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Council mulls dipnet fishery, senior housing

Posted: August 3, 2012 - 7:26am

Frustrated Kenai residents opened Wednesday’s Kenai City Council meeting expressing concerns about their beach’s poor sanitation. All of the speakers cited dipnetters as the problem.

“Our community may have not asked for the responsibility of this dipnet fishery,” said Courtney Stroh, ROC the Kenai member, 16, in a speech, “but nonetheless, the burden is ours to bear.”

Leslie Cooper said the dipnet burden has worsened each year.

“I have no words to describe how foul dipnetting has become,” she said.

Others agreed. Margaret Gilman described a trip to the beach as “putrid,” and council member Mike Boyle said human feces is now among the litter accumulating in the sand.

Jim Butler, another concerned resident, said the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation encourages fish waste to be dumped back in the ocean, but he said such dumpings are illegal per state law. 

This method is also ineffective, many said, because the tide only washes waste back.

Whatever the method of disposal, only the Alaska Department of Fish and Game can regulate fishing practices, Mayor Pat Porter said after the meeting. The city itself cannot ticket those dumping fish waste on beach, which Porter said is an issue.

“There’s only 95 Fish and Wildlife Troopers in the entire state,” she said. “Ninety-five, that’s it.”

As an added issue, she said the sate often ignores this problem.

The council will meet with the Department of the Interior on Aug. 24 to discuss this issue further.

Of the ordinances passed, one allocated a grant of $61,566 to the Kenai Watershed Forum to fund bacteria level monitoring on the beaches.

In past years studies have shown unacceptably high E. coli levels on the beaches.

“But if you stop and think about it,” Porter said, “we have a tremendous amount of seagulls here, and what makes them stay here is that fish that everybody is harvesting and just dumping everywhere.”

Porter said the problem was not entirely from the dipnetters.

The city council also heard from Rick Koch about the city’s new water filtration system now producing water as pure as bottled water, the city manager said.

While the city is still resolving bugs in the filtration system, it is now operational, and residents can expect clearer water.

“I look forward to being a community who can say, ‘I remember when my water was brown and filthy,’” said Boyle.

Other emotional debate sparked when seven people spoke against a resolution that proposed increasing rent by $50 per month at Vintage Pointe Manor, a senior housing facility.

“So the increase that you are proposing is entirely too high for me,” Vintage Pointe Manor resident Joan Kirkham said. “I will not be able to pay it, and I will be forced now to find other accommodations.”

Former Director of Vintage Pointe Manor Kelly Kelso also opposed the rent increase. She said she thought it was too high and Boyle said he has never supported these rent increases in the past and wanted to vote it down.

But some council members said immediate action would not be appropriate.

“This is a really difficult issue that we’ve been presented with,” Council Member Robert Molloy said, “and we don’t have much time to work on it.”

The council unanimously voted to postpone their decision to Sept. 5 providing the Vintage Pointe Manor community more time to prepare. 

Dan Schwartz can be reached at daniel.schwartz@peninsulaclarion.com.

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northernlights
218
Points
northernlights 08/03/12 - 07:46 am
4
1
Education

We are educating people up and down the Kenai River, telling them,"what you pack in, pack out" If you bring in garbage, take it with you. Well sounds good, some do it, however, in less than 3 weeks we hauled out 50pounds of garbage from Russian river. I hate the hoards of people and what they are doing to the river banks, they are literaly destroying them. We have no enforcements, on the beaches or along the rivers. Cannnot our state afford to hire troopers for the summer months? Kasilof, bings landing etc, they are horrible. People are rude, careless, and have no respect for our areas. They come down here by the hoards from Anchorage and damage our area. Enforcement, and volunteering, making your presence knows by telling people about garbage. kenai and Kasilof are dealing with fish waste, you outta see up river along the banks. Hopefully we can become likeminded on answers and take a stand to preserve our area.

kenai-king
255
Points
kenai-king 08/03/12 - 08:13 am
3
1
out of control

The state created this mess they should clean it up. I just as soon see it go away people waste to much, they take what they can get not what they will use. Let alone the BS it causes on the residents of the Kenai with all the extra vehicles and accidents this causes. It is just madness and needs to be stopped but never will because of the almighty dollar. It won't be long and they will have Red return screwed up also.

akal
252
Points
akal 08/03/12 - 08:21 am
2
0
free

when things are free what you get are a lot of people that have no self respect. if you give something to someone long enough they will attack you for it. these words express a statement about human nature.if we want to destroy our resources just keep on like we are doing. hard work brings self respect .

Seafarer
1147
Points
Seafarer 08/03/12 - 09:13 am
2
1
"Subsistence" is a Joke

"Subsistence" dipnet fishery should be a needs based fishery. It should depend on income. As it is now, people are processing their fish and selling it. Only a few actually "subsist" on salmon. There is no investigation or enforcement to stop these people. They rent houses short-term or use fixed up motorhomes to make a processing facility. If I can see this, why can't law enforcement?

