Washington D.C. – Cause of Action Institute today filed a notice of appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on behalf of several family-owned fishing companies based in New Jersey, who hope to block a new regulation that would force them to pay for third-party “at-sea monitors.” That regulation—which was designed by the New England Fishery Management Council and promulgated by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration—requires certain boats in the Atlantic herring fishery to carry “at-sea monitors” and at industry’s cost, all without congressional authorization.
Last month, Judge Emmet Sullivan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted the government’s motion for summary judgment, ruling federal regulators had statutory authorization to force fishermen to bear the cost of monitoring, regardless of the severe economic impacts and lack of scientific justification. Judge Sullivan also discounted procedural deficiencies in the government’s rulemaking, including its prejudgment of the legality of industry funding.
Jeff Kaelin, Director of Sustainability and Government Relations at Lund’s Fisheries, Inc., and representative for the New Jersey plaintiffs:
The district court reached an unfortunate decision, providing deference to the government, which is enforcing the industry-funded monitoring program without the statutory authority to do so. The commercial herring fleet has been over-regulated for years, but with little demonstrated biological benefit to the Atlantic herring resource itself. Industry-funded monitoring, along with reduced quotas and other burdensome regulations, is forcing some herring fishermen out of business and increasing costs to those who still hope to hang on. The district court’s decision is likely to perpetuate that trend. We are grateful for the work Cause of Action Institute has undertaken, and we look forward to pursuing our appeal at the D.C. Circuit. In the end, we hope the rule of law will prevail.
Ryan P. Mulvey, Counsel at Cause of Action Institute:
We aim to convince the D.C. Circuit that Judge Sullivan’s ruling is contrary to the law and facts. The federal government has overextended its regulatory power far beyond what Congress authorized. The Magnuson-Stevens Act simply does not give the government and fishery management councils a blank check to regulate according to their whim. The imposition of industry-funded at-sea monitoring is likely to weigh down an already beleaguered commercial fishing industry.
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