HOUSTON, TX (3-27-2014) – In a case brought by commercial fishermen, seafood processors and trade groups closely associated with the Environmental Defense Fund, a federal district judge acknowledged this week that federal management of recreational anglers is deeply flawed and in need of overhaul. The lawsuit essentially challenged the National Marine Fisheries Service’s policy of setting hard quotas for the recreational sector without timely or reliable means to manage to such a standard.
“The judge ruled the only way she could given the realities of the federal fishery management system,” said Bill Bird, vice chairman of the National Government Relations Committee for the Coastal Conservation Association, which intervened on behalf of the interests of recreational anglers. “Under federal management, the rules of this fishery are designed exclusively to manage a few, elite commercial businesses seeking to profit from the sale of a public resource. While the plaintiffs simply intended this case to result in severe curtailment of the recreational sector, this decision also makes it abundantly clear that recreational anglers are at a dead end under federal management unless a solution can be found to suit their needs.”