As for upping the rent on Seniors; a fifty dollar bill may be chump change for some but means a whole lot to those on a fixed income. There are other ways to raise the money, which is used for what? Why do you have to raise their rent? The article didn't say why.

skyline
7
Points
skyline 08/03/12 - 09:47 am
1
3
Industrial Pollution: Legal, in the Kenai River, Welcomes Kings

Enough Poison in our Kenai River already! STOP it NOW! Why do our elected officials and moneymaking tourist oriented buisnesses find it convenient to close their eyes and noses to a scale of pollution unprecedented in modern history? The volume of fish waste on the shores of the Kenai is so massive.....lets face it and call it what it is ,heavy and industrial. The commercial fish processors all over the state are required by LAW to grind their waste into pieces no larger than 1/2 inch and dispose of them in a transparent and permitted process or face huge fines for non compliance. This disposal is usually in areas of the saltwater environment where dispersal dilutes the toxic dead sea effects of the material. Why does the govt. allow and the buis. community encourage the blind eye to this poison in the Kenai river? How about those King salmon? Are the dipnetters considered holy and righteous or is it their votes and money that make them untouchable. What about the human waste, the plastic, the stomping down of the natal riverbanks by the tens of thousand of feet. Not to mention the oil and solvents that somehow alwys follow people in their mechanized lifestyles. Shame on those responsible! Who is responsible and needs to be reigned in and dealt a swift kick and close their doors........Follow the votes and follow the money of recent years.......The River has lost dearly, the political and buisness interests have done very well for themselves and their cronies. Time for doing the right thing and take care of our natural treasures is right now.....and voting day.

freedomlibertytruth
1398
Points
freedomlibertytruth 08/03/12 - 11:19 am
1
0
Sister-city Akita, Japan

Sister-city Akita, Japan could clean up the mess.

The Peninsula Clarion said that the overseas relationship is important for the area. “Our sisterhood also should also serve in another capacity — one that forces us to put aside our squabbles about fish.....” Therefore, send your local politicians and their friends over to Japan, on your taxpayer dime, and Alaska's friends in Japan will tell you what to do. ‘Cause they have fishing there also.

But, don’t they also have some of the big fishing trawlers that take millions of the fish heading to our state, so that many fish never make it to our Alaska shores. So, no need to worry, they may eventually wipe-out all the fish, and Alaska won’t have that nasty trash problem on the beaches.

corinnep
294
Points
corinnep 08/03/12 - 04:50 pm
0
0
The City doesn't HAVE to

The City doesn't HAVE to raise senior housing rent.

However some in City government (Manager, Finance Officer, Mayor) choose to ignore or don't remember why we have senior housing, it isn't to gouge our elders but to allow them stay in our community. Let's hope that the City Council votes no on the rent increase when it comes up again. While our economy is in a big slump is not the time to be beating up on seniors.

The City could do more to police the beach and keep it clean, it's nonsense to say the City can't do more. The City used to ban people from camping and parking on the beach now they let them and they trash the beach. How is that the State's fault? It's the same old pass the buck from City officials.

The jury is out on water improvement. I personally am not going to drink the water because they put unknown chemicals in it to make look clear.

bigtalkahh
184
Points
bigtalkahh 08/04/12 - 06:00 am
2
2
Fish Wheel

Twenty-five reds plus ten for each family member is too many. Lots of these personal use fish are simply given away, sent out of state with a high shipping cost or traded. A more economic and environmentally friendly solution might be for the state to install a few fish wheels to collect fish. Reduce the harvest number by about half. Folks would stand in line to get their yearly cooler full of salmon. Provide cutting tables. Collect and utilize the fish waste... it is a valuable source on several levels. No more trashing the beach and it's environment. It would also provide for a lot of needy people who can not go dip-netting for salmon. At $200 for a welded aluminum net only those who can afford to buy fish get to harvest in the fishery as it is set up now. What do you think?

julie
135
Points
julie 08/04/12 - 07:39 am
2
2
End Salmon Bycatch Petition

I wonder if you people that don't like the dipnetting are just not used to seeing a meat harvest. And free, believe me these fish ARE NOT FREE. We spend lots of money including obtaining a legal licence to fish.I'm reading so many negative comments about dipnetting. Yes there are those that litter, they're everywhere, in the malls in the city, on the hiking/skiing trails. They'll look you straight in the eye and throw their litter down or out of their car window. Yes there are expensive automobiles. There are lots of fish caught. Whether one cleans their fish at the river or at home, there are some people that will waste some meat. Yes there are probably a few people selling the fish out of state. BUT think of the waste the pollock trawlers are creating. At least the leftover fish on the Kenai bank get eaten by sea gulls. And if some are selling their fish its a minute amount. Yes there could be tighter regulations but EVERY person I heard with an accent that some might think foreign ALL were residence of the state that have the right to this fishery! The city collects huge funds for parking alone that could provide garbage bins. Last year someone had a small tractor that piled up fish heads. That made the hugest stench ever. The tide comes in the tide goes out, I SEE the carcasses going out to sea. The pollock trawlers are wasting thousands upon thousands of salmon and now our chinook salmon run is disappearing and people are not allowed to fish that live here while Seattle commercial fishermen kill fish. Please sign & forward to everyone this petition http://signon.org/sign/end-salmon-halibut-bycatch

