SAN FRANCISCO HERRING ASSOC. V. USDOI, No. 20-17412 (9th Cir. 2022)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff, a non-profit group composed of small business owners who fish in the Bay Area, sued various government agencies seeking to prevent the enforcement of a commercial fishing prohibition that applies generally in national parks. Plaintiff claims that the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) does not confer with National Park Service with the ability to regulate offshore waters. The district court granted summary judgment to the government entities.
The Ninth Circuit affirmed, finding that the text and structure of the GGNRA Act confirm that Congress has given the Park Service administrative jurisdiction over the waters in question. Nothing in the GGNRA Act supports the Plaintiff's position, that the Park Service must first establish a property interest in the waters from the State of California.
Court Description: Golden Gate National Recreation Area Act. The panel affirmed the district court’s summary judgment in favor of the government in a lawsuit alleging that the National Park Service lacked authority to prohibit commercial herring fishing in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The panel held that the text and structure of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (“GGNRA”) Act confirmed that Congress has given the Park Service administrative jurisdiction over the waters in question and authorized the Park Service to administer the navigable waters within the Recreation Area’s boundaries one-quarter mile offshore. The panel rejected appellant’s argument that the Park Service could only administer the navigable waters of the GGNRA if the Service acquired a formal property interest in those waters from the State of California. Nothing in the GGNRA Act imposed such an unusual (and potentially * The Honorable Morrison C. England, Jr., United States District Judge for the Eastern District of California, sitting by designation. SAN FRANCISCO HERRING ASS’N V. USDOI 3 unachievable) condition precedent upon the Park Service’s usual authority over navigable waters within park boundaries. The language and context of the GGNRA Act instead reflected the commonsense conclusion that Congress did not include navigable waters within the boundaries of the GGNRA and direct their protection, only to severely hamstring the Park Service in accomplishing that objective. The Park Service therefore could administer the navigable waters of San Francisco Bay within the GGNRA, with the consequence that it may enforce its commercial fishing rules in those waters.