Lt. Governor Certifies Set Net Ban Initiative for Ballot
More than 43,000 voters signed petitions
Alaska Fisheries Conservation Alliance— Alaska Lt. Governor Byron Mallot’s office has informed the president of the Alaska Fisheries Conservation Alliance that the initiative to ban commercial set nets in Alaska’s urban, non-subsistence areas has been certified for the ballot. AFCA president Joe Connors received the official letter on Tuesday. The initiative is headed to the August 2016 primary ballot unless the Alaska Legislature adopts the measure during its next session.
The Alaska Fisheries Conservation Alliance (AFCA) collected the signatures of more than 43,000 registered voters from around the state, well above the minimum required to put the issue on the ballot. The Division of Elections verified nearly 36,000 valid signatures and the Lt. Governor has certified that the initiative should be placed on the ballot.
“This is a key milestone in our efforts to protect urban fisheries,” said Clark Penney, AFCA executive director. “More than 43,000 Alaskans have spoken: It’s time we put an end to this harmful means of fishing in non-subsistence areas of Alaska.”
Texas, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, New York and California have banned set nets, and Washington and Oregon have severely restricted commercial set nets due to their detrimental effects on fish stocks. The proposed law would not affect the use of set nets in rural, subsistence areas of Alaska. The ban would only apply to urban, non-subsistence areas of the state: Anchorage, Fairbanks, the Mat-Su Valley, Cook Inlet, Valdez, Juneau and Ketchikan.
“Set nets are the most wasteful form of fishing allowed in Alaska waters. They cannot discriminate between targeted and non-targeted species, and they are 150 times more likely to catch kings during sockeye fishing than drift gillnets are,” said Joe Connors, AFCA president. “AFCA is very supportive of commercial fishing, but it is time for this one gear type to go.”