FISH AND WILDLIFE
Effective Date of Rule: Immediately.
Purpose: The purpose of this rule, WAC 220-52-04000Z, is to raise the price of crab pot buoy tags from $.70 to $.90 per tag. RCW 77.70.430 allows the department to charge a fee to holders of a Dungeness crab - Puget Sound fishery license in order to reimburse the department for the production of the tags and the administration of the buoy-tag program. Rising gas prices this year caused the vendor to increase the cost per tag to the department to $.90. By charging license holders $.90 per tag, the program costs will remain neutral.
Citation of Existing Rules Affected by this Order: Amending WAC 220-52-040.
Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 77.12.047, 77.04.020, and 77.70.430.
Under RCW 34.05.350 the agency for good cause finds that immediate adoption, amendment, or repeal of a rule is necessary for the preservation of the public health, safety, or general welfare, and that observing the time requirements of notice and opportunity to comment upon adoption of a permanent rule would be contrary to the public interest.
Reasons for this Finding: The vendor sent its invoice to the department for crab-pot buoy tags on August 7, 2008. The invoice reflects an increase in cost from last year from $.70 per tag to $.90 per tag. The department needs to be able to charge license holders $.90 per tag in order for the cost of the buoy-tag program to remain neutral. Otherwise, the department will suffer a significant financial loss.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted at Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's Own Initiative: New 1, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted Using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Date Adopted: August 18, 2008.
for Jeff Koenings
(1) Net fishing boats shall not have crab aboard. It is unlawful for any vessel geared or equipped with commercial net fishing gear to have aboard any quantity of crab while it is fishing with the net gear or when it has other food fish or shellfish aboard for commercial purposes.
(2) Area must be open to commercial crabbing. Unless otherwise provided, it is unlawful to set, maintain, or operate any baited or unbaited shellfish pots or ring nets for taking crabs for commercial purposes in any area or at any time when the location is not opened for taking crabs for commercial purposes by permanent rule or emergency rule of the department: Provided, That following the close of a commercial crab season, permission may be granted by the director or his or her designee on a case-by-case basis for crab fishers to recover shellfish pots that were irretrievable due to extreme weather conditions at the end of the lawful opening. Crab fishers must notify and apply to department enforcement for such permission within twenty-four hours prior to the close of season.
(3) Crabs must be male and 6-1/4 inches. It is unlawful for any person acting for commercial purposes to take, possess, deliver, or otherwise control:
(a) Any female Dungeness crabs; or
(b) Any male Dungeness crabs measuring less than 6-1/4 inches, caliper measurement, across the back immediately in front of the tips.
(4) Each person and each Puget Sound license limited to 100 pots. It is unlawful for any person to take or fish for crab for commercial purposes in the Puget Sound licensing district using, operating, or controlling any more than an aggregate total of 100 shellfish pots or ring nets. This limit shall apply to each license. However, this shall not preclude a person holding two Puget Sound crab licenses from designating and using the licenses from one vessel as authorized by RCW 77.65.130.
(5) Additional area gear limits. The following Marine Fish-Shellfish Management and Catch Reporting Areas are restricted in the number of pots fished, operated, or used by a person or vessel and it is unlawful for any person to use, maintain, operate, or control pots in excess of the following limits:
(a) 10 pots in Marine Fish-Shellfish Management and Catch Reporting Area 25E.
(b) 10 pots in all waters of Marine Fish-Shellfish Management and Catch Reporting Area 25A south of a line projected true west from Travis Spit on Miller Peninsula.
(c) 20 pots in that portion of Marine Fish-Shellfish Management and Catch Reporting Area 25A west of a line projected from the new Dungeness Light to the mouth of Cooper Creek and east of a line projected from the new Dungeness Light to the outermost end of the abandoned dock at the Three Crabs Restaurant on the southern shore of Dungeness Bay.
(d) 10 pots in that portion of Marine Fish-Shellfish Management and Catch Reporting Area 23D west of a line from the eastern tip of Ediz Hook to the I77 Rayonier Dock.
(6) Groundline gear is unlawful. No crab pot or ring net may be attached or connected to other crab pot or ring net by a common groundline or any other means that connects crab pots together.
