Fishermen's Finest, Inc. v. United States, No. 21-2326 (Fed. Cir. 2023)Annotate this Case
The 1976 Magnuson–Stevens Act contemplated “[a] national program for the conservation and management of the fishery resources of the United States,” 16 U.S.C. 1801(a)(6), and established the United States 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). A 2007 amendment established national criteria for quota-based fishing programs, (limited access privilege programs) and authorized the quota-based fishing permits and licenses at issue in this Fifth Amendment takings claim, in which fishing businesses challenged four different permitting, licensing, and endorsement requirements
The Federal Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the suit for lack of a cognizable property interest in the fishing endorsements, licenses, and permits, separate from or appurtenant to their fishing vessels. Precedent establishes that fishing permits and licenses issued under the Act are revocable privileges, not compensable property interests. The Magnuson–Stevens Act refers to “congressional intent not to confer any right, title, or interest, and to preserve the government’s authority to revoke privileges enjoyed in” fishing licenses and permits. The National Marine Fisheries Service’s regulations did not create compensable property rights in permits or licenses. licenses; permits did not have the essential characteristics of compensable property—transferability and the right to exclude others. There is no inherent right in vessel ownership to fish within the EEZ.