April 20, 2017 — Three environmental groups cannot join the U.S. government to defend against a challenge to an Obama administration rule requiring seafood companies to report the origin of the fish they sell, a federal judge ruled.
The National Resources Defense Council, the Center for Biological Diversity and Oceana asked the court on March 7 to join the government in defending a suit from a group of fishing companies challenging the seafood traceability rule, which requires companies to disclose on a government form the vessel or collection point of origin for their fish.
The companies say the rule will make seafood more expensive. The environmentalists say it is critical to protecting fish populations from illegal fishing. The environmentalists made specific arguments in support of the rule, telling U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta that reversal would affect their daily lives.
Rachel Golden Kroner, in a declaration supporting Oceana, said that if the companies invalidate the seafood traceability rule she would be at greater risk of buying illegally fished seafood, preventing her from making “sustainable seafood choices.”
Todd Steiner, with the Center for Biological Diversity, said that without the rule he would have a harder time studying at-risk populations.
But on Monday Mehta shot down their chance to make their case in court, saying the groups had not shown that overturning the rule would harm them enough to give them standing in the case.