alaskagirlie
8
Points
alaskagirlie 08/04/12 - 03:27 pm
1
1
TIME FOR A CHANGE NOW

Fishing is important for all Alaskans ...........but get real!!! Clean up your fish slop!! Stop leaving our beaches a mess! There needs to be a REAL solution. I am just sayin'!!! The smell, the hazard.......remember people live here too.........please respect the beaches! Let's fix this once and for all!!!!!!!! Wake up people, there needs to be a plan and a change for the better ASAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

JOAT
490
Points
JOAT 08/05/12 - 06:53 am
2
1
Typical, unfounded attacks by the NIMBYs

You'd think I'm a rare bird, being a long-time local resident who actually likes and supports the dipnet fishery. But there are a number of us out here. This fishery is not an Anchorage fishery, it is an Alaskan fishery. And non-residents are NOT part of this fishery. If you see a non-resident out there, he's either a "Guide" or fishing illegally. Call 800-478-3377 (it's on the back of your fishing license) to report every violation you witness. And get evidence (photos or video) if you can. Those who ignore violations in the field and complain about them on the internet are part of the problem.

Lies, lies, and more lies... the claims that everyone who dipnets is either selling their fish, giving them to non-residents, or throwing them in the dump are preposterous. Absolute slanderous BS intended only to sway public opinion against this fishery. There is not a factual basis for any of that stereotyping trash. Again, if you know of an actual case of these illegal activities, then report it to the authorities. But don't think for one second that one or two slobs means that the other 100,000 Alaskans are also selfish or wasteful pigs.

Over all the years that I've watched and participated in this fishery, the only real problem that comes up is with litterbugs. But litterbugs are everywhere. Take a drive and visit all the parks and recreational areas around the Kenai and you'll find trash all over the place. Most of it is not from dipnetters. Go out in the Spring before any tourists arrive and survey the amount of trash that the LOCALS are tossing out their car windows.

The dipnetters are confined to a very small geographical area. This is both good and bad. The bad thing is that the litterbugs amongst them are leaving their trash in one place, making it more visible to onlookers. The good thing is that the litterbugs amongst them are leaving their trash in one place, making it easier to clean up. The alternative is to cut all these people back out onto the mainstem of the Kenai and have all that trash spread out over 30 miles of river.

The one thing that needs to change about this fishery is the fish cleaning. However, I'd also like to counter the previous claim that fish carcasses are "heavy industrial waste". Couldn't be further from the truth. If we remove humans entirely, there would be 10 times as much dead fish "waste" in the river. Salmon swim up stream, spawn, and die. The small portion of fish taken by dipnet do not overburden river system with all that dead meat. And no matter how you slice the pie, dipnetters are taking but a small sliver of the massive run of sockeye. The sockeye numbers are huge and this is a fishery that is of optimal health. The dipnetters are actually helping to prevent over-escapement, which damages the spawning grounds when there are too many fish at the end of the run.

So, back to the fish carcasses... the one new rule that needs to be enacted on this fishery is around fish cleaning. People should NOT be cleaning their fish at the beach. The amount of bacteria and filth in the water (especially the saltwater present at the river mouth) is simply worsened by adding fish carcasses to the mess. Further, when you "clean" a fish in that dirty, ecoli contaminated saltwater, you are actually ruining the meat of the fish. Folks should take a lesson from commercial fish processing and leave their fish whole at the fishing site. Bleed them and put them on ice. You can clean them tonight or even tomorrow when you get back to a sanitary location with clean, running water and a cutting board surface that is good enough to be in your kitchen.

Last point... do NOT tell me that I don't "need" 25 fish. No one can presume how much meat a person or a family "needs" to have. Some simple math here. By USDA standards, we should eat 5-6 ounces of meat per day. Take the average and run it out and you should have a little over 2,000 ounces of meat per year, per person. That is 125 pounds of meat, for the USDA "healthy" intake levels. As Americans, we are all chowing down about 3-5 times that much, but that's a whole different story. Those 25 big Kenai sockeye are going to put somewhere between 75-100 pounds of meat in the freezer. For someone who eats a lot of healthy wild salmon, this is a great opportunity to get the world's best protein source.

After all, if you don't get your own meat right out of the water, then you have to go to the store and buy meat that was commercially produced on some livestock ranch that is not in Alaska, thereby not supporting our Alaskan economy and shipping money outside. No, it's far better to have the Alaskans come down to the Kenai and spend their money here so they can go out and work to get their own food right from mother nature's source.

BTW... a family of 4 can come down to Kenai and catch 55 fish in one weekend of dipnetting. Or they can do it the old fashioned way and spend every weekend out on the river for the entire month of July and collect 144 fish by rod and reel... oh, unless they up the limit to 6 in the middle of the month (as they often do, because there are way too many fish), then they could get up to 216 fish. So, how is that dipnetting limit so unreasonable again?

