Thursday May 2, 2024

National Fisherman

Stepping into the role of overseeing salmon harvest in federal waters of the Alaska Cook Inlet, a responsibility previously held by the state, is the federal service, NOAA Fisheries. This transition, which has been in the making for decades, will see commercial and recreational salmon fishing within the inlet waters, located more than 3 miles offshore and designated as the federal exclusive economic zone (EEZ), resume this summer. The new management system will be officially in effect on May 30, 2024, under the watchful eye of NOAA Fisheries.

Up until this year, the state of Alaska managed salmon fisheries in state and federal inlet waters. Still, federal courts ordered the switch in management due to legal disputes over the past decade. In 2013, the United Cook Inlet Drift Association (UCIDA), an industry group of salmon drift netters, sued the federal government for failing to develop a salmon harvest management plan for the inlet federal waters. The National Marine Fisheries Services (NMFS) had delayed putting in a salmon plan. They put it on the plate of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) due to the state-managed resource throughout the entirety of the state and federal waters within the inlet.

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