Commercial sardine fishing vessel getting ready to launch skiff with the net
Commercial sardine fishing vessel getting
ready to launch skiff with the net.

Purse Seine Fishery for Pacific Sardine

Coastal Sardine Fishery Requirements
WAC 220-44-095


(a) It is unlawful to possess, transport through the waters of the state, or deliver into any Washington port, Pacific sardine (Sardinops sagax) or other coastal pelagic species taken in violation of gear requirements and other rules published in Title 50, Part 660, Subpart I of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). These federal regulations govern commercial fishing for coastal pelagic species in the Exclusive Economic Zone off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and California. Where the federal regulations refer to the fishery management area, that area is interpreted to include Washington state waters coterminous with the Exclusive Economic Zone. Updates to the federal regulations are published in the Federal Register. Discrepancies or errors between the CFR and Federal Register will be resolved in favor of the Federal Register. This chapter incorporates the CFR by reference and is based, in part, on the CFR. A copy of the federal rules may be obtained by contacting Lori Preuss at 360-902-2930, or going to the U.S. Government Printing Office's GPO Access web site ( State regulations that are more restrictive than the federal regulations will prevail.

(b) The coastal sardine fishery season is open to purse seine fishing each year only from April 1st through December 31st. It is unlawful to take Pacific sardine in state waters except for the incidental take authorized by the coastal baitfish regulations.

(c) It is unlawful to retain any species that is taken incidental to sardine, except for anchovy, mackerel, and market squid (Logligo opalescens). Any salmon encircled in the purse seine must be released prior to completion of the set, and no salmon may be landed on the fishing vessel.

(d) It is unlawful to transfer sardine catch from one fishing vessel to another.

(e) It is unlawful to fail to have legal purse seine gear aboard the vessel making a sardine landing.

(f) It is unlawful to fail to deliver sardine landings to a shore-side processing facility.

(g) Once a delivery has commenced at a processing plant, all fish on board the vessel must be offloaded at that plant.

(h) It is unlawful to deliver more than fifteen percent cumulative weight of sardines for the purposes of conversion into fish flour, fish meal, fish scrap, fertilizer, fish oil, other fishery products, or by-products, for purposes other than human consumption or fishing bait used during the sardine fishery season.

(2) License owners must designate a vessel upon issuance or renewal of the license and must be identified as either the vessel owner or primary license operator.

(3) Persons fishing under a Washington sardine purse seine fishery license or temporary annual fishery permit must:

(a) Carry an observer on board for any sardine fishing trip if requested by the department;

(b) Surrender up to five hundred sardines per vessel per trip if requested by department samplers for biological information; and

(c) Complete a department-issued logbook each month in which fishing activity occurs, and submit it to the department by the 15th day of the following month.

(4) Violation of reporting requirements under this section is punishable pursuant to RCW 77.15.280.

(5) Violation of gear, harvest, or landing requirements under this section is punishable pursuant to RCW 77.15.520.

For more information please contact:

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
Attn: Carol Henry
48 Devonshire Road
Montesano, WA 98563