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General Category Scallop Fishermen v. Secretary, United States Department of Commerce

ELR Citation: 41 ELR 20114
Nos. No. 10-2341, (3d Cir., 03/16/2011)

The Third Circuit upheld regulations issued by the National Marine Fishery Service (NMFS) implementing an amendment to the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan that, among other things, sets a "control date" that effectively terminates the access rights of general scallop fishermen who were not established in the fishery prior to November 1, 2004. The NMFS complied with the APA and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act when it promulgated the regulations. In addition, the process by which the amendment was adopted complied with the Magnuson-Stevens Act's requirement that public hearings be held in "appropriate locations in the geographical area" affected by the amendment. Neither the statute nor its implementing regulations require that a meeting be held in every port of call on the Atlantic seaboard. More meetings might have been held, but that is not to say that the 35 meetings that were held failed to satisfy the Act. In addition, the agency complied with the National Standard 2, which requires the use of "best scientific information available." The NMFS also took sufficient account of non-economic objectives in implementing the amendment.