Tag Archives: lawsuit

This Year’s Dungeness Crab Fishery a Shell of its Former Self

Supreme Court hears case in dispute over fisheries landings tax

Millions of dollars of fish landing taxes are at stake in a lawsuit now being deliberated by the Alaska Supreme Court,,  The court heard oral arguments Oct. 21 in a lawsuit brought against the State of Alaska by Seattle-based Fishermen’s Finest Inc. in which the company argues Alaska’s fishery resource landing tax violates a prohibition on taxes or fees levied against goods on the way to export in the U.S. Constitution. Jim Torgerson, an attorney for Fishermen’s Finest, argued that the fish harvested and processed in federal waters by the company’s catcher-processor vessels have started their journey to foreign markets when it arrives at Alaska ports but before being shipped worldwide.>click to read<11:27

Alaska Supreme Court hears challenge to fish landing tax

Since the 1990s, Alaska has taxed seafood caught by factory trawlers and floating processors through the Fisheries Resource Landing Tax. Even though the fish is caught outside the 3-mile line in what’s considered federal waters, it’s often brought to Alaska fishing ports before loaded on cargo vessels and shipped overseas. But the Washington state company, Fisherman’s Finest, is now challenging the state’s tax in court, arguing it violates a pair of provisions of the U.S. Constitution that restricts coastal states from imposing tariffs or duties on goods brought into and out of a state. >click to read< 17:28

Metlakatla Indian Community suing Gov. Mike Dunleavy and senior state officials over fishing rights

The state’s sole Native reservation says the commercial fishing permit system unfairly prevents local fishermen from harvesting on their traditional fishing grounds, a right Metlakatla says is guaranteed to the tribe by Congress. The tribe of Metlakatla is asking a federal judge to prevent the state from requiring commercial fishing permits for tribal members. The people of Metlakatla have called Annette Island home since the late 19th century. That’s when roughly 820 Tsimshian people migrated with an Anglican missionary from coastal British Columbia to the then-uninhabited islands south of Ketchikan. But they weren’t just after land for a settlement. “The Annette Islands would have been worthless without access to fish and its adjacent fisheries,” attorneys for Metlakatla wrote in a lawsuit filed August 7 in federal court. >click to read< 18:06

Lawsuit Challenges Trump OK of Commercial Fishing in Atlantic Marine Monument

The lawsuit was filed in federal district court in Washington, D.C. by the Conservation Law Foundation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Center for Biological Diversity and Zack Klyver, lead naturalist with the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company in Maine. “Trump’s order was illegal because he can’t just declare commercial fishing is allowed in a protected marine monument,” said Kristen Monsell, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The Seamounts monument was created to permanently safeguard this amazing ecosystem and vulnerable species like the endangered sperm whale. Presidents can’t be allowed to gut protections by decree as a favor to commercial fishermen.”  >click to read< 11:40

Judge weighs shutting down Southeast Alaska Chinook fishery

Fishermen in Southeast Alaska could see their season cut short if a federal judge issues an injunction requested by a Washington environmental group to protect the food supply of a subpopulation of orcas. The Wild Fish Conservancy filed a lawsuit against NOAA,,, “We are getting blamed for harvesting their food source, which really isn’t the cause of the problem,” Amy Daughery, executive director of the Alaska Trollers Association said. “The problem as we see it, is the exponential population growth in Seattle, which has lead to a lot of toxicity and pollution and habitat loss in that area. And so these whales are really struggling, this one population. The Northern killer whales that we see off the coast of Southeast Alaska are doing very well. In fact they’ve increased.” >click to read< 10:19

A group threatens a lawsuit over NC shrimping rules

A group pushing for changes to North Carolina’s commercial fishing rules sent formal notice last week that it plans to sue the state and one of the largest shrimping companies on the coast. The N.C. Coastal Fisheries Reform Group said that after “over a decade of unsuccessful attempts to engage in meaningful fisheries management reform dialog” with multiple governors, lawmakers and state officials it was filing a notice of claim under the Federal Clean Water Act. That starts a 60-day clock ahead of a lawsuit. The group said in a news release that, with another shrimping season approaching, time is of the essence. >click to read< 12:00

Destroying a fishery will not save Southern Resident Killer Whales – Scientists say feed starving whales farmed salmon

