- Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
- Area(s) of Law: Administrative Law
- Date Filed: 09-10-2012
- Case #: 11-17108
- Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Callahan for the Court; Circuit Judge Watford and Senior District Judge Korman.
- Full Text Opinion
The National Marine Fisheries Services (“NMFS”) and the Pacific Fishery Management Council (“Council”) adopted changes to the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan which are designed to increase economic efficiency through fleet consolidation, reduce environmental impacts, and simplify future decision making. The Pacific Coast Federation of Fisherman’s Associations, et al. (“plaintiffs”) argue that the changes are unlawful under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (“MSA”) and the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”). The district court granted summary judgment to the defendants and the plaintiffs appealed. MSA establishes councils that are charged with preparing fishery management plans that must contain measures to prevent overfishing and must assess and specify the optimum yield from each fishery. MSA requires allocations of restriction to prevent overfishing must be fair and equitable between the commercial and recreational sectors. NEPA requires agencies to examine and disclose potential environmental impacts of proposed actions. The plaintiffs argue that a single environmental impact statement for the changes was required under NEPA. However, NMFS did not undermine the compliance by preparing two statements, one for each amendment. The court held that NMFS and the Council complied with the MSA provisions because those provisions did not require it to develop criteria for allocating fishing privileges or to restrict privileges to only those who substantially participate and that NMFS also complied with NEPA by adopting flexible mitigation measures in accordance with separate studies conducted to lessen the potential adverse effect on fishing communities. AFFIRMED.