On October 23, 2002, the California Fish and Game Commission created a network of marine reserves to protect threatened and endangered species and habitat along the California coast. Fishers filed a suit in Ventura County court in 2003 to block implementation of the reserve network. The court rejected the request, finding the challengers had not shown a likelihood that the suit would succeed or cause imminent harm to their interests.
Earthjustice intervened to defend the no-fishing reserve around the Channel Islands, and on February 17, 2004, a state appellate court upheld the trial court's ruling on the injunction request. In this decision to allow California to continue enforcing the West Coast's largest no-fishing zone, the appellate court also specifically rejected the claim that the California Constitution gives fishers and "absolute right to fish" in public waters.