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Fishermen rally for kings

Sport, commercial fishermen express concerns, frustrations

Posted: July 10, 2012 - 8:36am  |  Updated: November 27, 2012 - 8:43pm
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Dave Goggia, president of the Kenai River Professional Guide Association addresses a crowd of nearly 50 during a "king salmon conservation rally" Monday July 9, 2012 at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game office in Soldotna. The rally was slated to begin at 7 a.m., the same time setnetters on the Kenai River portion of the East Side Setnet fishery were to open, however that fishery was closed by emergency order released by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game at 3 p.m. on Sunday.  Several setnetters attended the rally which was populated mainly by professional guides and recreational sport fishermen.  Representatives from both commercial setnet fishermen and sport fishermen along with one speaker who came to Alaska with his sons to catch kings on the Kenai River and is now unable to do so due to catch and release restrictions on the river.   Rashah McChesney
Rashah McChesney
Dave Goggia, president of the Kenai River Professional Guide Association addresses a crowd of nearly 50 during a "king salmon conservation rally" Monday July 9, 2012 at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game office in Soldotna. The rally was slated to begin at 7 a.m., the same time setnetters on the Kenai River portion of the East Side Setnet fishery were to open, however that fishery was closed by emergency order released by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game at 3 p.m. on Sunday. Several setnetters attended the rally which was populated mainly by professional guides and recreational sport fishermen. Representatives from both commercial setnet fishermen and sport fishermen along with one speaker who came to Alaska with his sons to catch kings on the Kenai River and is now unable to do so due to catch and release restrictions on the river.

More than 50 people gathered in front of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game offices in Soldotna at 7 a.m. Monday at a rally advertising "king salmon preservation."

The majority of the crowd were sport fishermen, both guides and recreational users, but a small group of commercial setnetters attended as well.

Had the rally begun at 7 a.m. it would have opened at precisely the time the Kenai, Kasilof and East Forelands sections of the Upper Subdistrict of the setnet fishery were scheduled to open Monday morning, however, the fishery was closed by emergency order as of 2:45 p.m. Sunday.

At about 7:45 a.m., Dave Goggia, resident of the Kenai River Professional Guide Association and owner of Hooky Charters, started off the rally by speaking about the history of king salmon measurement using different types of sonar over the past several years and how Fish and Game has struggled to get an accurate count of kings in the river.

"There aren't that many fish in the river, we know that much. We know that it is a down year. Historically low, possibly," he said. "So we've got to make it about the kings and not about us, our pocketbooks. I think that's kind of why we're all here today. It's them that we're all concerned about."

As of July 5 a season total of 659 late run fish were measured in the Kenai River, well below the minimum management objectives set by Fish and Game.

Goggia said the blame for the low abundance of king salmon was shared by all user groups.

"You know Fish and Game fished us when we probably shouldn't have been fishing," he said. "(They) let commercial fishermen fish when they probably shouldn't have been fishing, so we all have a hand in this problem. So if we're going to come up with a solution we probably all need to pull together and come up with a solution that actually gets more kings in the river."

Gary Hollier, a setnet fisherman was the only commercial fisherman to take a turn at the microphone.

"We can all point fingers, beat each other up. Commercial fishermen are out of the water we're sharing this burden. We might get in, we might not get in. Catch and release at least keeps the guides, the tourism business going, you still got halibut, reds, rainbows. It's not the best option," he said. "(Setnetters are) going to sit on the beach until there's some abundance. We might or might not get into the water."

He suggested a few ideas like enhancements being done on the Kasilof.
"Why don't we keep --," Hollier said before being interrupted.

"Get the setnets a mile off of shore," shouted someone in the crowd.

"I understand that, I'm not trying to start a train wreck here, I'm just trying to put it into some perspective, you know --," Hollier said before being cut off again.

"Save the river, save the kings," someone in the crowd shouted.

"Save the river, save the kings," Hollier repeated. "We'll we're doing that ... I don't know you just cannot continue to blame the setnet fishery that's been here for 80-100 years and historically takes 20-25 percent of the run. I'm sorry."

"Bull----," someone said.

"Whatever, I at least have the gumption to get up here and say what I think," Hollier said. "I'm not trying to get into a freakin' war here ... we (setnetters) get beat up a little bit. Catch-and-release right now keeps everybody in the water. (Setnetters are) out of the water. It keeps the guide business viable that's all I'm saying."

