Bayside Fish Flour Co. v. Gentry
Annotate this Case
297 U.S. 422 (1936)
U.S. Supreme Court
Bayside Fish Flour Co. v. Gentry, 297 U.S. 422 (1936)
Bayside Fish Flour Co. v. Gentry
Argued February 12, 1936
Decided March 2, 1936
297 U.S. 422
1. The Fish and Game Code of California, for the purpose of conserving for food the fish found within the waters of the State, regulates the local processing of sardines, whether taken within those waters or imported. As applied to a manufacturing company treating only sardines brought in from the high seas and disposing of its products only in interstate and foreign commerce, held:
(1) That the regulation is not invalid under the commerce clause of the Constitution, since, in purpose and in direct operation, it is confined to a merely local activity, and if it affects interstate or foreign commerce, the result is purely incidental. Foster Packing Co. v. Haydel, 278 U. S. 1, distinguished. P. 297 U. S. 425.
(2) To the extent that the Act deals with the use or treatment of sardines brought into the State, they being indistinguishable from those taken within the three-mile limit, it is justifiable upon the ground that it operates as a shield against the covert depletion of the local supply, and thus tends to effectuate the policy of the law by rendering evasion of it less easy. P. 297 U. S. 426.
(3) The regulation is within the state police power. Id.
(4) It is not void under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment because, indirectly, it is a deterrent to the exercise of the right to contract for the purchase of sardines taken from the high seas and brought into the State. P. 297 U. S. 427.
2. A statute does not become unconstitutional merely because it has created a condition of affairs which renders the making of a related contract, lawful in itself, ineffective. ld.
3. State regulations bearing a reasonable relation to an object within the state police power -- e.g., the conservation of the State's fish supply -- cannot be declared invalid because a court may regard them as ineffectual or harsh in particular instances, or as aids to an objectionable policy. Id.
4. The differences between a process of canning the edible portions of fish in their original form for food and a more rapid process of reducing them to a flour or meal which may be readily diverted to other purposes than human consumption are enough to justify,
consistently with equal protection, restrictions of the latter process not imposed upon the former, in regulations adopted by a State to conserve her fish supply for food. P. 297 U. S. 428.
8 F.Supp. 67 affirmed.
Appeal from a decree which dismissed a bill to enjoin the above-named appellees, officers of California, from enforcing certain portions of the State Fish and Game Code.
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