Hatfield ‘Coastal Jobs’ bill passed by House committee

The House Environment Committee on Wednesday passed Senate Bill 5603, legislation prime-sponsored by Sen. Brian Hatfield, D-Raymond.

The bill, which would write the Washington Coastal Marine Advisory Council into state law, was passed by the Senate, 40 to 9, on March 13.

According to Hatfield, the bill will better protect the interests of citizens who rely on the Washington coastline for their living.

“The passage of this bill sends a message about the importance of coastal jobs,” Hatfield said. “In approving this bill, we ensure that fishermen and shellfish growers, hotel and bed and breakfast owners, and port and shipping interests will have a say in policies that impact Washington’s coastline.”

Hatfield’s bill would put the council into statute, and the creation of that statute would bring more than a dozen representatives of coastal industries together to work with representatives from the Governor’s Office, the Department of Ecology, the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, Washington State Parks and the Department of Commerce. Together, they could create an open dialogue and recommendations on state, local and tribal policies dealing with coastal waters issues, including resource management, fisheries, shellfish aquaculture and ocean energy, according to Hatfield.

The Coastal Marine Advisory Council was originally created by the Department of Ecology in 2011. As a stakeholder group, the council was comprised of representatives from coastal industries to provide a local, coastal perspective when implementing the state’s coastal and ocean policies.