Judge orders fishing group to pay part of lawsuit costs

A judge ruled June 25 that a commercial fishing group should pay part of the state of Alaska’s legal costs for the lawsuit regarding management of the Cook Inlet salmon fisheries in 2013.

Alaska Superior Court Judge Andrew Guidi issued an order asking Cook Inlet Fisherman’s Fund to pay the state Department of Law $12,924. That amount was 20 percent of what the state spent defending itself in the fisheries management lawsuit, according to a Department of Law memo filed with the court June 18.

The Cook Inlet Fishermen’s Fund, or CIFF, sued the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in July 2013, asserting that fisheries managers did not follow Cook Inlet salmon management plans appropriately that year and caused harm to commercial fishermen. Guidi denied a preliminary injunction that summer.

After hearing oral argument May 29, Guidi granted the state’s motion for summary judgment June 2. He wrote in his final decision that there was no evidence that ADFG had “exceeded its authority in executing the emergency plan promulgated by the Alaska Board of Fisheries. Specifically, the Fund has failed to articulate any concrete way in which the Department overstepped its management authority other than the claim — already rejected on motion for preliminary injunction — that the Fund’s fishermen were entitled to 51 hours of extra fishing time by law.”

CIFF has appealed the suit to the Alaska Supreme Court. Now, the record in the case must be prepared and a transcript of the proceedings provided to the court before CIFF can file its opening brief in the appeal.

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