Navigation Top
AGO Logo Graphic
AGO Header Image
File a Complaint
Contact the AGO
AGLO 1979 No. 15 - March 22, 1979
AGO Opinion Header Image
Slade Gorton | 1969-1980 | Attorney General of Washington

FISH ‑- LICENSES ‑- SCOPE OF ANNUAL ANADROMOUS SALMON ANGLING LICENSE

Where a person has obtained an anadromous salmon angling license for a particular calendar year and during that year has caught a total of 30 salmon pursuant to such license, that person must then purchase another annual license in order to be lawfully able to catch any more salmon within the state during the remainder of the same calendar year.

                                                                   - - - - - - - - - - - - -

                                                                  March 22, 1979

Honorable A. L. "Slim" Rasmussen
State Senator, 29th District
5415 A Street
Tacoma, Washington 98408                                                                                                               Cite as:  AGLO 1979 No. 15

Dear Sir:

            By recent letter you requested our opinion on a question which we paraphrase as follows:

            Where a person has obtained an anadromous salmon angling license for a particular calendar year, and during that year has caught a total of 30 salmon pursuant to such license, must that person then purchase another annual license in order to be lawfully able to catch any more salmon within the state during the remainder of the same calendar year?

            We answer the foregoing question in the affirmative for the reasons set forth in our analysis.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            RCW 75.28.610, codifying the provisions of § 11, chapter 327, Laws of 1977, 1st Ex. Sess., reads as follows:

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            "(1) It shall be unlawful for any person sixteen years of age or older, and under seventy years of age, to take, fish for, or have in his possession any anadromous salmon that is taken for personal use from the waters or offshore waters of this state, without first having obtained and having in his possession an anadromous salmon angling license as provided in RCW 75.28.630, unless otherwise exempt from state licensing laws.

            "(2) Every violation of this section is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than ten dollars nor more than one hundred dollars, or by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than ninety days, or by both."

            RCW 75.28.630, codifying § 13 of the same 1977 act, then provides, in material part, as follows:

            ". . .

            "(3) An annual license shall be effective only during the calendar year in which it is issued.  An annual license shall be valid for a maximum catch of thirty salmon after which another annual licensemay be purchased.

            ". . ."  (Emphasis supplied)

            Because of the permissive word "may" in this last quoted provision it has apparently been argued, by some, that ". . . another annual license . . ." neednot be purchased under the factual circumstances contemplated by your question.  We do not, however, agree.  Quite obviously, the statute is permissive in the one sense that a person who has obtained an annual anadromous salmon angling license, and has then caught a total of 30 salmon during the calendar year, is not required, unconditionally, to obtain another such license during the same calendar year.  Clearly, such a person is entirely free to stow away his fishing gear for the remainder of the year and take up golf, tennis, swimming, jogging, bicycling or what have you instead.  But if that individual wants to continue fishing for, and catching, ". . . any anadromous salmon  [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] that is taken for personal use from the waters or offshore waters of this state, . . ." he or she may only do so upon purchasing another annual license.  That is what the statute, by its plain, clear and unambiguous wording, says to us, and that is what it must be taken to mean.

            We trust that the foregoing will be of assistance to you.

Very truly yours,

SLADE GORTON
Attorney General


PHILIP H. AUSTIN
Deputy Attorney General

Content Bottom Graphic
AGO Logo