Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

United Cook Inlet Drift Ass'n v. National Marine Fisheries Service

ELR Citation: 46 ELR 20155
Nos. 14-35928, (9th Cir., 09/21/2016)

The Ninth Circuit held that NMFS violated the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act when it excluded an historic net-fishing area of Cook Inlet from the salmon fishery management plan (FMP). The Magnuson-Stevens Act unambiguously requires a regional fishery management council to create an FMP for each fishery under its authority that requires conservation and management. The government argued that the Act only requires an FMP for fisheries that need federal conservation and management, and that Cook Inlet is already in good hands with Alaska. But while the Act allows delegation to a state under the FMP, the federal government cannot delegate management of a fishery to a state without a plan. The Act requires a council to develop FMPs for fisheries within its jurisdiction requiring management and then to manage those fisheries through those plans. As such, the Act does not allow NMFS to exempt a fishery under its authority because the agency is content with state management. The exemption, therefore, was contrary to law.