Goggia took over again and told the crowd there were issues, but that Hollier makes a good point.

"They're out of the water," Goggia said.

Greg Brush, a sport fisherman from Soldotna spoke in response to Hollier.

"I want to thank you for coming, you've got a lot of guts being here and I appreciate you coming up and speaking but you're wrong," Brush said. "This is a rally, it's not a protest and when you speak you run the risk of inflating things and irritating things and you're certainly entitled to your opinion and you're entitled to speak up here but this is a rally and it's a preservation rally, we're trying to preserve the kings."

He said the guides who attended the rally were interested in conservation.

"Personally and I would bet most people here, personally I don't want catch-and-release. You just said 'you guys have a viable business you're still in the water.' You know what? I don't want to be in the water and I don't have a viable business today. That's pretty scary because the bottom line is the kings aren't in the river and I can't sell a trip because I can't look a customer in the eye and say let's go out there and fish and catch a big king."

Local fishermen weren't the only ones addressing the crowd, David Burk, of Arlington Texas, took the microphone and told the crowd that they didn't know him.

"I'm just one of those guys that spent $10,000 this week to catch a king, me and my son who graduated high school," Burk said. "You've got to get excited that the fish aren't getting to the Kenai River. Something's got to change."

Burk said he fished the river in 1987 and came back 25 years later to see that there were no more kings.

"Blame it on technology, blame it on what you want to but the reality is 5 percent of the fish getting caught in the river is not the problem," he said. "The red salmon swishing their tail over king salmon beds is not the problem. The reality is the king salmon aren't getting to the river because they're getting stopped and they're getting killed before they get here."

He encouraged everyone in attendance to go the highest level of government and let their voices be heard.

"You've got to go to the top you've got to write your letters because I want my son, when his 18-year-old son graduates, my grandson graduates, I want to be able to say 'Hey, let me take you to the biggest king salmon in the world. Let's go to the Kenai and lets spend a few more thousand dollars to catch a king.'"

Rashah McChesney can be reached at rashah.mcchesney@peninsulaclarion.com.

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TheKenaiKid
125
Points
TheKenaiKid 07/10/12 - 12:20 pm
5
0

We love our guides!

Thank you, area fishing guides (residents and non), for again standing up for this precious resource. You guys are doing some incredible work for the river and deserve a big "thank you" for looking out for the rest of us who are powerless to make a difference on this issue.

Without your tireless efforts to improve habitat, imagine what the river would look like today. It's hard to fathom how our big kings would ever survive without the guide community's passionate stewardship of the resource. Without 400 boats sitting on the river for 12 hours a day, it's difficult to imagine how the kings would fare. After all, how can we determine if the fish are healthy enough to get upstream to spawn without first hooking them, playing them for 45 minutes, bringing them to the boat and then taking their picture?

For years, Brush, Gease and the rest of their ilk have continued to spout the same old C-N-R propaganda bull that continues to this day. Out of one corner of their mouth, they'll tell you the guides are only interested in preserving the big kings. Then they'll go on a fishing report and brag about catching 14-16 fish in a day, all the while claiming that because the fish were released back into the wild, there was no impact on the resource.

This fishery is no longer sustainable, nor is it enjoyable for anyone who doesn't have a thousand bucks to pay a guide.

Blame Fish and Game all you want, guides. Everyone knows who the real power brokers are on the river (guides and their political pals), and anyone with half a brain can figure out why places like the Kenai, Susitna, etc. are getting fished out.

It was illuminating to read how the setnetters got shouted down at this meeting, despite offering real solutions rather than rhetoric. Guides are used to controlling the conversation and using their considerable political voice to silence their critics, so this is not a surprise. Anyone who's been to a BOF meeting knows how they like to manipulate the dialogue.

