Ninth Circuit Holds That Native Alaskan Tribe has an Implied Right to Fish off the Tribe’s Reservation

November 2022

Western Water Law & Policy Reporter, Volume 27, Number 1

In Metlakatla Indian Community v. Dunleavy, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed the U.S. District Court of Alaska’s order dismissing the Metlakatla Indian Community’s (Community) suit against the State of Alaska for failure to state a claim. The Ninth Circuit panel found and 1891 federal law, and the U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretation of that law, provides the Community with the right to fish in certain off-reservation waters, therefore the Community was not subject to Alaska’s statutory “limited entry program” for regulating commercial fishing.

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