On 5 April, 2002, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) on behalf of itself and Oceana, filed suit in U.S. District Court in San Francisco challenging the National Marine Fisheries Services' (NMFS) approval of the Pacific Fishery Management Council's 2002 fishery specifications and management measures for the Pacific Coast groundfish fishery, NRDC v. NMFS (C-02-1650, U.S.D.C for the Northern District of California).

Plaintiffs allege that the management plan approved set fishing harvests levels that fail to protect five of eight species of overfished groundfish. According to the complaint, NMFS "has determined that darkblotched rockfish is currently at only 12 percent of its unfished biomass.

This figure means that the darkblotched population has decreased by 88 percent. NMFS further has determined that bocaccio rockfish is at only 2 percent of its unfished biomass; that canary rockfish is at only 8 percent of its unfished biomass in the southern areas and at only 22 percent in the north; that cowcod is a less than 10 percent of its unfished biomass; and that widow rockfish is at only 24 percent of its unfished biomass."

Plaintiffs are asking the court to remand the specifications to NMFS "with instructions to revised the specifications to comply fully with federal law." For more information on the suit, contact NRDC's Drew Caputo at: