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Eder v. California Dep't of Fish & Game

ELR Citation: 39 ELR 20013
Nos. No. A120532, (Cal. App. 1st Dist., 01/16/2009)

A California appellate court upheld the constitutionality of California Fish and Game Code §8279.1(c), which regulates Dungeness crab fishing. The section states that if the crab season in Oregon or Washington is delayed, no one may fish for crab in Oregon or Washington for 30 days after the season opens if they have previously fished for crab for commercial purposes in California. Fishermen who fished for crab in Oregon in violation of this section filed suit challenging the statute's constitutionality after the state of California revoked their fishing permits. They argued that §8279.1(c) is an illegitimate attempt by California to regulate lawful extraterritorial conduct. But §8279.1(c) does not regulate Oregon conduct. It regulates crab fishing in California. Nor does §8279.1 violate the dormant Commerce Clause. Any burden on the fishermen is outweighed by the legitimate benefit of a policy promoting the conservation of a sustainable Dungeness crab fishery in California, and the statute applies equally to residents and nonresidents alike. Likewise, the statute does not violate the Privileges and Immunities Clause.