Natural Resources Defense Council v. Daley

62 F. Supp. 2d 102 (1999)

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Natural Resources Defense Council v. Daley

United States District Court for the District of Columbia
62 F. Supp. 2d 102 (1999)

  • Written by Tanya Munson, JD

Facts

In 1998, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) (defendant) established fishing conservation measures for the upcoming year to comply with the summer flounder Fishery Management Plan (FMP). The joint managers of the summer flounder fishery of the Atlantic coast, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, developed the summer founder FMP. The NMFS had approved the FMP and was required to implement measures for the fishing year to ensure that the target fishing mortality specified in the FMP was not exceeded. The target was the statistic of the depletion of fish per year as a result of fishermen. Exceeding the target would result in overfishing and impede stock rebuilding. The NMFS implemented the target through annual quotas. The quotas were expressed in terms of total allowable landings (TAL), the amount of flounder by weight that fishermen were allowed to bring to shore. The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council proposed a TAL quota, but the NMFS ultimately decided to select a TAL quota that had a greater likelihood of preventing overfishing. The NMFS’s quotas were required to follow the National Standards outlined in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (FCMA). National Standard 1 of the FCMA required that the NMFS’s conservation and management measures must prevent overfishing while achieving the optimum yield from each fishery. National Standard 8 required that conservation and management measures minimize adverse economic impacts on fishing communities. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) (plaintiff) filed suit in district court and asserted that the NMFS violated National Standard 1 of the FCMA by choosing a TAL quota that did not have a high enough likelihood to prevent overfishing. The NRDC and the NMFS both moved for summary judgment.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Green, J.)

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