National Fisherman


According to a Supreme Court opinion, land that was supposed to be fly-in only was suddenly being advertised as ATV accessible. The Division of Parks tried to limit ATV access about a decade ago, but it became an access rights controversy. 
 
In 2002, the Division set up a system where they would give out permits to private land owners if they agreed to maintain the ATV trail at their own expense. A couple hundred permits were issued. That system was supposed to limit damage to the area. But Patrick Gilmore, an attorney who represents SOP Inc. –which stands for “save our parks,” says it didn’t quite work out that way.
 
“Last time I was out there, the beavers had gotten into one of the ruts and were damming the drainage to it and were trying to make pond out of this road. So they just kind of made a mess of the area.”
 
So, SOP Inc. decided to sue, arguing that by allowing ATVs on a stretch of park terrain, you’re basically handing over the rights to the land. The Supreme Court agreed with that argument in an opinion this summer. Neither Gilmore nor the Division of Parks think the Supreme Court ruling should have an impact on ATV use in other parks.
 
But there was one part of the decision that wasn’t exactly narrow. In a footnote toward the end of the opinion, the Court said that because the ATV usage was having “long-term and harmful” consequences on the environment and because no permits have ever been revoked despite the damage to land, the permits in the Nancy Lake situation fail a major judicial test — a test that could come up in some other important land management cases that go way beyond parks. Again, Gilmore.
 
“I think the state has a real concern that this is going to impact them in some of these other cases. The biggest one that I’m aware of involves Pebble Mine.”
 
The lawsuit he’s referring to was filed by Nunamta Aulukestai, a group of Bristol Bay Native groups. Nunamta Aulukestai believes the state permits issued to the Pebble Limited Partnership for exploratory work are unconstitutional because they have resulted in long-term and harmful consequences to the land and can’t be revoked at will. A party close to the Pebble lawsuit said they eyed the footnote with interest, because it could impact how the court may rule in their own case.
 
Read the full story at Alaska Public Media>>

Inside the Industry

The following was released by the Maine Department of Marine Resources on Jan. 22:

The Maine Department of Marine Resources announced an emergency regulation that will support the continued rebuilding effort in Maine’s scallop fishery. The rule, effective January 23, 2016, will close the Muscle Ridge Area near South Thomaston and the Western Penobscot Bay Area.

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Louisiana’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, which governs commercial and recreational fishing in the state, got a new boss in January. Charlie Melancon, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislator, was appointed to the job by the state’s new governor, John Bel Edwards.

Although much of his non-political work in the past has centered on the state’s sugar cane industry, Melancon said he is confident that other experience, including working closely with fishermen when in Congress, has prepared him well for this new challenge.

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