Gulf Fishermens Ass'n v. National Marine Fisheries Service, No. 19-30006 (5th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
A federal agency may not create an "aquaculture," or fish farming, regime in the Gulf of Mexico pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976.
The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's ruling that the Fisheries' challenged aquaculture rule exceeds the agency's statutory authority. The court explained that the Act neither says nor suggests that the agency may regulate aquaculture; the court rejected the agency's interpretation of Congress's silence on the matter as an invitation; explained that Congress does not delegate authority merely by not withholding it; and the court rejected the agency's argument that the Act's definition of "fishing" gives it authority to regulate aquaculture. The court noted that if anyone is to expand the forty-year-old Magnuson-Stevens Act to reach aquaculture for the first time, it must be Congress.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on August 4, 2020.