Ruling vacates Final Rule that required 24-7 GPS tracking of charter fishing boats in the Gulf of Mexico
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently ruled in favor of more than 1,300 federally permitted charter boat owners who challenged a Final Rule by the National Marine Fisheries Services (NMFS) requiring 24-7 GPS tracking and reporting of confidential economic data. The Fifth Circuit vacated the district court’s ruling in Mexican Gulf Fishing, et al., v. United States Department of Commerce et al finding that the agency violated the Administrative Procedure Act when it passed the Final Rule. The New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA) brought the class action lawsuit, and Gordon Arata served as local counsel, with firm Member Greg Grimsal and Associate Kate Clark providing support that was vital to the case.
In addition to tracking the movements of charter boat companies or for-hire vessels in the Gulf of Mexico – even when not using their federal permits to fish – NMFS required that the companies pay for the monitoring equipment which cost upwards of $3,000. Additionally, the Final Rule required companies to submit data, such as passenger pricing and fuel costs.
The case is a significant win for charter boat fisherman and the protection of individual privacy in general.
For an in-depth look at the case, view this “Lunch & Law” held in Washington, D.C. where Greg Grimsal joined NCLA Senior Litigation Counsel John Vecchione and President & CEO of The Buckeye Institute, Robert Alt.