HB 2626

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

As Reported by House Committee On:

Agriculture & Natural Resources

Title: An act relating to increasing commercial fishing license fees for nonresidents.

Brief Description: Increasing commercial fishing license fees for nonresidents.

Sponsors: Representatives Blake, Griffey, Wilcox, Condotta, Tharinger, Nealey, Pike, Chapman, Wylie, Tarleton and Steele; by request of Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Brief History:

Committee Activity:

Agriculture & Natural Resources: 1/17/18, 1/24/18 [DP].

Brief Summary of Bill

  • Increases fees for nonresident commercial fishing; buying, selling, and dealing; delivery; and guide licenses and endorsements.

  • Reduces resident fees for game fish and food fish guide licenses.


Majority Report: Do pass. Signed by 13 members: Representatives Blake, Chair; Chapman, Vice Chair; Buys, Ranking Minority Member; Dent, Assistant Ranking Minority Member; Fitzgibbon, Lytton, Orcutt, Pettigrew, Robinson, Schmick, Springer, Stanford and Walsh.

Staff: Rebecca Lewis (786-7339).


The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) manages the commercial fish harvest of food fish, shellfish, and salmon. Commercial fishers and crewmembers, buyers and sellers, and fishing guides must obtain applicable licenses from the WDFW. Additionally, delivery licenses are required to deliver salmon and shrimp commercially harvested in offshore waters to a port in Washington. In general, commercial fishing license fees are structured by species and fishing technique. There is a resident and nonresident fee set in statute for each license type and various application fees and surcharges depending on the license.

There are several categories of commercial fish buyers and sellers:


Summary of Bill:

Nonresident fees for commercial fishing; buying and dealing; and delivery licenses, and the limited fish seller endorsement, are increased. Crewmember license fees are not changed. The increases result in a fee differential of $385 between each resident and nonresident license. Some examples are as follows:

License/Endorsement type

Nonresident fee


Nonresident fee

(House Bill 2626)

Fish Dealer



Geoduck Diver



Ocean Pink Shrimp Delivery



Limited Fish Seller



Additionally, resident fees for fishing guide licenses are reduced. The resident food fish guide license is decreased from $280 to $210, and the nonresident fee is increased from $355 to $595. The resident game fish guide license is decreased from $410 to $305, and the nonresident fee is increased from $485 to $690. These changes also result in a $385 fee differential between resident and nonresident fees.

All application fees and surcharges remain the same.


Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Available.

Effective Date: The bill takes effect on January 1, 2019.

Staff Summary of Public Testimony:

(In support) This bill follows an agency request bill from last session, House Bill (HB) 1597 which made various changes to commercial fishing licenses fees. The industry wanted to help address the WDFW's revenue needs. There was a court case in California which clarified what the differential for resident and nonresident fees may be. Under HB 1597, resident and nonresident fees would have been the same price, in response to the case out of California. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the decision and provided a formula that may be used to set different fees for residents and nonresidents. The WDFW applied that formula and determined that the state could establish a $385 fee differential instead of the $75 fee differential from last year's bill. The industry agrees with the WDFW that the fees can be tweaked. There could be one additional amendment to align crewmember license language with Oregon's crewmember license provision if consensus is reached and it fits within the scope of the bill.

The WDFW heard concern from the fishing guide industry over the interim that the increase for resident food fish and game fish guides from a bill last year was higher than anticipated. There is interest in lowering the resident fee.

(Opposed) None.

Persons Testifying: Representative Blake, prime sponsor; Nate Pamplin, Department of Fish and Wildlife; and Tom Echols, Coalition of Coastal Fisheries.

Persons Signed In To Testify But Not Testifying: None.