CLA Comes Out On Top In Motion to Dismiss Menhaden Case
On Thursday, September 7th, CLA’s Executive Director David Reed traveled to Richmond, Virginia to argue the case before the Honorable Richard Campbell against the Virginia Marine Resources Commission’s (VMRC) motion to dismiss CLA’s challenge of the agency’s March 2023 decision to continue overharvesting of the menhaden fishery via reduction fishing.
In May 2023, CLA petitioned the Court, arguing on behalf of the Southern Maryland Recreational Fishing Organization that: 1) the VMRC promulgated menhaden regulations outside of the statutorily required timeframe, when none of the fishermen or public were looking; and 2) the VMRC abrogated its duties by ignoring Virginia fisheries laws mandating conservation and management measures be used in regulating the menhaden fishery. VMRC then moved to dismiss the case.
On Friday, October 6th, Judge Campbell issued his ruling, sustaining in part and overruling in part the VMRC’s Demurrer and Motion to Dismiss. While Judge Campbell found that VMRC did not err when it promulgated menhaden regulations outside of the required rulemaking period, the Judge agreed with CLA that VMRC may have failed to follow Virginia fisheries management laws. The Judge held that CLA’s claim that VMRC ignored the statutorily required conservation and management standards had merit and should continue. This includes the VMRC’s failure to promote conservation and equitable allocation, or to consider the best scientific, economic, biological and sociological information available, when promulgating its recent regulation.
CLA is optimistic about Judge Campbell’s decision, as it demonstrates that the court recognizes the merit in our argument that the VMRC abrogated its duty and ignored the mandated conservation and management standards for setting the state’s allowable menhaden harvest.
Read the full decision below: