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Document Type

Case Note

Abstract

The United States District Court for the District of Maine recently upheld a groundfish recovery plan that amended the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan. This recovery plan, known as Amendment 7, was submitted by the New England Fishery Management Council to Secretary of Commerce William Daley, who adopted and implemented the proposed regulations. Associated Fisheries of Maine, Inc. (AFM)3 challenged Amendment 7, promulgated in response to the perceived threat to specific fish populations in the New England region AFM claimed that the changes made by Amendment 7 were financially destructive for small fishing vessels, particularly the trawling industry in the area, and thus violated federal law.5 In upholding Amendment 7, the district court held, inter alia: (1) judicial review was not available on the claim that the Secretary violated the Regulatory Flexibility Act; (2) the Secretary adequately considered public comments about tougher restrictions on fishing vessels and did not engage in arbitrary and capricious rulemaking in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act; and (3) the Secretary adequately complied with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act's national standards and general purposes. This Note summarizes the district court's assessment of AFM's claims. A brief survey of the Magnuson Act will be provided, followed by an analysis of the court's review of AFM's Magnuson Act claim. The most significant part of the district court's review of the Secretary's implementation of Amendment 7 was its relationship to the Magnuson Act's goal of groundfish stock conservation, and its effect on New England's commercial fishing industry. This Note argues that the court's deference to the Secretary's adoption and promulgation of Amendment 7 was justified. Moreover, the Note argues that the court's approach in Associated Fisheries of Maine, Inc. v. Daley is an appropriate model for the proper role of judicial review in Magnuson Act claims.

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