Environmental Groups Sue to Overturn NMFS Opinion on Reef Fishing

Groups say National Marine Fisheries Service Violates Endangered Species Act.

Written by
John Virata

The Center for Biological Diversity and the Sea Turtle Conservancy have filed a lawsuit against the National Marine Fisheries Service, claiming that it is in violation of the Endangered Species Act and the Administrative Procedures Act for stating in a declaration that allowing the continuation of reef fishing “is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of elkhorn and staghorn coral.” These species of coral are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

The complaint states that the biological opinion of the NMFS enables fisherman to continue targeting parrotfish in areas where elkhorn and staghorn coral live, even though the corals are listed as threatened and depend on the parrotfish to rid the corals of algae that can blanket the corals and kill them. The Center and the Conservancy want a judicial review of the NMFS’s October 4, 2011 published opinion “Biological Opinion for the Continued Authorization of Reef Fish Fishing Managed under the Reef Fish Fishery Management Plan (FMP) of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.”

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Fish · Lifestyle