Z-1370.1          _______________________________________________


                                 SENATE BILL 6052



State of Washington              52nd Legislature             1992 Regular Session


By Senators Snyder, Bauer, Sellar, Conner and Rasmussen; by request of Department of Fisheries


Read first time 01/13/92.  Referred to Committee on Environment & Natural Resources.Directing a study of the coastal crab fishery.

     AN ACT Relating to commercial crab fishing in coastal waters; adding a new section to chapter 75.30 RCW; creating new sections; and declaring an emergency.




     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1.      The legislature finds that a significant commercial crab fishery exists in the coastal waters of Washington, Oregon, and California.  The legislature finds that the Washington coastal crab fishery represents a separate and distinct fishery from that of the Puget Sound licensing district and that it is limited in quantity.  Crab fishing, however, is an attractive alternative to fishers who face increased restrictions on other commercial fisheries of the state and region.  The legislature finds that there is potential for an economically distressed and disorderly fishery due to the potential increase in the number of crab fishers.  Based upon these circumstances, the legislature needs additional information to determine whether it should make substantial changes in the future management and licensing of the coastal crab fishery, including but not limited to, future restrictions on the number of fishers in the coastal crab fishery.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2.  A new section is added to chapter 75.30 RCW to read as follows:

     (1) The department of fisheries, as a member of the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, shall participate, along with the member states of Oregon and California and the coastal crab industry, in a coast-wide study conducted by the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission of the Dungeness crab fishery and report upon:

     (a) The biological status of the coast-wide crab resource;

     (b) The optimum number of fishers, vessels, licenses, and gear in the coastal crab fishery of each state for purposes of wise use of the resource and orderly management of the coast-wide crab fishery;

     (c) The number of fishers, vessels, licenses, and the amount of gear currently used in the coast-wide crab fishery;

     (d) The feasibility of and need for coordinated and concurrent legislative action by the states of Washington, Oregon, and California to manage the Pacific coastal crab resource;

     (e) Any advantages and disadvantages of establishing future limits on the issuance of new Washington coastal commercial crab fishing licenses under RCW 75.28.130(4) or other limits on entry into the coastal crab fishery; and

     (f) The potential for increase in the number of or fishing capacity of coastal crab fishers.

     The department shall submit the results of the study, recommendations of the department, and comments by the industry and the public to the governor and the legislature no later than June 30, 1993.

     (2) This section does not impose a moratorium on issuance of licenses to allow participation in the coastal crab fishery.  After considering the results and recommendations of the study referred to in subsection (1) of this section, the legislature may consider limitations on the issuance of licenses to reduce the number of fishers or vessels, the amount of gear in the coastal crab fishery, and vessel fishing capacity.

     (3) A fisher or vessel that obtains a license necessary to participate in the coastal crab fishery on and after September 15, 1991, is informed that the fisher or vessel may be precluded, at a future date, from participation in the coastal crab fishery.  The legislature will review the study described in this section and determine the appropriate course of action to manage the coastal crab fishery.  Future legislative action may include restrictions on the issuance of coastal crab licenses to fishers who were not licensed as of the effective date of this act or restrictions of participation of fishers or vessels that have not demonstrated substantial participation in the Washington coastal crab fishery before September 15, 1991.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 3.      Concurrent with the submission of the study referred to in section 2 of this act, the department of fisheries shall provide the legislature with a report indicating the number of new entrants in the Washington coastal crab fishery after September 15, 1991.  Additionally, the report shall include the date on which the new entrant obtained a coastal crab license and the number and type of additional Washington commercial fishing licenses held by the new entrant.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 4.      This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and shall take effect immediately.