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Alaska District Court to Hear Lawsuit this Week, Decision Could Impact How Endangered Species Act is Applied Nationally


December 20, 2011
Tuesday AM

(SitNews) Anchorage, Alaska - The courtroom of Alaska U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Burgess is expected to be full this coming Wednesday as the State of Alaska and some of Alaska’s largest seafood companies face off against Federal attorneys over an Agency decision that has entirely closed an area in the Aleutian Islands that is half the size of Texas, and placing further restrictions on an area twice that size.

The plaintiffs - in this case the State of Alaska and the industry coalition - argue that there is “... factual and significant support for the faults found and the reckless manner in which National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Protected Resources division proceeded to rush forward a predetermined outcome based solely on political beliefs rather than scientific facts. Without proper leadership capable of exercising direction and authority over low level politically motivated researchers within NMFS, NMFS leadership has allowed the problem to explode,  with devastating effects on crewmembers, captains, owners, operators and other participants in the fisheries, as well as the communities, suppliers, dealers, and other businesses that depend on the fisheries—all to no demonstrable benefit, contrary to the administrative record, contrary to applicable law, science, and reason, and without allowing for meaningful public comment.”

Economic analysis prepared by National Marine Fisheries Service itself estimates that the fleet will lose $40 million to $60 million annually, and more than 700 jobs.  NMFS own analysis states that the the majority of indicators showed no linkage between fisheries and Steller sea lion declines.

Adak, at the far end of the Aleutian chain, is particularly at risk with its dependence on fuel sales to the fishing fleet.

The state and industry coalition argue the federal action violates the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation Act (MSA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA).



Source of News: 

Cascade Fishing
Waterfront Associates
Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association


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