Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

American Pelagic Fishing Co. v. United States

ELR Citation: 34 ELR 20075
Nos. No. 03-5101, (Fed. Cir., 08/16/2004)

The Federal Circuit reversed a lower court decision that a commercial fishing company suffered a taking when its fishing permits were revoked under 1997 and 1998 Appropriations Acts. The Appropriations Acts cancelled the company's existing permits and authorization letter and prevented any further permits from being issued to the company's fishing vessel. At the time, no other vessel was affected by the legislation. Nevertheless, the company did not suffer the taking of a property interest that is legally cognizable under the Fifth Amendment. The company did not and could not possess a property interest in its fishery permits and authorization letter. And contrary to the lower court's conclusion, the company did not have a legally cognizable property interest in the use of its vessel to fish for Atlantic mackerel and herring in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ). When the company purchased the vessel, the Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and the attendant regulatory scheme precluded any permitted fisherman from possessing a property right in his vessel to fish in the EEZ.