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A Voice for our Ocean

Statement from Ocean Conservancy on Latest Supreme Court Cases on Fisheries and Chevron Doctrine

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Washington, D.C. — On Wednesday, January 17, the Supreme Court of the United States will hear oral arguments in Relentless Inc. v. Department of Commerce (combined with Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo). This case could overturn the Chevron doctrine, which would reverse 40 years of precedent and create chaos for regulatory agencies. Meredith Moore, Director of Ocean Conservancy’s Fish Conservation Program, issued the following statement: 
“The consequences of this case will be serious for fishery management, yes. But it also puts at risk all of the environmental and social programs that keep our air and water clean, our homes and workplaces safe, and ourselves and our children healthy. 
“In Relentless, the Court could dramatically hamstring the ability of scientists and civil servants to bring their professional expertise to the complex challenges that face our country. Particularly as climate change destabilizes our environment with fires, floods, and heat waves, the American people need reassurance that generalist judges can’t arbitrarily overturn scientific expertise. 
“The high-quality fishery data being questioned in Relentless is collected by professionally trained biological technicians and is used to monitor federal fisheries, assess fish populations, and prevent overfishing. The loss of this data would have profound impacts on our ability to sustainably manage fisheries so that future generations inherit healthy oceans. However, the Relentless case goes far beyond management of our publicly owned fishery resources. Fisheries are being used as a Trojan horse for a broader effort to weaken the role of science and expertise in the way our government operates. If successful, a sustainable and more just future for people and the environment will slip further away.
“If the Supreme Court eradicates Chevron deference, it will overturn 40 years of foundational administrative and environmental law that has provided stable public resource management. It will allow science-based management and agency expertise to be replaced with the inexpert policy and ideological preferences of unelected judges, potentially resulting in dramatically different interpretations of law across the country.” 


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Ocean Conservancy is working to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. Together with our partners, we create evidence-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it. For more information, visit, or follow us on FacebookX (formerly known as Twitter) or Instagram.

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