Description: Challenge to biological opinion for continued operation of shrimp trawl fisheries.
Oceana, Inc. v. Ross
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 10/09/2020 Order Download Parties' motions for summary judgment granted in part and denied in part and biological opinion remanded without vacatur. Federal Court Found No-Jeopardy Determination for Sea Turtles Failed to Sufficiently Address Climate Change. The federal district court for the District of Columbia cited failures to address climate change as one of the bases for finding that a biological opinion for continued authorization of the Southeast U.S. shrimp fisheries in federal waters was arbitrary and capricious. The biological opinion found that the fisheries would not jeopardize continued existence of the Atlantic populations of sea turtles. The court agreed with the plaintiff that the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) had not provided a reasoned basis for its no-jeopardy conclusion because it did not explain how it reached the conclusion in light of significant effects from climate change that were discussed in other parts of the biological opinion. The court also found that the NMFS did not have a reasoned basis for the conclusion that changes in oceanic conditions would not substantially impact sea turtles since there was “substantial evidence” in the record that climate change would have “significant impacts” on sea turtles. 04/14/2015 Complaint Download Complaint filed. The nonprofit organization Oceana, Inc. (Oceana) filed an Endangered Species Act (ESA) action in the federal district court for the District of Columbia against the Secretary of Commerce, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). Oceana challenged a biological opinion issued by NMFS that considered whether the continued operation of Southeast U.S. shrimp trawl fisheries jeopardizes sea turtles protected by the ESA. The complaint included allegations that NMFS disregarded climate change threats to sea turtle habitat and prey.