Gov. Sean Parnell today signed House Bill 365 into law.
The law gives the National Marine Fisheries Service access to confidential state records on the value of fish harvests.
Why is this important to the feds?
Because they want a way to verify the salmon industry promptly collects a landings tax to repay a big federal loan for retiring part of the Southeast Alaska seine fleet.
My understanding is the seiners could vote early next year on whether to shoulder a 40-year loan of up to $23.5 million. Fishermen and processors would pay it back with a 3 percent tax on the annual value of the catch.
Buyout organizers want to reduce the number of Southeast seine permit holders from the current 379 to as few as 260.
The aim is to create a more profitable fishery for those seiners remaining on the water.
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