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Current Rule Making Activity

  • Cougar Hunting Rules
    The department is considering rule changes related to cougar seasons and regulations. Amendments are needed to provide recreational opportunity while maintaining sustainable game populations.

  • Changes to WAC 220-55-180 related to transaction fees
    RCW 77.32.050 states that a transaction fee on commercial and recreational license documents issued through an automated licensing system may be set by the Fish and Wildlife Commission and collected from licensees. RCW 77.32.050 also provides that the department may authorize all or part of such fee to be paid directly to a contractor providing automated licensing services. The department sets this transaction fee in WAC 220-55-180. The department is considering changes to WAC 220-55-180 to align the WAC language to allow for the use of transaction fee funds as provided in RCW 77.32.050.

  • Coastal mackerel purse seine fishery
    The department is considering rule amendments for a directed coastal commercial purse seine fishery for mackerel.

  • Puget Sound Commercial Smelt Fishery Quick Reporting
    The department is proposing amendments to permanently adopt quick reporting requirements in the Puget Sound commercial smelt fishery. A permanent rule change adopted by the Fish and Wildlife Commission established a fixed annual quota of 60,000 lbs. in the Puget Sound commercial smelt fishery. This fixed quota means that the department now needs in-season catch tracking to ensure overharvest does not occur. As such, the department filed an emergency rule amending WAC 220-49-005 that established “quick reporting” procedures for the Puget Sound commercial smelt fishery. Requiring fishers to “quick report” their catch by 2:00 p.m. the day after harvest allows fishery managers to track harvest in near real-time. This proposed rulemaking would make quick reporting requirements permanent in the Puget Sound commercial smelt fishery in response to the fixed quota adopted by the Commission.

  • Charter Stamps and Charter Boat Operators Rule Making
    The department needs a rule to prohibit fishing guides and charter-boat operators from re-using charter stamps rather than issuing a new stamp to each customer who needs a fishing license. The legislature passed a bill on the subject during the 2015 legislative session, and this rule project will compliment this legislation to ensure the charter stamp program is not abused. The proposed rule project will: (1) lay out the process for validating charter stamps so the stamps cannot be reused; and (2) ensure that charter-stamp-validation violations and the re-use of stamps are penalized appropriately. Rules related to the responsibilities of charter operators, catch record cards and recording of catch, and definitions will be considered. Amendments to existing permanent rules may be included to achieve the goals of this rulemaking project.

  • 2016-2017 Recreational Fishing Rule Amendments
    The department must amend recreational fishing rules to meet conservation objectives and provide fishing opportunities within those conservation objectives. The department is considering changes to the freshwater areas of the Puget Sound and Coast, as well as for warm water fisheries in the Columbia River mainstem waters contiguous with Oregon. The department may consider additional recreational fishing rule changes if necessary.

  • Technical changes to bighorn sheep marking requirements rules
    The department is considering technical changes to rules regarding bighorn sheep marking requirements. Provides a mechanism by which bighorn sheep horns legally acquired prior to the era of permanent marking can be inspected, marked, and entered into the long-term database. This provides certainty to both the owner of the horns and the Department that the horns were acquired legally.

  • 2016 Recreational Clam and Oyster Seasons
    The department is considering changes to recreational clam and oyster harvest season rules for 2016. The department must annually amend recreational clam and oyster season rules on some public tidelands in response to shellfish population changes, shifts in recreational effort, conservation issues, and negotiations with treaty tribes and other state agencies. Such amendments are designed to perpetuate shellfish resources while maximizing recreational harvest opportunity.

  • Amendments to wildlife interaction, depredation and hazing rules
    The department is considering amending rules regarding wildlife interaction, depredation, hazing, and wildlife control operators to adjust for organizational changes within the agency and to update rules to address current operational needs.

  • Fair Chase and technology use while hunting
    The Department is considering amendments to hunting rules regarding fair chase and regulating the use of technology while hunting. The department needs to amend rules related to fair chase and the use of technology while hunting to keep pace with advances in technology. Ancillary amendments to definitions and other rules may be included to accomplish rule amendments, as well as any technical changes needed to rules to ensure accuracy, consistency, and clarity of rules.

