January 23, 2014
The Alaska Fisheries Conservation Alliance will appeal the state’s decision to reject its proposed ballot initiative that would ban setnetters in Cook Inlet.
In November, AFCA submitted signatures asking for voters to consider banning setnetting in the urban, nonsubsistence, areas of the state — such as the Anchorage area, much of the Kenai Peninsula, Valdez and Juneau. That would eliminate Cook Inlet setnetters and not have an immediate affect on anyone else, although fishermen in other communities would lose the right to setnet if Alaska’s Board of Fisheries and Board of Game removed a region’s rural, subsistence, designation in the future.
Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell announced Jan. 6 that the proposed ban on setnetting did not meet the legal standards to appear on a ballot.
Treadwell used an Alaska Department of Law opinion that said the initiative was a prohibited appropriation of state assets in striking it down.
AFCA announced the decision to appeal Jan. 22 during a press conference in Anchorage, and maintained that the initiative is about conservation, not appropriation.
AFCA Executive Director Clark Penney said the appeal had been filed that morning in Alaska Superior Court. AFCA will seek expedited consideration so that a decision is made in the next few months, said Matt Singer, legal counsel for the group.