Description: Challenge by lobstering associations, a lobstering union, and Maine to the biological opinion for federal lobster fisheries as too restrictive.
Maine Lobstermen’s Association v. National Marine Fisheries Service
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 01/24/2023 Motion to Dismiss Download Defendants filed motion to dismiss appeal as moot.
Maine Lobstermen’s Association, Inc. v. National Marine Fisheries Service
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 09/09/2022 Memorandum Opinion Download Defendants' and intervenor-defendants' motions for summary judgment granted. Federal Court Concluded that Biological Opinion for Lobster Fisheries Adequately Addressed Evidence of Right Whale’s Northward Migration. The federal district court for the District of Columbia rejected a challenge by two lobstering associations, a lobstermen’s union, and the State of Maine to the National Marine Fisheries Service’s (NMFS’s) biological opinion that concluded that operation of federal lobster fisheries would not jeopardize the North Atlantic right whale. The plaintiffs alleged that the biological opinion overstated risks posed to the right whale and overregulated the lobstering industry. The court found that the biological opinion and related actions were not arbitrary and capricious. Among the points addressed in the decision was the plaintiffs’ contention that NMFS did not take into account evidence that climate change was causing right whales to spend more time in Canadian waters. The court “acknowledge[d] that NMFS could have more comprehensively addressed” this evidence, also noting that “[i]f new data continue supporting this trend, the agency may in the future need to either update its modeling or say more about why it has not.” However, at this juncture, the court found that NMFS “considered the relevant data and offered a rational and peer-reviewed explanation for its approach.”