Alaska asking US Supreme Court to overturn decision giving Cook Inlet salmon management to feds

The state is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn an appeals court decision putting the federal government in charge of the salmon fishery in Cook Inlet rather than Alaska.

The case began in 2013 when two commercial fishing groups — the United Cook Inlet Drift Association and the Cook Inlet Fishermen's Fund — sued the National Marine Fisheries Service. They argued that the state had not adequately managed the fishery and that the federal government should exercise more control as designated in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

A U.S. District Court judge initially ruled in favor of state management. But in September, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the federal government — not the state — should exercise management of the Cook Inlet salmon fishery in federal waters.

[Appeals court rules feds can't leave Cook Inlet fisheries management to the state]

A prepared statement Monday from the Alaska attorney general's office said the state was asking the Supreme Court to accept its appeal.

The state noted that Alaska has managed the fishery since statehood. It said that if the appeals court decision stands, Alaska will no longer be able to manage the fisheries.

United Cook Inlet Drift Association said the state had failed to properly manage the fishery beginning in the 1990s. It said Alaska should only be allowed to manage the fishery base on sustainability standards in the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

Suzanna Caldwell

Suzanna Caldwell is a former reporter for Alaska Dispatch News and Alaska Dispatch. She left the ADN in 2017.