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NOAA Fisheries Update on Wild Fish Conservancy Remand

May 31, 2024

Statement regarding analysis we're completing on remand in WFC v. Quan

Salmon fishing troller in Southeast Alaska on a calm summer day. Salmon fishing troller in Southeast Alaska on a calm summer day. Credit: Adobe Stock/Michael Cornelius

NOAA Fisheries is working diligently to complete the analyses required by the District Court under remand in the Wild Fish Conservancy litigation. Specifically, we are finalizing:

  1. Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement on Expenditure of Funds to Increase Prey Availability for Southern Resident Killer Whales and an associated Endangered Species Act Biological Opinion, for a prey increase program that mitigates the impacts from the U.S. salmon fisheries managed under the 2019 Pacific Salmon Treaty. 
  2. An Environmental Impact Statement for the Issuance of an Incidental Take Statement Under the Endangered Species Act for Salmon Fisheries in Southeast Alaska Subject to the 2019 Pacific Salmon Treaty Agreement and Funding to the State of Alaska and an associated ESA Biological Opinion on federal actions related to the Southeast Alaska salmon fisheries. 

We expect to issue these analyses in the late summer or fall of 2024. If the final analyses support exempting take of threatened and endangered species, we will include an Incidental Take Statement to ensure that the Southeast Alaska salmon fisheries have a valid exemption from the ESA’s prohibition on take. 

In June 2023, the Ninth Circuit stayed the district court’s partial vacatur of the 2019 Southeast Alaska Biological Opinion Incidental Take Statement’s exemption for the commercial troll fishery in the summer and winter seasons, and the commercial troll fishery has proceeded under that stay, which currently remains in place. We anticipate that the Alaska Department of Fish & Game will open the summer troll fishery as scheduled, on or about July 1, 2024. We understand that the Ninth Circuit has scheduled a hearing on the appeal of the vacatur for July 18, 2024. If there are any new developments following the hearing, we will share that information as it becomes available.

Last updated by Alaska Regional Office on May 31, 2024