January 19, 2018
Judge Koh ruled that NMFS failed to base their annual catch limit (25,000 mt), acceptable biological catch (25,000 mt), and overfishing limit (100,000 mt) for anchovy on the best available scientific information. At the time NMFS promulgated its Catch Rule, the best available science showed that the anchovy population was likely less than 32,000 mt and anchovy-dependent predators like the California brown pelican and California sea lion had already experienced multi-year starvation and breeding failures due to lack of food. Judge Koh also found that NMFS failed to demonstrate that the rule would prevent overfishing, as required by the Magnuson Act. Because she found it failed to prevent overfishing, she did not reach the claim that the rule also failed to achieve optimum yield by accounting for the food needs of marine predators. Finally, she held that our challenge to the previously established overfishing limit and acceptable biological catch (from which the annual catch limit is derived) was timely under the 9th Circuit Ore. Trollers decision.