  • Commercial Fishery Rules and Fish Receiving Ticket Rules
    The Department is considering rule amendments relating to commercial fishery and fish receiving ticket rules to improve the intent and enforceability of rules that define, describe or authorize delivery of fish and shellfish to shore-based facilities or dealers, and processing or freezing of catch onboard vessels at-sea. The Department withdrew its initial filing as it did not include shellfish, which should be included in this proposed rulemaking. The Department filed a new CR-101 to broaden the rulemaking to include shellfish.

  • 2015 North of Falcon Rules - Columbia River Commercial Salmon Fishery
    Commercial salmon fishing rules based on North of Falcon recommendations change from year to year to reflect resource availability and to achieve conservation goals. Amendments to Columbia River commercial salmon fishing rules are needed to implement the agreed-upon changes.

  • New Combination Recreational Fishing Licenses
    The department is considering new rules to establish new types of combination fishing licenses. Chapter 77.32 RCW allows the Fish and Wildlife Commission to set the period of validity for a license and to combine licenses to one license at a fee less than the cost of the combined licenses. Creating new combination fishing licenses will increase participation in all angling activities, improve retention of customers, and grow revenue opportunities for the department.

  • Slope rockfish sorting rule amendments
    The department is considering amendments to WAC 220-44-050 and 220-69-230 to: (1) Add requirements for the reporting of slope rockfish species delivered into the state, and (2) Update agency contact information. Effective January 1, 2015, federal regulations will require the sorting of three slope rockfish species when landed into the state. This rule change is needed to effectively comply with the revised federal regulations and maintain or improve the accuracy of the department's catch accounting and port sampling efforts.

  • Aquatic Invasive Species Rules
    The department is considering rulemaking involving Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) rules. The Legislature adopted ESSB 6040 (codified as Chapter 77.135 RCW) in 2014 which implements a more robust AIS program under the primary authority of the department. The department needs rules to implement the expanded program to provide additional protection against the spread of aquatic invasive species. Rulemaking will embody the principles of prevention as the highest priority, identify allowable certificate of inspection forms for aquatic conveyances entering the state, determine exemptions to clean and drain requirements where there is minimal risk of spreading invasive species, set inspection and decontamination station standards, and establish types of services department-authorized representatives can perform.

  • Rules to allow temporary possession of live wildlife when transporting to a wildlife rehabilitator
    The department is considering changes to rules involving Wildlife Rehabilitation as required by session law 2014 c 48 s 25. The Legislature passed ESSB 6041 during the 2014 Legislative Session directing the department to adopt rules for permissible temporary actions that include, at a minimum, the conditions under which a person may capture or transport wildlife to a primary permittee, subpermittee, or rehabilitation facility.

  • Technical Rule Changes to Fish and Wildlife Rules
    The department is considering several technical rule amendments in various chapters of department rules to reflect industry practice, to update and clarify language and rule titles, and make structural improvements as part of WDFW's efforts to update and streamline its Washington Administrative Code. Changes may include consolidating or splitting rules for clarity of subject matter and may also include the repeal of rules as appropriate.

  • Aquatic Invasive Species Rules Related to Aquaculture
    The department seeks to amend the rules related to shellfish aquaculture disease and pest control to provide additional protection against the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS).

  • Hunters and fishers with disabilities WAC changes
    The department is considering amendments to hunters and fishers with disabilities to ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and to update, streamline and simplify requirements for hunters and fishers with disabilities.

  • Giant Pacific Octopus rule project
    Rule changes are needed to accurately reflect the location coordinates of the seven giant Pacific octopus protected areas. The department will consider making other technical changes to the rule where appropriate as part of this proposed rulemaking project.

  • Technical changes to WAC 220-52-042 (Commercial crab buoy tag provisions)
    The Department is considering amendments to WAC 220-52-042, Commercial crab fishery—Buoy tag, pot tag, and buoy requirements, to ensure it is clear that only current, department-issued buoy tags are used in the commercial crab fishery.

