U.S. sued over Mid-Atlantic fisheries management


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
October 31, 2011

Washington, D.C.-based environmental organization Oceana is suing the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Fisheries Service for failing to set catch limits for non-target fish species in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Filed in federal court on Friday, the suit claims that the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act requires that NOAA Fisheries set catch limits on all fish regardless of whether it’s a targeted or non-targeted, or bycatch, species. 

But, according to the suit, the Omnibus Annual Catch Limit Amendment, implemented to manage fisheries from New York to North Carolina, failed to do so.

“Oceana believes that limits should be set for both target species and bycatch [species] to ensure that fisheries are not taking too many fish out of the oceans,” said Gib Brogan, Northeast representative for Oceana.

“Across the Mid-Atlantic region, bycatch data collection and reporting is unacceptably spotty,” he added. “Without accurate estimates of both target fish catch and bycatch, assessing whether catch limits have been followed is challenging to nearly impossible. Responsible fishing relies entirely on reliable data and monitoring.”

Oceana said it seeks to overturn the amendment.

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