Federal Appeals Coming Over Pending Closure Of Southeast Alaska King Salmon Trolling Fishery

The legal battles over the pending closure off the Southeast Alaska commercial king salmon trolling fishery. Now the feds are planning to appeal the ruling earlier this year that a Washington U.S. District Court judge upheld a Wild Fish Conservancy lawsuit challenge the commercial fishery and federal mismanagement caused a decline in Puget Sound wild salmon stocks.

Here’s more from the Alaska Beacon:

Jones, in a five-page order Friday, said he would not “stay,” or set aside, his earlier decision while the state’s underlying appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals plays out. In Friday’s order, Jones said the state’s arguments against his earlier ruling — arguments that stressed the financial impacts of a closure on fishermen and the region’s economy — are unlikely to win on appeal, which is a necessary finding for Jones to put the closure on hold.

The news comes just over a month before the July 1 scheduled start to the summer troll fishery.

Advocates for the trollers said Jones’ ruling was expected, and a necessary step before the stay request could also be brought to the Ninth Circuit. Matt Donohoe, board president of the Alaska Trollers Association, said the situation looks increasingly grim, as fishermen sink money into their preparations for the summer without knowing what the payoff will be. 

The state will file that request immediately, Doug Vincent-Lang, Alaska’s fish and game commissioner, said in a brief phone interview.