Fishers File Suit Challenging Designation of Offshore National Monument

Two Northeast fishers have filed suit against President Biden; Gina Raimondo, the Secretary of Commerce; and Deb Haaland, the Secretary of the Interior. Their complaint alleges that the designation of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, which bans or phases out commercial fishing in 5,000 square miles of the Atlantic Ocean, violates the Antiquities Act. The plaintiffs claim that: 1) the ocean floor does not constitute “land” under the Act; 2) that a portion of the protected area is not “owned or controlled by the Federal Government;” and 3) that “ecosystems” and the “biodiversity” contained within them are not “objects” able to be protected as national monuments. Plaintiffs are seeking declaratory judgment and injunctive relief.