Coastal Fisheries lawsuit moves forward

fisheries

Court rules in favor of Citizen Coalition in fisheries lawsuit

In a unanimous decision on Sept 6, 2022, the North Carolina Court of Appeals rejected the State of North Carolina’s request for immunity from a lawsuit brought by 86 citizen plaintiffs and the Coastal Conservation Association of North Carolina to hold the State accountable for mismanaging North Carolina’s coastal fisheries.  In July 2021, a Wake County trial judge rejected the State’s request for immunity from the lawsuit.  On Sept. 6, a three-judge panel of the North Carolina Court of Appeals affirmed that decision, rejecting the State’s arguments and ruling in favor of the citizen coalition and CCA NC on every issue.

As the Court of Appeals’ opinion explained, the State has “an affirmative duty . . . to preserve the people’s right to fish and harvest fish,” which includes a “duty to preserve fisheries for the benefit of the public” and a “duty to keep fisheries safe from injury, harm, or destruction for all time.”  A copy of the Court of Appeals’ decision can be found here.

The Court of Appeals’ unanimous ruling means that the lawsuit will proceed to a stage where the plaintiffs have an opportunity to establish the merits of their claims-claims that CCA NC and the citizen coalition maintain are supported by overwhelming evidence and the State’s own data.  “We are gratified by the Court of Appeals’ unanimous decision, which reaffirms over a century of precedent and upholds a constitutional amendment ratified by approximately 60% of the voters,” said CCA NC’s Executive Director, David Sneed.  “We look forward to proving our case on the merits and ensuring that a legacy of sustainable coastal fisheries will be there for all our children and grandchildren.”

For more information, please visit our website: Coastal Conservation Association of North Carolina | CCA NC

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