Gloucester and New Bedford Ports Appeal 2010 Federal Regulations
In our last blog, we discussed how the federal government opened the door to $100 million in emergency funds to aid New England fisherman, but the money must first pass Congress. In the meantime, fishermen are struggling with the 2010 federal regulations regarding sector allotments.
The new rules implemented in May 2010 allows for individual portions of the total catch for certain species, then takes the rest and pools the allotments in groups called sectors. The cod and flounder stocks are way down and have not made substantial increases since the regulations have passed. This was a major change from the old rules to prevent overfishing, which limited the number of days fishermen could be out at sea.
In June 2011, the U.S. District Court endorsed the new regulations, and the ports of Gloucester and New Bedford filed an appeal. The ports argued that the regulators imposing the law were bypassing safeguards meant to protect the small fisherman against the larger fisheries. The ports are asking for the lower courts to ensure the safeguards are met—which could also completely overhaul the regulations.
The Justice Department, arguing in favor of the new regulations, noted that the rules were only implemented months after ongoing public negotiations and are intended to help rebuild the stocks. The Conservation Law Foundation also supports the regulations and claims the Gloucester and New Bedford ports do not represent all fisherman, many of whom it claimed support the changes. Our firm will update this story once the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals hands down the decision.
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Latti & Anderson LLP – Boston maritime attorneys