San Francisco Herring Assoc. v. U.S. Department of the Interior, No. 18-15443 (9th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
The Association filed suit challenging the National Park Service's authority to prohibit commercial herring fishing in the waters of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco Bay. In a prior appeal, the Ninth Circuit held that the Association had failed to allege any final agency action under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), and directed the district court to dismiss the case. On remand, the district court allowed the Association to replead, but held that its proposed amendments still failed to allege final agency action.
The panel held that the Association's proposed second amended complaint sufficiently alleged final agency action; the Park Service's in-water enforcement orders were final agency action that could be challenged in court; and the Park Service's contrary position that would require fishermen either to violate the law and risk serious punishment or engage in unnecessary further pleas before the agency would leave regulated parties facing stiff penalties without the judicial recourse that the APA enables. The panel held, however, that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying leave to add a Declaratory Judgment Act count that the Association could have brought much earlier. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.