BILL REQ. #: H-0326.1
|State of Washington||62nd Legislature||2011 Regular Session|
Read first time 01/17/11. Referred to Committee on Agriculture & Natural Resources.
AN ACT Relating to the standardization of salmon fishing time for gill net gear and purse seine gear in Puget Sound; amending RCW 77.50.010; and amending 2002 c 311 s 1 (uncodified).
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
Sec. 1 2002 c 311 s 1 (uncodified) is amended to read as follows:
(1) The legislature finds that the economic well-being and stability of the fishing industry and the conservation of the food fish resources of the state of Washington are best served by providing managers with all available tools to stabilize and distribute the commercial harvest of targeted Puget Sound salmon stocks. In recent years, segments of the industry in cooperation with the department of fish and wildlife have funded studies examining modification of harvest practices and fishing gear, particularly purse seine gear, to minimize or avoid impacts on nontargeted Puget Sound salmon stocks.
(2) The legislature finds that the new Pacific salmon treaty agreement of 1999 will drastically reduce the commercial harvest of Fraser river sockeye salmon while likely providing increased harvest opportunities in areas of Puget Sound where only gill net gear is now authorized. This exclusive limitation is contrary to the long-term needs of the fishing industry and inconsistent with the legislature's intent to stabilize harvest levels while selectively targeting healthy salmon stocks.
(3) The legislature further finds that the economic well-being and stability of the fishing industry and the conservation of the food fish resources of the state of Washington are best served by allocating an equal amount of time to gill net gear and purse seine gear to harvest salmon in Puget Sound.
Sec. 2 RCW 77.50.010 and 2002 c 311 s 2 are each amended to read
(1) The commission may authorize commercial fishing for sockeye salmon within the waters described in subsection (2) of this section only during the period June 10th to July 25th and for other salmon only from the second Monday of September through November 30th, except during the hours between 4:00 p.m. of Friday and 4:00 p.m. of the following Sunday.
(2) All waters east and south of a line commencing at a concrete monument on Angeles Point in Clallam county near the mouth of the Elwha River on which is inscribed "Angeles Point Monument" (latitude 48° 9' 3" north, longitude 123° 33' 01" west of Greenwich Meridian); thence running east on a line 81° 30' true across the flashlight and bell buoy off Partridge Point and thence continued to longitude 122° 40' west; thence north to the southerly shore of Sinclair Island; thence along the southerly shore of the island to the most easterly point of the island; thence 46° true to Carter Point, the most southerly point of Lummi Island; thence northwesterly along the westerly shore line of Lummi Island to where the shore line intersects line of longitude 122° 40' west; thence north to the mainland, including: The southerly portion of Hale Passage, Bellingham Bay, Padilla Bay, Fidalgo Bay, Guemes Channel, Skagit Bay, Similk Bay, Saratoga Passage, Holmes Harbor, Possession Sound, Admiralty Inlet, Hood Canal, Puget Sound, and their inlets, passages, waters, waterways, and tributaries.
(3) The commission may authorize commercial fishing for salmon with gill net, purse seine, and other lawful gear prior to the second Monday in September within the waters of Hale Passage, Bellingham Bay, Samish Bay, Padilla Bay, Fidalgo Bay, Guemes Channel, Skagit Bay, and Similk Bay, to wit: Those waters northerly and easterly of a line commencing at Stanwood, thence along the south shore of Skagit Bay to Rocky Point on Camano Island; thence northerly to Polnell Point on Whidbey Island.
(4) Whenever the commission determines that a stock or run of salmon cannot be harvested in the usual manner, and that the stock or run of salmon may be in danger of being wasted and surplus to natural or artificial spawning requirements, the commission may, consistent with subsection (6) of this section, authorize units of gill net and purse seine gear in any number or equivalents, by time and area, to fully utilize the harvestable portions of these salmon runs for the economic well being of the citizens of this state. Gill net and purse seine gear other than emergency and test gear authorized by the director shall not be used in Lake Washington.
(5) The commission may authorize commercial fishing for pink salmon in each odd-numbered year from August 1st through September 1st in the waters lying inside of a line commencing at the most easterly point of Dungeness Spit and thence projected to Point Partridge on Whidbey Island and a line commencing at Olele Point and thence projected easterly to Bush Point on Whidbey Island.
(6)(a) Whenever the commission authorizes commercial fishing for salmon with gill net or purse seine gear within the waters described by this section, the commission shall adopt rules specifying weekly fishing schedules for both gear types that provide:
(i) An equal amount of time opened during each week to take salmon with both gill net and purse seine gear types; and
(ii) Alternate first day of the week openings to each gear type.
(b) Exceptions to this equal time provision may be made only when:
(i) Estimates obtained by direct, on-water sampling of each gear type show a disproportionate amount of the bycatch mortality of incidentally encountered fish or other species associated with fishing by either gear type;
(ii) Economic analyses of Puget Sound commercial salmon conclusively demonstrate that allocating a greater amount of time to either gear type will improve the economic well-being and stability of the fishing industry; or
(iii) The total allowable harvest, determined by the department on the basis of either preseason forecast or in-season gathered information, is insufficient to allow openings for both gill net and purse seine gears.
(c) Nothing in this subsection limits the authority of the commission under this section.