Legislature(1999 - 2000)
05/10/1999 03:15 PM Senate RES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SB 171-FISHERY DATA; LAND REC'D BY STATE CHAIRMAN HALFORD called the Senate Resources Committee meeting to order at 3:15 p.m. and announced SB 171 to be up for consideration. MR. GERON BRUCE, ADFG, said there are four proposed amendments regarding who can receive confidential data as described in AS 16.058.815, which deals with two kinds of records: privileged and confidential. Some financial information from processors is restricted by statute, but is important in producing summary reports that are not confidential. These reports are very important for different agencies to use in analyzing fisheries policy issues, conducting sound management of our fisheries resource, and enforcing regulations. Specific amendments clarify the authority of ADF&G to release confidential data to the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission (CFEC) which summarizes the economic information, but does not reveal the confidential information. The second amendment clarifies that CFEC can release this confidential data to the entities listed in statute. The third amendment specifies that ADF&G may share the data with the Alaska Fisheries Information Network, an arm of the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, and has a contract with the ADF&G to assist in the management of the groundfish fisheries and the offshore fisheries. The fourth amendment authorizes CFEC and ADF&G to release confidential data to the National Marine Fisheries Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to use in enforcement of state and federal fisheries laws. Number 100 CHAIRMAN HALFORD asked if the level of confidentiality of the data changes when it goes to them and if it's possible to pass it on to anyone not authorized by Alaska Statute. MR. BRUCE said that was right. SENATOR MACKIE asked if this bill denies access to information like prices and the amount of cases that are being sold, etc. MR. BRUCE replied that does not change; unauthorized agents cannot get confidential data right now. They can get summary data. SB 171 continues to protect the individual record, called a pink slip, and information from individual processors. SENATOR MACKIE asked if they will continue to receive all the information they receive now. MR. BRUCE answered that is correct. MR. STEVE WHITE, Assistant Attorney General, said without the changes in Section 1, it would be hard to do prosecutions of fish violations on stocks that cross federal and state boundaries and certain fisheries inside state waters. They would have to go outside, file action and have a court hearing before they could introduce fish tickets against violators. SENATOR HALFORD asked what we would do if a federal agency transfers information to another agency that is not on the list. MR. WHITE answered ADF&G would have to make sure the data is authorized for the agency it is going to and that they have signed a confidentiality statement. SENATOR MACKIE asked what happens if they do it. MR. WHITE replied that there are confidential agreements with the agencies that receive it and if they violate it, they will be liable. CHAIRMAN HALFORD said he wanted to make sure it was enough of a violation that it isn't ever going to happen. He didn't want the information to be used against Alaskan fishermen in any federal enforcement idea that is contrary to the intent of the State. MR. WHITE said the whole purpose is very limited, purely for fisheries management. Number 200 CHAIRMAN HALFORD said the mesh in this net is intended to be small. MS. JANE ANGVIK, DNR, said they have a few concerns, but don't object to the bill. CHAIRMAN HALFORD asked if Sections 2 and 3 need to have examples. MS. ANGVIK said DNR has no objection to the bill. It has a process for reviewing potential conveyances to the State, but this would save them a lot of work. Number 227 SENATOR GREEN moved to pass SB 171 from committee with individual recommendations. There were no objections and it was so ordered.