  • Possession of personal-use shellfish in the field
    The Department is considering rule changes related to possession of personal-use shellfish in the field. Changes to rules regarding possession of personal-use shellfish in the field are needed to make requirements clear and uniform, and to meet the practical needs of enforcement officers in the field. The department will specifically consider requiring recreational shellfish harvesters to keep harvested shellfish, beyond razor clams and shrimp, in separate containers while in the field so fish and wildlife officers can clearly identify limits. The department will also consider technical language and structural changes where appropriate, including potential consolidation of rules.

  • Hunting License Rules
    The department is considering amending hunting license rules to encourage public participation in hunting and outdoor recreation activities.

  • Columbia River Emerging Commercial Fishery rule project
    Rule changes are needed to implement guidance provided in Fish and Wildlife Commission Policy C-3620, Columbia River Basin Salmon Management, in the Lower Columbia River. The policy calls for development of fisheries that promote the use of alternative selective gear, such as purse seines and beach seines. The department may propose new rules relating to emerging commercial fisheries as part of this project.

  • Electronic Fish Receiving Tickets
    The Department is considering allowing commercial purchasers and receivers to use electronic fish tickets even if the purchasers and receivers do not participate in the Pacific Coast Groundfish Shoreside Individual Fishing Quota Program.

  • Charter stamp validation
    The department needs a rule to prohibit fishing guides and charter-boat operators from re-using charter stamps rather than issuing a new stamp to each customer who needs a fishing license. This practice defrauds the state of license revenue. The proposed rule will: (1) lay out the process for validating charter stamps so the stamps cannot be reused; and (2) ensure that charter-stamp-validation violations and the re-use of stamps are penalized appropriately.

  • Marking requirements for commercial fishing nets, reporting requirements for lost or abandoned commercial nets, and penalties for failing to report lost or abandoned nets.
    The Northwest Straits Initiative (NWSI) has removed 3,829 derelict fishing nets and 2,045 derelict crab pots since it began operations in 2002. More than 2.4 million animals were estimated to be entangled by the gear every year, including mammals, birds, fish, and invertebrates. Removing the gear restored 525 acres of marine habitat. NWSI estimates total gillnet loss since the 1970s to be approximately 5,600 nets. Changing commercial net-marking requirements, requiring commercial fishermen to report lost and abandoned nets, and penalizing a failure to report will allow the Department to identify the quantity and location of lost commercial net gear. This will assist derelict gear removal efforts, which in turn will reduce the number of animals lost to derelict gear and will help preserve marine habitat.

  • Development of rules regarding recreational access to Department Lands
    New rules are needed to implement the SSSB 5622, the Discover Washington Pass bill, to provide recreational access to Department lands.

  • 2011 Columbia River Recreational Sturgeon Fishing Regulations
    Fishery managers from Washington and Oregon meet annually to plan and set rules for lower Columbia River sturgeon fisheries to help meet annual harvest guidelines by setting appropriate retention seasons and to protect sturgeon in the spawning size segment of the population.  The Department revised the rules for 2011 based on actions adopted at the joint Washington-Oregon public hearing on February 8, 2011 that are consistent with Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission guidance for 2011 lower Columbia River sturgeon management and with the Joint State Accord on 2011-2013 Columbia River Sturgeon Fishery Management.

    In addition, language describing previously adopted rules for sturgeon in the Columbia River from the Highway 395 Bridge at Pasco upstream to Priest Rapids Dam is clarified.

  • Removal of minerals, wood and artifacts from department lands 
    Certain resources on department-owned and leased land are being used in a manner not intended by the department. For example, large, old snags are being cut down for firewood. The department would like to prohibit this activity and make other changes to resource-use on its land.

  • Use of lighted buoys at the end of gill nets when fishing at night
    Requires commercial nets to have lighted buoys on the ends of the nets when fishing at night.

  • Non-Indian commercial fisheries
    Clarifies, defines and redefines definitions for different types of nets in non-Indian commercial fisheries.

  • Ballast Water Discharge Performance Standards
    This rule will set ballast water discharge performance standards and an implementation timeline for vessels of three hundred gross tons or more to meet those standards for adequately reducing aquatic invasive species risks in state waters. For more information, please see the WDFW Ballast Water Program Website.