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Supreme Court hears fishermen’s challenge that could upend agency powers

January 17, 2024

… On the Washington D.C. courthouse steps after the hearing, Meghan Lapp, fisheries liaison at Seafreeze Ltd. In Point Judith, R.I., the homeport of Relentless, said the protests wound their way through fisheries council meetings and NMFS officials to no avail. So fishermen went to court – and appealed the earlier decisions against them.

“I was ignored the entirety of the time because the agency knew it would have deference if it ever got to court,” said Lapp. Pressing their appeal through the courts was the New Civil Liberties Alliance…

In its ruling on the Cape May fishermen’s case, the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., “decided that broad ‘necessary and appropriate’ language in the Magnuson-Stevens Act, which governs U.S. fisheries, augmented the agency’s regulatory power,” according to a narrative from the New Civil Liberties Alliance. “It then relied heavily on Chevron deference to uphold the agency’s ostensibly reasonable interpretation of a supposedly ambiguous federal statute.”

Originally Published in National Fisherman