The 26th Alaska State Legislature, 2009 - 2010||
Sponsor Statement: House Bill 365
Fish Processor Fees, Licenses, Records
“Relating to sharing records regarding fish purchased by fish processors with certain federal agencies, to requirements to obtain and maintain a fisheries business license, and to payment of industry fees required of fish processors; and providing for an effective date.”
Posted: February 3, 2010 : v26-LS1413\A
Status: Chapter 74 SLA 10 : 2010-06-11
HB 365 will enable fisheries that have elected to pursue a capacity reduction (permit buyback) program to have the legal mechanism in place to ensure proper accounting of the transactions involved. The steps taken by this bill are procedural in nature.
Policy regarding capacity reduction through self- imposed fee collections have already been made in both state and federal statute. While allowing the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Marine Fishery Service (NMFS) access to fish ticket data held by the state to monitor loan repayments, this bill puts the final pieces together so that fishermen can decide on their participation based on a complete program.
Fleet capacity reduction programs are mechanisms that allow for stabilization of effort within a fishery. They are intended to ensure the long-term economic sustainability of the fishery by addressing the problem of over-capitalization. Based on the pilot program, 80% of permits bought back were non-resident. Alaska's legal framework for these programs ensures that they are:
FISHERY SPECIFIC - by requiring an affirmative vote of the registered and licensed permit-holding fishermen in the fishery in question. This process is spelled out in AS 43.76.230-270, statutes that were generated by the Joint Legislative Salmon Industry Task Force in 2002. The concept behind that legislation was that each fishery in Alaska has its own specific set of economic factors, and therefore the participants should have the right of group self-determination in legally meeting the challenges of their fishery. This legislation will not affect any fishery that does not meet the previously established guidelines for capacity reduction.
SELF-FUNDED - In the case of the Southeast Alaska Purse Seine fishery, for example, the fishermen will have to agree to a self-assessment of 3% on each sale of fish they catch to cover the costs of the program.
VOLUNTARY - only fishermen who choose to sell their permits may do so. There is no effort to force any fishermen out of the fishery.
HB 365 does not affect any of the previously enacted pieces of the program. It simply enables the federal NMFS and the state Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission (CFEC) to share required information from the fish tickets (receipts for fish delivery transactions) in order to monitor loan repayments. It also requires processors to remit the fees to NMFS, using the same method as is already in practice for remission of the Alaska Salmon Enhancement Tax.
This legislation takes care of the final procedural hurdles to enable permit capacity reduction programs to go forward in any fishery that chooses to pursue that option and passes the other strict statutory requirements.
House Bill 365 is supported by the Southeast Seiners' Association, the United Fishermen of Alaska, and the Alaska Commercial Fishery Entry Commission.