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Fighting Back Against Runaway Regulators: A Story of Relentless Persistence

Industry regulating agencies could be impacting your next seafood feast!

The Department of Commerce and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are forcing Atlantic herring fishermen to fund government-mandated monitors at sea.

NCLA Senior Litigation Counsel John Vecchione moderates the discussion about the rule being challenged by NCLA in Relentless Inc., et al. v. U.S. Dept. of Commerce, et al., with Meghan Lapp, Fisheries Liaison & General Manager for our client, Seafreeze, Ltd.

NCLA represents small businesses of high-capacity freezer trawlers incorporated in Rhode Island and Massachusetts that have commercially fished Atlantic herring as well as Loligo and Illex squids, butterfish, and Atlantic Mackerel for more than thirty years.

The rule penalizes NCLA’s clients unfairly by making them pay for herring monitors even when fishing for other catches. It can cost anywhere from $750 to $850 a day to have onboard monitoring people. If this program is implemented, the fishermen won’t be making any money.

They’ll be fishing for nothing. The at-sea monitor mandate is unlawfully “industry-funded.” These agencies do not have statutory authority from Congress to order additional industry funding for a program that the agencies think is underfunded, but they have issued a rule that threatens the livelihoods of fishermen regardless.