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AGO 1952 No. 379 - August 18, 1952
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington


One who engages in canning fish and shellfish for private individuals and who makes a charge for his services, although he does not attempt to market the canned products, is required to have a canner's license as provided in RCW 75.28.320.

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                                                                 August 18, 1952

Honorable Robert J. Schoettler
Director Department of Fisheries
1308 Smith Tower
Seattle 4, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 51-53 No. 379

Dear Sir:

            You have requested our opinion as to whether a canner's license is required of a person engaged in canning fish and shellfish for private individuals and who makes a charge for his services but neither cans fish in his own behalf nor attempts to market the canned products.

            It is our conclusion that the person in question is required to have a canner's license as provided in RCW 75.28.320.


            RCW 75.28.320 provides as follows:

            "A fish canning license is required for any business in the state engaged in the canning of food fish and shellfish, for commercial purposes, in hermetically sealed containers which are processed by exposure to heat for pasteurization or sterilization, and the fee for said license is thirty-seven dollars and fifty cents per annum."

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            RCW 75.04.080 defines "commercial purposes" as follows:

            "The taking, fishing for, possession, processing, or otherwise dealing in or disposing of food fish and shellfish for 'commercial purposes' means taking or fishing for food fish with any gear unlawful for fishing for personal use, or taking or possessing the food fish and shellfish in excess of the limits permitted for personal use, or taking, fishing for, handling, processing, or otherwise disposing of or dealing in food fish with the intent of disposing of such food fish, shellfish, or parts thereof for profit, or by sale, barter, trade, or in commercial channels."

            In determining whether the activities of the canner in question fall within the definition of "commercial purposes" it should be noted that the statute reads in the alternative rather than in the conjunctive and that therefore any one of the several acts set out in the statute constitutes a "commercial purpose."  The canner in this case handles, processes and deals with the fish for profit, the profit being the charge he makes for his services in canning the fish.  He disposes of the fish by returning the canned fish to his customer and he profits thereby.  Among the accepted definitions of "dispose" are: "to employ‑-to prepare‑-to adapt."  The term "disposing" as used in the statute does not necessarily connote a sale, since the word "sale" is already in the statute.

            Giving to the term "disposing" its usual meaning, it seems clear to us that the canner is disposing of fish for profit and is within the definition of "commercial purposes," and therefore subject to the payment of the license fee.

Very truly yours,

Attorney General

Special Assistant
Attorney General

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