No. 22-30105.

60 F.4th 956 (2023)

MEXICAN GULF FISHING COMPANY, partially owned by Billy Wells; Billy Wells, Captain, partially owns Mexican Gulf Fishing Company; A&B Charters Incorporated, owned by Allen Walburn; Allen Walburn, Captain, owns A&B Charters, Incorporated; Kraig Dafcik, Captain, part owner of the Alabama with A&B Charters; Ventimiglia, L.L.C., owned by Frank Ventimiglia, doing business as Sanibel Offshore Fishing Charters; Frank Ventimiglia, Captain, owns Ventimiglia, L.L.C.; Fishing Charters of Naples, owned by Jim Rinckey; Jim Rinckey, Captain, owns Fishing Charters of Naples; Capt. Joey D. Charter, Incorporated, owned by Joey Dobin; Joey Dobin, Captain, owns Capt. Joey D. Charter, Incorporated, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE; Gina Raimondo, in her official capacity as Secretary of Commerce; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, a scientific agency within the Department of Commerce; Richard W. Spinrad, in his official capacity as Administrator of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; National Marine Fisheries Service, a line office within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, also known as NOAA Fisheries; Nicole R. LeBouef, in her official capacity as Assistant Administrator for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Defendants-Appellees.

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit.

FILED February 23, 2023.

Attorney(s) appearing for the Case

John Julian Vecchione , Sheng Tao Li , Kara Rollins , New Civil Liberties Alliance, Washington, DC, Arthur Gregory Grimsal , Gordon Arata Montgomery Barnett, New Orleans, LA, New Orleans, LA, for Plaintiffs-Appellants.

Daniel Halainen , U.S. Department of Justice, Environment & Natural Resources Division-Appellate Section, Washington, DC, Elizabeth Anne Chickering , Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Louisiana, New Orleans, LA, for Defendants-Appellees.

Caleb Kruckenberg , Pacific Legal Foundation, Arlington, VA, for Amicus Curiae Pacific Legal Foundation.

Jay R. Carson , Wegman Hessler, L.P.A., Cleveland, OH, for Amicus Curiae The Buckeye Institute.

Elizabeth Baker Murrill, Esq. , Assistant Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General for the State of Louisiana, Baton Rouge, LA, for Amici Curiae States of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Mississippi.

J. Timothy Hobbs, Jr. , Ashley E.M. Gammell , Attorney, K & L Gates, L.L.P., Seattle, WA, for Amici Curiae Charter Fisherman's Association, Destin Charter Boat Association, Destin Charter Boat Association, Galveston Professional Boatman's Association, Florida Guides Association, Ocean Conservancy and Environmental Defense Fund.

Before Richman, Chief Judge, and Elrod and Oldham, Circuit Judges.

The shores of the Gulf of Mexico are home to many charter boats. These modest vessels range in size from thirty to forty feet, and usually serve small businesses. When a charter-boat captain is not using the ship for personal recreation, he or she charters a trip for six to eight...

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