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Group behind setnet ban initiative files appeal

Posted: January 22, 2014 - 11:37pm  |  Updated: January 22, 2014 - 11:42pm

The Alaska Fisheries Conservation Alliance will appeal the state’s decision to reject its proposed ballot initiative that would ban setnetters in Cook Inlet.

In November, AFCA submitted signatures asking for voters to consider banning setnetting in the urban, nonsubsistence, areas of the state — such as the Anchorage area, much of the Kenai Peninsula, Valdez and Juneau. It would eliminate Cook Inlet setnetters and not have an immediate affect on anyone else, although fishermen in other communities would lose the right to setnet if Alaska’s Board of Fisheries and Board of Game removed a region’s rural, subsistence, designation in the future.

Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell announced Jan. 6 that the proposed ban on setnetting did not meet legal standards to appear on a ballot.

Treadwell used an Alaska Department of Law opinion, that the initiative was a prohibited appropriation of state assets, in striking it down.

AFCA announced the decision to appeal Jan. 22 during a press conference in Anchorage, and maintained that the initiative was about conservation, not appropriation.

AFCA Executive Director Clark Penney said the appeal had been filed that morning in Alaska Superior Court.

AFCA will seek expedited consideration so that a decision is made in the next few months, said Matt Singer, legal counsel for the group.

Either party could choose to appeal the Superior Court’s decision to the Alaska Supreme Court, Singer said, so it is likely the decision will be made by that body. AFCA was targeting the August 2016 primary ballot for the initiative; that could still happen if the decision is overturned, and enough signatures are gathered.

Singer said the legal opinion on which the state’s decision was based was incorrect, and could set a dangerous legal precedent.

“They’re wrong on the law,” Singer said.

Instead, Singer said that voters have a constitutional right to go to the ballot box, with very few limits on what they can do, although appropriations are one of the prohibited initiatives.

Eliminating setnetters in Cook Inlet would likely result in increased catch for in-river sport fishermen, personal use fishermen, and for the fleet of drift boats targeting sockeye.

That state’s legal opinion was based largely on a 1996 Alaska Supreme Court decision in Pullen v. Ulmer that maintained that salmon are assets that cannot be appropriated by initiative, and that preferential treatment of certain fisheries may constitute a prohibited appropriation.

In the Pullen case, a ballot initiative would have allocated a preferential portion of salmon to subsistence, personal use and sport fisheries, and limited them to about 5 percent of the projected statewide harvest. After it was initially certified, the state Supreme Court ruled that was an unconstitutional appropriation, and the initiative was not allowed on the ballot.

But Singer said that AFCA initiative did not address that appropriation issue. It eliminated a gear type, and left it to the Board of Fisheries to determine what happens to the resulting abundance.

AFCA board member Bill MacKay said he got involved in the effort because he believed the group was focused on conservation.

“We expect to win this case,” MacKay said.

That’s not how the state has characterized it.

“Prohibiting shore gill nets and set nets in nonsubsistence areas effectuates an actual, measureable allocation of Chinook salmon from the East Side Set Net commercial salmon fishery in Cook Inlet to the Kenai River in-river sport fishery and to the Kenai and Kasilof personal use fisheries,” wrote Assistant Attorney General Elizabeth Bakalar, in the Attorney General and Department of Law opinion on the case.

When asked why the group would advocate for shutting down both sport and commercial catches of kings, if the goal was king salmon conservation, AFCA President Joe Connors said sport fishermen don’t oppose restrictions, and have accepted them in recent years.

However, “a lot” of king salmon are caught by the setnet fleet, he said.

“I think the numbers (of fish caught by each group) were significantly different,” he said.

According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, in 2013 an estimated 2,256 late-run Kenai River king salmon were harvested in the Upper Subdistrict setnet fishery. In-river harvest and mortality, according to ADFG, was 1,620 late-run kings in 2013.

AFCA founder Bob Penney said that the state more closely regulates sport fishermen.

“They know what’s taking place in the river,” Penney said.

Later, Penney and Connors also responded to a question about other protections, such as preventing fishing on spawning grounds.

Connors said the Board of Fisheries has taken “drastic” action to reduce sport catches in the last 20 years.

Members, however, would not specifically say whether the Board of Fisheries has been deficient in limiting setnetters or protecting kings, instead they referred to the idea that voters have the right to weigh in on conservation needs regardless of what the board does.

Cook Inlet setnetters participated in the press conference or teleconference, and asked why the organization was trying to take away their jobs and livelihood.

MacKay said the loss of jobs was a legitimate concern, and one of the reasons residents of the state would have a long time to discuss the initiative before voting on it if it were cleared for the 2016 ballot.

When asked about mitigating the impacts to fishermen, AFCA members said they thought that was something for the state to discuss.

MacKay said it wasn’t appropriate for AFCA to weigh-in on whether or not conversion to a cleaner gear type, such as fish traps, would work.

