In January 2013, the United Cook Inlet Drift Association filed a lawsuit against the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Secretary of Commerce challenging the approval of a decision by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council to remove federal waters in Cook Inlet from the scope of the federal salmon fishery management plan. This case is pending before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, as case number 14-35928, and is under assessment by the mediation program for settlement potential.

There have been numerous misstatements made about this case, including statements by some Alaska legislators and in an op-ed piece by Karl Johnstone (recently removed as Board of Fisheries chairman) as to the intent of this case. We hope that this brief statement provides clarification on the nature of this litigation.

UCIDA does not want federal management of the Cook Inlet fishery. We want the council, in conjunction with the state and stakeholder groups, to write a Fisheries Management Plan for Cook Inlet that complies with the 10 National Standards in the Magnuson-Stevens Act, then delegate authority to the state to manage the fishery. This process is used in Southeast Alaska for salmon management and in other fisheries across the state, Bering Sea crab, for example. We are not asking for anything out of the ordinary, we are only asking that the state be held to the same management standards in Cook Inlet that it has to follow in other areas.

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