Glad a few local setnetters came out to get their point across. Judging by who showed up to represent the commercial side, I think things would have turned out ugly for the pink-fingered crowd...

beaverlooper
1821
Points
beaverlooper 07/10/12 - 12:40 pm
4
0

just sayin'

I don't commercial fish,I don't sport fish(anymore),I've lived here since 1968. The commercial guys used to fish 3 to 7 days a week,there were still lots of kings.The guides started to take over the river the kings became fewer and fewer,especially the big kings.Not to mention the silver run.
Guides are a cancer that is going to kill the Kenai river.

s2wheel
53
Points
s2wheel 07/10/12 - 12:55 pm
0
0

inclosed is a news release

inclosed is a news release from 2004, it did not happen in just that year this went on for days and years, dont tell me they were only catching reds(sockeye) they were catching any thing that swam in the mouth of the river,I was there they pluged the river with nets, shame on all for not protesting this back then I wrote letters to anybody I could think of, but one person will not be heard, not just one fishiery is to blame it needed stopped before it distroyed our fish, I say stop fishing for a period of 6 to 10 years and we will see a come back of salmon otherwise it will get worse.
NEWS RELEASE
Kevin Duffy, Commissioner
Doug Mecum, Director

Upper Cook Inlet Area Office
43961 Kalifornsky Beach Rd, Ste B
Soldotna, AK 99669
Date Issued: July 14, 2004
Time: 2:00 pm
Contact:
Jeff Fox, Area Management Biologist
Pat Shields, Asst. Area Management Biologist
Phone: (907) 262-9368
Fax: (907) 262-4709

2004 Upper Cook Inlet Salmon Fishery News Release #16
Kasilof Terminal Area Opening
Districts Affected: Kasilof Section Drift, Kasilof Section Set

Emergency Order Number 2S-16-04 opens set and drift gillnetting in the Kasilof River Special Harvest Area from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday July 14. The terminal area boundaries are 600 feet south of the normal commercial regulatory marker located one mile north of the Kasilof River to 600 feet north of the normal commercial regulatory marker located one mile south of the Kasilof River. The first 600 feet from the mean high tide mark is open to set gillnets only and the area outside of 600 feet is open to drift gillnets only. The offshore limit of this area is 1.5 miles from the navigational light located on the south bank of the Kasilof River but not closer than 600 feet of the set gillnet buoys in the normally open set gillnet area. This is approximately the area fished during the Kasilof Personal Use Gillnet fishery that operates from June 15 to June 25. Specifics of this plan are on page 102 of the current regulation book.

tejarboc
8
Points
tejarboc 07/10/12 - 02:59 pm
2
3

Kenai River Kings

Solution to Kenai River king shortage is very simple and should have been implemented 25 years ago. It needs to be Drift boat only for the months of May, June and July.

KenaiKardinal88
316
Points
KenaiKardinal88 07/10/12 - 05:32 pm
0
4

Kings

The comm fish guys will destroy this fishery if given the chance. Shut them down!

Their greed is beyond compare.

I'm sick of out of state comm fishers telling us what to do.

salamatof_flyer
31
Points
salamatof_flyer 07/10/12 - 09:32 pm
3
0

Did we miss the tone of this article?

The whole idea of this rally was to promote a collective effort to conserve the kings. There's absolutely no need for comm.-sport mudslinging, although we've all grown up in it. A few ideas:

The Kasilof Special Harvest Area is a zoo. No argument there. Most of those fish are...wait for it...Kasilof fish, but naturally there's the possibility that we lost some kings there.

It makes a lot of sense to shut down the set-netters now, when the sockeye numbers are low and we can save kings. During the height of the sockeye run (usually late July), they catch VERY few kings, so it would behoove us to utilize them to avoid massive sockeye over-escapement. A season-long set-net shutdown is not practical. Incidentally, the Kenai beaches have not fished in May (specifically to avoid the early-run Kings) for many years now.

I'm not sure what examples of commercial greed you're referring to, but Cook Inlet set-netters and drifters have not specifically targeted kings for many years. Of course we must seek ways to avoid unwanted bycatch, and I welcome suggestions. Everyone needs to cooperate to make this fishery sustainable--commercial guides, traditional comm. fishermen, sportsmen and dipnetters included.

To that end, I think we should think very seriously about why we have two separate divisions for the Sport and Commercial fisheries. Our management should place the resource in first priority, the better to preserve it, for its own sake and for future generations. Politics shouldn't enter into it. One river system, one biological agenda!

RiverKeeper
16
Points
RiverKeeper 07/11/12 - 08:30 am
2
0

Business v. Business

Make no mistake about the issue.

