Legislature(1999 - 2000)

05/10/1999 03:15 PM Senate RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= 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                                                                  
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                                                                   
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.                                                               

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