Stop. Think.

julie
135
Points
julie 08/05/12 - 07:21 am
1
0
End Salmon Bycatch Petition

right on JOAT! It's the complainers swaying public opinion that will get us shut down just like it all happened in Washington in the 70's. Sign our petition! http://signon.org/sign/end-salmon-halibut-bycatch Read the Book KING OF SALMON!

smithtb
240
Points
smithtb 08/05/12 - 07:48 am
0
2
Resource

These fish are a resource, one that our community has depended on throughout the entirety of its existence. JOAT, it's not that I don't think you 'need' 25 fish, it's that I don't think my community can support giving you and every single other Alaskan 25 fish. There has to be a limit.

Regardless of its effects on the environment, at the rate the PU fishery is growing, it will soon replace our commercial industry. On a year of moderate to low return, with the PU fishery soon taking upwards of a million fish, the commercial fleet won't even get an opener. We saw the start of this this year, with the PU fishery essentially replacing the setnet fishery as a management tool.

The PU fishery is a great opportunity for many Alaskans, but no reasonable person can say that its financial benefits to the community are as great as the commercial industry. We need to establish limits.

You compare the PU limit of fish to the number you could get up river, both resident and non-res. maybe they're both too high. There's no reason a non-resident should be able to send hundreds of pounds of our very valuable resource home to his friends. Why don't we just send them home with a couple buckets of oil while we're at it? All our fisheries are valuable. Lets limit all of them so they stay healthy for us and the river.

Why can't the city council limit the number of people parking on the beach and launching at the dock at any one time? Safety and environmental factors could dictate that only 100 boats with dipnets be launched at any time, and only 300 vehicles be allowed to be parked on either beach at any time. Of course, season pass holders could be allowed a little less restrictive access. Something like this doesn't seem unfair or hard to do.

JOAT
490
Points
JOAT 08/05/12 - 08:46 am
1
1
Emotional, subjective measurements

Smithtb, you are partaking in the same emotion-based illogic as all the complainers. First off, the "community" does not own the fish, so you (we, as I am part of this community) are not "giving" fish to anybody. The fish are part of nature. We are part of nature. Nobody owns it, but we are all users of these resources. Being the most intelligent part of the food chain, we are able to divvy up the resource to allow the most users to have an opportunity to gather a tiny bit for themselves.

So, please answer this question, "Why does there have to be a reduction in the limit of the number of sockeye that people are allowed to take?". We again exceeded escapement this year. That means we did not take nearly enough fish out of the system before they got up to the spawning grounds. This is bad for future runs of fish. We need to take more fish out of the water. The big lynch pin this year was all the fish that the setnetters didn't get to remove from the water. So it's critical that we work on solutions to the setnet issues and get those guys fishing again while doing what can be done to protect King escapements (like cutting the Guides to limited entry permits like we have done with the other commercial fisheries [Guides ARE commercial]).

I can think of dozens of reasons why a non-resident tourist can catch a bunch of salmon by rod-n-reel and ship them back home. I can't think of a single reason why we should discriminate any further based on residency and not let a tourist fisherman catch and keep some salmon. Do you know how much that fisherman paid us for the privilege to fish?

We the people joined together and formed a State government. In the process we legislated ownership of the natural resources to ALL the people. We all share in the bounty of oil. You each take home much more than a "bucket" worth of oil. Our sales of oil provide the vast majority of the stuff you use and abuse every day. That oil also buys your police, who are enforcing the fish and game usage regulations for us.

The number of people getting access already is limited. There is a parking lot at the boat launch. Once it is full, it is done. Same at the beach. Once the beach parking is full, it is done. Having personally gone down and witnessed how things are going on the beach, I'd say this year was less crowded and cleaner than last year. Based on some of the comments, I'm pretty sure the loudest complainers haven't even been to the beach to see what's really going on.

This fishery can be sustained at current levels indefinitely. All we need to do is tidy up some of the administrative bits around access, facilities, and trash. These are things that can easily be accomplished by a community that wishes it. Unfortunately, the tone of the loudest complainers in the community do not seem to care to address and fix these little issues, but instead seek to attack the participants with cries to just shut it down. Now that's not being very civilized.

JOAT
490
Points
JOAT 08/05/12 - 10:02 am
1
2
Blueberries vs Sockeye

Another way to look at this...

Let's say that you love blueberries (maybe you do, maybe you don't, but let's just pretend they are your favorite thing). Out in the forest, on public land, is a massive blueberry patch. There are millions of blueberries in this patch. So, you want to go out there and pick all the blueberries you can possibly put away so you can have blueberries all year long. You'll make some blueberry jam and even share some jars of it with your friends, family, and perhaps mail some down south to distant relatives for Christmas or whatever. And there are enough blueberries out there for you to do all of that.

