Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

Gulf Fishermens Ass'n v. National Marine Fisheries Service

ELR Citation: 50 ELR 20182
Nos. 19-30006, (5th Cir., 08/03/2020)

The Fifth Circuit affirmed, 2-1, a lower court ruling in favor of fishermen's challenge to NMFS regulations regarding offshore aquaculture in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The fishermen argued that the regulations were invalid because they fell outside the agency's authority to regulate fisheries under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. The district court held that Congress did not intend for the Act to grant NMFS the authority to regulate aquaculture, and that the agency acted outside of its authority in shoehorning an entire regulatory scheme into a single unambiguous word under the Act. On appeal, the court found that the Act neither said nor suggested that the agency could regulate aquaculture, and that the agency's interpretation of this silence as an invitation to regulate was barred by precedent. It therefore affirmed summary judgment for the fishermen.