In less than two weeks, a Seattle-based federal judge will decide the fate of some 1,600 Southeast Alaska salmon trollers—fishermen who are already looking at the lowest allotment of Chinook in 20 years, largely due to the past three Pacific Salmon Treaty agreements that have cut, by two-thirds, their allocation of these high-value, sought-after fish. If you haven’t been following the trade press or Alaska media in the past few weeks, you may not know that this group of largely rural Alaska fishermen are today facing the unthinkable: being put out of business—collateral damage as the result of a lawsuit filed by a Washington state-based NGO, the Wild Fish Conservancy (WFC), against the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). In the lawsuit, WFC seeks a Preliminary Injunction to stop the Southeast Alaska summer troll fishery, alleging that NMFS has failed to allow enough king (Chinook) salmon to return to Puget Sound to feed endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales,,, >click to read< 08:16

Feed starving whales farmed salmon, say scientists – “You could use well boats to deliver the farmed fish to where the whales feed.” >click to read<

SE Alaska Chinook controversy attracts more user groups

A controversy over whether NOAA Fisheries is properly managing Chinook salmon stocks in Southeast Alaska, with consideration for a hungry whale population in decline, has been joined by sport and charter fishermen who say Alaska is not the problem. The environmental organization SalmonState, along with the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association and Alaska Trollers Association said on Monday, April 27, that sport and charter harvesters have joined them in support of NOAA Fisheries in a lawsuit brought by Wild Fish Conservancy, of Duvall, Washington. The group characterizes as misguided the decision of WFC to sue NOAA Fisheries in federal court to halt Chinook salmon trolling in Southeast Alaska effective July 1. >click to read< 16:15

Trollers side with NMFS in Chinook litigation – Endangered whales compete with increasing populations of seals, sea lions

Litigation to halt the Southeast Alaska king salmon fishery to provide sustenance for Southern Resident Killer Whales is prompting commercial trollers to intervene in the lawsuit brought by the Washington state based Wild Fish Conservancy. The Alaska Trollers Association in Juneau voted on Tuesday, April 21, to insert itself into the defense of the lawsuit filed in mid-March against the National Marine Fisheries Service and the subsequent injunction against king salmon fishing and the troll fishery specifically. >click to read< 15:41

North Atlantic Right whale trouble: Lawsuit on protections could last for months

Environmental groups sued the U.S. government with a claim that regulators’ failure to protect the North Atlantic right whale from harm was a violation of the Endangered Species Act, and U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ruled April 9 that they were right. The government, environmentalists and industry members who are involved in the lawsuit must still return to court to determine a remedy. Boasberg ruled that the risk posed to the whales by the lobster fishery was too great to be sustainable, and that a remedy could ultimately result in new restrictions on lobster fishing. Members of the industry, including the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, have vowed to fight to protect the fishery. >click to read< 11:27

NCLA Sues Commerce, NOAA, NMFS over Its Unlawful New at-Sea Monitor Mandate

The New Civil Liberties Alliance today filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Rhode Island,,, The suit challenges the agencies’ unconstitutional and statutorily unauthorized effort to force fishing companies to pay for a new agency enforcement program. NCLA represents Relentless Inc., Huntress Inc., and their related company, Seafreeze Fleet LLC,,,  The at-sea monitor mandate for the nation’s Atlantic herring fleet violates the U.S. Constitution’s Article I, and the agencies have exceeded the bounds of their statutory authority because Congress never allowed these agencies to create or to require the industry to finance at-sea monitors or an at-sea monitoring program in the Atlantic herring fishery. more >click to read< 15:07

Judge hears arguments on lawsuit against EPA over withdrawn protections for Pebble

Monday U.S. District Judge Sharon Gleason heard arguments on whether or not to dismiss a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency over its decision to withdraw a proposed determination which had effectively blocked developing the Pebble Mine. Last October, the Bristol Bay Defense Alliance, a coalition of groups representing native tribes in Bristol Bay, commercial fishermen and the seafood industry filed suit against the EPA. Environmental groups then filed two additional lawsuits. The three lawsuits have since been consolidated. >click to read< 08:51

Climate Change Is Sending This Fluke Fight to Court

Disputes over fish quotas are not new, and the $25.2 million East Coast market for fluke—although a reliable bread-and-butter fish—is not particularly lucrative. And New York has sued to alter the quota before. But this lawsuit is being watched closely because it introduces a new factor into the decades-old quota system: the impact of climate change. Quickly warming waters have reshaped the entire fishing industry on the East Coast, moving the fluke dramatically to the north. The lawsuit argues that now 80% of all fluke catches occur within 150 miles of Long Island and that state allocations need to be updated to reflect the fishes’ evolving location. >click to read< 08:17

