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Bauer v. MRAG Americas, Inc., No. 09-17254

Tort Action by Fisheries Observer

In Bauer v. MRAG Americas, Inc., No. 09-17254, an action by a fisheries observer aboard a fishing boat who was injured by a cable on the vessel that snapped and hit her, the court affirmed the dismissal of the complaint where 16 U.S.C. section 1383a(e)(7)(A)'s immunity provision precluded a negligence suit by a federal observer who was injured while taking a restroom break.

As the court wrote:  "Congress passed the Marine Mammal Protection Act ("MMPA"), 16 U.S.C. §§ 1361 et seq., in response to the concern that marine mammals "are, or may be, in danger of extinction or depletion as a result of" human activities. Id. § 1361(1). As part of the protection efforts under both the Magnuson-Stevens Act, 16 U.S.C. §§ 1801 et seq., and the MMPA, the Secretary of Commerce may require vessels to have observers aboard to monitor compliance with fishing regulations and to "obtain statistically reliable information on the species and number of marine mammals incidentally taken in the fishery." Id. § 1383a(e)(1); see also id. § 1821(h)."

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