A federal judge in Washington ruled in favor of Plaintiff Wild Fish Conservancy, finding that the National Marine Fisheries Services (NMFS) violated the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act by approving commercial fishing off the coast of Alaska. The court found that NMFS’s approval risked the safety of endangered orca whales in Washington waters by decreasing salmon populations and leaving the orcas with insufficient prey for survival. The judge adopted a September 2021 report and recommendation by a magistrate judge that found that NMFS’s biological opinion was flawed in its finding that the impacts of commercial fishing on salmon populations would be offset by mitigation programs.
[To accompany Federal Court Case Law Update "Federal Judge Rules NMFS Violated Federal Law and Risked Endangered Orcas" from Brooks Animal Law Digest Issue No. 151.]