AK Supreme Court rejects set net initiative

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The Alaska Supreme Court has rejected a proposed ballot initiative that sought to ban commercial shore gill nets and set nets in urban, non-subsistence areas.

The decision reverses a 2014 lower court ruling that ordered that the initiative be certified by the lieutenant governor, who had previously declined to certify it. The measure had been slated to appear on the 2016 ballot.

The high court, in a decision Thursday siding with the lieutenant governor’s office, said the proposed initiative would result in a give-away program of salmon stock from set netters to other fishers. The court says it also would significantly limit the freedom of the Legislature and Board of Fisheries to make allocation decisions.

The Alaska Fisheries Conservation Alliance, which was behind the proposal, expressed disappointment with Thursday’s decision.