Washington Coastal Pink Shrimp Fishery Management Plan

Category: Management and Conservation

Published: December 2017

Pages: 47

Author(s): Lorna L. Wargo and Dan L. Ayres


The intent of this Fisheries Management Plan (FMP) is to establish the framework for Department management of the Washington non-treaty coastal pink shrimp fishery to promote pink shrimp resource conservation and the socio-economic benefits derived from its harvest.

This policy formally articulates, refines and updates the over-arching set of principles guiding coastal pink shrimp fishery management. Further, this policy documents the long-standing commitment by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to coordinated management of the coastal pink shrimp fishery with the states of Oregon and California. In 1981, the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) considered bringing the pink shrimp trawl fishery under federal management. However, the Council ultimately made the decision to refer management to the three coastal states under an "alternative" that the states would adopt similar rules (PFMC 1981). Previous to this FMP, no written Washington policy captured this Council alternative but WDFW has demonstrated a commitment to it nevertheless.

This FMP only applies to the coastal population of ocean pink shrimp (Pandalus jordani). Here, "ocean" reflects Washington regulatory species classification and common usage for this species of shrimp, whereas the term "coastal" refers to state waters (0-3 miles) west of the Bonilla- Tatoosh line and federal waters of the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (3-200 miles) off Washington and Oregon. This FMP does not apply to ocean pink shrimp fisheries in Puget Sound. Unless, otherwise noted, the term pink shrimp is synonymous with ocean pink shrimp.

Regulatory Authority

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) have a legislatively mandated mission to preserve, protect, and perpetuate shellfish in state and offshore waters. In addition, WDFW is directed to manage shellfish resources in a manner that does not impair the resource. Consistent with this goal, WDFW must also seek to maintain the economic well-being and stability of the fishing industry in the state. Finally, WDFW is required to promote orderly fisheries and enhance and improve recreational and commercial fishing in this state (RCW 77.04.012).

In addition, the FWC may authorize the taking of shellfish only at times or places, or in manners or quantities, as in the judgment of the commission does not impair the supply of these resources (RCW 77.04.055).

The Washington State Legislature has also given the FWC the authority to adopt, amend, or repeal rules including: specifying the times when the taking shellfish is lawful or unlawful; specifying the areas and waters in which the taking and possession of shellfish is lawful or unlawful; specifying and defining the gear, appliances, or other equipment and methods that may be used to shellfish, and specifying the times, places, and manner in which the equipment may be used or possessed; and regulating the importation, transportation, possession, disposal, landing, and sale of shellfish within the state, whether acquired within or without the state. (RCW 77.12.047)

Coastal states, including Washington, are authorized to regulate fishing activity of state-registered vessels outside of state boundaries when no federal fishery management plan is in place (Magnuson-Stevens Fishery and Management Act P.L. 104-297, sec 306). Consistent with this federal authorization, state law extends the authority of the FWC to fishing in offshore waters by residents of this state. (RCW 77.12.045)

Although, the US west coast ocean pink shrimp fishery is state managed, it is subject to federal restrictions for groundfish catch and essential fish habitat (EFH) through the PFMC Groundfish Fishery Management Plan (PFMC 2016).

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