Author: Damien M. Schiff
This week, PLF attorneys filed a notice of appearance on behalf of the petitioner in California Association for Recreational Fishing v. California Department of Fish & Game, here in Sacramento Superior Court. PLF attorneys are representing CARF, an organization of fish stockers, anglers, and businesses dependent on stocked fish, to challenge the Department's ongoing and proposed implementation of a suite of regulations that will essentially eliminate private fish ponds in California.
The case arises out of an environmental impact report that the Department completed a few years ago on the purported negative environmental impacts of stocking the state's waters with a variety of fish. The report recommended that the permitting process for fish stocking be radically changed to require onerous environmental review and disease certification as a condition to obtaining a fish stocking permit.
The gist of CARF's case, which was filed last year and which PLF attorneys are taking the lead on, is that the Department is currently enforcing many parts of the report's recommendations without having submitted the recommendations to the normal administrative rule making process, as required by the California Administrative Procedure Act. Also, the lawsuit contends that the Department's regulatory proposal to the California Fish and Game Commission to change the fish stocking permitting process is without legal foundation; for the Department erroneously contends that the environmental impact report provides both the authority and the mandate for the regulations' enactment.