Resolution Opposing Lawsuits Against Personal Use Dip Net Fisheries Passes the Legislature
SJR 22 by Senator Huggins Seeks to Protect Fish for Alaska's Families
JUNEAU - A resolution from Senator Charlie Huggins, R-Wasilla, aimed at protecting Alaska's rights to manage its own fisheries in the Cook Inlet, cleared final passage in the legislature this morning. SJR 22 is a response to lawsuits filed in the U.S. District Court of Alaska, one by the United Cook Inlet Drift Association, and another by Herbert T. Jensen, asking that Alaska's resident-only personal use dipnetting fishery be declared unconstitutional and calling for a return to federal management of Alaska's salmon fisheries. Senator Huggins said if these lawsuits are successful, Alaskans' access to our salmon resources will be severely curtailed and families relying on the resource will be hurt.
"My goal is to protect a fair shake for Alaskans who fish to feed their families," Senator Huggins explained. "The resolution calls for the governor to intervene on behalf of Alaskans and defend against the call for federal preemption of the State's authority to manage our own fisheries in Cook Inlet."
SJR 22 received broad, bipartisan support in both legislative bodies. Senator Huggins credited Representatives Bill Stoltze, R-Chugiak, who sponsored a companion resolution in the House, and Mark Neuman, R-Big Lake, for their efforts in garnering support for the resolution.
"I appreciate the Alaska Legislature standing strong in support of our personal use fisheries, and in particular for these important red salmon personal use fisheries," said Rep. Stoltze.
SJR 22 now goes to Governor Sean Parnell; Alaska Attorney General, Daniel S. Sullivan; Alaska Department of Fish and Game Commissioner, Denby Lloyd; and Us. Secretary of Commerce Gary F. Locke.