Lawsuit Against Department of Natural Resources Has Hearing in C - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Lawsuit Against Department of Natural Resources Has Hearing in Cambridge

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CAMBRIDGE, Md.- The Harvesters Land and Sea Coalition huddled outside the Dorchester County Circuit Court on Tuesday, trying to figure out the next move.  Their fight at a motion hearing did not go as planned. 

The Coalition is arguing that the Maryland Department of Natural Resources cut quotas too severely in the menhaden fishery last summer, and says they have no science behind their claims of overharvesting.

The Attorneys General representing the DNR did not wish to comment, but in the court room said that studies given to the state by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission which requested a reduction in quotas, was proof enough to alter the regulations.

Tuesday's hearing did not go well for the Coalition.

"At this time the court ruled we can't use our expert.  The judge did leave the door open for us that we can postpone the trial date and come back and use our expert.  But if that happens, that's something we're gonna do.  We're gonna talk to our clients about that." said Jeff Blomquist, lawyer for the group of watermen.

During the hearing, the judge said that if a request for a postponement came, he would recommend against it.  Another motion filed by the attorneys general requested a summary judgement be made on the case, meaning the judge could decide the outcome by Friday, May 11th.

Rob Newberry, one of the founding members of the Harvesters Land and Sea, says he's hoping the judge will allow the trial to continue as planned.

"We have to have faith that things are gonna go good and all we can do is hit our knees and pray that this judge is gonna make a good decision.  I hope he does.  I hope he does to save our industry because if he doesn't, we're all done." said Newberry.

If the judge passes on the summary judgement, the trial is set to begin in one month.
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