So, along comes the "community" with elected governing officials and such. Because of a few people in the community that don't like the fact that you can go get all the blueberries you need, they make rules about when and how you can collect your blueberries. And they severely limit the number of blueberries you can take. So, you get to go out there and take your one little bucket of berries and then you're done. No more blueberries for you.

There are still people who are saying that you collect too many blueberries. They say this despite the fact that most of the blueberries whither and die right there on the vine because there are not enough people to collect them all. Some of the complainers don't even like blueberries and don't collect any themselves. Some of the complainers might even be commercial blueberry jam processors who don't like the fact that you can collect your own blueberries instead of buying their blueberry products. And so the blueberry battle rages on, pitting one group against the other. Meanwhile, there are still more than enough blueberries for everyone and the majority of them go unpicked and wasted.

This is pretty much what we are doing with the sockeye.

ProKeyNigh
2
Points
ProKeyNigh 08/05/12 - 12:59 pm
0
0
Senior Housing

In response to Corinnep re senior housing where it is said:

"However some in City government (Manager, Finance Officer, Mayor) choose to ignore or don't remember why we have senior housing, it isn't to gouge our elders but to allow them stay in our community. Let's hope that the City Council votes no on the rent increase when it comes up again. While our economy is in a big slump is not the time to be beating up on seniors."

Response: If not now, WHEN? EVER? When is the TIME?The economical slump really does not impact any middle to upper income senior - they have the SAME income they had when they moved in, and increases from Social Security. Perhaps increases could be assessed every time they get a social security increase.

As I understand it an impartial consultant did a study and the rents charged at the facility are well below market. The senior housing in question is not for low income seniors, but rather for middle to upper income ones. A $1.64 raise in rent per day in four years CANNNOT be burdensome.

Perhaps the answer is that the City should absolve itself from being a "landlord" for seniors. A prudent "landlord" keeps up with market value. The City is simply asking for $1.64 PER DAY increase. Considering the housing INCLUDES most all utilities (and basic cable) this is a real bargain. If I could only qualify to live there -

Low income seniors (the ones more impacted) have their Section 8 rents increased - they are the ones suffering - because their meager income is stagnant, yet their costs rise. Who helps them. Should the City?

Shoot, a person can't leave Starbucks without dropping less than $5 - so let's do less crying over $1.64 and tackle things that matter - like reclaiming the pristine beaches we once had.

smithtb
240
Points
smithtb 08/05/12 - 09:46 pm
0
0
Blueberry Harvest Permits are cheaper than you think

So what if, next to that blueberry patch there was a community that for over a hundred years had harvested those blueberries in a state sponsored method with state sponsored leases. These blueberries were know across the world as the finest blueberries available anywhere. This community cared for and had a vested interest in these blueberries. Should you still be able to go pick as many as you want, and would you feel right doing it?

These are the people of the states fish, that's right. But it's not in the best interest of the people of the state to treat these fish like some blueberry patch in the woods. They're as vital to our economy as the oil that flows through our half-emty pipeline. Not saying that you or tourists shouldn't be able to get a resonable number of fish, you should, but we have to have limits. That's not trying to shut it down. The current limit on PU is 55 fish for a family of 4. Thats a lot of fish. Ok, whatever. But there's no limit on how many people can participate. Different thing entirely.

JOAT
490
Points
JOAT 08/06/12 - 06:17 am
0
0
User groups have to share

You're on the verge of the point, but just not quite seeing it. Because there is a community of people who all want some blueberries, we have divided the user groups up so that everyone gets a share of blueberries without any one person or user group taking all of them. Those long-time user groups who harvest large quantities to sell them to the jelly factory get their commerical share and pay the community for the right to do so. They can only go out on certain days for short periods of time and are limited in the size of their berry picker. Then you have the residents of the community who are given the opportunity to go out and collect one big bucket full of berries, plus a little bucket for each member of their family. And finally, you have everyone else to include non-residents who are allowed to go out every day and collect a little cup full of berries, but they can go out as many days as they want. In the end, each user group gets some berries. Some might want more berries than they get, but we all have to share. Due to the scientific research on the berry patch, we know that even after all of these user groups take their "share" of the berries, there are still just enough berries left over for nature to eat their share and leave enough seeds to sustain the berry patch for peak production. Everyone wins.

Of all the sockeye user groups, only the PU group has an annual limit. The number of fish a sport fisherman can take is unlimited, as long as they process and freeze their catch every day. One can easily "floss" more fish out of the river with a rod than you can take with a PU net, if you put in the time. The difference is that the sport fisherman has to fish more days and they get to spread out over dozens of miles of river. The PU folks are cramped into a quarter mile, but they can take their annual "quota" in one day if the fishing is good. (Then they can go back with rod&reel to take as many more as they want via sport fishing).

