Justices announced Monday that they will take the case, which stems from a lawsuit by a group of fishermen who want to stop the federal government from making them pay for the workers. The workers are tasked with collecting data on board fishing vessels to help inform rules and regulations.
The fishermen involved in the lawsuit harvest Atlantic herring, which is a major fishery off the East Coast that supplies both food and bait. Lead plaintiff Loper Bright Enterprises of New Jersey and other fishing groups have said federal rules unfairly require them to pay hundreds of dollars per day to contractors.
“Our way of life is in the hands of these justices, and we hope they will keep our families and our community in mind as they weigh their decision,” said Bill Bright, a New Jersey fisherman and plaintiff in the case.
The high court announced its decision to take the case via an order list that made no comment on the merits of the lawsuit. The fishermen previously lost in lower court rulings. Their lawsuit over fishing monitors is part of a long-standing fight between commercial fishing groups and the federal government over who pays for data collection and regulatory compliance.
Fishermen have argued that Congress never gave federal regulators authority to require the expense of paying for monitors.