California: Fewer Whales Entangled As Crab Fishermen Face Financial Struggle

Crab fishers are frustrated by recent closures, and CDFW is working with stakeholders and fishermen to come up with an economic plan that can help fishers deal with the changing industry. “We are seeing that the closures affect smaller operators disproportionately,”,,, Dick Ogg is a commercial fisherman out of Bodega Bay, California. His single-boat company is considered a medium-sized operation in the area because he catches many species. In addition to crabbing, Ogg shifts with the seasons to fish salmon, black cod, and albacore as well. This allows him to have income throughout the year. He humbly calls himself a “newbie”, having only been a commercial fisherman for 21 years. >click to read< 07:05

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Sued Over Steelhead Farming in Puget Sound

Environmental and conservation groups filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife over the agency’s recent decision to allow Cooke Aquaculture to rear farmed steelhead trout in Puget Sound. The suit, filed in the Superior Court of Washington, alleges that the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife issued a permit to allow steelhead fish feedlots, a type of fish-farming practice, to operate in the complex waterways of Puget Sound without any consideration of the consequences they would have on the environment. >click to read< 13:01

Maine Lobstering Union that’s suing its former CEO, hires a new management team

A lobster fishing cooperative that is suing its former CEO in federal court has hired two people to round out its new management team. Lobster 207 LLC, also known as the Maine Lobstering Union, has appointed Carmen Look as its chief financial officer and Brian Hemingway as its director of business development, the organization said Thursday.,,, The cooperative is alleging in a lawsuit that Pettegrow and his parents defrauded and stole from the union after selling it their wholesale lobster business for $4 million in 2017. The lawsuit pending in U.S. District Court in Bangor. >click to read< 12:39

Court: Trump Administration Unlawfully OK’d Longline Fishing Off California

The ruling released late Friday responds to a lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and Turtle Island Restoration Network after the fishing permit issued in April exempted vessels from the federal ban on longline gear off California. Longlines stretch up to 60 miles, with thousand of baited hooks intended to catch swordfish and tuna.  >click to read< 07:52

Louisiana Native Sues Fishing Captain Following Maritime Injury

A Louisiana man is suing a Texas fishing captain following injuries suffered while working on the captain’s vessel. David Robling, the plaintiff, was working aboard the fishing boat, Red Bull, on February 20, 2019, when he suffered injuries resulting from the negligence and unseaworthiness of the ship-captain, Delbert E. Bull, Jr. The suit, filed in the Galveston County District Court, is in accord with the Jones Act, specifically 46 U.S.C. §30104, which protects seamen injured in the course of their employment and which affords them the right to legal action and a trial by jury against the ship’s owner. >click to read<19:45

Boat owner responds to Port of Astoria lawsuit

A boat owner being sued by the Port of Astoria for abandoning his vessel shot back recently,,,,The Port sued Nick Mathias, a California resident and owner of the Coastwise, claiming he fell behind on moorage before sending a letter in September notifying the agency he would be abandoning the vessel. Mathias claims the Port in 2014 was charging him $2,000 annually for moorage fees, raising it to $3,000 the next year, $9,600 the third year and finally $37,000. The Port has closed all access to the East Mooring Basin causeway because of a rotting substructure, leaving a dwindling group of boat owners to reach their vessels by skiff. >click to read<18:53

Environmental groups sue to restrict salmon fishing for Northwest orcas

The Center for Biological Diversity, which filed a lawsuit nearly two decades ago to force the U.S. government to list the orcas as endangered, and the Wild Fish Conservancy asked the U.S. District Court in Seattle on Wednesday to order officials to reconsider a 2009 finding that commercial and recreational fisheries did not jeopardize the orcas’ survival. >Video, click to read<10:09

Fishing groups sue Humboldt Bay Harbor Recreation and Conservation District

A lawsuit was filed against the Humboldt Bay Harbor Recreation and Conservation District by the Humboldt Fishermen’s Marketing Association and Trinidad Bay Fishermen’s Association. The two fishing groups are suing over a long list of allegations that include alleged dredging failures and money management issues among other things.,,,“Our objection is that the harbor district has essentially abandoned their mandated duty to maintain and protect the Woodley Island Marina for the benefit of the fishing fleet,” said Ken Bates, vice president of HFMA, who emailed a news release announcing the lawsuit. >click to read<11:45

Charges, defendants added to lobster wholesaler’s lawsuit alleging embezzlement

A lawsuit by a Saco lobster wholesaler that alleges a partner in the business embezzled more than $1.5 million has been moved to federal court and expanded with new defendants and RICO charges. The original lawsuit was filed in August in York County Superior Court. It was moved this month to U.S. District Court in Portland. The wholesaler, Sea Salt, which also operates a restaurant on Route 1 in Saco, alleges that the man overseeing the company’s shipping operation, Matthew Bellerose of Scarborough, set up a sham customer,,, >click to read<13:03

