Legislature(2015 - 2016)BUTROVICH 205
03/17/2015 09:00 AM STATE AFFAIRS
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SB 42-PERSONAL USE FISHING PRIORITY 9:35:23 AM CHAIR STOLTZE announced that the final order of business would be SENATE BILL NO. 42, "An Act providing priority to personal use fisheries when fishing restrictions are implemented to achieve a management goal." CHAIR STOLTZE, sponsor, explained that under SB 42, in times of shortages, personal use fisheries would be given a priority after subsistence use fisheries, and that the Board of Fisheries would make allocation determinations. 9:37:47 AM GEORGE PIERCE, representing himself, said he opposes SB 42, and used the term, "overreach" to describe the Board of Fisheries. He offered his beliefs that so-called "personal use fisheries" have already been ruled unconstitutional by the Alaska Supreme Court, and that by providing for such fisheries, the Alaska State Legislature and the Board of Fisheries are therefore breaking the law. 9:42:02 AM RICHARD BISHOP, representing himself, testified in favor of SB 42. He offered his understanding that Alaska's personal use fishery is the largest Alaska-resident fishery in the state and constitutes an important source of wild foods for various peoples in the state, particularly those with limited income. Noting that Article I, Section 23, of the Alaska State Constitution specifically says that the Alaska State Constitution does not prohibit the State from granting preferences, on the basis of Alaska residence, to residents of the State over non-residents, he offered his understanding that personal use fisheries are an instance where such a preference has been granted. In conclusion, he ventured that SB 42 would ensure that the people who want access to Alaska's personal use fisheries can continue to have access by being given a preference. 9:45:37 AM GARY STEVENS, Member, Board of Directors, Alaska Outdoor Council (AOC), said he is in support of SB 42 because he is of the opinion that Alaska's personal use fisheries are really just subsistence use fisheries for Alaska residents that live in what he termed, "non-subsistence areas"; personal use fisheries should therefore be given the same priority as subsistence use fisheries. 9:46:33 AM AL BARRETTE, representing himself, said he is in support of SB 42, and considers it to be a long time coming. Noting that he is an "Interior guide" and uses what he called "the Chitna dip netery," and remarking that he would like to be able to catch more fish than he is currently allotted, he ventured that SB 42 would provide statutory guidance to the Board of Fisheries for prioritizing fisheries other than subsistence use fisheries. He opined that personal use fisheries are really just subsistence use fisheries occurring in urban areas of Alaska. CHAIR STOLTZE, after ascertaining that no one else wished to testify, closed public testimony on SB 42. 9:51:26 AM TOM BROOKOVER, Acting Director, Division of Sport Fish, Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G), in response to questions, confirmed that the ADF&G has not taken a position on SB 42, and explained that personal use fisheries are regulated by the Board of Fisheries. He then paraphrased portions of 5 AAC 77.001(a), which read: 5 AAC 77.001. Intent and application of this chapter (a) The Board of Fisheries finds that (1) before the enactment of the state's subsistence priority law in ch. 151, SLA 1978, an individual could fulfill that individual's personal use needs for fish under subsistence fishing regulations; (2) the state's subsistence priority law changed the definition of subsistence in a manner that now precludes some individuals from participating in customary and traditional subsistence fisheries and efficiently harvesting fish for their personal use; (3) there presently are areas of the state with harvestable surpluses of fish in excess of both spawning escapement needs and present levels of subsistence, commercial and sport uses; and (4) it is necessary to establish a fishery classified as "personal use" because (A) since the sale of fish is not appropriate or permissible, this fishery cannot be classified as commercial; (B) since the use is not a customary and traditional use, this fishery cannot be classified as subsistence; and (C) since the gear for this fishery is often different from that historically associated with sport fishing, this fishery should not be classified as a sport fishery, to prevent confusion among the public. MR. BROOKOVER, offering his understanding that 5 AAC 77.001 became effective in 1982, noted that the Board of Fisheries considers certain criteria for the allocation of resources between the personal use, sport use, and commercial use fisheries. In response to further questions, he provided some allocation statistics for some personal use fisheries in some locations during some times. CHAIR STOLTZE mentioned that the ADF&G has submitted a zero fiscal note for SB 42. SENATOR COGHILL offered his belief that SB 42's proposed change would be allowed under the Alaska State Constitution, and characterized it as a good approach. 10:06:44 AM SENATOR HUGGINS moved to report SB 42 out of committee with individual recommendations and attached fiscal notes. There being no objection, SB 42 was moved from the Senate State Affairs Standing Committee.