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We Help Clients Navigate Evolving Fishery Management Plans and Policies

Our clients include commercial fishermen and processors throughout the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. We have substantial experience on all types of issues affecting the commercial fishing industry and assist these clients with issues ranging from the development of catch share programs, to the Council process for amendments to fishery management plans, to litigation.

Our lawyers have a thorough and practiced knowledge of the laws affecting the commercial fishing industry, including the Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, American Fisheries Act, Endangered Species Act, and Clean Water Act. We counsel clients on a broad range of regulatory and litigation issues, including allocation of fishing privileges and new quota share and limited entry programs. We advocate on behalf of our clients before administrative agencies and regional fishery management councils. When necessary, we represent clients in court on a range of fishery-related matters.


  • Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation & Management Act
  • Catch Share Programs
  • Fishery Management Council Proceedings
  • Limited Entry Programs
  • Litigation
  • Regulatory Development and Rulemaking
  • Sector Allocations

Representative Client Work

Represented a major fishing and processing company in a challenge to National Marine Fisheries Service allocations for the multi-million dollar Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Pacific Cod fishery under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Fishermen’s Finest, Inc. v. Gutierrez, 2008 WL 2782909 (W.D. Wash.)
Appeal pending, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals No. 08-36024.
Represented a group of California trawl vessel owners affected by the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s trawl rationalization program in the development of a fair and equitable catch shares program for the non-whiting groundfish fishery.
Program was revised in order to preserve adequate incidental catch shares for our clients’ continued prosecution of their directed fisheries.
Represented a vessel owner before the Pacific Fishery Management Council with respect to an emerging limited entry program for Pacific whiting and preserved our client’s ability to continue its long-time participation in the fishery.
Secured client’s ability to continue to fish for Pacific whiting.
Lead coordinating counsel for multiple fishing industry parties in defense of a challenge under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) involving Steller sea lions by environmental groups to Bering Sea, Aleutian Islands, and Gulf of Alaska fishery management plans that threatened to shut down commercial fishing in large areas of the ocean off of Alaska. Greenpeace, American Oceans Campaign v. National Marine Fisheries Service, 237 F. Supp. 2d 1181 (W.D. Wash. 2000), 106 F. Supp. 2d 1066 (W.D. Wash. 2000), 198 F.R.D. 540 (W.D. Wash. 2000), 80 F. Supp. 2d 1137 (W.D. Wash. 2000), 55 F. Supp. 2d 1248 (W.D. Wash. 1999).
This multi-year federal court litigation permanently and significantly changed how multi-million dollar trawl fisheries are conducted in Alaska, but in a manner that allowed our clients to successfully continue their long-time fishing businesses.
Provided pro bono representation for a coalition of sports fisherman in a lawsuit filed in federal court seeking to enforce the United States’ obligation to conduct section 7 consultation under the ESA before allowing endangered salmon and steelhead to be imported into the United States from Canada.
This listing attempts to force the federal government to consider the impact of recreational fishing in Canada on threatened Northwest salmon populations.The same coalition previously challenged the assessment of impacts from commercial fishing in Canada and of all fisheries affecting threatened Puget Sound Chinook.

Jessica K. Ferrell

Jessica K. Ferrell
Jessica Ferrell is an accomplished first-chair trial lawyer and head of Marten Law’s Litigation Practice Group. She has 14 years of diverse courtroom and advisory experience and an extensive background in energy and environmental law and policy.


Douglas W. MacDougal

Douglas W. MacDougal

Doug MacDougal has over 30 years of experience in water rights, natural resources, and real estate law. More

Alaska Seafood Cooperative: Endangered Species Act Fishing Regulations Related to Steller Sea Lions

Marten Law represents Seattle-based fishing companies, Adak Community Development Association and Aleut Corporation in litigation defending the re-opening of the Aleutian Islands to cod and mackerel fishing. More

Fishermen’s Finest, Inc.: Challenge to Fisheries Allocations

We represented a major fishing and processing company in a challenge to National Marine Fisheries Service allocations for the multi-million dollar Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Pacific Cod fishery under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Fishermen’s Finest, Inc. v. Locke, 593 F.3d 886 (9th Cir. 2010).

Middle Fork Irrigation District (MFID): Fisheries Management Plan

Compliance with MFID’s Special Use Permit from the United States Forest Service evolved into an informal ESA consultation focusing on threatened Bull Trout, and other species, in the Districts’ Laurance Lake reservoir and tributaries. More

State of Louisiana (Gulf Oil Spill)

The firm acted as Special Counsel to the Attorney General of the State of Louisiana in the Gulf Oil spill litigation. Marten Law was the only out-of-state firm selected to assist the Attorney General. Louisiana was a principal complainant (along with the United States and four other Gulf states) in the largest environmental lawsuit ever brought in the United States. More