Description: Challenge to federal authorization and management of U.S. Caribbean Reef Fish Fishery for failing to ensure that actions would not jeopardize existence of protected Caribbean corals that face threats due to climate change and other factors.
Coralations v. National Marine Fisheries Service
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 09/30/2013 Opinion and Order Download Opinion and order issued granting in part and denying in part plaintiffs' and defendants cross-motions for summary judgment. The court upheld the biological opinion issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) but remanded the incidental take statement because the NMFS had not established a meaningful trigger for reinitiating consultation. The court was not persuaded by the plaintiffs' argument that the NMFS had not properly considered the fishery's "cumulative adverse impacts in the context of severe existing threats to the species and their habitat" (including climate change-related threats). The court agreed with NMFS that it had appropriately considered the "synergistic effects of harvesting herbivorous fish together with adverse effects posed by other anthropogenic and environmental factors, namely disease outbreaks, temperature-induced bleaching events, elevated sea surface temperature, damage from hurricanes," and other factors, and had reasonably concluded that the proposed action would have only a "small, incremental role in what is believed to be only a moderate threat to the species." 11/16/2012 Opposition Download Plaintiffs filed opposition to federal defendants' motion for summary judgment and reply to federal defendants' opposition to plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment. 06/04/2012 Complaint Download Complaint filed. 06/04/2012 Complaint Download Second amended complaint filed.