Fishermen's Finest Inc., one of the largest groundfish harvesters operating in Alaska, is appealing a court ruling to recover $80 million (€69 million) it claims it's owed by the US government.
The Washington-based company filed an appeal with a US federal circuit court claiming the US government violated the US Constitution by the "taking of private property without just compensation" under a measure authorized by former US president Donald Trump.
According to the company, a section of the measure "singles out three specific domestic fishing vessels and one specific fishing license," all which are owned or operated by Fishermen's Finest.
In addition, the measure "unlawfully takes private property rights earned and purchased by [Fishermen's Finest]" including licenses and permits for a period up to six years.
In August 2020, the company sought damages against the US government in a Washington state-based court, seeking $78.2 million (€67.4 million).
The three impacted vessels are the America's Finest, the US Intrepid and America No.1. The catcher-processor trawl vessels primarily target flounder, cod, sole and rockfish.
Fishermen's Finest stated in court it spent more than $70 million (€60.4 million) to build America's Finest. The 264-foot factory trawler built at Washington State's Dakota Shipyard is the largest private shipbuilding investment in more than a decade in the United States.
Under the Coast Guard Measure, Fishermen's Finest said its vessels have not been able to "harvest and process to the full extent that their catch histories would allow."
The company said these conditions will persist through 2024.
The court ultimately sided with the US government and dismissed the motion, saying Fishermen's Finest "failed to demonstrate the existence of a legally cognizable property interest" with its request.