Chevron ruling could upend NOAA fishery management

By Daniel Cusick, Rob Hotakainen | 07/03/2024 01:50 PM EDT

The agency whose actions triggered last week’s landmark Supreme Court ruling ending Chevron deference is now expected to go back to court to defend its mandate requiring industry-paid observers on herring fishing boats.

Herring are unloaded from a fishing boat in Rockland, Maine.

Herring are unloaded from a fishing boat in Rockland, Maine. Robert F. Bukaty/AP

One of the most significant Supreme Court rulings in recent years curbing the regulatory authority of federal agencies began with a handful of herring fishing vessels off the North Atlantic coast.

The general manager of Seafreeze Ltd., a company that owns two of those boats — the trawlers F/V Relentless and F/V Persistence that freeze their catch onboard — said the court’s 6-3 ruling last week ending the Chevron doctrine was of “David vs. Goliath” proportions.

“It’s absolutely a win for the little guy,” said Meghan Lapp in an interview from North Kingstown, Rhode Island, where the company is based. “One of the things I’m really happy about is today, finally, after 40 years the United States citizen has the same right in court as the United States government. And I think that’s a very big win.”


Environmental groups, fisheries experts and observers agreed the Supreme Court’s overturning of what’s known as Chevron deference — established by a 1984 Supreme Court case involving the oil giant — could lead to major changes, warning in particular it could upend aspects of the government’s regulatory framework for fisheries.