WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) — Several commercial fishermen's groups are suing top federal officials, including President Trump, over last year's designation of a 5,000-square-mile offshore area in New England as a national marine monument that restricts fishing.
The Massachusetts Lobstermen's Association, Atlantic Offshore Lobstermen's Association, Long Island Commercial Fishing Association, Garden State Seafood Association and Rhode Island Fishermen's Alliance filed a complaint on March 7 in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the defendants, which include Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Benjamin Friedman of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
The fishermen's organizations allege that former President Barack Obama wrongfully declared an area of the Atlantic Ocean to be the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Marine Monument in September.
According to the complaint, commercial fishermen who were affected by having the entire area declared off-limits sustained damages. The plaintiffs hold the federal officials responsible because the federal government allegedly exceeded its power under the Antiquities Act.
The plaintiffs seek to declare that the Antiquities Act does not authorize the president to establish ocean monuments. They also want an injunction against the defendants, court costs and any further relief the court grants. They are represented by Jonathan Wood and Todd Gaziano of the Pacific Legal Foundation in Arlington, Va.
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Case number 1:17-cv-00406-JEB