Pacific Whiting Fishing Quota Upheld

A federal judge Thursday rejected a fishing industry challenge to regulations that allocate limited fishing rights for pacific whiting off the coasts of California, Oregon and Washington.

U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson upheld the limits imposed by the National Marine Fisheries Service (MFS) to manage fish resources off the coast and provide for optimum yield from each fishery.

The fishery quota programs limit who can enter and participate in the fishery by settle a specific quantity of fish each individual fishery participant may harvest. Pacific Dawn, a Seattle-based company that owns and operates fishing boats and ships, filed the lawsuit.

Henderson found the MFS grounded their decision on the goals of the trawl fishing program in “reasoned scientific endeavor and articulated their reasons” throughout the process.

He also considered and rejected the fishing industry claim of three instances of political activity that suggested the 2013 allocation was the result of a political compromise.

Instead, Henderson said he found “nothing improper” in the activities cited, including correspondence from a representative of an intervener defendant, Midwater Trawler, and the MFS regional director.  Henderson rejected the idea that it was an improper contact between parties.

“Given the totality of the record, federal defendants have considered the relevant factors mandated by the MSA and articulated a rational connection between the facts found and the choice made to retain the original [allocation] in the 2013 individual fishing quota allocation,” Henderson wrote.

Case:  Pacific Dawn v. Pritzker, No. C113-1419TEH


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