San Francisco herring fishermen have sued federal officials claiming they have been illegally denied the right to commercial fishing of herring in waters bordering he Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
The San Francisco Herring Association suit, filed Thursday, alleges the Department of Interior and GGNRA officials have no legal authority to prohibit fishing in waters abutting the GGNRA.
Despite that, the suit says fishermen have been barred during the last two seasons, which run generally from January through mid-March in the San Francisco Bay region.
The ban has caused the association members, “small-scale independent fishermen, many of whom fish in husband-wife teams – significant financial losses.”
Herring fishing is a limited entry quota-fishery, which means only people granted a special permit can fish for herring in San Francisco Bay and the size of the catch is collectively limited to a specified amount.
The size of the catch is set by the Fish and Game Commission through public hearings and comment process.
But in 2011 the GGNRA “arbitrarily and unlawfully decided to prohibit commercial fishing in waters abutting the GGNRA,” according to the lawsuit.
The suit also argues the ban has harmed the commercial herring roe fishery, which has operated in San Francisco Bay since 1971.
The lawsuit claims the change violates the Administrative Procedures Act. The fishermen asked that ask that the court the ban is illegal and arbitrary and to permanently enjoin the GGNRA and federal authorities from enforcing the ban.
Case: San Francisco Herring Association v. U.S. Dept. of Interior, No. C13-1750NC