Penney also said that he supported commercial fishing around the state, and recognized its importance in providing jobs and food for Alaskans, however, he referenced setnets as having the “highest bycatch” of any fishing in state waters, making it a gear type that was not appropriate when king salmon were dwindling in numbers.

Bycatch, however, is not the correct term. Setnetters target sockeye salmon, but have a legal right to retain and sell all five species of Pacific salmon, including king salmon.

And, while setnetters catch more kings than the drift boats fishing in Cook Inlet, they do not have the highest catch of kings in the state.

Earlier in January, Alaska’s Board of Fisheries approved a new regulation for seiners in Kodiak’s Alitak District that requires them to toss kings larger than 28 inches back when they are caught incidentally before July 6. That came after the seiners in the area caught 29,921 kings in 2013 while mostly targeting sockeyes and pinks.

Other fisheries groups have opposed the initiative, including the Alaska Salmon Alliance, Kenai Area Fisherman’s Coalition, the United Cook Inlet Drift Association, the Kenai Peninsula Fishermen’s Association, and the United Fishermen of Alaska. The City of Kenai and the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly also officially opposed the initiative.

Alaska Salmon Alliance’s Executive Director Arni Thomson said he was disappointed in the decision to appeal.

“We agree with the attorney general’s well reasoned legal advice not to certify the Set Netter Ban because it is unconstitutional, and it’s shameful to see a special interest group now force innocent Alaskans to fight for their jobs in court. If passed, the Set Netter Ban will instantly destroy the jobs of more than 500 Alaskan families,” Thomson wrote in a statement provided after the appeal was announced.

Dwight Kramer, from the Kenai Area Fishermen’s Coalition, agreed.

“KAFC is very disappointed that AFCA has taken this course of action,” Kramer wrote in an email. “This initiative process crosses a line in our community when you are proposing to end the livelihoods of some of our neighbors and friends. It also makes it much more difficult to foster the level of cooperation and respect that is necessary to bring the various user groups together to resolve our fishery issues. Law suit or no law suit, this is still all about greed for an allocation advantage and a transfer of wealth for one commercial entity (guided sport) at the expense of another.”

In Treadwell’s announcement about the decision not to certify the initiative, he suggested that all the users work together on solutions to the declining king numbers, and use the Board of Fisheries process.

Shortly after the Jan. 22 press conference, most user groups attended a Cook Inlet Fisheries panel luncheon at the Kenai Visitor Center.

The Alaska Salmon Alliance, Kenai Area Fishermen’s Coalition, Kenai River Sportfishing Association, Kenai Peninsula Fisherman’s Association, City of Kenai and Kenai River Professional Guide Association were all represented.

AFCA was invited to participate, but chose not to attend.

“We were all here,” Connors said, of the group at the Anchorage press conference.

Connors said there was no specific reason for the conflicting timing, and that AFCA’s filing and announcement had been delayed already.

 

Molly Dischner can be reached at molly.dischner@alaskajournal.com.

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kenai123
1312
Points
kenai123 01/23/14 - 01:48 pm
1
3
Bycatch? Who is catching the kings?

By-catch is anything commercially killed and not used or sold. It does not matter if it is a seal, whale, bird, halibut or king salmon. It is a fact of life that commercial fisheries and the Alaska Board of Fisheries agree that the Cook Inlet commercial killing of king salmon is unintentional and not targeted. This is NOT a legal right to kill and sell a king salmon. The wording the Board of Fish uses to direct the ADF&G is to "minimize commercial harvest of late-run kings".

Our Board of Fish officially terms this "unintentional catch" as being "incidental catch". There is zero "right to deliberately kill and sell king salmon" within the Cook Inlet commercial fishery. If it happens ACCIDENTALLY it is termed "incidental catch" not by-catch. If it is deliberate it is termed ILLEGAL. The illegal nature of the act goes to intent and intent would need to be decided by a court. Is it reasonable to believe that a fisherman intended to kill a king salmon when he drops a gill net into Cook Inlet? I would guess no to gill net intent but if it were a set gill net, I would say yes to intent. It then logically follows that it is possible for a court to find a set netter guilty of an "intentional incidental catch" on anything other than a sockeye. The set net gear type is so hard on kings that our courts or Board of Fish could eventually ban set nets by just finding that set nets are an unreasonable sockeye gear type.

This "incidental" term is NOT a legal right to retain and sell kings. Insurance companies can sell wrecked cars but that does NOT mean they also have the legal right to cause the accident. Commercial fishermen can sell a king salmon but that does not mean they also have a legal right to cause the killing and selling of kings.

Set nets do kill more kings than any other legal commercial gear type. About half of Cook Inlet, east side set net kings are processing, shipping and sold out of state (without fish tickets). If you would like to argue the point try watching some of the many "personal" commercial smoke houses imbedded among the east side set nets in July.

pengy
253
Points
pengy 01/23/14 - 08:04 am
1
0
I was hoping this would go

I was hoping this would go away. I'm not in favor of the ban.

