Fishing for Columbia and Snake salmon will cost less. A tax was not renewed

Tri-City Herald file

Fishing for Columbia River system salmon and steelhead in Washington state will cost less starting July 1.

The Washington state Department of Fish and Wildlife has collected an annual fee of $8.75, known as the Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Endorsement, since 2010.

It has been a requirement to fish for salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River, plus many of its tributaries, including much of the Snake, Yakima, Walla Walla and Touchet rivers.

However, the state Legislature did not reauthorize the requirement for the endorsement in the session just ended, and it will expire at the end of June.

Anglers will still need a fishing license. No refunds will be given to people who have already bought endorsements.

Fish and Wildlife had requested that the requirement for the endorsement be extended for four years.

Now it is assessing how the loss of revenue will affect the agency. It could mean changes to salmon and steelhead fisheries this fall and next spring.

The agency has to closely monitor and enforce regulations in the Columbia River where there are fish protected by the Endangered Species Act, Fish and Wildlife says.

Sales of the endorsement have generated $10.3 million that has been used to support fishery management activities, including scientific monitoring and evaluation, data collection, permitting, reporting and enforcement.