A&A: Request for names of Squid Vessel Permit buyers denied

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”56260″ border_color=”grey” img_link_large=”” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][vc_column_text]Q: I am a commercial fisherman and a journalist. Pursuant to my rights under the California Public Record Act (Government Code Section 6250 et seq.), I am requesting a list of all Market Squid Vessel Permits bought and sold during the last five years. Included in the list, I specifically want the names of the buyers and seller, whether they be individuals or corporations.

Before sending this request I spoke with an environmental scientist for the Department of Fish and Game. She believed the names of the buyers and sellers of Market Squid Vessel Permits were confidential and exempt from the CPRA. Respectfully, I believe confidentiality of this kind is inconsistent with the Act.

A: Under the CPRA public records are presumed open, unless a specific exemption applies. Cal. Gov’t Code  § 6254 (k) exempts from disclosure “records, the disclosure of which is exempted or prohibited pursuant to federal or state law.” Cal. Gov’t Code § 6276, 6276.10 specifically lists commercial fishing reports under Section 8022, Fish and Game Code as exempt from disclosure.

And Fish and Game Code Section 8022(a) provides that “receipts, reports, or other records filed with the department pursuant to Article 2 (commencing with Section 7700) to Article 7.5 (commencing with Section 8040), inclusive, and the information contained therein,” shall be confidential.

Unfortunately, because these records are specifically exempted from disclosure, you do not have a right to access them under the CPRA.

Bryan Cave LLP is general counsel for the First Amendment Coalition and responds to FAC hotline inquiries.  In responding to these inquiries, we can give general information regarding open government and speech issues, but cannot provide specific legal advice or representation unless separately retained.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]