‘Slime eel’ massacre caused by Washington man’s boat accident, lawsuit says

An Oregon boater is in a bit of a mess after he caused thousands of pounds of live “slime eels” to die, according to a lawsuit from the company that planned to sell the hagfish to Asia consumers.
Darin Rodabaugh is accused of negligence in a lawsuit from AA Seafood of Depoe Bay. The lawsuit claims Rodabaugh, from Kennewick, Washington, was pulling his boat out of the water at the Port of Depoe Bay on Sept. 10, 2016, and didn’t lower the antenna or mast.,,But more importantly to AA Seafood, it knocked out the power to the warehouse where the company stored 16,400 pounds of live hagfish.,,, This quiet industry went largely unnoticed until 2017 when a truck from AA Seafood carrying 7,500 pounds of live hagfish lost several containers along U.S. 101 near Cape Foulweather about 3 miles south of Depoe Bay. photo’s >click to read<13:39

A lobster wholesaler is suing one of its part owners, alleging he embezzled nearly $1.5 million from the business.

Sea Salt, which operates as a wholesaler and a restaurant on Route 1 in Saco, alleges that the part owner, Matthew Bellerose of Scarborough, set up a sham customer with another man and then sent the phony client thousands of dollars worth of lobsters without billing the customer. The lobsters were then resold, the lawsuit says. The suit says Bellerose and Vincent J. Mastropasqua of Portland, who also is named as a defendant in the lawsuit, set up a company called “East End Transport” and established a fictitious customer of Sea Salt named “Mastro’s.” Both businesses listed their addresses as a UPS store in Scarborough. Mastropasqua is a part-time UPS employee. >click to read< “08:12

Conservationist intends to sue five states over whale entanglements, including individual lobstermen

A noted North Atlantic right whale conservationist who is suing Massachusetts officials over the licensing of commercial lobster pot gear has said he intends to do the same thing in five other states starting with Maine. The Maine DNR is killing and injuring endangered whales and sea turtles in U.S. coastal waters from its licensing of lobster pot gear, and gill nets, said Richard “Max” Strahan of Whale Safe USA, which is based in Cambridge. >click to read<08:18

The High-Stakes Battle Over Obama’s Atlantic Ocean National Monument

Mining and drilling for oil are already banned in the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, established by former president Barack Obama in 2016 as the first marine monument in the Atlantic Ocean, 150 miles off the coast of Cape Cod. Within five years, too, all commercial fishing will be phased out – or, at least that was the plan. A federal judge is now weighing the fate of those protections in a lawsuit originally filed in March 2017 by a coalition of New England fishing groups – and it has led to a rare case of President Donald Trump defending his predecessor’s authority.  >click to read<10:27

NOAA, NGOs debate effects of ocean farms on wildlife, Litigation may be deterring investors

Federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico have been open to fish farming for two years, but no farms yet exist. In January 2016, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service issued a rule that would let companies apply for 10-year permits to farm fish in federal waters of the Gulf, with five-year renewals thereafter.,, Paul W. Zajicek, executive director of the National Aquaculture Association, suspects companies interested in starting offshore farms are waiting for results of a federal lawsuit against the fisheries service.,, Those behind the lawsuit say NOAA’s fisheries service is trying to regulate aquaculture as fishing but lacks authority to expand into aquaculture. >click to read<21:43

Obama Banned Fishing In 5,000 Square Miles Of Rich Ocean — Fishermen Want It Back

A Washington, D.C., district court lifted a stay Wednesday on a fishing industry lawsuit to reverse a 5,000 square mile marine national monument created off New England’s coast in 2016. The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Marine Monument will ban fishing in an area roughly the size of Connecticut in less than a decade. Seafood and fishing trade groups are suing to rescind the monument former President Barack Obama crafted near the end of his 2nd term, to restore an area of ocean that has been an important source of lobster and fish for decades, according to the lawsuit. >click to read<18:29

Lawsuit Challenges Trump Administration’s Failure to Protect Pacific Humpback Whales Threatened by Fishing Gear, Ship Strikes, Oil Spills

The Center for Biological Diversity, Turtle Island Restoration Network and Wishtoyo Foundation today sued the Trump administration for failing to protect humpback whale habitat in the Pacific Ocean, where the animals face threats from fisheries, ship strikes and oil spills. Today’s lawsuit, filed in federal district court in San Francisco, aims to force the National Marine Fisheries Service to follow the Endangered Species Act’s requirement to designate critical habitat within one year of listing a species as threatened or endangered and not authorize actions that,,, >click to read< 16:12