Washington State Permit Buy-Back Bill

Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 6117

State of Washington
55th Legislature
1998 Regular Session

By Senate Committee on Ways & Means (originally sponsored by Senators Morton, Snyder, Swecker, Stevens, Rossi and Oke)

Read first time 02/10/98.

AN ACT Relating to repurchasing commercial salmon fishing licenses; amending RCW 75.44.140 and 75.44.150; adding a new section to chapter 75.44 RCW; creating a new section; and repealing RCW 75.44.100, 75.44.110, 75.44.120, and 75.44.130.


{+ NEW SECTION. +} Sec. 1.

Amended to read:

The legislature finds that recovery plans for salmon stocks listed as threatened or endangered under the federal endangered species act will require large scale restrictions, or complete fishing closures, for the commercial and charter boat fishery.

To ensure that Canadian fishers continue to honor current restrictions on intercepting Washington Coho and Chinook as provided in annexes under the Pacific salmon treaty between the United States and Canada, it is essential that non-tribal fishers from Washington reduce their harvest of Fraser river Sockeye to below their full allocation as allowed under U.S. v. Washington, 384 F. Supp. 31 (1974).

In addition, in order to successfully conclude negotiations on a new Pacific salmon treaty, it is essential to demonstrate the state’s resolve in reducing harvests.

This reduction of fishers depends upon federal funding and the implementation of a program to permanently retire a number of commercial salmon fishing licenses in Washington to a level commensurate with proposed harvest reductions.

It is the intent of the legislature to provide a source of funds to compensate commercial fishers and charter boat licensees for the loss of their livelihood by purchasing the commercial salmon fisher’s license or charter boat license.

Federal funds appropriated for the purchase of such licenses may only be available to the state of Washington if the state provides a matching share.

{+ NEW SECTION. +} Sec. 2.
A new section is added to chapter 75.44 RCW to read as follows:

Amended to read:

The department, in consultation with representatives of commercial salmon license holders, shall develop a program of license purchase from persons holding a valid license under RCW 75.30.120.

The objective of this program is to achieve the greatest license reduction at the lowest cost and in a minimum amount of time.

In addition, priority for license purchase shall be based upon participation in and economic dependence on salmon fisheries harvested by commercial fleets from Canada or the United States.

The department may purchase commercial salmon fishing licenses from commercial salmon fishers that hold a valid commercial salmon fishing license under RCW 75.30.120, the commercial salmon fishing license limitation program.

The department may purchase charter boat licenses from owners that hold valid charter boat licenses under RCW 75.30.065.

Purchase of the license is authorized only under the condition that the license is purchased for a one time price and that the license is permanently canceled and removed from the fishery.

The department is not authorized to purchase vessels, fishing gear, or salmon delivery licenses.

Charter boat licensees who participate in the license buyback program shall not be eligible to transfer all or a part of angler permits issued under RCW 75.30.070.

The department shall not utilize funds from a state appropriation for the buyback or as matching funds for the buyback of commercial salmon fishing licenses or charter boat licenses from nonresident license holders.

The department shall not exceed a state funded share of twenty-five percent for each license purchased under the buyback program.

Sec. 3. RCW 75.44.140 and 1995c 269s 3201 are each amended to read as follows:

The director shall adopt rules for the administration of the program.

Purchase of commercial salmon fishing licenses and salmon charter boat licenses in the buyback program created in section 2 of this act shall only be on a willing buyer – willing seller basis.

The director shall strive to first purchase licenses from fisheries that most seriously cause mortality of threatened or endangered salmon stocks.

Sec. 4. RCW 75.44.150 and 1983 1st ex.s. c 46 s 160 are each amended to read as follows:

The director is responsible for the administration and disbursement of all funds received by the state under the program.

There is created within the state treasury a fund to be known as the ‘salmon commercial fishing license and charter boat reduction fund’.

This fund shall be used for purchases under section 2 of this act and for the administration of the program.

This fund shall be credited with federal or other funds received to carry out the purposes of the program.

{+ NEW SECTION. +} Sec. 5.

The following acts or parts of acts are each repealed:
(1) RCW 75.44.100 and 1985c 7s 150, 1983 1st ex.s.c 46s 155, 1977 ex.s.c 230s 3, & 1975 1st ex.s.c 183s 3;
(2) RCW 75.44.110 and 1984c 67s1, 1983 1st ex.s.c 46s 156, 1979 ex.s.c 43s1, 1977 ex.s.c 230 s 4, & 1975 1st ex.s.c 183s 4;
(3) RCW 75.44.120 and 1983 1st ex.s.c 46s 157 & 1975 1st ex.s.c 183s5; and
(4) RCW 75.44.130 and 1983 1st ex.s.c 46s 158, 1979 ex.s.c 43s 2, & 1975 1st ex.s.c 183 s 6.

{+ NEW SECTION. +} Sec. 6.

If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected.

Amended to read:

{+ EFFECT: +} A finding is added related to the need for commercial salmon and charter boat license purchase by the state of Washington in order to successfully negotiate a new U.S.-Canada Pacific Salmon Treaty.

New objectives are provided for the salmon and charter boat license purchase program.

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