I think the point that everyone is missing is the part about there being more than enough fish and everyone gets a share (except for the setnetters getting the shaft this year). There is no danger to the sockeye stock level thanks to "community" management. Why user "A" tries to reduce the share that user "B" has been allocated, when it has no bearing on user "A" is what baffles me. Why do you care how many fish the PU guy takes? And why do you care what he does with them afterward? Do you get so bent out of shape at the grocery store when you see someone putting, in your opinion, too much produce in their buggy?

The resource has been properly divided and the users are all getting some without endangering the overall stock levels. So just let that be and let's try to focus on real solutions to the crowding and litterbug issues instead of imaginary issues about Joe's 55 fish.

smithtb
240
Points
smithtb 08/06/12 - 03:25 pm
0
0
Limits

JOAT, it's not that I don't understand, it's that I disagree.

There is a finite number of fish. There is a limited number of commercial gillnet permits, and limits on where and how often they can fish. Fishing times and catch data are closely managed and immediately available. Openings are absolutely dependant on escapement numbers. This is the number of fish that get up the river AFTER the PU nets that fish regardless of escapement numbers. (Look at the early Kasilof fishery this year)

The number of PU fishermen, guides, and sport fishermen is unlimited. (PU fishery participation is only limited by the number of state residents). There are no limits on participation or total user group harvest. Any limits in the river with respect to population or participation are merely self imposed economic limits or limits of effort. Nothing to factor in the health of the resources or other fisheries involved. And catch data? We'll have to wait for the "post season estimate" to know. So much for management by numbers.

This is a fully allocated fishery. The River is a very limited, delecate ecosystem. The sockeye runs, while plentiful for the last couple years, will not be every year. It is unfair to require this river, this community, and the legal, responsible, and valuable industries involved to support an open-ended in river fishery.

The PU fishery will take over 600,000 fish this year. What if the predicted return to the Kenai is only 2 million fish? What user group will get precidence? The writing is on the wall that soon the long-time commercial 'berry pickers' are gonna have empty buckets because everyone and their mother's dog have decided that berry picking is pretty darn fun to do. These subsistence berry pickers don't want picked over berry fields either, they want to be absolutely wading in berries just like they were this year.

Why isn't there a PU fishery for every river in the state? Why are fish harvested for public benefit disproportionally from this river?

All I'm asking for is some limits. I'm not trying to take away your right to fill your freezer full of some of the most desired and valuable seafood in the world, I'm asking that you respect the historic and valuable industry that has sustainably harvested these fish for many years, and has benefitted everyone who lives here. It is environmentally and economically irresponsible to not have some sort of limits on these other fisheries.

granny
169
Points
granny 08/06/12 - 05:46 pm
0
0
joat, how do you make a

joat, how do you make a living? Can you honestly tell me that if something threatened your livelyhood you wouldn't get "bent out of shape"? And if you think 500,000 or better out of 5-6 million is a sliver, than you are the one that doesn't get it. You may invest a few hundred dollars, the commercial guys invest a few hundred thousand dollars, and even when the permits and sites are paid off there are annual expenses in the thousands or tens of thousands of dollars just to get ready to fish. The commercial guys (salt-water ones) have more restrictions put on them all the time. No bill collector is gonna come after you if you don't get your fish and you're not going to starve either. The P.U. fishery is another nice benefit of being an Alaskan resident, but it is essentially a sport fishery and as such shouldn't take presadence (sp!!) over commercial activity. But than again, this is the only socialist state in the nation (natural resources are commonly owned) and if that is your argument then you have a point! M Schrag

JOAT
490
Points
JOAT 08/07/12 - 07:11 am
0
0
Lot of twisting and turning going on

And this is how it progresses to show the true motives. I also love how it always turns to ad hominem attacks ("what line of work are you in?" Well what does that have to due with dipnets? For what it's worth, I work for those big, evil oil companies. Bwahahahah! Now, back to the debate...)

First, they claim that the PU fishery must be shut down because of the trash and damage to the environment (though now that the fishery has been shut down for a week, go visit the beach and see if you can tell that the fishery even happened. Mother nature has already "fixed" it and the beach is once again "yours" for the other 49 weeks of the year).

But the trash argument loses impact when everyone agrees (even the dipnetters) that we need more facilities and enforcement over littering laws (already on the books), and it seems pretty simple to fix this aspect of this 3-week event. So, since the trash argument isn't going to shut down the PU fishery, they have to move on to other arguments. And that is always, "they take too many fish".

Yet, the facts and figures consistently show that they do NOT take too many fish. If anything, they could have taken even more fish as we keep breaking the over escapement limit on the Kenai. This year was particularly bad because of the poorly planned shut down of the setnetters. That shouldn't have happened like it did and it had absolutely nothing to do with the number of PU fishermen or the number of fish they take. That was all about Kings and Guide politics. The PU fishery doesn't take any Kings. The only user group targeting Kings is the UNLIMITED commercial river guides. The setnetters don't want Kings either. They want the cash crop of sockeye.

These claims that the PU fishery is unlimited are bunk. The PU fishery most certainly is limited. They have an annual maximum number of fish they may take. The fishery is strictly limited to Alaska residents. On the Kenai, the entire fishery must occur on a tiny little bit of real estate, is only open for 3/4 of the day and it only lasts 3 weeks. It's a heavily regulated fishery. Those who sit there claiming that the PU fishery has no limits are quite simply, wrong.

