Washington Commercial Salmon Fishing Regulations, Initiative 192 (1954)

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The Washington Commercial Salmon Fishing Regulations Initiative, also known as Initiative 192, was on the November 2, 1954 ballot in Washington as an Initiative to the People, where it was defeated. The measure would have regulated commercial salmon harvesting. Specifically, the measure would have prohibited commercial fishing for certain time frames in certain regions, established preserves where commercial harvesting is forbidden, prohibited certain equipment used to catch salmon and authorized seizure without permit for those breaking the law.[1]

Election results

Washington Initiative 192
Defeatedd No555,15170.08%
Yes 237,004 29.92%

Election results via: Washington Secretary of State

Text of measure

The language appeared on the ballot as:[1]


An act relating to salmon fishing for commercial purposes; defining districts wherein it is unlawful to fish commercially for salmon, except during prescribed seasons which the director may shorten; establishing preserves in which salmon fishing for commercial purposes is prohibited; prohibiting the construction, installation, use, operation or maintenance of certain specified gear or any fixed applicances for the purposes of catching salmon; authorizing seizures without warrants by certain officials; prescribing penalties; and repealing all laws in conflict herewith.[2]



The following reasons were given by the Washington State Sports Council in support of Initiative 192 in The Arlington Times:[3]

  • The measure will stop commercial fishing during spawning, thus allowing endangered salmon to reproduce. In the previous years, salmon runs have been depleted by over 50%.
  • The measure eliminates inequities in regulation by giving all commercial salmon fishing the same seasons and privileges.
  • The measure will help save sport fishing for individuals and families.
  • The measure will help maintain sport fishing tourism, a $200 million dollar per year source of capital.
  • The measure will help the commercial fishing industry in the long-term by making sure that it does not deplete the salmon resource now.



The following reasons were given by Journalist Dorothy Bonney in opposition to Initiative 192 in the Ellensburg Daily Record:[4]

  • The measure disproportionately affects small commercial fishing businesses.
  • The measure allows large companies, the "big boys," to have a monopoly of commercial salmon harvesting.
  • The measure would overturn standards developed by the Department of Fisheries, the experts who best understand this issue.

Path to the ballot

Initiative 192 was filed on February 16, 1954. Signatures were submitted to qualify it for the ballot. The measure was placed on the ballot as provided for by the state constitution.[5]

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