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Biden named in North Atlantic commercial fishing ban lawsuit filed by fishermen

(The Center Square) – Fishermen in Massachusetts and New Jersey are challenging a Biden administration proclamation in court.

The fishermen have filed a lawsuit, Fehily et al. v. Biden et al., in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey alleging the proclamation that bans commercial fishing in the North Atlantic Ocean, primarily the Georges Bank area, saying it harms their ability to earn a living.

“The creation of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument violated the core requirements of the Antiquities Act to limit protections to specific monuments,” Pacific Legal Foundation attorney Frank Garrison said in a news release. “Most fundamentally, the Act gives the president authority to create monuments on federally owned or controlled land. The ocean is not land. Presidential action that goes beyond laws passed by Congress undermines the democratic process and the Constitution’s separation of powers.”

According to the release, President Joe Biden signed the proclamation that prevents fishermen Pat Fehily of New Jersey and Massachusetts’s Tim Malley from fishing an area that has supplied them for decades.

Fishermen, the release reads, follow the rules of a host of federal laws and regulations that have been put into effect to prevent harm to ocean ecosystems that many New England fishermen “rely on for their livelihoods.”

However, the suit alleges that the Biden administration believes “these provisions to be insufficient.”

According to the release, President Barack Obama in 2016 banned commercial fishing with the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument. Then in 2017, President Donald J. Trump worked to eliminate the commercial fishing ban in the area, but Biden has reinstated the ban.

The suit alleges that while the designation of protecting a historic or scientific monument under the Antiquities Act, which is more than 100 years old, the only protection within the act is for the monument itself and that the president would not have the power to ban commercial fishing over 5,000 square-miles of ocean.

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