Salmon is the epicenter of the livelihoods of thousands of people in the Pacific Northwest, and therefore contention can come up surrounding the regulation of the fish. Indeed, and come this January a proposal to change how much it will cost to fish will come to a head.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has proposed an initiative called "Washington's Wild Future: A Partnership for Fish and Wildlife" (wdfw.wa.gov/wildfuture) as part of the upcoming 2017-19 Washington state budget cycle. Among the policies, it calls for increasing the commercial fishing license fees. The proposed fees would generate close to $4 million in revenue per year, with $700,000 of that coming from license fee changes. Much of the policies in the initiative were modeled after Oregon and Alaska regulation.

Essentially, the new legislation would increase the commercial license fee for residential fishermen by an average of 17 percent and decrease the non-resident license fee by 3 percent – something the WDFW calls “equalizing” the fees. For example, a Puget Sound Gillnetting Licenses for salmon currently costs $585 for residential commercial fishers and $890 for non-residents. The proposed change would make the fee $750 for residents and non-residents alike. Moreover, a purse seine license for residents is currently $735, non-residents $1190. The fee would be “equalized” at $750.

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