Description: Challenge by New York State to 2020-2021 specifications for the summer flounder fishery, including a total annual commercial summer flounder quota and a state-by-state allocation of that quota based on a 1993 allocation rule.
New York v. Ross
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 04/09/2021 Order Download Action dismissed. Challenge to Previous Summer Flounder Quota Dismissed. The federal district court for the Southern District of New York ruled that a lawsuit brought in 2019 by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and its Commissioner (NYSDEC) to challenge the National Marine Fisheries Services’ rules establishing summer flounder quotas were made moot by subsequent rules that revised the rules at issue. The court declined NYSDEC’s request for administrative closure instead of dismissal of the case to allow for reopening if the challenged rules were reinstated, finding that the federal defendants’ power to reenact the original rules was “not enough to keep this controversy alive.” The court noted that the plaintiffs were not without recourse since they had already filed a suit challenging the revised rules. Briefing on summary judgment motions in the case challenging the revised rules was completed on April 30. In both cases, the New York plaintiffs argue that the allocation of the summer flounder quota is based on obsolete data that does not reflect the fishery’s northeast shift, which may be due in part to ocean warming. 10/10/2019 Complaint Download Complaint filed. New York Asked Federal Court to Require New State-by-State Quotas for Shifting Summer Flounder Fishery. New York State filed a federal lawsuit challenging a final rule that established the 2020–2021 specifications for the summer flounder fishery, including a total annual commercial summer flounder quota and a state-by-state allocation of that quota based on a 1993 allocation rule. New York, along with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the DEC Commissioner, alleged that the summer flounder (also known as fluke) population had shifted northeast in the years since the state-by-state quotas were established—“likely due to … factors including ocean warming”—and that New York now has an unfairly low allocation of the quota based on out-of-date data about the summer flounder population. The plaintiffs alleged that this allocation led to, among other things, New York-based fishermen catching summer flounder in waters near Long Island (now the center of the fishery), then traveling to southern states such as Virginia and North Carolina to land their catch, and returning to their home ports in New York. The complaint asserted that the 2020–2021 specifications rule and the 1993 allocation rule were inconsistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and arbitrary and capricious. On the same day that New York filed its complaint, the State also filed a motion for summary judgment. New York previously filed a similar lawsuit challenging the 2019 allocation. The district court closed that case after receiving a letter from the federal defendants indicating that they anticipated issuing a proposed rule revising the 1993 state-by-state quotas in September 2019 and finalizing the regulation in March or April 2020; the court said the case could be reopened no later than April 2020. 10/10/2019 Motion for Summary Judgment Download Memorandum of law filed by New York in support of its motion for summary judgment.