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Coastal Conservation Ass'n v. United States Department of Commerce

ELR Citation: 46 ELR 20006
Nos. 15-1300, (E.D. La., 01/05/2016) (Milazzo)

A district court dismissed recreational fishing groups' lawsuit against NMFS concerning its management of the red snapper fishery in the Gulf of Mexico. The groups challenged the enactment of Amendment 40 to the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council’s Reef Fish Fishery Management Plan and an associated rule that sets fishing quotas and seasons for 2015-2017. The groups were concerned that Amendment 40 and the accompanying rule would reduce the maximum quantity of red snapper that individual recreational fisherman can catch. But the court rejected their claims. Amendment 40 does not violate the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act by regulating charterboat fishermen separately from the remainder of the recreational sector. Nor does it make an unfair and inequitable allocation of fishery resources by favoring federally licensed charterboats over other recreational fishing interests. In addition, the Council and NMFS did not fail to assess, specify, or analyze the likely economic and social effects of Amendment 40 in violation of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The court also rejected claims that the Gulf Council improperly delegated its statutory authority to NMFS staff by allowing NMFS to set final allocation percentages without the Council's approval.