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San Francisco Herring Ass'n v. U.S. Department of the Interior

ELR Citation: 50 ELR 20016
Nos. 18-15443, (9th Cir., 12/31/2019)

The Ninth Circuit reversed a district court's denial of leave to file an amended complaint in a challenge to NPS' authority to prohibit commercial herring fishing in the waters of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco Bay. A fishing industry group argued that NPS did not have the authority to ban commercial fishing in the recreation area. The district court dismissed the group's complaint, finding the group's allegation that NPS rangers were monitoring the area's waters with greater frequency was not final agency action. It allowed the group to replead, but held that its amended complaint, which alleged that NPS rangers and California wardens ordered its members to stop fishing in the area, still failed to allege final agency action. On appeal, the appellate court found that NPS' issuance of formal notices to fishermen that commercial fishing was prohibited in the recreation area, and subsequent enforcement of that prohibition by confronting fishermen in the waters of the recreation area and ordering them not to fish there, were final agency action that could be challenged in court. It therefore held that the group was entitled to pursue judicial relief.