Advocacy Group Puts Setnet Restriction Measure on the Ballot

The Alaska Fisheries Conservation Alliance has handed over enough signatures to the state division of elections to get a voter initiative on the 2016 general election ballot.

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The Alaska Fisheries Conservation Alliance wants to stop all commercial setnetting in five areas deemed to be “urban” and non-subsistence under Alaska law.

According to the groups’ president, Joe Connors, who owns a sport fishing lodge on the Kenai River, the Alliance’s motive is to conserve dwindling salmon stocks.

The initiative asks state voters to decide on banning setnets in the five urban areas.

A state Superior Court decision last year favored the Alliance’s plan to put the question on the ballot, but the state has challenged that decision and asked the state Supreme Court to decide if the Alliance’s initiative is legal. Corie Mills, a spokesperson for the state department of law, says state attorneys are drafting an opinion on the constitutional legality of the initiative, and would not comment further on the issue.

The state Supreme Court will hear the case during August 26 and 27.