The PU fishery exists on 4 river systems that have the fish counts to handle it; Kenai River, Kasilof River, Copper River, and Fish Creek. Many other river systems have subsistence fisheries. The PU is not subsistence. It is part of the sport fisheries, hence the reason why only those who purchase a sport fishing license may participate.

The commercial fishermen are also closely regulated with limited entry, extremely limited fishing days and hours, and limited gear. When they are fishing, they are not limited on how many fish they get to keep.

The guides have no limit to their numbers, but are limited in the number of fishermen in the boat at one time and the days they get to fish. There is no annual limit to the number of fish they can take.

Finally, the general sport fishery is the least regulated of them all. Anybody from anywhere on planet gets to fish. While they have daily limits, they do not have annual limits. They can fish every single day of the year.

The conflict is in the money. The commercial user groups (guides, setnetters, drifters) like to point fingers at each other. There is no doubt that the best stewards of our salmon stocks have been the efforts of the set and drift net folks. Measures that they imposed upon themselves dating all the way back to the 70's are the reason why we have such a great, sustainable fishery today.

Then the guides showed up and found the easy money. Without contributing to the health of the river or the fish, the guides have been slaughtering fish and cutting away river banks for 3 decades. They mercilessly hunted down and killed every big King salmon they could find (and now they complain because they've killed them all). What could be better than to take a vacation from the summer heat of your Washington home to come up to Alaska and charge $200 per person to go out on the Kenai for a few hours? A grand a day for 2 months while sitting in your boat telling fish stories? Ever wonder why there are so many guides???

So, of these 4 user groups who are dividing up the fish, who do we select as the easy target for elimination? Why, the Alaska residents of that little PU fishery, of course. Let's slander them and spread claims that they just take all their fish to the dump and throw it all away. Yeah, as soon as we get public opinion against them, we'll be able to shut them down so we can have more!

So, do ya'll want to talk about how we can fix the trash & crowding issues, or what?

smithtb
240
Points
smithtb 08/07/12 - 12:43 pm
0
0
Not shut down, just limited!!!

JOAT,

I DON"T WANT TO SHUT THE PU FISHERY DOWN!!!! It is a GOOD thing!!! Heck, I did it this year too, and I've spent many days this year with a rod and reel in my hand. My family eats fish almost every day. Asking for responsible limits and data is not asking to shut it down.

The PU fisherey harvests fish disproportionally from Peninsula rivers. It does not contribute nearly as much to our economy as tourism, guiding, or commercial fishing. There's over 600,000 AK residents. Depending on family size, that's 8-10 MILLION fish. Potentially. I doubt many of them will go to Bethel or Naknek to get their fish. They come here because our community provides ease of access. Is it unreasonable to want a limit set to ensure our resource and other user groups stay healthy?

Limiting area fished and seasonal or daily harvest per user does nothing to limit fishing pressure, and little to limit total harvest. It does not account for the fact that every year, more and more people want a piece of the pie, or blueberry patch.

You keep going back to the fact that there was a surplus of fish the last few years. This is not always the case. There have been many years of significantly lower return of Sockeye to the Kenai. What has changed, however, is that PU has slowly shifted from a surplus fisherey used to prevent overescapement, into a priority fishery that fishes despite escapement. It is only a matter of time before, in a year of low return, the PU fishery is the only group fishing. I want to prevent that by establishing some sort of limit on just how many people our river has to feed. My industry needs this.

I appreciate what you're saying, but you said it yourself. The commercial industry has been fairly responsible about establishing limits. ADF&G commercial fisheries division has been very astute in collecting harvest data and participation statistics. We are a management tool, and a great source of data for our fisheries managers. This year PU replaced setnetting as a management tool. Unfortunately, the data collected from this fishery is at best a collection of very post-season estimates.

Perhaps that, combined with some of the circumstances surrounding this year makes me insistant that something responsible be done with our in-river fisheries. We need all user groups to be strong and at the same time all must have limits.

soldotna
50
Points
soldotna 08/08/12 - 09:00 am
2
0
Everyone is always looking for solutions...

when we already have all the tools in place. There is a lot of Fish & Game officers down looking for licences and writing tickets. Those officers also can write litter tickets and should but don't. I'm not sure if they feel its below them or they just feel like their other work is more important. However you have a couple of those officers ding some people with some big fines for littering and I bet 85% of those messes don't show up anymore.

just my 2 cents

JOAT
490
Points
JOAT 08/08/12 - 11:35 am
0
0
We're not that far off

Smith... I actually think we are pretty much on the same page. Should get together at Kaladi and discuss it sometime.

TheKenaiKid
126
Points
TheKenaiKid 08/13/12 - 09:56 am
0
0
Council trough

Let's not forget the City of Kenai actually makes a profit on this fishery. If they wanted to put more money into cleaning up the beach it would not be difficult.