(7) Crab buoys and pots tagging requirements.
(a) It is unlawful to place in the water, pull from the water, possess on the water, or transport on the water any crab buoy or crab pot without attached buoy and pot tags that meets the requirements of this subsection.
(b) Coastal crab pot tags: Each shellfish pot used in the coastal Dungeness crab fishery must bear a tag that identifies either the name of the vessel being used to operate the pot or the Dungeness crab fishery license number of the owner of the pot, and the telephone number of a contact person.
(c) Puget Sound crab pot tags: In Puget Sound, all crab pots must have a durable, nonbiodegradable tag securely attached to the pot and permanently and legibly marked with the license owner's name or license number, and telephone number. If the tag information is illegible, or if the tag is lost for any reason, the pot is not in compliance with law.
(d) Crab buoy tags: The department will issue crab pot buoy tags to the owner of each commercial crab fishery license upon payment of an annual buoy tag fee of ninety cents per crab pot buoy tag. Prior to setting gear, each Puget Sound crab license holder must purchase 100 tags, and each coastal crab fisher must purchase 300 or 500 tags, depending on the crab pot limit assigned to the license. Only department-issued crab buoy tags may be used, and each crab pot is required to have a buoy tag.
(e) Puget Sound replacement crab buoy tags: Additional tags to replace lost tags will only be issued to owners of Puget Sound commercial crab fishery licenses who obtain, complete, and sign a declaration under penalty of perjury in the presence of an authorized department employee. The declaration shall state the number of buoy tags lost, the location and date where lost gear or tags were last observed, and the presumed cause of the loss.
(f) Coastal replacement crab buoy tags: Coastal crab license holders with a 300 pot limit will be able to replace up to fifteen lost tags by January 15th, up to a total of thirty lost tags by February 15th, and up to a total of forty-five lost tags after March 15th of each season. Coastal crab license holders with a 500 pot limit will be able to replace up to twenty-five lost tags by January 15th, up to a total of fifty lost tags by February 15th, and up to a total of seventy-five lost tags after March 15th of each season. In the case of extraordinary loss of crab pot gear, the department may, on a case-by-case basis, issue replacement tags in excess of the amount set out in this subsection. Replacement buoy tags for the coastal crab fishery will only be issued after a signed affidavit is received by the department.
(8) No person can possess or use gear with other person's crab pot tag or crab buoy tag. No person may possess, use, control, or operate any crab pot not bearing a tag identifying the pot as that person's, or any buoy not bearing tags issued by the department to that person, except that an alternate operator designated on a primary license may possess and operate crab buoys and crab pots bearing the tags of the license holder.
(9) Cannot tamper with pot tags. No person shall remove, damage, or otherwise tamper with crab buoy or pot tags except when lawfully applying or removing tags on the person's own buoys and pots.
(10) Thirty-day period when it is unlawful to buy or land crab from ocean without crab vessel inspection. It is unlawful for any fisher or wholesale dealer or buyer to land or purchase Dungeness crab taken from Grays Harbor, Willapa Bay, Columbia River, Washington coastal or adjacent waters of the Pacific Ocean during the first thirty days following the opening of a coastal crab season from any vessel which has not been issued a Washington crab vessel inspection certificate. The certificate will be issued to vessels made available for inspection in a Washington coastal port and properly licensed for commercial crab fishing if no Dungeness crabs are aboard. Inspections will be performed by authorized department personnel not earlier than twelve hours prior to the opening of the coastal crab season and during the following thirty-day period.
(11) Grays Harbor pot limit of 200. It is unlawful for any person to take or fish for crab for commercial purposes in Grays Harbor (catch area 60B) with more than 200 shellfish pots in the aggregate. It shall be unlawful for any group of persons using the same vessel to take or fish for crab for commercial purposes in Grays Harbor with more than 200 shellfish pots.
(12) Coastal crab pot limit.
(a) It is unlawful for a person to take or fish for Dungeness crab for commercial purposes in Grays Harbor, Willapa Bay, the Columbia River, or waters of the Pacific Ocean adjacent to the state of Washington unless a shellfish pot limit has been assigned to the Dungeness crab-coastal fishery license held by the person, or to the equivalent Oregon or California Dungeness crab fishery license held by the person.
