The 2014 General Election is just around the corner….Ballots are in the mail and should be arriving in the next few days. WACPAC and the recreational fishing groups have been busy this summer and fall meeting with candidates to discuss the economic and conservation benefits of sports fishing. In addition, the Department has come out with a budget proposal that if passed, would increase recreational fishing licenses in the 2015-2017 biennium. The recreational fishing community has informed the Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Commission and the Governor that we reserve the right to oppose any increase until we see a recreational fishing priority that results in increase opportunity for recreational fishers. Recreational anglers are tired of subsidizing non tribal commercial salmon fisheries that do not pay their own way. This imbalance is staggering when you look at the numbers Recreational fisherman contribute $67 million per biennium to the Department in license fees, compared to a paltry $1.9 million from commercial user fees. This subsidy is occurring for the gillnet fishermen on the Columbia River, Willipa Bay, Grays Harbor and Bellingham Bay. All of whom fish non-selectively!
ESB 5661 (Derelict Gear) is on it’s way to the Governor’s Desk. The bill cleared it’s last legislative hurdle this past Saturday, when the Senate concurred in the House amendment to the Bill. The House amendment directs WDFW to work with the tribes to identify lost ghost net locations. There has been a lot of work that went into passing this bill. Continue reading
ESB 5661 cleared another important hurdle this week. The bill passed out of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday without a dissenting vote. This was huge for this bill considering we could not even get a hearing in that Committee on the House Companion Measure HB 1717 last year. It is clear with the strong vote coming out of the Senate, that this bill now has some serious legs. The next stop is House Rules and then to the Floor of the House for final passage. We have until March 2nd at 5:00 pm to get the bill out of the House. Continue reading
We did it….With your help, we passed ESB 5661 out of the Senate Monday night on a vote of 47-1. As you know, this is a very important bill for Puget Sound. ESB 5661 REQUIRES Commercial Fisherman to report lost gear to WDFW within 24 hours!! Under the current voluntary reporting system, there have only been 2 lost net reports filed by Commercial Fisherman in the past 10 years. The Northwest Straits Commission estimates that 25-30 nets are lost each year. This bill will allow WDFW to build a data base of known ghost net locations and eventfully get them removed as funding becomes available. These nets kill thousands of birds, mammals and fish each year, not to mention the estimated 800,000 invertebrates killed annually by these nets. Continue reading
There have been several items of interests to anglers floating around halls of the legislature this past week. Most notably is the conversation around a public works “Jobs Creation” proposal. This is significant to Washington anglers because the House proposal authored by Representative Hans Dunshee, distributes over $43 million to Fish Hatchery and Fish Passage Way improvements and looks to improve marine access by investing in projects like $2 million for a new ramp at Point No Point. Continue reading
News From Olympia!!
The legislature kicked off the 2012 Legislative Session last Monday…..This is the 60 day session. A number of bills were introduced proposing changes to the Discover Pass. The one that seems to have the most support at this time is SB 5977. This is the version that addresses the transferability issue and would allow you to use one pass for multiple cars. That bill passed out of Senate Natural Resources and is now in Senate Ways and Means. A public hearing on that bill is scheduled in Ways and Means this week. Continue reading
Well…The legislature finally adjourn this past week. A quick glance at the early action 2012 Supplemental Budget that was passed on Wednesday, shows the legislature has at least initially rejected the Governor’s proposal to shift of $1.5 in Wildlife Account revenue to backfill several fish hatcheries that primarily benefit commercial fisherman. That is good news for anglers and represents a nice win for the recreational fishing lobby in Olympia! Continue reading
The House and Senate bills have been introduced to allow two vehicles to be listed on a Discover Pass. They are HB 2153 and SB 5977- both with a great list of bipartisan sponsors (35 in the House, 27- a majority- in the Senate). More information (including bill language) is available at
Expect to see a new Discover Pass bill introduced in the next couple of days. Many legislators and agency personnel have agreed that there is way too much heart burn over the “transferability” issue. Most everyone who enjoys the outdoors has expressed their frustration with having to purchase multiple passes for their vehicles. Under the new bill, a Discover Pass will cover two vehicles. Both plate numbers will need to be identified on the lines provided on the pass. This is a much appreciated change. Families should never have been gouged the way they were on this pass. Some families with multiple cars, a 4×4 and other recreational vehicles were paying as much as $60.00, $90.00 or $120.00 in Discover Pass charges. That is ridiculous! Several of the groups representing recreational anglers such as CCA and PSA have been advocating for this change and will be lobbying this bill over the course of the special session. Don’t hesitate to contact your legislator to let them know that you support this change!!! This will also provide you with some additional $$$ to support the Washington Angler Conservation PAC so we can continue to influence the process.
They are starting to listen to us. Let’s not let up on the gas pedal!!