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Peele v. Morton

Citation: 5 ELR 20593
No. No. 75-0002-CIV-2, 396 F. Supp. 584/(E.D.N.C., 06/05/1975)

Interior Department regulations imposing summer-season weekend restrictions on commercial fishing at portions of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore are remanded to the agency for further proceedings concerning, inter alia, the impact of the regulation on the cultural heritage of affected fishermen. But, the court rejects the contention of plaintiff fishermen that the act creating the National Seashore, which provides that certain residents of the area "shall have the right to earn a livelihood by fishing" within its boundaries, amounts to a congressional guarantee that plaintiffs will always have the unimpeded right to fish in the manner of their forefathers. Nor is there merit to defendant's argument that the 1958 statute confers on plaintiffs a privilege rather than a right that may be exercised if it does not interfere with the primary and secondary purposes of the Seashore, preservation of its unique environment and public recreation. While regulations limiting commercial fishing are not inappropriate, the agency's decision to adopt them must include consideration of the impact of the regulation on the villagers' way of life as a cultural resource, and must also be based on an assessment of the cumulative impact of all National Park Service regulations, including this one, on the livelihood of the affected fishermen.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Leonard G. Logan, Jr.
Ananias Dare St.
Manteo, N.C. 27954

Counsel for Defendants
Thomas P. McNamara U.S. Attorney
Bruce H. Johnson Ass't U.S. Attorney
U.S. Courthouse
Raleigh, N.C. 27602

Dwight H. Wheless
Budleigh St.
Budleigh St.
Manteo, N.C. 27954