The legislature declares that aquatic farming provides a consistent source of quality food, offers opportunities of new jobs, increased farm income stability, and improves balance of trade.
The legislature finds that many areas of the state of Washington are scientifically and biologically suitable for aquaculture development, and therefore the legislature encourages promotion of aquacultural activities, programs, and development with the same status as other agricultural activities, programs, and development within the state.
The legislature finds that aquaculture should be considered a branch of the agricultural industry of the state for purposes of any laws that apply to or provide for the advancement, benefit, or protection of the agriculture industry within the state.
The legislature further finds that in order to ensure the maximum yield and quality of cultured aquatic products, the department of fish and wildlife should provide diagnostic services that are workable and proven remedies to aquaculture disease problems.
It is therefore the policy of this state to encourage the development and expansion of aquaculture within the state. It is also the policy of this state to protect wildstock fisheries by providing an effective disease inspection and control program and prohibiting the release of salmon or steelhead trout by the private sector into the public waters of the state and the subsequent recapture of such species as in the practice commonly known as ocean ranching.
Release and recapture of salmon or steelhead prohibited: RCW 77.12.459