Sitka Tribe of Alaska files lawsuit to protect subsistence herring roe harvest

Photo courtesy: Sitka Tribe of Alaska Facebook Page

STA is looking for the protection and sustainability of herring for future herring subsistence and traditional gathering

News Release

Sitka Tribe of Alaska

Sitka Tribe of Alaska’s (STA), through its legal representatives Landye Bennett Blumstein LLP from Anchorage, Alaska, filed a lawsuit against the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) and Alaska Board of Fisheries (BOF) in the State of Alaska Superior Court in Sitka on Tuesday, December 11, 2018.

Sitka Tribe of Alaska requested injunctive relief against the defendants due to their failure to ensure a reasonable opportunity and priority for subsistence uses of Sitka Sound herring roe. Such failure violates Alaska law, regulations, and the Alaska constitution.

STA chair Kathy Hope Erickson stated, “The time is now to protect our subsistence way of life for our children and future generations. The time is now to ensure our people have the chance to fulfill their cultural responsibilities which have been interwoven with the herring since time immemorial, and to fill their freezers. We cannot sit by while the State of Alaska shirks its statutory and constitutional duties to citizens. We demand action by the State.”

STA has been raising concerns with the named defendants since the mid-1990s when the threshold of herring commercial harvest was negatively affecting the cultural and subsistence harvest and affecting the STA’s ability to meet its tribal citizen’s needs. STA is looking for the protection and sustainability of herring for future herring subsistence and traditional gathering.

STA requested Tribes, Alaska Native Corporations, and other defenders of the subsistence herring harvest in Southeast Alaska to assist with donations of financial support for the lawsuit. Sealaska, Inc. and the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (CCTHITA) quickly stepped forward and committed funding to support the legal efforts. Other contributors include Organized Village of Saxman, Alaska Native Brotherhood, Sitka Kaagwaantaan and individual contributors. Anyone else who would like to contribute funding to support their efforts can contact Lisa Gassman, STA General Manager.

For more information contact Lisa Gassman at lisa.gassman@sitkatribe-nsn.gov or (907) 747 - 7380.

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