One business vs. another business battling out for the maximum profit.

I am a sport fisherman. Neither side is my interst.

Guides are in-river commercial fisherman
Set Netters and Drifters are out-of-river commercial fisherman.

The difference between these businesses and girls/guys like you and me is that it COSTS US MONEY to catch a king, red, sliver, etc.

Business Comm and Business Sport ....MAKE MONEY catching kings, reds, silvers, etc.

Conservation rally is nothing more than a organized political tactic to promote rule making that benefits their business over the other business.

If given the chance, open to fish, bait, whatever it migh be ...both sides woult take AS MUCH AS THEY COULD. Conservation of species has nothing to do with it, conservation of their business has everything to do with it.

Both business groups need to understand one thing: Just because your business is resource based DOES NOT ENTITLE YOU TO ANYTHING! My job could be cut tomorrow, my business could fail, and many do. YOURS CAN TOO!

Unitl we start managing the river with peer reviewed science and the best interst of the entire river health in mind, instead of a corrupt political board system, NOTHING WILL CHANGE and our RIVER HEALTH WILL CONTINUE TO SUFFER!

RiverKeeper
16
Points
RiverKeeper 07/11/12 - 08:30 am
4
0

Business v. Business

Make no mistake about the issue.

One business vs. another business battling out for the maximum profit.

I am a sport fisherman. Neither side is my interst.

Guides are in-river commercial fisherman
Set Netters and Drifters are out-of-river commercial fisherman.

The difference between these businesses and girls/guys like you and me is that it COSTS US MONEY to catch a king, red, sliver, etc.

Business Comm and Business Sport ....MAKE MONEY catching kings, reds, silvers, etc.

Conservation rally is nothing more than a organized political tactic to promote rule making that benefits their business over the other business.

If given the chance, open to fish, bait, whatever it migh be ...both sides woult take AS MUCH AS THEY COULD. Conservation of species has nothing to do with it, conservation of their business has everything to do with it.

Both business groups need to understand one thing: Just because your business is resource based DOES NOT ENTITLE YOU TO ANYTHING! My job could be cut tomorrow, my business could fail, and many do. YOURS CAN TOO!

Unitl we start managing the river with peer reviewed science and the best interst of the entire river health in mind, instead of a corrupt political board system, NOTHING WILL CHANGE and our RIVER HEALTH WILL CONTINUE TO SUFFER!

salamatof_flyer
31
Points
salamatof_flyer 07/11/12 - 01:07 pm
3
0

Hear, hear.

Yes, this IS an economic issue. Yes, commercial guides, set-netters and drifters all make money on these fisheries. If the river is managed for its own sake, though, I don't see anything wrong with that. Believe me, all of the fishermen involved are well aware that their businesses can fail at any moment. They've all had years when they caught very little or were opened for only a few days for the year.

The problem lies in managing for special interests. Hampering good biological management with a board that is so heavily influenced by political interests is insane. Let's figure out how to set ourselves up to manage the river system healthily so that everyone can get on with their lives and everyone can enjoy healthy salmon stocks for years to come.

Homesteader
3
Points
Homesteader 07/11/12 - 09:13 pm
1
1

Japan Radiation

Before you break out the big guns and start throwing lead, has anyone done any research that maybe the radiation in the water near japan has the fish all messed up. Not saying this is the case, but a real possibility. Stop your bitching on both sides and work together.

Brownrabbit
7
Points
Brownrabbit 07/12/12 - 03:22 pm
4
0

Bycatch By Super Trawlers.

We all agree there is less salmon returning to all the streams in Southcentral AK. I have delt with Guides thru out the years thinking the Kenai and the Kasilof was there own rivers.Where I have been bullyed out of fishing holes. I also fished Commercially and have been corked off numerous times. I think this resource can be enjoyed by all. But this resource is being rape at the high seas.There is a artical in the Bristol Bay Times this month that talks about Trawlers bycatch. Alaska has the Second highest bycatch Followed by the Gulf Of Mexico shrimp trawlers. Its a crying shame that the Trawlers are tossing two third of there catch overboard. Thats salmon, Whales, Seals, And Sea lions. By this study there is 1.2 billion pounds of bycatch is just killed and toss like garbage. If we continue this type of waste of this resource, We will be just like Newfoundland with there Cod fisheries . Trawling began in 1951 and Newfoundland was totally fished out by 1992. The goverment closed it down. And it has never came back. Lets learn from there mistakes.....

soldotna
50
Points
soldotna 07/13/12 - 10:37 am
2
0

Am I the only one that see this?

