Oceana wins New England fishery lawsuit

International ocean conservation group Oceana won its lawsuit this week in federal court seeking a better plan for management of the New England fishery.

“This agreement commits the government to fully account for the catch that it regulates,” said Eric Bilsky, senior litigator at Oceana. “Our government must strictly monitor and enforce science-based catch limits to prevent wasteful and unsustainable fishing practices.”

The court decision requirements include more transparency in monitoring catch levels, and an analysis to determine how much monitoring will be needed going forward.

The fishery, known for producing cod, haddock and flounder, changed in 2010, splitting up into “sectors” under a new management program. Oceana argued that the plan would require improved catch monitoring in each sector to prevent overfishing.

Oceana sued in 2010 to make sure the improved monitoring was in place, and won an agreement at the time that the fishery must demonstrate that discards would be accurately counted, but, according to the group, “it soon became clear the discards would not be adequately monitored to ensure accurate counts.”

The new lawsuit was an attempt to force new regulation into place.

“The agreement reached today with the federal government will require accurate monitoring to enforce scientifically-based catch limits and help preserve healthy and sustainable ocean ecosystems,” Oceana said in a statement.


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