State Plans To Appeal Federal Judge’s Ruling On Southeast Trolling Fleet Lawsuit

As SalmonState stated yesterday, the Southeast Alaska king salmon trolling fleet has the support of several instate organizations over the pending Wild Fish Conservancy litigation challenging the fleet’s harvest impacting both Puget Sound fish and resident Southern orcas. But the State of Alaska plans to appeal yesterday’s ruling by a Seattle-based judge to uphold the original legal challenges.

Here’s more from KINY radio:

The Wild Fish Conservancy sued the National Marine Fisheries Service alleging several violations of the Endangered Species Act and National Environmental Policy Act. The plaintiff’s primary claim is that Southeast Alaska fisheries and the associated prey increase (hatchery) programs threaten both wild salmon and the listed Southern Resident Killer Whales that depend on this salmon for food off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and Canada.

“Vacating the ITS and effectively closing the fishery is a radical step. We’ll continue to pursue every available avenue in defense of Alaska’s fisheries,” said Alaska Attorney General Treg Taylor. “We understand the critical importance of this fishery to the affected fishermen and communities across Southeast. We will be filling a request to stay the order pending appeal and immediately notifying the Ninth Circuit that an appeal is forthcoming.”

“We have a responsibility to look out for our fisheries and the Southeast coastal communities and families that rely on them,” Alaska Fish and Game Commissioner Doug Vincent-Lang said. “The State of Alaska abides by the terms of the Pacific Salmon Treaty and the Biological Opinion that is tied to it, and it is troubling that this ruling singles out our fisheries.”