As far as I can tell no one that is finger pointing as been in charge of protecting the Kenai river or the fish that has solely been put on the Fish & Game and state biologist. As far as I can tell they have failed but why would you blame the people that pick the fruit because its gone when its up to the farmer to protect it and make sure it gets replanted to come back next year.

Interested Party
10
Points
Interested Party 07/14/12 - 07:28 am
3
0

Finger Pointing

All of you Commercial and Sport Fishermen pointing fingers should redirect your angst.

The blame does not fall with the Set Netters. They are a vital part of our community and their success is important to our future. The blame does not fall with the Guides or more importantly the anglers who fish with them. They are a vital part our our community and their success is also important to our future.

It would be beneficial to solving the issue at hand for both groups to quit blaming the other and start addressing the real issue,

Fish and Game has allowed this mess to happen. They have continued to lower the escapement. They have done nothing pro active to promote the future of the fishery. They have required sport anglers to purchase a King Stamp and realized millions of dollars in revenue only to manage every King Run on the Peninsula into the dirt. They have failed to force the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council to truly address the issue of by-catch in the trawl fishery. The hundreds of thousands of Kings killed by the the trawlers every year amount to by far more damage than the Set Netters, Guided Anglers, Un-guided Anglers, Drifters, and Etc. put together.

Quit point fingers at each other and realize the Managers of the Fishery are to blame. Individuals and Businesses working within the parameters set forth by the state are not the problem.

If you need someone to blame besides the Managers then look at the big money politics that rule the Council and rape the ocean so people can eat a fillet-o-fish and imitation crab. They kill the kings, the halibut, and the food fish that feed them. The trawlers are killing the resources that the people of the Kenai depend on. None of that money comes to the Kenai.

It is sad to watch the trawl fleet get away with murder and leave common folk fighting and finger pointing.

salamatof_flyer
31
Points
salamatof_flyer 07/14/12 - 05:13 pm
0
0

True, Interested Party

I think you've got the right idea there. We all get pretty defensive because the management is set up to turn us against each other. Both sides of the commercial issue are used to being demonized by the other.

That said, whatever the trawlers have taken out at this point is gone. While we can try to regulate them for the future, it's not going to do any good for this year's fish. We have to manage with what we have, king-wise, and if that's not enough, it seems silly to pretend that targeted catch-and-release of kings and dipnet bycatch is harmless.

It was kept intentionally quiet this year, but the Kenai Classic went by without fanfare even before the catch-and-release restrictions went on. Politics and resource management DON'T mix well.

kenai123
1220
Points
kenai123 07/16/12 - 11:46 am
2
0

Where Have All The Kings Gone?

