I would encourage everyone that has an interest in dipnetting to read the following and contact your Juneau reps.
State SenatorCharlie Huggins
Senate District H
(JUNEAU, April 9, 2009) – Senator Charlie Huggins (R-Mat-Su) and Representative Bill Stoltze (R-Chugiak/Mat-Su) today announced that they are introducing companion resolutions requesting Governor Sarah Palin’s administration to join the federal government in opposing a lawsuit filed by a Cook Inlet commercial fishing group challenging salmon management in the inlet. Senate Joint Resolution 22, sponsored by Senator Huggins and co-sponsored by Senators Johnny Ellis (D-Anchorage), Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage) and Linda Menard (R-Wasilla), was introduced this morning. Representative Stoltze plans to introduce a companion resolution in the House of Representatives tomorrow.Huggins, Stoltze Introduce Resolution to Protect Alaska’s Personal Use Dip Net Fisheries
“With this resolution, we’re trying to get a fair shake for Alaskans who fish to feed their families and asking the governor to defend the state’s authority to manage our fisheries in a responsible manner,” said Senator Huggins. “If this lawsuit is successful, it could pre-empt state management and be detrimental to Alaskans’ access to our salmon resources.”
The lawsuit was filed last year by the United Cook Inlet Drift Association (UCIDA) against the U.S. Department of Commerce opposing the current management of salmon fisheries in Cook Inlet. UCIDA is an association of both resident and non-resident commercial fishermen who participate in drift gillnet salmon fisheries in the inlet. Senate Joint Resolution 22 would express the Senate’s objection to the association’s effort to have state-managed personal use dip net fisheries declared unconstitutional and therefore pre-empted by federal law.
“It is appalling that this Alaska resident-only salmon fishery is under assault by special interests, said Representative Stoltze. “Dipnetting is a great part of Alaska - a true family tradition.”
The resolutions request Governor Palin “to direct the attorney general to oppose this lawsuit”, and, “in cooperation with the legislature, to re-examine the inordinate and potentially unfair, unethical, and disproportionate influence of the commercial fisheries industries on fisheries management in Alaska.”
SJR 22has been referred to the Resources Committee and the Judiciary Committee. The House version will be referred to committees tomorrow.
For more information, contact Senator Huggins or Sharon Long at 907-465-3878, or Representative Stoltze or Ben Mulligan at 907-465-4958.