January 7, 2014
JUNEAU — Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell on Monday rejected a proposed initiative that sought to ban commercial shore gill nets and set nets in non-subsistence areas.
Supporters of the proposal billed it as a conservation effort and were seeking to move to the signature-gathering process to qualify the proposal for the ballot. Critics, like the Kenai Peninsula Fishermen’s Association, called the proposal a fish grab by opposing interests.
A news release from the Alaska Fisheries Conservation Alliance, which offered the proposal, said the group was reviewing a possible appeal.
The alliance’s executive director, Clark Penney, called the rejection “puzzling.” He said in the release that he struggled to see “the logic or the legality” of the decision.
The alliance said the proposal is aimed at protecting fish in non-subsistence areas that are threatened by things such as overfishing or by-catch. But the state Department of Law in its review said the proposal is sponsored by individuals, who, besides having an interest in salmon conservation, support sport and personal use fishing on the Kenai River.