Alaska processors lose rockfish lawsuit

A Seattle judge ruled to uphold the Rockfish catch share program in the Gulf of Alaska on Friday.

The Rockfish program established in 2012 allocated shares of the total harvest to vessel owners, but did not guarantee processors a share of the harvest, as the prior pilot program had done. Four Kodiak processors — Trident Seafoods, Ocean Beauty, Westward Seafoods, and North Pacific Seafoods — filed suit in January, asking for a guaranteed delivery of a portion of the harvest each year.

U.S. District Court Judge Marsha Pechman upheld the Rockfish program, denying the processors request, 30 November, after hearing oral argument in the case 19 November.

Pechman’s 30 November order stated that the processors did not have standing to bring a National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA, claim and that the economic argument made by Trident and the other processors didn’t qualify as an environmental concern protected by NEPA. Pechman further wrote that without a NEPA violation, the plantiffs had no grounds to make a claim based on the Magnuson-Stevens Act, or MSA.

The MSA was the authority by which the National Marine Fisheries Service, or NMFS, implemented the catch share program.

Click here to read the full story from the Alaska Journal of Commerce >


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