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Pacific Coast Fed'n of Fishermen's Ass'n v. Secretary of Commerce

ELR Citation: 10 ELR 20930
Nos. No. C-80-1856-WAI, 494 F. Supp. 626/(N.D. Cal., 06/04/1980)

The court finds that the Secretary of Commerce complied with the Fishery Conservation and Management Act (FCMA), 16 U.S.C. §§1801-1882, in issuing emergency interim regulations restricting commercial and recreational salmon fishing off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and California during the 1980 season. Plaintiffs had sued to enjoin the Secretary from enforcing the regulations, which were based on a fishing management plan prepared by the Pacific Fishery Management Council as authorized by the FCMA. The court rules, however, that §305(d) of the Act expressly precludes the grant of a preliminary injunction. Furthermore, even if the court could issue such relief, it would decline to do so. Applying a limited standard of review defined by the Administrative Procedure Act, the court declares that it was not arbitrary, capricious, or an abuse of discretion for the Secretary to conclude that the Council had adopted a plan which adequately considered the economic information required by §303 of the Act. The Secretary reasonably concluded from the plan that emergency regulations were essential to protect the diminishing salmon resources. Since the Secretary does not have jurisdiction over inland fisheries, it was also reasonable for him to have failed to regulate inland Indian gill net fishing. Finally, the court affirms the Secretary's determination that an emergency exists requiring rapid promulgation of interim regulations. The court will not substitute its judgment for the rational scientific conclusions of the agency.

The full text of this opinion is available from ELR (9 pp. $1.75, ELR Order No. C-1227).

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Steven M. Kipperman
Friedman, Shawn, Kipperman & Sloan
407 Sansome St., San Francisco CA 94111
(415) 788-2200

H. Michael Brucker
166 Santa Clara Ave., Oakland CA 94610
(415) 658-2500

Counsel for Defendants
Donald A. Carr; James W. Moorman, Ass't Attorney General; Bruce C. Rashkow
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-2750

Counsel for Intervenors
Bruce J. Friedman
California Indian Legal Services
P.O. Box 1228, 917 3d St., Eureka CA 95501
(707) 443-8397

Ingram, J.