ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The state of Alaska is planning to appeal a recent Superior Court ruling that could permit a ballot initiative proposing a setnet fishing ban in urban areas, primarily Cook Inlet.
The state Attorney General's office plans to present its arguments before the state Supreme Court, the Alaska Journal of Commerce (http://is.gd/bzJCXK) reported. In setnet fishing, panels of nets are moved vertically through the water to catch fish.
The appeal follows a decision in July by Anchorage Superior Court Judge Catherine Easter, who overturned a rejection in January of the initiative by Alaska Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell. Easter ordered Treadwell to certify the initiative and allow proponents to continue the process of gathering signatures to get the question on the 2016 ballot.
The Alaska Fisheries Conservation Alliance filed the initiative petition last November to ask voters whether to ban setnets in some areas.
Treadwell's initiative rejection was based on a state Department of Law opinion asserting that such a ban would be a prohibited resource appropriation not allowed under the state constitution.
The state plans to appeal the decision once the final judgment is filed, state Department of Law spokeswoman Cori Mills said.
"Alaska's constitution requires sustainable and responsible allocation of our fisheries for the benefit of all Alaskans," Mills wrote in an email. "The Alaska Constitution also prohibits use of the initiative process for appropriations, including appropriations of our resources. We believe the superior court erred in finding that the proposed ban on set-netting does not amount to an appropriation and look forward to presenting our arguments before the Alaska Supreme Court."
Information from: (Anchorage) Alaska Journal of Commerce, http://www.alaskajournal.com