A group looking to introduce a ballot initiative that would ban commercial setnets in Alaska’s urban areas received approval to move forward Wednesday.
State Superior Court Judge Catherine Easter overturned the state’s decision to reject a ballot initiative that, if passed, would ban setnets in the state’s urban areas.
Clark Penney, executive director of the Alaska Fisheries Conservation Alliance, the group behind the initiative, praised the court’s decision in a statement. Penney said the group would be acting swiftly to begin gathering signatures to bring the ballot measure to the 2016 primary ballot.
While the law would apply to all urban areas of the state — including Fairbanks, Juneau and Valdez — the group’s main target is the Cook Inlet commercial setnet fleet. They argue that setnets are an antiquated model that catches too many king salmon while setnetters are targeting sockeye salmon bound for the Kenai River.
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