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Recreational Fishing Alliance v. Evans

Citation: 32 ELR 20284
No. No. 99-2628 (RNR), 172 F. Supp. 2d 35/(D.D.C., 09/20/2001)

The court denies recreational fishers' challenge to the Secretary of Commerce's regulations implementing the final 1999 Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan. The fishers argued that regulations placing recreational retention limits on yellowfin tuna and on large coastal, small coastal, and pelagic sharks violated national standards set forth in the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The court first holds that the record demonstrates that the Secretary duly considered the fishers' arguments and comments and acted within his discretion when he promulgated the regulations. The court then rejects the fishers' argument that the yellowfin tuna retention limit violates the Magnuson-Stevens Act's international parity requirement because the limit will disadvantage U.S. fishers. The fishers did not show that the Secretary failed to evaluate the likely effects, if any, on participants in the affected fisheries, or failed to minimize any disadvantage to the fishers in relation to foreign competitors. The court also holds that the fishers failed to show how the yellowfin tuna retention limit violates the Regulatory Flexibility Act. In preparing a final regulatory flexibility analysis, the National Marine Fisheries Service has broad discretion in defining the "small business entities" for purposes of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

[Counsel not available at this printing.]

Roberts, J.