The First Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated a seasonal closure on lobster fishing in an area of approximately 967 square miles off the coast of Maine. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) had issued the closure rule on August 31,2021 to protect critically endangered right whales from becoming entangled in lobster trap lines. The lower court had granted an injunction to lobster fishers to prevent the closure from being implemented, but the federal appeals court reversed, finding that the district court had “misapprehended the record and overstepped its role in rejecting the judgments of the agency that Congress has charged with protecting endangered marine mammals.” The First Circuit stayed the district court’s order, allowing NMFS to implement the seasonal closure while the parties proceed with litigation.
[To accompany Federal Case Law Update "Federal Court Reinstates Restriction on Lobster Fishing in Endangered Whale Habitat" from Brooks Animal Law Digest Issue No. 115.]