The average anglers fishing Cook Inlets rivers and streams today will pack up their gear and head out with high hopes of landing a bunch of giant king salmon. That angler will then return home with the sobering reality that it is much more difficult to catch a king today than it used to be. If they do the research they will eventually come across the records of how king fishing used to be. The story may take many twists and turns but it comes down to a tale of who got the fish. We had a lot of kings in Alaska waters just after World War 2. This was when our commercial fish traps began having a devastation effect on our salmon. Our salmon resources were in good shape but that didn't last long as the traps wiped them out by 1959. Once those runs reached great abundance they caught the attention of both our fish traps and foreign fisheries. Back then the U.S. had a three-mile territorial limit which allowed foreign fisheries to basically come in off the three-mile limit with trawlers and gillnets. All the commercial effort basically wiped out our salmon by 1959 so we stopped our own commercial fishing effort prior to 1976 and ended the foreign fishing rip-off with the Magnuson Steven Fisheries Act of 1976. The Act effectively expanded the three-mile limit into a 200 mile U.S. Economic Zone which greatly reduced foreign commercial fishermen from accessing our returning salmon stocks. The local and foreign shut-down was very successful and then Alaska limited entry came into effect in 1973 as only a limited number of Alaskan commercial fishermen were then allowed to access our salmon fisheries. Around 1979 to 1995 we began to allow our limited entry commercial fisheries to start fishing again as we experienced huge returns of king and silver salmon on the Kenai River and Cook Inlet.
Most people did not know it at the time but the removal of the foreign and unlimited local commercial fishing fleets resulted in our Cook Inlet salmon actually being allowed to somewhat freely migrate back to their home rivers and streams. We could actually go out fishing on the Kenai River for kings at this time and see ten to twenty kings swirl to the surface when making a single drifting pass on a hole. It was not unusual to go out king fishing in July, have four to five persons in a boat limited out within a couple hours and most of that time was spent landing giant kings, which fought for at least twenty to thirty minutes each. The fishing was fantastic, runs came in early, peaked and remained strong until the end of the month or were closed by regulation.
As the commercial gillnets increased in and around Cook Inlet, we began to notice run slippage. At first it was just a slight delay of only a few days, which was quickly made up for later when the main body of the runs arrived. Each year from 1995 - 2005 resulted in these runs arriving a few day later. By 2002 Alaskan commercial trawlers, seiners and gillnets had increased so much in and around Cook Inlet that many people also began noticing a reduction in the size of giant Kenai kings along with their late arrival. The first reaction was shock as the ADF&G began reading off the record of what was happening to the first run of Kenai kings. The Board of Fish and the public scrambled and arrived at their solution, which was to severely restrict freshwater fisheries in an attempt to make up for the losses. At this time I personally began researching the by-catch figures of Kodiak's commercial fisheries guarding the entrances to Cook Inlet, which by the way begin commercial fishing around June 5th each year. I was astounded as to the dramatic increase in Kodiak area commercial fisheries by-catch of king salmon. Kodiak commercial seine and gillnet fisheries which had previously reported only a by-catch of a few thousand kings annually in 1980 suddenly soared to a by-catch of 20,000 - 30,000 kings annually by 2002. At the same time the Bering Sea commercial fishermen were also by-catching 30,000 - 40,000 kings annually and then those by-catch figures rocketed to 100,000 - 120,000 kings annually. These are kings which are illegal to keep so they are just thrown overboard DEAD. At the same time king by-catch figures within the Gulf of Alaska also began soaring from 20,000 kings annually to 60,000 kings and this was kings being dumped over the side DEAD because they were either targeting other stocks or illegal to keep. At the same time these commercial trawlers were by-catching kings they were also by-catching smaller bait fish which king and silver salmon feed on, thus reducing the bio-mass of prey these salmon have access to. Huge schools of bait fish prey were killed and dumped back into the ocean by these trawlers, the prey loss then forced our kings and silvers to forage longer to meet their daily calorie intake needs, thus exposing them to additional predator's like killer and beluga whales along with seals. The additional predator exposure then further reduced our kings and silvers right along with the trawlers shredding and removing their prey bait fish. What is happening here is that these commercial trawlers are hitting our kings and silvers from all sides. These trawlers deplete a salmon's food source and if that salmon somehow manages to survive anyway, they then come along and kill the survivors and throw them overboard. If they don't kill it with a basic lack of prey, they kill it by forcing it to forage additional hours to survive thus encountering even more salmon hunting whales and seals. If by some chance the salmon survives all the obstacles commercial fishing has placed in front of their survival, those same trawlers then just come in and kill them and dump there dead bodies back into the ocean. Just about everything our kings and silvers are trying to do to survive out in the ocean is being disrupted by our commercial trawler fleets.

Today just twenty commercial trawlers from King Cove and Sand Point near the tip of the Alaska Peninsula averaged a by-catch of 3.4 king salmon per metric ton of Pollock. These guys estimated that they obtained this by-catch of about 24,878 kings in just twelve days of fishing. 20,000 kings is just about enough salmon to fuel a good part of Cook Inlets entire annual recreational fishery and if those kings had been caught by anglers the state would have received 30 - 40 times more revenue than if those fish had actually been delivered to commercial markets. Unfortunately most of those kings never even made it to any markets because they were dumped over the side DEAD. A smaller amount of commercially gill netted king by-catch makes it to commercial fisheries markets but the vast majority of Alaska's king by-catch is dumped DEAD right along with what they feed on. Some may think this waste of fish is so offensive that someone would have noticed these changes, well some of us did notice and we tried to generate the attention the situation deserved but many people just refused to see what was right before their eyes. It was not until Gulf of Alaska king by-catch figures began soaring to over 40,000 - 50,000 kings annually; when that happened it caught the attention of even Lower 48 fisheries managers. These managers had endangered king stocks from the Upper Willamette and lower Columbia rivers which are known to swim the waters of the Gulf of Alaska. When they caught wind of these huge king by-catch numbers they also began to ask questions like we have been asking since 2002. Those questions continue to this day.

