WSR 97-09-096





[Filed April 23, 1997, 11:05 a.m.]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 97-06-128.

Title of Rule: Commercial fishing rules.

Purpose: Propose methods to ensure survival of nontargeted salmon. Provide accounting mechanism.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 75.08.080.

Statute Being Implemented: RCW 75.08.080.

Summary: Nontargeted salmon can be released from purse seine gear with a high likelihood of survival. A method ensuring such fish do survive, as well as accounting of the incidental catch, will conserve salmon stocks of concern.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: Purse seine fishing in a mixed stock fishery can be allowed if there is survival of nontargeted stocks. Increased fishing opportunity and conservation of salmon warrant imposition of methods to determine the degree of incidental catch and a monitoring of survivability of purse seine-caught salmon.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting: Evan Jacoby, 1111 Washington Street, Olympia, 902-2930; Implementation: Bruce Crawford, 1111 Washington Street, Olympia, 902-2325; and Enforcement: Ron Swatfigure, 1111 Washington Street, Olympia, 902-2927.

Name of Proponent: Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, governmental.

Rule is not necessitated by federal law, federal or state court decision.

Explanation of Rule, its Purpose, and Anticipated Effects: WAC 220-47-325, limits number of salmon to be handled at one time to reduce mortality. Requires live tank to ensure fish to be released are alive upon release; and WAC 220-47-326, requires observer or observer program to assess degree of interception of nontargeted salmon species.

Proposal does not change existing rules.

A small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW.

Small Business Economic Impact Statement

For Rules To: (1) Minimize the mortality of fish released by Puget Sound salmon purse seine fishers; and (2) assess the survival of fish released by the Puget Sound salmon purse seine fishery.

Description of the Proposed Rules: (1) A provision is proposed to require fishers to more carefully sort their catch and provide a holding tank to allow fish that are to be released to better recover prior to release.

(2) A section is proposed to require that participants in the purse seine fishery carry an on-board observer to record the number and condition of fish which are required by the department to be released from the fishing operations.

Purpose for the Proposed Rules: (1) To minimize mortality of those fish which are required to be released under the provisions of Title 220 WAC, the handling of such fish must be conducted in a manner that minimizes their mortality.

(2) To adequately manage the resource, it is necessary that the Department of Fish and Wildlife assess the impacts on the numbers and condition of fish which are to be released. The numbers of fish which are to be released by the fleet shall be enumerated.

Effect of the Proposed Rules on Small Businesses: These rules will require that Puget Sound purse seine salmon fishers shall take steps to increase survival of released salmon. Fishers will be required to acquire or manufacture a holding tank for fish to be released from the fishing operation. Fishing operations will be altered (slowed) to more efficiently sort fish which must be released from those that may be retained.

The requirement to carry an on-board observer will necessitate increasing the vessel owner's insurance liability coverage to cover the additional person. A waiver of this requirement would be that the purse seine fishing industry cooperate in developing and funding a scientifically valid study of the numbers and encounters of released fish in the Puget Sound salmon fishery, and if all fishers maintain and submit a log book in which they record the number and condition of fish released during their operations.

Small Business Economic Impact Statement:

I. Industry (SIC code) Affected by These Proposed Rules: 0912, Finfish Fisheries.

II. Number of Businesses in That Industry: Only three hundred forty-nine businesses filed taxes with the Washington State Department of Revenue from this SIC code in 1995, the most recent year for which data are available1. This contrasts with approximately 3,756 Washington state licenses sold to commercial harvesters of finfish in 1995. A total of two hundred ninety-two Puget Sound salmon purse seine licenses were sold in 1996.

III. Number of Employees in That Industry: Unknown1.

IV. Number of Small Businesses in That Industry: Unknown1.

V. Number of Businesses in That Industry That are Affected by These Proposed Rules: Puget Sound gillnets make up 25.7% of the 1995 finfish licenses and 26.6% of the 1996 finfish licenses. Puget Sound purse seines make up 7.9% of the 1995 finfish licenses and 8.8% of the 1996 finfish licenses. Numbers of licenses in this business category are shown in the table below:

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife License Statistics

(Illus. 1)

The number of Puget Sound purse seine fishers represents less than 10% of the businesses in this SIC2.

Description of Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other Compliance Measures Required by the Proposal: Compliance with the proposed rules potentially includes reduced fishing time (and, therefore, reduced catch) and gear modifications. If businesses in the affected area do not already own equipment conforming to the proposed new rules, then compliance with the rules will require modification of existing gear. There are also reporting or record-keeping requirements incorporated into this proposal.

VI. Costs of Compliance: Professional Services Required for Compliance: An industry-financed observer program to monitor all purse seine salmon fisheries would include costs of observers, lead observers, data analysis, and overhead costs during the August-November period. If two hundred fifty vessels participate in the scheduled Puget Sound salmon fisheries, and 30% of the fleet effort is monitored, forty-five observers may need to be hired. "Total cost to the vessel not counting P&I insurance would be $20.58 per hour for the observer position or about $250 per day for a 12 hour day and $36.38 per hour or about $435 per day for a lead observer coordinating activities aboard all the vessels. We charge $85 per hour for program coordination and analysis of the data collected." (J. June, Natural Resources Consultants, Inc., pers. comm 4-23-97)

The cost to management agencies of monitoring the fourteen-day 1994 gillnet sockeye fishery to statistically determine the fishery impacts to sea bird and marine mammals by five hundred gillnet vessels was approximately $650,000. As two hundred ninety-two purse seine vessels are licensed to fish for salmon in Washington state, about $380,000 may be estimated for the cost of a complete purse seine fishery observer program in the sockeye fishery and an additional like amount during the Puget Sound salmon chum-directed fisheries.

