S-3281.2          _______________________________________________


                                 SENATE BILL 6197



State of Washington              52nd Legislature             1992 Regular Session


By Senators Owen, Craswell and Oke


Read first time 01/21/92.  Referred to Committee on Environment & Natural Resources.Establishing Hood Canal as a marine fish preservation area.

     AN ACT Relating to establishing Hood Canal as a marine fish preservation area; adding new sections to Title 75 RCW; adding a new section to chapter 75.12 RCW; and creating new sections.




     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1.      The legislature finds that poor returns of Hood Canal origin coho salmon have resulted in costly and undesirable limitations on the sport and commercial harvest of other, more healthy salmon stocks.  There is a need for a thorough study to identify the causes of decline in Hood Canal origin coho salmon so that appropriate corrective measures may be taken.  For such a study to be effective, and for the conservation and protection of the Hood Canal coho salmon resource, salmon fishing in all salmon staging areas near the mouths of Hood Canal coho salmon spawning streams must be ended.  The legislature believes that fishing in these areas is harmful to proper and necessary conservation of the coho salmon resource in Hood Canal.  Studying and correcting this problem, to protect Hood Canal coho salmon, will result in substantial economic and social benefits for Washington citizens in both sport and commercial fishing opportunity and will generate a significant return in positive economic activity.  The legislature finds that protecting and enhancing salmon stocks in the preserve area would aid in its designation as a marine fish preservation area.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2.      The department of fisheries shall conduct a study for the purpose of determining the causes of decline in runs of Hood Canal origin coho salmon, which might be the result of habitat and survival conditions in the canal or the result of any other causes.  This study shall formulate recommendations to the legislature concerning appropriate specific actions which should be taken to correct any problems which are identified and their respective practicality.  The study shall also address and estimate the probable costs of any corrective actions which are considered.  The study shall address the issues of freshwater and saltwater habitats, pollution, water temperature, stream bed conditions, health of estuaries, availability of feed, predation by other fish and animals, and all other natural survival and habitat issues, and shall also address any other issues which may bear on the decline of Hood Canal natural coho salmon stocks.  The study shall include the department's recommendations for possible legislative action.  In addition, the study shall indicate what regulatory and administrative action the department or the legislature can take to correct those problems which are identified and will include recommendations for administrative, regulatory, or legislative action by other state agencies and by federal and local governmental bodies.  The department shall produce a report to the legislature no later than January 1, 1993.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 3.  A new section is added to Title 75 RCW to read as follows:

     Based on the best scientific data available, the department shall determine and establish no fishing zones at salmon staging areas with a minimum size of five hundred yards in width located at the mouths of all Hood Canal streams and rivers which are known or believed to be actual or potential coho salmon spawning habitat.  All salmon fishing of any kind, sport or commercial, shall be prohibited in the no fishing zones.  The department shall take appropriate administrative action to advise the public of the no fishing zones it establishes and to enforce this requirement.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 4.  A new section is added to Title 75 RCW to read as follows:

     All marine fishing areas in Hood Canal south of the Hood Canal floating bridge are established as a marine fish preservation area.  This designation is intended to preserve, protect, and enhance the marine fish resource, to restore the historic productivity of the fish resource, and to encourage the full development of fishing opportunities.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 5.  A new section is added to chapter 75.12 RCW to read as follows:

     It is unlawful to take food fish with skin diving or scuba diving gear in the marine fish preservation area established in section 4 of this act until such time that food fish stocks have been restored to abundant levels.