So what has resulted from all of those king by-catch questions and revelations? In 2009 the North Pacific Council finally attempted taking a look at this uncontrolled king by-catch spiral. The North Council voted to stop the pollock fishing when they hit a by-catch of 60,000 kings in the Bering Sea. In 2011 the North Council voted for a 25,000 king-cap on the Gulf of Alaska king by-catch. So theoretically if the pollock fleet in the Gulf of Alaska passes the 25,000 king by-catch limit, the fishery will be shut down. In 2010 the Gulf of Alaska fleet killed more than 51,000 king salmon as by-catch, an all-time high. You can use your imagination as to what has been happening out there since. These are only caps on the commercial king by-catch, they cannot even hope to repair the long term damage which has been done to Alaska's king stocks and supporting prey bait fish.. Even if this king by-catch problem were totally eliminated today it would take a minimum of 10 - 20 years to recover from this kind of wholesale ocean slaughter. Since the king slaughter has only received measures to prevent it from getting worse, what we currently see for king returns will be our best case future return scenario. The worse case scenario is that those returns will get even worse.until this unacceptable king by-catch slaughter is eliminated.
But to answer the question of "Where have all the kings gone?" Commercial by-catch figures on king salmon have gone from next to nothing to monstrous numbers, while the State of Alaska has been assuming that it is a natural statewide lack of abundance of king salmon resulting from excessive freshwater angling. This incorrect assumption fueled extensive freshwater fisheries restrictions and forced those fisheries to give up fish allocations which they could not afford to give up. The vast majority of these missing king salmon were dumped DEAD over the side by the commercial fishing industry and now blissfully drift among the ocean currents along with their slaughtered prey bait fish which they used to consume. So the answer is not some mysteriously murky issue like Global Warming; it is really much more simple than you may have been led to believe. Most of these kings have not gone anywhere, most remain where they were caught, slaughtered and dumped DEAD. This is not a complex "naturally low abundance of king salmon issue". It is a simple "low abundance of wise fisheries managers" WHO ARE ABLE to address commercial fisheries by-catch problems at the saltwater source rather than the freshwater symptoms.

Why are commercial fishermen throwing away our kings DEAD? Why are we purchasing ADF&G king stamps just to have a commercial fisherman slaughter our kings and dump them? Our trawl fisheries, our governor and our ADF&G commissioner are all screaming to be allowed to continue slaughtering our kings and throw them over board DEAD.
Our ADFG commissioner and governor are all currently advocating for us to maintain the historic average of kings caught as by-catch and then dumped DEAD thus allowing
this unbelievable king by-catch issue to continue. Isn't it about time for a King Salmon Revolt? Alaskans need to hold their governor and ADF&G commissioner accountable.
We all need to take a stand against throwing away our Alaska King Salmon Resource. Our govern and commissioner are advocating for us to continue slaughtering these kings and throwing them away DEAD. A 25,000 king-cap by-catch in the Gulf of Alaska is unacceptable. A 60,000 king-cap by-catch in the Bering Sea is unacceptable. Does anyone really believe that we can hope to rebuild our decimated kings runs with these commercial fisheries shredding our ocean like this? The reason these trawl fisheries are forced to throw kings away, is so they can't sell them and make a profit. The logic here is that if they were able to keep and sell by-catch, that would incentivize them to be sloppy and "accidentally" catch a bunch of kings. If these trawl fisheries were required to process their by-catch and donate it to a food bank or something, the incentive would be opposite, it might actually stop them from shredding our oceans. We should do the same as we do with big game guides as they are forced to salvage the meat off the bears or anything else. If you are going to kill something in the ocean, you have a duty to use it. If you want to use our ocean as your "private ranch" and sell billions of little fish sticks, that's fine but part of the deal is that someone has to eat what you catch and you cannot waste our common fisheries heritage. Someone eats what you catch or we are going to stop you from fishing period. It might be old-fashioned but that is the way it should always be.

