ALASKA FILES TO DEFEND SALMON FISHERIES IN SOUTH-EAST
Alaska files to defend salmon fisheries in south-east. The State of Alaska has moved to intervene in a federal case that threatens state management of Alaska’s salmon fisheries. The Wild Fish Conservancy, a conservation organisation based in Washington state, claims that Alaska’s management of fisheries under the Pacific Salmon Treaty threatens the survival of several salmon stocks in Washington and Oregon, and the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales that depend on them.
The lawsuit seeks to shut down all salmon fisheries in the federal waters off the coast of Southeast Alaska. Federal waters run 3 to 200 miles offshore and comprise approximately 87 percent of the fishable area in Southeast Alaska. Authority to manage salmon fishing in the federal waters of Southeast Alaska was delegated to the State by the National Marine Fisheries Service consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
The fishing industry is clearly a critical aspect of Alaska’s economy. The Southeast Alaska salmon fishery has averaged $806 million in output, $484 million in gross domestic product, $299 million in labour income or wages, and 6,600 full time equivalent jobs.
Doug Vincent-Lang, Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, issued the following statement:
“Sustainable management of our fisheries was one of the primary drivers behind statehood. I don’t take unjustified accusations and threats to state management of our resources lightly. We abide by the terms of the Pacific Salmon Treaty and comply with the terms of the Biological Opinion that is tied to it. We have a responsibility to look out for our fisheries and the citizens of Alaska that rely on them.”