A Washington State agency on Tuesday denied that its decision to ban finfish aquaculture in state waters disrespects the sovereignty of The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, setting up a potentially explosive battle over Native American sovereignty.

The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, whose traditional territory is on the northern Olympic Peninsula of Washington State, approximately 70 miles northwest of the city of Seattle, sued the commissioner and the agency last December after the Washington state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and state Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz announced the ban.