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October 24, 2002
Contact: Frank Hawley (360) 902-2453

Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission sending license revision proposals to Legislature

OLYMPIA – The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission has recommended potential revisions to Washington state fishing and hunting licenses, and will send the package to the Washington State Legislature for action.

The commission, which sets policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), approved a proposed revisions package during an Oct. 24 conference call.

The complete list of the proposed license revisions, including additional details on the proposals, will be available by the end of the business day on Friday, Oct. 25 on the WDFW website. The proposals include:

  • Pegging license fee increases to a Pacific Northwest regional inflation index, with an annual commission review;
  • Offering long-term, multi-year licenses through a raffle;
  • Implementing a pilot program to offer raffles for permanent annual licenses;
  • Providing license buyers with the opportunity to make a voluntary donation to benefit youth outdoor education and recreation opportunities through the Washington Wildlife Coalition;
  • Creating a new temporary fishing license, including a series of licenses from one to five days, and increasing costs to non-residents;
  • Adding a fee of not more than $1 for each species that requires a catch record card - salmon, sturgeon, steelhead, halibut, and crab. Revenue generated from this proposal would help pay for the management of these species;
  • Creating a western Washington pheasant license to replace the current pheasant punch card. This will help make the pheasant program in western Washington self-sufficient;
  • Increasing the $7 shellfish license fee to $10;
  • Offering a limited number of opportunities to hunt in more than one weapon-choice season per year; and
  • Increasing the $5 senior citizen license fee to $10.

A proposal to sell lifetime licenses was sent back for further study, while a proposal to increase the age of a senior license from 70 to 75 was rejected.

Changes in the license fee structure are subject to approval by the Washington State Legislature, which requested fee recommendations by Nov. 1.

The commission received hundreds of public comments prior to adopting its recommendations. Six public hearings were held throughout the state to gather public input. In addition, the commission received several hundred written comments on proposals. The public input was summarized to commissioners by WDFW staff at an Oct. 17 conference call.