Governor signs MacEwen bill designed to strengthen commercial fishing industry licensing

Governor Jay Inslee has signed into law a bill sponsored by Rep. Drew MacEwen designed to strengthen the commercial fishing industry's licensing system.

In 2017, the Legislature created the crewmember license as a part of a comprehensive overhaul of the commercial fishing license fee structure. Under current law, a crewmember license is required for every individual who works on board any vessel while operating in a commercial fishery regulated by the state. Up to two crewmember licenses may be purchased and held by a commercial fishing license holder for use by any individual working on a vessel.

MacEwen's House Bill 1437 will authorize the state Fish and Wildlife Commission to adopt fishery-specific rules regarding commercial fishing crewmember licenses. Under the bill, all individuals with a crewmember license will be required to carry at least one piece of identification that contains their photograph and signature. Furthermore, a “John Doe” crewmember license held by a commercial fishing license holder will not be able to be used to cover an individual who is prohibited from obtaining a crewmember license.

MacEwen says these changes will improve the existing licensing system.

“House Bill 1437 will benefit the commercial fishing industry and protect our fisheries by creating clear rules that increase accountability,” said MacEwen, R-Union. “I'm grateful for the unanimous support the bill received in both the House and Senate, and thank the governor for signing it into law.”

House Bill 1437 will go into effect July 25.


Washington State House Republican Communications