Costs of a trained observer aboard one vessel for one day twelve-hour day are approximately $202 (J. June, Natural Resources Consultants, Inc., personal communication 4-23-97). Currently scheduled are twenty-five separate days of purse seine openings in the main Puget Sound chum fisheries. The sockeye fishery may be scheduled for about eight purse seine openings, based on the schedule allowed during the 1993 fishery which was the brood year for the 1997 sockeye return. Therefore, thirty-three fishing days may be expected to be fished by the majority of the fleet. A total $6,685 might be expected to be spent on observer wages and benefits by each vessel participating in the fishery.

Costs of Compliance, Including Costs of Equipment, Supplies, and Labor, and Loss of Sales or Revenue: (1) Cost of live-tanks is approximately $300, if a standard industry fish tote is used. Costs of circulating water through the tank using a deck hose are minimal.

Loss of revenue caused by the slowing of the fishing operation is potentially up to one-third of the seiners' fishing time, depending on the quantity of fish caught in any given set. Purse seine catch on the 1993 cycle, which was the brood year for the 1997 sockeye and chum runs, was 1.3 million sockeye, 972,000 pink and 588,000 chum salmon for an ex-vessel value of $10.6 million. A reduction of 1/3 of the fishers' time could equate to an overall cost to the seine fleet of $3.5 million, an average of about $12,000 for each purse seine salmon license holder.

If additional time on the water was to be afforded the fleet to make up for the loss in fishing efficiency, additional costs would be incurred for each extra day needed to operate. Costs include the use of about two hundred fifty gallons of fuel per day, labor costs, equipment and similar operating costs, at approximately $1,300 per day (Scott Enquist, Seattle Marine Supply, pers. comm. 4-23-97). If 1/3 more time were required to catch the nontreaty sockeye, pink and chum salmon net share, an additional ten days would be required, for an average cost of $13,000 per vessel.

(2) P&I insurance required to cover liability requirements for an on-board observer are approximately $125 per month per vessel for a four-month fishing season (August-November), for a total $625.

Individual observer costs for the vessel would be about $250 per day for a twelve-hour day. If thirty-three days are fished, each vessel would be required to spend $8,250 on observer wages and benefits.

VII. Comparison of Costs for Small Businesses Against the Cost to the Largest 10% of Businesses Within the Industry Required to Comply with the Proposed Rule: Neither costs per employee, costs per hour of labor, nor costs per $100 of sale are different between small businesses and the largest 10% of businesses affected.

VIII. Steps Taken by the Agency to Reduce the Costs of the Rule on Small Businesses: (2) A consideration to use trained volunteer labor by the purse seine industry or individual fishers, rather than professional biologists, will provide for reduced costs of any on-board observer program.

IX. Description of How the Agency has Involved Small Businesses in the Development of the Rule: A letter from the Purse Seine Vessel Owners Association was requested but not received by the department, to describe the methods the industry would use to minimize and reduce mortality of salmon released during the fishery. Small business owners will be able to testify on these proposals at a public hearing to be held May 30, 1997. Small businesses were not involved in the direct development of the rule.

1 Pers. Comm. M. Knudsen, Wa. State Dept. Revenue, 4/18/97

2 "Facilitating Regulatory Fairness." Washington State Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development, Washington State Business Assistance Center, January 1995, appendix A.

A copy of the statement may be obtained by writing to Evan Jacoby, Rules Coordinator, 600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501, phone (360) 902-2930, or FAX (360) 902-2942.

Section 201, chapter 403, Laws of 1995, does not apply to this rule adoption. Not hydraulics rules.

Hearing Location: Holiday Inn Select, 2300 Evergreen Park Drive, Olympia, on May 30, 1997, at 4:00 p.m.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Robin Ayers by May 15, 1997, TDD (360) 902-2207, or (360) 902-2933.

Submit Written Comments to: Evan Jacoby, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Rules Coordinator, 600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501, FAX (360) 902-2942, by May 25, 1997.

Date of Intended Adoption: May 30, 1997.

April 23, 1997

Evan Jacoby

Rules Coordinator


WAC 220-47-325 Purse seine -- Release of incidentally-caught fish. To minimize mortality of those fish which are required by Title 220 WAC to be released, handling of such fish must be conducted in a manner that minimizes their mortality.

(1) Fishing operations shall be conducted such that no more than 100 salmon may be brought aboard the primary vessel at one time

(2) Fish which are required to be released by Title 220 WAC shall be immediately placed into a live-tank measuring at least 36 inches in depth, 36 inches in width and 36 inches in length, and held for a minimum of one hour before release. Fresh sea water shall be caused to circulate through the tank while fish are being held within.



WAC 220-47-326 Puget Sound commercial salmoln -- Assessment of impacts on released fish. To adequately manage the resource, it is necessary that the department assess the impacts on fish which are required to be released by Title 220 WAC. The numbers of fish which are released by the fleet shall be enumerated.

(1) To participate in the purse seine openings listed in Chapter 220-47 WAC, each purse seine fisher shall carry on board an observer, approved by the department, to record the numbers and condition of those fish caught which are required to be released by Title 220 WAC.

(2) The provisions of paragraph (1) may be waived by the department if:

(a) The industry provides a statistically valid sample of fish encountered using an on-board observer program; and

(b) Each purse seine fisher maintains a log book provided by the department, records the numbers of fish which are required to be released, and specifies the condition of each fish upon release. This completed log book shall be returned to the department by December 31st of each year.


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.

Legislature Code Reviser


Washington State Code Reviser's Office