if the state waited for commercial fishermen to demand maximum sustained yield for all stocks in waters, it would never happen. Number 170 LEONARD HAIRE , testifying from the Mat-Su LIO, stated his support for SB 285 because he believe the Board of Fish is not doing the proper job to put the fish in the creek. He cited, as an example, a biologist who earlier this year put in a proposal to close silver fishing in the 20 Mile and Placer River areas, the reasoning being that it could be a problem in the future if more people go down there to enjoy the fishery. In his options for how to cure this problem, not one was to put more fish in the river. Mr. Haire said he thinks for them not to even consider this is one of the reasons why SB 285 is needed. ROY BURKHART , testifying from the Mat-Su LIO in support of SB 285, said recently the Board of Fish gave the authority to Fish & Game that they should stop fishing, even bank fish. The reason for that was to protect the habitat and to let the stock rebuild. However, this is not going to work unless the fish get into the river. He said it is time that everybody address this problem and allow the fish to get into the river so that everybody can enjoy them. He noted that on the Deshka River they haven't been able to fish for kings for a couple of years because the kings are just not returning. Number 270 There being no additional witnesses to testify on SB 285, CHAIRMAN LEMAN stated it would be held until the following day for further action.