Fishermen sue Interior and parks

04/25/2013

Herring fishermen filed suit last Thursday challenging a ruling by the managers of Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) that would prohibit the historic commercial fishery from operating in San Francisco Bay. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco, alleges the government overstepped its authority by saying in November that it would prevent fishing because of existing law and “to conserve the scenery and natural and historic objects and wildlife of the parks, and at the same time to provide for public enjoyment of the parks in manner that will leave them unimpaired for future generations,” wrote GGNRA superintendent Frank Dean, who is named as a defendant alongside Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and National Park Service (NPS) director Jon Jarvis. The San Francisco Herring Association, which represents commercial operations in the historic bay fishery and filed the lawsuit, said the federal government lacked jurisdiction to ban fishing enterprises, according to their San Francisco-based lawyer, Stuart Gross. “For over forty years the San Francisco Bay herring fishery and the GGNRA have existed side-by-side,” Mr. Gross said in a statement. “Now, inexplicably, the NPS has asserted jurisdiction over the waters abutting the GGNRA and prohibited fishing in those waters. Quite simply, the NPS has no legal authority to do so.” Fishermen also argue that allowing low levels of regular herring fishing helps younger populations of the silvery fish develop. Alexandra Picavet, NPS spokeswoman, declined to comment on a pending lawsuit. Pregnant herring, captured during spawning season from January to March, are desired for their roe, a delicacy in Japanese cuisine.