Snohomish gives up on wildlife crimes

Gary Chittim, KING 5 News


EVERETT, Wash. – People fishing without a license or other minor fishing violations are not being prosecuted in Snohomish County.

The Snohomish County Prosecutor’s Office has told wildlife officers it will no longer prosecute second degree recreational fishing crimes.

That includes violations such as fishing in closed areas, violating limits, illegally hooking, failure to record catches, etc…

Everett Fishing Store owner John Martinis reviewed dozens of cases rejected by the Prosecutor’s Office and said it’s a decision that can lead to serious problems for salmon and crab.

He said the word is out that you don’t need a license to fish in Snohomish County and that will eventually force the end of some fishing seasons.

“We don’t have any fish to waste,” said Martinis, who owns John’s Sporting Goods.

Prosecutors said the decision was made because the State legislature decriminalized minor fishing violations. They said instead of prosecuting misdemeanor crimes, they requested Fish & Wildlife officers write infractions that carry fines but no criminal prosecution.

They also point out their office prosecutes 90 percent of wildlife crimes other than second degree fishing.

State Fish & Wildlife officers report they investigate dozens on second degree fishing crimes during busy fishing days.