Food Law, Natural Resources Law, Environmental Law, Administrative Law, Fishery Management, Chevron Doctrine


Well managed fisheries represent an excellent source of sustainable food making the management of which incredibly important. The management of fisheries in the United States is governed by The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSFCMA). While the Act creates strong goals and mandates to ensure the best management of fisheries as an important natural resource, there are issues of delegation within the act. The MSFCMA ultimately delegates authority to eight regional councils which are made up of unelected and un-appointed members. The membership of these councils is at risk of industry influence with little legal protections. Critical in how administrative law is reviewed is the Chevron doctrine which defers to reasonable agency decisions. This article argues that the Chevron should not apply to the decisions of these regional councils. In lieu of the traditional Chevron approach, a more appropriate analysis would add a Chevron “step zero” which looks at the entity actually making the decisions and the power that entity has before imploring Chevron.