A Seattle Federal court judge issued on May 2, 2023 it court decision (Report & Recommendations) that all the trollers have been waiting for and dreading. The court document vacates (definition: to make legally void/i.e close) the summer and winter troll fishery in Alaska. What this means exactly is still slightly unknown and we will update as we find out more.
The lawsuit basically claims the Southeast Salmon fisheries particularly the troll fishery and the associated prey increase (hatchery) program violates the Endangered Species Act. The court has denied the claims about the prey increase program but did find that the NMFS 2019 Biological Opinion (Bi-op) and associated Incidental Take Statement (ITS) was deficient.
We don’t know what is going to happen for this summer’s season, while the court vacated the summer troll fishery the State of Alaska Dept of Law has filed an appeal in the 9th circuit court of appeal and well as asking for a stay of the judgement for this summer and NMFS working with ADFG has been and is working to try and fix the deficiencies in the Bi-op and get a new ITS issued in time for a summer fishery.