2017-18 Legislative Session
The Alaska Board of Fisheries has requested that the Legislature review the permitting process for activities affecting streams determined to be fish habitat. These activities are projects that use, divert, obstruct, or change the natural flow of a body of water. Right now, permits are typically granted within four days, and can be issued unless the activity fails to provide sufficient, proper protection for fish and game. This means that residents may be unaware when permits are granted in their area and are unable to comment before a permit is granted.
The request for the Legislature is to update standards for proper protection of fish and game, public notice requirements, and the public comment process. Representative Louise Stutes proposed these changes via House Bill 199 on March 27, 2017.
Proposed Fisheries Bills:
|HB 14||Requiring specific findings before Legislative approval of large scale Bristol Bay sulfide mines||Rep. Josephson||(H)RES|
|HB 17||Establishing a Fish & Game Conservation Program and Fund||Rep. Josephson||(H)RES|
|HB 29||Banning the sale of genetically modified fish||Rep. Tarr||(H)FSH|
|HB 32||Requiring the labeling of genetically modified food||Rep. Tarr||(H)RES|
|HB 46||Increasing state and local procurement preference for locally harvested agricultural and fisheries products and allowing for sale of non-pasteurized milk products||Rep. Tarr||(H)FIN|
|HB 56||Increasing the total balance of borrower limitation on certain commercial fishing loans from $300k to $400k||Rep. Ortiz
|HB 60||Raising motor fuel taxes; watercraft tax for users from $0.10 to $0.15 per gallon; establish transportation maintenance fund, and moving the watercraft fuel tax account here to be used for water and harbor infrastructure (added) and facilities||(H)Rules by request of the Governor||(H)FIN|
|HB 63||Transferring the duties of the fisheries revolving loan funds, processing license bonds, and others from the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development to Department of Revenue||Rep. Pruitt||(H)STA|
|HB 87||Members of the Boards of Fish and Game allowed to deliberate on issues, regardless of personal or financial conflict of interest, but may be prohibited from voting.||Rep. Stutes||(S)STA|
|HB 88||Adding two members to the Board of Fish||Rep. Stutes||(H)FSH|
|HB 107||Fish Enhancement Permits||Rep. Talerico||(H)RES|
|SB 60||Prohibits receiving sport fishing license if privileges suspended or revoked in AK or another state; allows some offenses to be reduced to violations; standardizes penalties; allows for displaying license in electronic format||(S) Rules by request of the Governor
(H)Rules by request of the Governor
|HB 130||Adding, establishing, revising Critical Habitat Areas and Wildlife Refuges||(H)Rules by request of the Governor||(S)RES|
|HB 149||Adding a section to Board of Fish regulations stating reviews are on a five-year cycle; affecting Board of Game||Rep. Chenault||(H)FSH|
|HB 177||Aquatic invasive species response & control; fund; marine highway||Rep. Tarr||(H)FIN|
|HB 188||Commercial fishery entry permits; loans; trusts||Rep. Kreiss-Tomkins||(H)FSH|
|HB 199||Updating Title 16 Fish/Wildlife habitat protection in permitting process||Rep. Stutes||(H)FSH|
|HB 260||An Act relating to electronic possession of certain licenses, tags, and identification cards issued by the Department of Fish and Game; and providing for an effective date.||Rep. Saddler||(H)FSH|
|HB 267||An Act requiring the release of certain records relating to big game hunters, guided hunts, and guided sport fishing activities to municipalities for verification of taxes payable; and providing for an effective date.||Rep. Edgmon||(H)FIN|
|HJR 9||Urging continued work with Canada to investigate “long-term, region-wide downstream effects” of mining and develop measures to protect SE AK from BC upstream development||Rep. Ortiz||WITHDRAWN|
|SJR 3||Urging Congress to mitigate any harm done to the State’s seafood industry due to withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement||Sen. Wielechowski||(S)STA|
SB = Senate Bill
HB = House Bill
SJR = Senate Joint Resolution
HJR = House Joint Resolution
Sponsor = Legislator who proposed the bill
Status = Committee the bill would be heard in next
(H) = House committee
(S) = Senate committee
FIN = Finance
FSH = Fisheries Committee
RES = Resources Committee
STA = State Affairs Committee
RLS = Rules (waiting to be voted on by the full body)
2016 Bills to Watch
HB 41 – PASSED “An Act relating to sport fishing services, sport fishing operators, and sport fishing guides; and providing for an effective date.”
HB 110 – “An Act providing priority to personal use fisheries when fishing restrictions are implemented to achieve a management goal.”
HB 137 – PASSED “An Act raising certain fees related to sport fishing, hunting, and trapping; relating to the fish and game fund; providing for the repeal of the sport fishing surcharge and sport fishing facility revenue bonds; replacing the permanent sport fishing, hunting, or trapping identification card for certain residents with an identification card valid for three years; relating to hunting and fishing by proxy; relating to fish and game conservation decals; raising the age of eligibility for a sport fishing, hunting, or trapping license exemption for state residents; raising the age at which a state resident is required to obtain a license for sport fishing, hunting, or trapping; and providing for an effective date.”
SB 42 – “An Act providing priority to personal use fisheries when fishing restrictions are implemented to achieve a management goal.”
2016 Full Update
HB 41 – This bill reinstated the Sport fishing guide licensing program, which expired at the end of 2014. The failure to renew the program was an oversight, and ADF&G has been implementing it until the legislation was renewed. The bill was revised to only reinstate the saltwater guide licensing, meaning that freshwater licensing will need to be addressed next year.
- Issue to watch: hunting guides are asking that their “incidental catch” be exempt from a sports fishing license requirement.
HB 110 – This bill was never heard by any committee.
HB 137: The resident sport fishing license was raised from $15 to $20. The notable changes for sports fishing guides are the increases in non-resident sport fishing licenses and king salmon tags (same final costs):
- 14 day: $75
- 7 day: $45
- 3 day: $30
- 1 day: $15
- Annual King Salmon Tag: $100
SB 42: This bill passed the Senate Committees, but did not make it over to the House before the 2016 session ended.
Every session bills are filed that will either help or harm conservation and the sportfishing industry. As the voice of Southeast Alaska charter fishing, SEAGO is active in the legislative process and works with stakeholders and elected officials to make sure that the industry is represented in meetings, hearings and legislative decisions. But we can’t do it alone.
It is important for charter and lodge owners, our clients, our supporters and the communities our fishing dollars support to be aware of the actions being proposed in Juneau and to TAKE ACTION when necessary. Check back here to follow the happenings in Juneau and for opportunities to get involved by writing letters or testifying.