Would you like the ocean by-catch of king salmon to END? Sign the Petition.
http://signon.org/thanks.html?petition_id=19764&id=-4973638-zWWsf8

Contact Alaska Governor Sean Parnell or Cora Campbell the ADF&G Commissioner at the below information.

Governor Sean Parnell
P.O. Box 110001
Juneau, AK 99811-0001
Phone (907) 465-3500
Fax (907) 465-3532
http://gov.alaska.gov/parnell/contact/email-the-governor.html
Anchorage Office
550 West 7th Avenue, Suite 1700
Anchorage, AK 99501
Phone (907) 269-7450
Fax (907) 269-7461

Fairbanks Office
675 7th Avenue, Suite H5
Fairbanks, AK 99701-4596
Phone (907) 451-2920
Fax (907) 451-2858

Washington DC Office
444 North Capitol NW, Suite 336
Washington, DC 20001-1512
Phone (202) 624-5858
Fax (202) 624-5857

---------------------------------------------------------------

Cora Campbell, ADF&G Commissioner
P.O. Box 115526
Juneau, Alaska 99811
Phone: (907) 465-6166 - Fax: (907) 465-2332

dfg.commissioner@alaska.gov
http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=contacts.emailus

kenai_kid
222
Points
kenai_kid 07/16/12 - 03:42 pm
1
0

Limited Entry

Per the Alaska Constitution:
“No exclusive right or special privilege of fishery shall be created or
authorized in the natural waters of the State. This section does not restrict
the power of the State to limit entry into any fishery for purposes of
resource conservation, to prevent economic distress among fishermen and
those dependent upon them for a livelihood and to promote the efficient
development of aquaculture in the State.”

The Limited Entry law was enacted in 1973. Some key features of the program were to
1) require issuance to natural persons only, 2) prohibit permit leasing, 3) prevent the use
of permits as collateral for loans, and 4) allow for free transferability. The Limited Entry
law also defined entry permits as a use-privilege that can be modified by the legislature
without compensation. Free transferability has resulted in maintaining high percentages
of residents within Alaska’s fisheries and has been upheld by Alaska’s Supreme Court.
Permit holders are free to transfer their permits to family members or any other individual
who is able to participate in the fishery by means of gift, inheritance or sale.

I think all participants in this blog would agree that in river pressure has increased exponentially in the past 30 years. The number of guides has increased as has the number of private sport fishers. My suggestion would be to follow the guidelines of the initial limited entry program and limit the number of guides on the river to a reasonable number. There were 171 registered guides in 1985 and there are just over 400 as of 2006. An increase of 200%+. Pick a number somewhere in the middle and call it good! Guides are 1) user of the resource 2) an economic driver in the state 3) and equally responsible for fishery conservation.
In the end, guides are no less commercial fishermen than the people casting nets into Cook Inlet. They both are there for economic gain.

Sources:
30 Years of Limited Entry Sept 12, 2006
http://www.cfec.state.ak.us/pregs/Homan30YrsLimitedEntrySummary.pdf

KPB Recreation Fishing:
http://www2.borough.kenai.ak.us/Econ/1s_p%20data/VisitorIndustry/KenaiRiverFishing.htm

julie
135
Points
julie 07/22/12 - 09:47 pm
1
0

End Salmon Bycatch petition

Thanks Kenai123 for your info. So right! The bycatch is huge and if we'd know of all the trawlers we'd put them in the petition too. This distruction and waste is so bad and the more people that understand that thousands and thousands of fish are being killed and thrown overboard by non Alaskans that are greedy and don't care about tomorrow. Please sign and forward to your facebook page and email contacts the petition: http://signon.org/sign/end-salmon-halibut-bycatch Also enjoy our fact facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stop-Trawling-Bycatch-of-Salmon-Halibut-Petition/407719715940319

beaverlooper
1821
Points
beaverlooper 08/02/12 - 03:19 pm
0
0

reds

Don't get me wrong, I think trawlers should be outlawed until they can figure out a way to catch targeted fish. Having said that I have to wonder ,do trawlers not catch reds? They have been doing fine.

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