No license will be required to fish in Washington state through Aug. 30 after the sale of hunting and fishing licenses was suspended this week due to a cybersecurity breach.
“We are as frustrated as our customers over the licensing system being shut down, but we want to make sure anglers can still hit the waters over the next several days,” said Jim Unsworth, director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, in a statement.
The department is working with the state Office of Cyber Security to investigate a vulnerability in an outside vendor’s license sale system.
Officials say the system was recently exploited in several states, including Washington.
The vulnerability allowed access to some personal information provided by customers who purchased fishing and hunting licenses. State agencies are working with the vendor and collaborating with law enforcement, federal agencies, and officials in other states to determine how much information was accessed.
In addition to no license being required to fish or gather shellfish in state waters through Aug. 30, vehicle access passes will not be needed to park at state Fish and Wildlife access sites. However, Discover Passes still will be required at state parks and to access land managed by the Washington Department of Natural Resources.
Columbia River salmon and steelhead endorsements will not be required for the next several days in open areas of the Columbia River. However, anglers will need to complete a catch record card for any salmon, steelhead or sturgeon they catch from Aug. 25 through Aug. 30.
Other rules, including size and catch limits, remain in effect. They are posted at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations.
Officials say the state will resume license sales as soon as they can ensure the system is secure. They expect to be selling hunting licenses before major seasons — including archery deer, elk and cougar — begin in September.