ANCHORAGE — A federal judge heard oral argument yesterday in the lawsuit regarding whether or not Cook Inlet should be in a federal salmon management plan.
Alaska has managed its own salmon since statehood, and neither party is questioning that. But the United Cook Inlet Drift Association and Cook Inlet Fishermen’s Fund, who brought the lawsuit forward in February 2013, want federal oversight of salmon management — and believes that is what congress has intended in its regulations of fish in federal waters.
The National Marine Fisheries Service, however, specifically excluded Cook Inlet salmon from the federal fishery management plan, or FMP, via Amendment 12.
In December 2011, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council unanimously voted to officially have Alaska Department of Fish and Game manage Cook Inlet, Prince William Sound and Alaska Peninsula salmon fisheries, and note that in the federal fishery management plan, or FMP.
The council manages most fisheries in federal waters, or from three to 200 miles from shore, largely under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.