Court Rejects Fishing Industry Challenge to Ocean Monuments

Decision affirms the legality of Northeast Canyons and Seamounts monument

Octopus in Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument. Photo courtesy of NOAA.

October 5, 2018 (BOSTON) – Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) released the following statement today in response to the U.S. District Court decision to dismiss a case brought by the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association and other industry groups challenging the legality of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument.

“Today’s historic decision is a clear victory for our oceans and for the Atlantic’s only marine national monument,” said Peter Shelley, Senior Counsel at CLF. “This decision guarantees that one of the most fragile and scientifically important areas in the North Atlantic will be protected from destructive activities like oil drilling and industrial fishing. Protecting the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts ensures that we are leaving a proud legacy for the people of New England.”

In today’s decision, the court made clear that the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts is a legally established marine national monument. Commercial fishing groups had argued that the president does not have power under the Antiquities Act to protect ocean areas and important marine resources. The court soundly rejected those arguments, along with claims that the monument created undue economic hardship on fishermen.

CLF, along with other environmental organizations, was an intervener in the case and will continue to fight to defend the marine monument and all national monuments.

CLF experts are available for further comment.