Instead, who wants to bet that the city soon increases the parking and boat launch fees in order to grow city government? With a council comprised largely of people whose paychecks come from the government, my guess is that it won't be long before you hear the old refrain that more enforcement (i.e., more cops to join the club) is needed.

kenai123
1312
Points
kenai123 08/15/12 - 03:16 pm
1
0
Skyline, FISH WASTE POISON?

Well skyline, regarding your claim that "tourist oriented businesses close their eyes and noses to THE FISH WASTE POISON in our Kenai River". The "fish waste poison" which you are referring to, is in fact a "fish waste nitrogen base". This waste nitrogen is the beginning of the food web which our salmon and many other fish and wildlife live on. Without this fish waste we would be seeing about 1/10th the amount of salmon and wildlife we currently see here in Alaska.You are so uneducated as to why we have salmon and bald eagles here in Alaska. It is not my purpose to educate you here but you need to do a little research before posting your official ignorance here. It is not "fish waste poison", it is "fish waste life" for future generations of salmon which require a lot of extra fish waste nitrogen to be in our waters to allow plankton to grow in our rivers, lakes, streams and oceans; so baby salmon can feed on it along with tremendous schools of ocean herring, cod, rockfish, sand fish, hooligan, candle fish, smelt, stickleback, wolf fish and squid. Nitrogen is what it is all about skyline; the more ya got in our waters the better. Right now we are at a 50 year low in our water nitrogen ratios; this is happening basically because of people like yourself who have absolutely no clue as to what it actually takes to make our fish and wildlife. We also have clue-less commercial fishermen who remove millions of tons of fish from our waters and they also do not give the nitrogen loss/removal a second thought. They just ship the stuff around the planet to make a buck and think that our waters will remain pumped with nitrogen forever, without the bulk of the fish waste nitrogen being returned to the waters. They and you are wrong; our water nitrogen ratios have nose dived to their lowest levels in 50 years but do you see that fact plastered all over the front page of the news papers? No, you see the fact that someone was not able to make a buck selling a fish, which did not return home to our rivers and streams because there wasn't enough fish waste nitrogen to produce enough plankton, to produce enough baby salmon, to produce enough herring, to produce enough feed for adult salmon for that fisherman to catch and sell. If you know nothing about what our fish and wildlife need to survive then why not try doing a little more reading than posting? We need more fish waste nitrogen in our waters, not less! So stop preaching your ignorance and start doing some basic reading instead. So the city of Kenai doesn't like all the fish waste? You have got to be kidding us! The city of Kenai should be smiling ear to ear because of all the dipnet fish nitrogen being dumped back into our ocean. The city of Kenai should be smiling because some fish nitrogen is being put back into our water nitrogen bank. Maybe if we keep on dumping that nitrogen back, we just might dent that 50 year low nitrogen water ratio. You people need to get a grip on reality. Extra fish nitrogen in the water means lots of fish in our future.

kenai123
1312
Points
kenai123 08/15/12 - 04:25 pm
1
0
JOAT, you are correct regarding blue berries and sockeyes

JOAT, you are correct regarding blue berries and sockeyes. You are also correct about commercial blue berry processors not wanting the public to be able to pick their own berries. Our commercial fisheries people will claim their reasons are anything other than preventing you from getting enough sockeye's to eat. They will claim dipnetting is bad for whatever reason, guiding is bad for whatever reason; and even sportfishing for sockeyes is bad for whatever reason. The true reason will NEVER be raised by a gillnetter because "pure greed" shows just how truly selfish some of our commercial fishermen are. Greed is not only theirs; it is also present when an angler wants to prevent another angler from catching "their fish". The truth is that people are selfish by nature and they like lying about the reasons they want things to happen or not happen. Trash and fish waste is not the issue; greed is the true issue but you will never hear a commercial fishermen even use the term "greed". It would be like a vampire lecturing on the pros and cons of having a cross in his home or like Superman posting his like or dislike for kryptonite. The word "greed" cannot be generated by a commercial fisherman because everyone would then know...

kenai123
1312
Points
kenai123 08/15/12 - 04:52 pm
0
0
.

.

kenai123
1312
Points
kenai123 08/15/12 - 04:56 pm
1
0
smithtb, all you are asking for are some limits?

smithtb, you say that "all you are asking for are some limits." What your requested dipnet limits means is that a family of three today has your official subsistence permission to use sockeyes to feed that family but if that family becomes a family of four persons, you no longer grant that official permission. This really means is that you as a limited entry permit holder; own the states sockeye resource.They said the same thing with the fish traps back over 50 years ago. They said that the common users had to respect the historic and valuable fish trap industry because of all the great benefits they gave Alaska. They said that they could do whatever they wanted as long as fish traps continued to be legal. Well things change; the fish traps are history and it is just a matter of time before gillnets are also history. So go buy another permit and a gillnet or two, but don't come around here crying when the private blueberry pickers finally vote out the industrial pickers.

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