Thursday, November 29, 2012
Lovgren v. Locke
Nov 28: In the U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit, Case No. 11-1952. Appealed from the District of Massachusetts, Boston. This case involves legal challenges to recent Federal management actions taken in New England's sensitive Multispecies Groundfish Fishery. In brief summary the Appeals Court says, "We reject the many challenges and affirm entry of summary judgment for the federal defendants."
The Appeals Court explains further that under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act the New England Fishery Management Council (N.E. Council) regulates fishery resources within the Federal waters off New England's coast. It does so primarily through Fishery Management Plans (FMPs), which it reevaluates biennially in light of the latest scientific information and congressionally imposed mandates and deadlines to prevent overfishing. Those mandates and deadlines were recently altered by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act of 2006, which introduced a suite of stringent protections for depleted fisheries.
The litigation centers on the N.E. Council's adjustments to the FMP governing the Northeast Multispecies Groundfish Fishery (Fishery). The N.E. Council was required by law to implement changes to the Fishery's 2004 FMP by the 2010 fishing year, taking into account both the Reauthorization Act's new protections and the results of a study conducted in 2008 on the health of the Fishery's stocks of fish. The study results showed that the situation was worse than previously believed. A number of groundfish stocks were overfished and subject to overfishing; only two stocks had improved since the 2004 FMP's implementation. This trend has continued to the present.
The N.E. Council adopted a new proposed groundfish FMP, Amendment 16, after 3 years' work, which included several publications in the Federal Register, eight public hearings, and receipt of numerous comments. The Federal environmental impact
statement prepared for Amendment 16 acknowledged the severe economic hardships facing New England's fishing communities.
On January 21, 2010, Amendment 16 was upheld on administrative review by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) within the U.S. Department of Commerce. The NMFS promulgated Amendment 16 through three related sets of regulations that, inter alia, altered and expanded the Fishery's preexisting "sector allocation program" and established new restrictions on fishing activities to end and prevent overfishing. The regulations took effect on May 1, 2010.
Plaintiffs then filed suit in Federal court alleging that Amendment 16 conflicts with the Reauthorization Act's provisions governing "limited access privilege programs," with the ten "national standards" applicable to all FMPs and with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act. They unsuccessfully sought to enjoin implementation of Amendment 16. The district court granted summary judgment for defendants as to all claims. The Appeals Court affirmed.
Access the complete opinion (click here). [#Wildlife, #CA1]
Posted by WIMS at 2:11 PM