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Thread: Commercial fisherman have no property rights with permits

  1. #1
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    Default Commercial fisherman have no property rights with permits

    Just thought some would like to know the State Superior Third District Court ruled that commercial fisherman do not have a property right with their limited entry permit and therefore there is no takings in allocation decisions. The case number is 3AN-05-12647 CI and titled Vanek vs. State of Alaska and the decision was signed on 1 December by Sen K Tan, Superior Court Judge.

    Just thought some of you might want to know about this. If the judge had ruled the other way then commercial fisherman may have required compensation for allocation of the resource. This is a major case and I am sure there will be appeals. For the present however the resources of this State are still held in common with no compensation required for allocation decisions.

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    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    so that means if there is another exxon valdez (heaven forbid) the permit holders have no rights to compensation? That sucks
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Hmmm...I haven't thought through the implications of this, but it seems tough to swallow that someone who pours hundreds of thousands of dollars into a permit would have no real financial claim to the resource. I'll have to give this one some more thought. I am suspect, though, that this came from Sen Tan - one who we shouldn't have retained in the last election.

    -Brian

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    Question Hmmmm....

    Would this decision make it any easier to bring other commercial users of the resource—fresh and salt water charter operators—under the contstraints of limited entry?

    Is there a lawyer in the house?


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    Default clarification

    This case has to do with compensation for commercial fisherman because the limited entry permit was claimed as property. It is the same issue if a city wants to take a piece of private property and use it for a public good. They need to compensate the owner for that property.

    Commercial users were claiming that limited entry permits were property and therefore the taking or reallocation of the resource to other public uses - in this case tourist and sport fisherman - meant that the State needed to compensate them for those reallocations. Not so says the judge.

    This does not impact Exxon type cases at all. In that situation the fisherman suffered a real loss and therefore it was not a takings but damage to their incomes.

    Hope this helps but one should read the decision to fully understand the issue.

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    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    This case has to do with compensation for commercial fisherman because the limited entry permit was claimed as property. It is the same issue if a city wants to take a piece of private property and use it for a public good. They need to compensate the owner for that property.

    Commercial users were claiming that limited entry permits were property and therefore the taking or reallocation of the resource to other public uses - in this case tourist and sport fisherman - meant that the State needed to compensate them for those reallocations. Not so says the judge.

    This does not impact Exxon type cases at all. In that situation the fisherman suffered a real loss and therefore it was not a takings but damage to their incomes.

    Hope this helps but one should read the decision to fully understand the issue.
    Thanks, that makes sense. Good ruling I'd say
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

  7. #7

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    I haven't read the decision, but my guess is that it went the way it did because limited entry permits are only considered a use privilege (i.e. "this gets you in the door"), and don't come with any attached "rights" to the resource.

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    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    wait so if the state want the permits back it can just not issue them for the year and the permit holder can't get any money back? Or is it just a desicion saying that if say the kenai river run is realocated to the dipnetters the gillnetters can't get any money.
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

  9. #9
    Mark
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    Quote Originally Posted by B_M View Post
    Hmmm...I haven't thought through the implications of this, but it seems tough to swallow that someone who pours hundreds of thousands of dollars into a permit would have no real financial claim to the resource. I'll have to give this one some more thought. I am suspect, though, that this came from Sen Tan - one who we shouldn't have retained in the last election......
    As one not sympathetic to commercial fishermen, I have to agree.

    Especially about the part regarding Judge Tan. The fact that he continues to be retained is testament to the ignorance of the electorate.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by ak_powder_monkey View Post
    wait so if the state want the permits back it can just not issue them for the year and the permit holder can't get any money back?
    My question to that would be... did the original permits costs the original holders any money?

    Right now, the State does not dictate the cost of a power troll permit, the market does. A few years ago they were going for $12,000, now they are $30,000. They are only worth what someone is willing to pay.

    If the State never assigned a monetary value to a limited entry permit, they should in no way be financially responsible when they need to retract those permits.

    Slightly different topic... In my opinion, IFQ holders should never have been allowed to sell their IFQs. If they were done fishing, they should have been required to return them to the Halibut Commision, and the IFQs would be redistributed to the next guy.

    Too many folks think that the ocean owes them something...

  11. #11

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    Good point BrianW. The answer to the first part is of course NO. No direct fee was aked for the permits. You of course folks did have to demonstrate that they were taking part in the fishery prior and thus contributing to the economy of our great state.

    It does seem odd to me that part of the statute that allows for limited entry permits to be issued says that one the purposes is to prevent economic distress to fishermen. Wouldn't taking the permit away without compensation create economic distress?

    As far as your other comments, don't get me started on IFQ's. I hate the entire system. It has it's positve points I agree, but stopped people like myself from being able to fish. I was too young to get IFQ's. Not my fault. Now I can buy them sure, but face it, if I could afford those prices I wouldn't need to go fishing. And a bunch of other stuff I could bore you with......

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