Enrolled SJR 22: Opposing litigation that seeks to eliminate the Kenai, Kasilof, and Chitina sockeye salmon personal use dip net fisheries.
00Enrolled SJR 22 01 Opposing litigation that seeks to eliminate the Kenai, Kasilof, and Chitina sockeye salmon 02 personal use dip net fisheries. 03 _______________ 04 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 05 WHEREAS the United Cook Inlet Drift Association is a group of nonresident and 06 resident commercial gill net fishermen in Cook Inlet; and 07 WHEREAS the United Cook Inlet Drift Association has filed a lawsuit against the 08 United States Secretary of Commerce requesting that the United States Department of 09 Commerce preempt state management of its salmon stocks in Cook Inlet; and 10 WHEREAS the United Cook Inlet Drift Association has filed a lawsuit against the 11 United States Secretary of Commerce claiming, among other things, that the association's 12 nonresident members are discriminated against because they cannot participate in the 13 resident-only dip net fishery, thus requesting the court to declare that the state-authorized 14 resident-only salmon fisheries are unconstitutional and therefore preempted by federal law; 15 and 16 WHEREAS Herbert T. Jensen has filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court 17 for the District of Alaska based on claims similar to those stated by the United Cook Inlet 18 Drift Association; and
01 WHEREAS all five species of Pacific salmon are an integral part of Alaska's history, 02 heritage, and cultural identity, helping to meet both its economic and nutritional needs; and 03 WHEREAS the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act 04 explicitly excludes state waters from the jurisdiction of the Act; and 05 WHEREAS the exclusive economic zone is closed to commercial fishing under the 06 Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act unless specifically authorized 07 by the state; and 08 WHEREAS the Alaska Board of Fisheries has devoted an inordinate amount of time 09 to the extremely complex salmon management program in the Cook Inlet region in an attempt 10 to balance the interests of all stakeholders; and 11 WHEREAS the potential results of those lawsuits, if the plaintiffs are successful, 12 would not only preempt state fisheries management but could result in a larger number of 13 nonresident dip net fishermen being allowed to fish, causing an even smaller allocation to the 14 commercial fisheries, thus conceivably further adversely affecting the members of the United 15 Cook Inlet Drift Association; and 16 WHEREAS the establishment of federal and state recognized commercial fisheries 17 limited entry programs has drastically limited the ability of residents to use efficient 18 commercial gear for taking subsistence and personal use salmon resources, which has resulted 19 in the establishment of less efficient methods, such as the dip net fisheries, for taking salmon 20 to meet Alaska's nutritional needs; and 21 WHEREAS members of the United Cook Inlet Drift Association are able to use their 22 exclusive limited entry permits to use efficient gear that is not available to the average 23 Alaskan for the purpose of taking salmon for personal use; and 24 WHEREAS members of the United Cook Inlet Drift Association, including all 25 nonresidents, are allowed an unlimited bag limit, an unlimited possession limit, and an 26 unlimited annual limit under state law for salmon retained for personal use if taken during the 27 commercial fisheries, which is a luxury not afforded to Alaskans who do not possess a state 28 limited entry permit; and 29 WHEREAS both the federal government and the state recognize in law and place a 30 high priority on the importance of taking of wild resources for food; and 31 WHEREAS the State of Alaska restricts dip net salmon fisheries to Alaska residents;
01 and 02 WHEREAS, in 1984, a resident-only dip net fishery for Copper River red salmon 03 stocks was established in Chitina; and 04 WHEREAS, in 2006, 2007, and 2008, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game 05 issued over 8,000 permits allowing Alaskans to dip net for salmon in Chitina; and 06 WHEREAS, in 1981, a dip net fishery for red salmon stocks was established at the 07 mouth of the Kenai and Kasilof Rivers; and 08 WHEREAS, in 2006, 2007, and 2008, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game 09 issued between 18,500 and 23,700 permits allowing Alaskans to dip net for salmon in the 10 Kenai and Kasilof Rivers; and 11 WHEREAS the Alaska Department of Fish and Game calculates that those dip net 12 fisheries provide an average of 14 fish for each household for those households that 13 participated in the Kenai and Kasilof Rivers dip net fisheries in 2006, 2007, and 2008; and 14 WHEREAS there appears to be a growing groundswell of support within the 15 commercial fishing industries represented at the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council 16 and state Board of Fisheries levels for a more dominant role in the regulatory process; and 17 WHEREAS the Constitution of the State of Alaska dictates that "The legislature shall 18 provide for the utilization, development, and conservation of all natural resources belonging 19 to the State, including land and waters, for the maximum benefit of its people," which clearly 20 means that the state's common property resources must benefit all Alaskans and not just a few 21 commercial fishermen; 22 BE IT RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature hereby requests that the United 23 Cook Inlet Drift Association and Herbert T. Jensen each drop their lawsuits advocating 24 federal preemption of Alaska's salmon management in state waters in Cook Inlet and 25 opposing the personal use of salmon by Alaska residents; and be it 26 FURTHER RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature also requests Governor 27 Sean Parnell to direct the attorney general to oppose those lawsuits. 28 COPIES of this resolution shall be sent to the Honorable Gary F. Locke, United 29 States Secretary of Commerce; the Honorable Sean Parnell, Governor of Alaska; the 30 Honorable Daniel S. Sullivan, Alaska Attorney General; and the Honorable Denby Lloyd, 31 Commissioner, Department of Fish and Game.