By Michelle C. Pardo
On June 16, 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS or Service), which licenses and regulates fisheries in federal waters, was not permitted to give the “benefit of the doubt” to endangered species or rely on worst-case scenarios or pessimistic assumptions in preparing biological opinions required by the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Maine Lobstermen’s Association v. National Marine Fisheries Service (D.C. Cir. June, 16, 2023) (slip opinion). Continue reading “D.C. Circuit Rejects National Marine Fisheries Service’s “Egregiously Wrong” Decision on Right Whales”
by John M. Simpson.
A recent action by the Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) illustrates how seriously the agency takes incidents of “harassing” protected species. According to a NOAA report, the agency fined a tourist $1,500 for “harassing” a monk seal and sea turtle on the Hawaiian island of Kau’i. Continue reading “Petting a Protected Species Can Cost You”
by John M. Simpson
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) published final regulations in the Federal Register on July 27, 2918 governing the unintentional taking of marine mammals incidental to fisheries research conducted in the Pacific Ocean by the NMFS’ Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC). 83 Fed. Reg. 36370 (July 27, 2018). The regulations are effective from August 27, 2018 through August 28, 2023. Continue reading “Fisheries Service Issues Incidental Taking Regulations”
The Trump Administration recently announced a proposal to merge the operations of the Department of Commerce’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) into the Department of Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). Historically, NMFS has been charged with administration of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), focusing primarily upon marine mammals, while FWS has administered the Endangered Species Act (ESA) primarily with respect to species located upon land or inland fisheries. The reorganization initiative is part of a larger plan entitled Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century: Reform Plan and Reorganization Recommendation, containing proposals affecting several federal agencies. Continue reading “Trump Administration Announces Plan to Consolidate Wildlife Agencies”