The government need not face claims that the amended New England fishery program leaves groundfish vulnerable to overfishing, a federal judge ruled.
Fishery management plans establish catch thresholds and "outline procedures for monitoring commercial fishing," under the oversight of the National Marine Fisheries Service, according to the Tuesday ruling.
In 2012, the service amended its New England fishery program with a rule that called for independent observers to monitor catch limits and the fishing of Northeast groundfish on 17 percent to 25 percent of all fishing trips.
Oceana challenged the rule in a federal complaint against the service, the secretary of Commerce, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
It argued that the low monitoring rates were insufficient to protect groundfish from overfishing, especially since these rates in other fisheries were much higher - sometimes 100 percent.