(b) It is unlawful for a person to deploy or fish more shellfish pots than the number of shellfish pots assigned to the license held by that person, and it is unlawful to use any vessel other than the vessel designated on a license to operate or possess shellfish pots assigned to that license.
(c) It is unlawful for a person to take or fish for Dungeness crab or to deploy shellfish pots unless the person is in possession of valid documentation issued by the department that specifies the shellfish pot limit assigned to the license.
(13) Determination of coastal crab pot limits.
(a) The number of shellfish pots assigned to a Washington Dungeness crab-coastal fishery license, or to an equivalent Oregon or California Dungeness crab fishery license will be based on documented landings of Dungeness crab taken from waters of the Pacific Ocean south of the United States/Canada border and west of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line, and from coastal estuaries in the states of Washington, Oregon and California. Documented landings may be evidenced only by valid Washington state shellfish receiving tickets, or equivalent valid documents from the states of Oregon and California, that show Dungeness crab were taken between December 1, 1996, and September 16, 1999. Such documents must have been received by the respective states no later than October 15, 1999.
(b) The following criteria shall be used to determine and assign a shellfish pot limit to a Dungeness crab-coastal fishery license, or to an equivalent Oregon or California Dungeness crab fishery license:
(i) The three "qualifying coastal Dungeness crab seasons" are from December 1, 1996, through September 15, 1997, from December 1, 1997, through September 15, 1998, and from December 1, 1998, through September 15, 1999. Of the three qualifying seasons, the one with the most poundage of Dungeness crab landed on a license shall determine the crab pot limit for that license. A crab pot limit of 300 shall be assigned to a license with landings that total from zero to 35,999 pounds and a crab pot limit of 500 shall be assigned to a license with landings that total 36,000 pounds or more.
(ii) Landings of Dungeness crab made in the states of Oregon or California on valid Dungeness crab fisheries licenses during a qualifying season may be used for purposes of assigning a shellfish pot limit to a Dungeness crab fishery license, provided that documentation of the landings is provided to the department by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and/or the California Department of Fish and Game. Landings of Dungeness crab made in Washington, Oregon, and California on valid Dungeness crab fishery licenses during a qualifying season may be combined for purposes of assigning a shellfish pot limit, provided that the same vessel was named on the licenses, and the same person held the licenses. A shellfish pot limit assigned as a result of combined landings is invalidated by any subsequent split in ownership of the licenses. No vessel named on a Dungeness crab fishery license shall be assigned more than one shellfish pot limit.
(14) Appeals of coastal crab pot limits. An appeal of a shellfish pot limit by a coastal commercial license holder shall be filed with the department on or before October 18, 2001. The shellfish pot limit assigned to a license by the department shall remain in effect until such time as the appeal process is concluded.
(15) Coastal - Barging of crab pots by undesignated vessels. It is lawful for a vessel not designated on a Dungeness crab-coastal fishery license to be used to deploy shellfish pot gear provided that:
(a) Such a vessel may not carry aboard more than 250 shellfish pots at any one time.
(b) Such a vessel may deploy shellfish pot gear only during the 64-hour period immediately preceding the season opening date and during the 48-hour period immediately following the season opening date.
(c) The lawful owner of the shellfish pot gear must be aboard the vessel when the gear is being deployed.
(16) Coastal crab buoys - Registration and use of buoy brands and colors.
(a) It is unlawful for any coastal Dungeness crab fishery license holder to fish for crab unless the license holder has registered the buoy brand and buoy color(s) to be used with the license. A license holder shall be allowed to register with the department only one, unique buoy brand and one buoy color scheme per license. Persons holding more than one license state shall register buoy color(s) for each license that are distinctly different. The buoy color(s) shall be shown in a color photograph.
(b) It is unlawful for a coastal Dungeness crab fishery license holder to fish for crab using any other buoy brand or color(s) than those registered with and assigned to the license by the department.
Reviser's note: The bracketed material preceding the section above was supplied by the code reviser's office.
Reviser's note: The spelling error in the above section occurred in the copy filed by the agency and appears in the Register pursuant to the requirements of RCW 34.08.040.