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The Entry Commission's licensing section issues the permits and vessel licenses which are required annually for all fishermen and vessels participating in Alaska's commercial fisheries. Requests to transfer permits, either permanently or temporarily due to an emergency, are reviewed and processed by transfer staff within the licensing section. The volume of license and transfer applications received tends to be very seasonal, peaking during the spring and early summer as most fishing seasons get underway. Three of the eight permanent positions within the licensing section are seasonal positions, and the staff is supplemented by two temporary positions during the months of peak activity. Most permits and vessel licenses are issued by mail through the Juneau office. However, staff from the licensing section occasionally provide on-site licensing assistance at ADF&G offices, primarily in Bristol Bay.
During recent years, the Commission has seen a decline in the number of permits being issued and an increase in the number of transfer requests being received annually. Both of these trends continued during 1994. The decrease in permit numbers is occurring primarily in the fisheries which are not under entry limitation. Although the Commission has not undertaken a study of the reasons for the decline, it is likely due in part to declining fish prices, seasonal closures of some fisheries (such as Prince William Sound herring and Bristol Bay king crab) for conservation reasons, and the implementation of the federal IFQ program.
1991 1992 1993 1994 Permits 32,524 32,219 29,511 28,633 Vessels 17,580 17,194 16,276 16,259 TOTAL 50,104 49,413 45,787 44,892 Fishermen 17,944 17,635 16,561 16,408
The number of requests for emergency transfers of permits has been increasing each year for quite some time, and this increase has been accompanied by a decrease in the number of requests for permanent transfer. The accompanying graph clearly shows this trend.
During 1994, a change in the emergency transfer regulations took effect which allows the Commission to grant a transfer for a second season if the basis for an initial transfer continues into a second year. In subsequent seasons, an emergency transfer may be approved only if there is a new unavoidable hardship, or if there are "extraordinary circumstances" relating to the basis of the previous transfers. Several changes to the licensing computer system were implemented during 1994 which will allow closer monitoring of emergency transfer data and trends in future years.
The transfer staff reviewed 974 requests for emergency transfer during 1994, of which 901 were initially approved and 73 were denied. 41 of those whose transfer requests were denied requested administrative hearings. After the administrative review process, 12 remained denied and 29 transfers were granted. This brings the total number of emergency transfers granted during 1994 to 930, with denials totalling 44. Permanent transfer requests reviewed during 1994 totalled 962, of which 905 were approved and 57 denied. Administrative hearings were requested by three of the denied applicants and their transfers were subsequently granted. A total of 1,936 requests for permanent or emergency transfers were reviewed by the transfer staff during 1994 (an increase of approximately 100 over the 1993 level).
Limited Entry Permits NOT Renewed...............516 Limited Entry Permits with Fees Waived*.........115 Limited Entry Permits Revoked or Lapsed (since 1975)....................................658 Limited Entry Permits Renewed................12,775 Interim Permits in Fisheries Under Limitation or Moratoria....................851 Interim Permits in Open-to-Entry Fisheries...14,991 Special Harvest Area (Hatchery) permits..........22 Educational Entry Permits.........................1 TOTAL PERMITS PAID FOR 1993.............28,633 VESSELS LICENSED FOR 1993...............16,259 TOTAL PERMITS AND VESSEL LICENSES..44,892 Alaska Resident Permit Holders...............12,579 Nonresident Permit Holders....................3,829 TOTAL PERMIT HOLDERS...............16,408
* Fees for limited entry permits may be waived in the event of season-long closures such as occurred in the PWS herring fisheries during 1994.
Total revenue from licensing activities in FY94 equaled $5,659,179. From that amount, $433,188 was transferred to the Fishermen's Fund program administered by the Department of Labor, pursuant to AS 23.35.060.
During 1994, the Commission experimented with a slightly different schedule for providing licensing service in the Bristol Bay area. Rather than trying to schedule the office to be open right before the herring season (which can be very unpredictable) we sent staff out from March 2-10 to be available in Dillingham during Beaver Round-up, then Bethel, then Toksook Bay during the Association of Village Council Presidents' convention. We had been advised that travel would be easier at that time and that a lot of people from outlying villages would be in town for these events and while there they might visit the office to take care of their licensing needs. While in Bethel, the Commission staff were guests on "Yuk to Yuk," a radio call-in show with questions and answers translated into Yu'pik. During the Bristol Bay salmon season, the CFEC office in Dillingham was open from June 6-10, and the King Salmon office was open June 10 - July 18. The following table shows the number of licenses issued at field offices during 1994.
In addition to issuing licenses, staff assisted with approximately 145 requests for emergency transfer of fishing permits. "User fees" collected from field office activities during 1994 totalled $7,390.
Permits Vessels Field Office Issued Licensed TOTAL Dillingham 119 46 165 King Salmon 488 163 651 TOTAL 607 209 816
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