A Hole in the Net: Errors in Statutory Interpretation Undermine Efforts to Reduce Dolphin Mortality in Defenders of Wildlife v. Hogarth

Svilik, Patricia
August 2004
Ecology Law Quarterly;2004, Vol. 31 Issue 3, p589
Academic Journal
Defenders of Wildlife v, Hogarth illustrates the conflict over domestic and international efforts to address dolphin mortalities associated with the Eastern Pacific tuna fishery. In upholding a rule promulgated by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMES), the court effectively contravened the International Dolphin Conservation Program Act (IDCPA), a duly enacted Congressional statute. As a dissenting judge stated, this holding "permits a new form of uneasy and illegitimate partnership between Congress and executive agencies that has previously been rejected by the United States Supreme Court." An analysis reveals that the decision does not follow canons of traditional statutory interpretation or the Supremacy Clause. The effects of this decision are to allow agency interpretations to trump their enabling statutes and to weaken the domestic dolphin protection regime.


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