Coastal Conservation Association – Reef Fish Litigation

Ball Janik LLP filed suit on CCA’s behalf in the United States District Court for the Middle District Of Florida, Fort Myers Division against Gary Locke, in his official capacity as Secretary of the United States Department of Commerce, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Marine Fisheries  Service (NMFS) over the government’s implementation of an Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) system for commercial fishing of grouper and other reef fish in the Gulf of Mexico at the expense of recreational anglers. This was a record review case and it was consolidated with a case brought by certain commercial fisherman denied IFQ permits. Ball Janik LLP acted as trial lead counsel for CCA.

This case addressed a significant policy shift in the manner and method used by the government to develop and implement IFQ systems within the Gulf of Mexico and in all other fisheries subject to the jurisdiction of the United States government. The Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance and the Environmental Defense Fund intervened on behalf of the government, Food & Water Watch, Inc., and filed an Amicus Brief in opposition to the IFQ system.

Summary judgment motions were filed and the Court's ruling allowed CCA to address terms of the IFQ system with the Gulf Council in a manner advantageous to its members.

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