History and mission

Our Mission

To preserve, protect and perpetuate fish, wildlife and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish and wildlife recreational and commercial opportunities.

History of WDFW

1890 - The first Fish Commissioner, James Crawford, is appointed by Governor Elisha Ferry.

1891 - The Washington Legislature appropriates funds for a salmon hatchery.

1895 - The first salmon hatchery is built and dedicated on the Kalama River.

1913 - 1915 - Legislature passes a new game and game-fish code that provides for a chief game warden and a fish commissioner, both managed under Chief Game Warden L. H. Darwin of the Department of Fish and Game.

1921 - Legislature abolishes the Fish Commission and replaced it with a Department of Fisheries, with a Division of Fisheries and a Division of Game and Game Fish.

1932 - An initiative separates food fish and game fish and creates a Department of Fisheries (food fish) under an appointed director, and a Department of Game (game fish) under a six-member commission.

1987 - Legislature changes Department of Game, with a commission-appointed director, to Department of Wildlife, with a director appointed by the governor.

1994 - Legislature merges Department of Wildlife and Department of Fisheries, creating the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, with a nine-member commission and a director appointed by the Commission.