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The Commission's Licensing Section, numbering five full-time and three seasonal employees, issues fishing permits and vessel licenses required for commercial fishing in waters of Alaska. The section also reviews all requests for permanent and emergency transfer of entry permits. In recent years, about 32,000 permits and 17,500 vessel licenses have been issued annually, and about 1,800 transfer requests reviewed. However, 1993 was a year of changes for the Licensing Section. Early in the year, certain positions within the section were reclassified to shift more staff resources into the increasingly demanding area of permit transfers. Throughout the year, the Commission saw declines in the numbers of permits and vessel licenses being issued as compared to the previous year. And finally, in late summer the licensing staff began testing the new licensing system developed by the Data Processing Section, which runs on the Commission's local area network (LAN) instead of the State mainframe computer. The mailout of 1994 renewal forms was delayed from late October to late November, until the staff was confident that the new system was functioning well enough to handle the anticipated volume of renewals. All of these changes will be discussed in greater detail below.
During the past few years the number of permit transfers coming in during the peak season has increased dramatically. There has been a decrease in the number of permanent transfer requests received annually, offset by an increase in the number of emergency (temporary) transfer requests, which are generally submitted immediately before, or during, the fishing season. In fact,1993 was the first year in which requests for emergency transfers outnumbered permanent transfer requests. In addition, the transfer review process has become more complex and time-consuming due to several factors; for instance, a greater number of permits held by estates or by permit holders who are no longer able to fish, more problems relating to IRS and child support liens, stricter requirements for transfers involving minors, etc. . It became clear that the Licensing Section's one Transfer Officer could not possibly manage the transfer workload in a timely manner. The majority of transfer activity occurs during the months from April through July, and it is essential that processing time be minimized to prevent loss of fishing time.
During 1993, permanent transfer requests received decreased slightly, falling from the 1992 level of 1,005 to 947, of which 856 were approved and 47 were denied during the calendar year. (Some of the requests received were still pending completion at the end of the year.) Requests for emergency transfer on the other hand, increased from 855 in 1992 to 944 during 1993, of which 859 were eventually approved and 67 were initially denied. The total number of transfer requests received during 1993 was 1,891, compared to 1,860 in 1992.
In February 1993, the following personnel changes were made to increase the staff responsible for transfer activities:
All of the reclassified positions have some responsibility for various transfer-related functions. The remaining two CFPC II positions (one of which is seasonal) and the CFPC I are responsible for permit and vessel license issuance and renewal, but do not deal with permit transfers.
During the remainder of 1993, the change worked out very well, in spite of the fact that it takes considerable time and training to master and become competent at administering transfer requirements and procedures.
For 1993, the total number of paid permits decreased to 29,511, from 32,219 in 1992. The number of permanent limited entry permits renewed was fairly stable as these permits must be renewed each year. However, there were about 23% fewer interim-use permits issued for fisheries under limited entry, 869 in 1993 compared to 1,132 in 1992. In fisheries NOT under entry limitation, the drop in permit numbers was also significant, falling about 13.6%, from 18,137 in 1992 to 15,672 in 1993.
Nearly all fisheries evidenced declines in participation from the 1992 levels, ranging from a 12% drop in halibut permits, 20% in miscellaneous finfish, and 33.6% in herring, for example. A few of the smaller fisheries showed increased participation, for instance, sea cucumbers were up about 40%, scallops increased 60% and snails were up 71%.
Along with the drop in the number of permits issued, the number of fishermen obtaining permits was down by 1,074 or about 6%, from 17,635 in 1992 to 16,561 in 1993. The decline in numbers of fishermen was greater among Alaska residents, down 6.7%, compared to a 4.2% decrease in nonresidents. Revenues collected from licensing activities were also down from the 1992 level.
REVENUE SOURCE* FISCAL CALENDAR YEAR 93 YEAR 93 Permit Fees $5,082,120 $4,841,790 Vessel License Fees 337,374 307,254 Limited Entry Application Fees 260 260 Field Office User Fees 8,350 7,840 Fines/Arrearages 29,693 54,065 NSF Check Penalties 775 650 Miscellaneous Revenue 97,265 85,694 Refunds Paid (115,011) (113,233) TOTAL LICENSING REVENUE $5,440,826 $5,184,320
* This report indicates total revenue received during the specified time period from each source, regardless of the license year; it may include fees for permits and vessel licenses for 1992, 1993 and 1994.
Limited Entry Permits Not Renewed...............419 Limited Entry Permits Revoked or Lapsed (since 1975)....................................644 Limited Entry Permits Renewed................12,944 Interim Permits in Fisheries Under Limitation or Moratoria....................869 Interim Permits in Open-to-Entry Fisheries...15,672 Special Harvest Area (Hatchery) permits..........21 Educational Entry Permits.........................5 TOTAL PERMITS PAID FOR 1993.............29,511 VESSELS LICENSED FOR 1993...............16,276 TOTAL PERMITS AND VESSEL LICENSES..45,787 Alaska Resident Permit Holders...............12,579 Nonresident Permit Holders....................3,982 TOTAL PERMIT HOLDERS...............16,561
$441,450 was transferred to the Fishermen's Fund from permit fees for license year 1993.
During 1993, the Licensing Section provided licensing services in Dillingham for a brief period prior to the herring season and then for one week early in the Bristol Bay salmon season. In King Salmon, licensing activity was limited to about five weeks from early June to mid-July.
Permits Vessels TOTAL Field Office Issued Licensed LICENSES Dillingham 239 111 350 King Salmon 428 158 586 TOTAL 667 269 936
A $10 surcharge is levied for each license renewed at a field office instead of through the Juneau office. In order to encourage compliance with regulatory requirements, certain transactions are exempt from the surcharge (for instance, changing the vessel number on a permit card). "User fees" collected in field offices during 1993 totalled $7,840.
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