(1) Release by persons other than the director. It is unlawful for persons other than the director to plant aquatic plants or release any species, subspecies, or hybrids of animals which do not already exist in the wild in Washington. If such species, subspecies, or hybrid does already exist in the wild in Washington, it may be released within its established range by persons other than the director, but only after obtaining a permit from the director.
(a) Application for a permit must be made on a form provided by the department. It must be submitted at least thirty days prior to acquisition of the wildlife or aquatic plants intended for release or planting, and must provide all information indicated.
(b) Permits will only be issued if the director determines there will be no adverse impact on the wildlife or wildlife habitat of the state.
(c) Each permit shall require that at least thirty days prior to planting or release of wildlife or aquatic plants they must be made available for inspection by the director. It shall be the responsibility of the applicant to show that the wildlife will not pose a disease threat. If the director is not satisfied that the wildlife or aquatic plants do not pose a disease threat, they shall not be released or planted in the state. Director approval for release or planting may be withdrawn for cause.
(d) Each permit shall require that an applicant intending to release wildlife in the state shall report immediately to the director the outbreak of any disease among the wildlife intended to be released. If the director determines that such outbreak presents a threat to the wildlife of the state, the director may immediately order such action as necessary including quarantine or destruction of stock, sterilization of enclosures and facilities, cessation of activities, and disposal of wildlife in a manner satisfactory to the director.
(e) Each permit shall require that wildlife to be released shall not be branded, tattooed, tagged, fin clipped or otherwise marked for identification without approval of the director or as required in WAC 232-12-044
(f) Legally acquired pheasant of the genus Phasianus
; gray partridge of the genus Perdix
; chukar of the genus Alectoris
; quail of the genus Callipepla
; and mallards (Anas platyrhynchos
) may be released without a permit for purposes of dog training, and hunting pursuant to WAC 232-12-044
. Game birds of these species released for these purposes must be purchased from facilities that have been inspected by a certified veterinarian within the past twelve months. Rock doves may be released without permit for purposes of bird dog training.
(2) Release by the director. The director may plant aquatic plants or release animal species, subspecies, or hybrids which have been planted or released previously in Washington if they do not pose a disease threat and if planting or release will not cause adverse impact on the wildlife or wildlife habitat of the state. Before releasing any species, subspecies, or hybrid of animal not already existing in the wild in Washington, the director shall report to the commission on the planned release, stating the basis for determining that the planned release fulfills the criteria set forth herein. The director may release nonnative species, subspecies, or hybrids not previously released in Washington only if the director in his or her sole discretion has determined that:
(a) There is no reasonable expectation of adverse impact on the wildlife or wildlife habitat of the state and there is an adequate plan for evaluating such impact following the release;
(b) The commission has classified the species, subspecies, or hybrids to be released pursuant to RCW 77.12.020
(c) Suitable habitat is available;
(d) The nonnative species, subspecies, or hybrids to be released are free of exotic pathogens;
(e) The release serves the public interest.
(3) This section does not apply to release of classified or unclassified fish or shellfish by persons who have caught or taken the fish or shellfish, provided the fish or shellfish are released into the water or on the tidelands at the approximate location where taken, except that fishing contest participants may release fish at a contest-designated location in the same body of water from which the fish were taken.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 77.12.047 and 77.12.020. 04-11-036 (Order 04-98), § 232-12-271, filed 5/12/04, effective 6/12/04. Statutory Authority: RCW 77.12.040, 77.12.020, 77.32.070, 77.32.530. 01-10-048 (Order 01-69), § 232-12-271, filed 4/26/01, effective 5/27/01. Statutory Authority: RCW 77.04.055, 77.12.040 and 77.16.150. 91-24-015 (Order 521), § 232-12-271, filed 11/22/91, effective 12/23/91. Statutory Authority: RCW 77.12.020, 77.12.040 and 77.16.150. 89-12-044 (Order 397), § 232-12-271, filed 6/2/89. Statutory Authority: RCW 77.12.040. 82-04-034 (Order 177), § 232-12-271, filed 1/28/82; 81-12-029 (Order 165), § 232-12-271, filed 6/1/81. Formerly WAC 232-12-675.]