New Hampshire fisherman David Goethel is looking to the federal appeals court to overturn a federal judge’s ruling that allows NOAA Fisheries to impose the cost of at-sea monitoring on Northeast groundfish permit holders.

Goethel, represented by lawyers from the Cause of Action watchdog group, has filed an appeal with the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston, hoping to reverse U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Laplante’s July 29 ruling in Goethel’s lawsuit that granted summary judgment to the federal government.

“NOAA lacks the authority to require industry funding for at-sea monitors. Its decision to do so violates federal statutes and the Constitution,” said Alfred Lechner Jr., president and chief executive officer of Cause of Action as well as a former federal judge. “Our clients had a legal right to their day in court at the time they filed suit. The decision holding otherwise is an error. An appeal from the decision of the district court has been filed.”

The original lawsuit, filed by Goethel and the South Dartmouth-based Northeast Fishing Sector 13 last December in U.S. District Court in Concord, New Hampshire, claimed the federal government violated fishermen’s constitutional rights by mandating they pay for the at-sea monitoring coverage designed to make sure fishermen are adhering to the intricacies of the federal fishery management regulations.

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