Suss
3883
Points
Suss 01/23/14 - 08:54 am
3
0
Save the gay unborn King Salmon

Close the river to the fishing for Kings in sections or in total. No more targeting the spawning fish on their redds. Dennis Randa's proposals for the enactment of this conservation move should be passed by the BOF.

kenai123
1312
Points
kenai123 01/23/14 - 02:10 pm
1
3
understanding the problem

It is obvious that borninak knows little about Alaska's current king salmon problems. If he did understand this problem he would know that all Alaskan king runs are experiencing the same escapement problem and the majority of those runs have few anglers fishing them. borninak attempt at repeating what I posted regarding by-catch, is the definition of clueless. Regarding the legality of selling a king salmon; it has to do with the intent of the user.

"Set netters can legally sell there kings!" is not some kind of incantation to be frantically mumbled while scooping at that king thrashing in your set gill net. Once "normal people" understand the statewide nature of our king problem they stop referring to a single run or location. borninak does not do this because he is not a normal person.

kenai123
1312
Points
kenai123 01/23/14 - 02:31 pm
1
2
Suss and Randa's Ban-aid

Suss, Randa's proposal is mis-guided. Like borninak you also do not understand the statewide nature of our king problem. We could completely close down all Cook Inlet fresh and saltwater users and our king runs may improve slightly but they would not recover.

Suss, borninak and Randa are attempting to place a Ban-aid on cancer and call it good. It is not conservation to ignore the commercial trawler trashing of our kings, it is not conservation to use set gill nets when regular gill nets impact kings less, it is not conservation to mis-direct the public interest into meaningless snake-water solutions when there are real solutions to our statewide king problems.

Randa's proposal is like that "good friend" advising you to not go to the doctor and have that spot on your skin checked out. Our king problem is out in the saltwater and does not rest within any single river or stream. The Board of Fish should not pass "Randa's Ban-aid" because it mis-direct our search for the actual saltwater king problem.

borninak
657
Points
borninak 01/23/14 - 03:10 pm
4
0
123 Distortion

123 if the problem is out in the ocean than you need not close setnetters because the ocean problems you refer to are far further out to sea than Cook Inlet. But you support the ban, not because you think it will save kings, but because you selfishly want to reallocate them into your pocketbook. Then you spin the definition of bycatch with a bunch of drivel when the Magnuson Stevens Act clearly defines bycatch as fish you can not sell. Then you quotes the state constitution and assurred us all that this initiative would fly but it got shot down and we never heard a word from you because its impossible for narcissicts like you to admit they are wrong. Now your slimy friends at AFCA are appealing the decision and I guarantee you that it will get shot down by the court again because nobody is believing you or AFCA is remotely interested in conservation of king salmon. It is clear that all you are interested in is allocating $$$ money into your pocket and you will lie and deceive until every king is dead to get your way. You are not a normal person, so keep up the diatribes against commercial fishing, its only helping destroy your cause.

Raoulduke
3055
Points
Raoulduke 01/23/14 - 08:02 pm
3
1
finger pointing

Name calling is Not the way to find a solution.I think.The problem lies with the States tourism bureau. The selling of the King to tourist started it's demise.So many tourist.So much money to be made from tourism.Let's keep selling the myth of the kings being in an infinite supply.No one group should be made to suffer.ALL groups should STOP for a few years,and see what develops.This does seem to be product of OVERFISHING the fishery.It matters not who is at fault.A major problem is. No one group wants to STOP fishing.Isn't CONSERVATION the ONLY answer?

kenai123
1312
Points
kenai123 01/24/14 - 12:23 am
1
3
a chance to avoid this total pre-season shut-down,

borninak is correct, the problem is out in the ocean and it has about half a dozen factors causing our kings to decline. Our Cook Inlet set nets are one of those factors. Removing those set nets would leave the other five factors in place thus having little effect. I support removing all six king killing factors but I also support removing them one at a time. The terms by-catch, unintentional catch or incidental catch are not the point. WASTE is the point of by-catch. Careless ADF&G incidental king catch is the point of banning the Cook Inlet ESSN's. The Board of Fish directs our fisheries management to minimize commercial incidental king catch but to do that our ADF&G should have moved to ban set gill nets long ago because they have regular gill nets to harvest the sockeyes and they kill 1% of the kings of set net kill. The ADF&G failed to fully follow the boards "minimize directive" so the public now wants to step in and make the ban. That public effort is NOT "allocation it is conservation" in an attempt to save something which set nets should not be catching anyway.

I never stated an initiative is the way to ban set gill nets. I did say that if the initiative does not work, there will be another way to accomplish the ban. The public will eventually win this issue, it is just a matter of time even if it takes a perfectly legal anti-set net constitution amendment. Again I am in favor of any method which removes anyone of the saltwater king killers, be it set gill nets, trawlers or any other commercial harvest gear which kills lots of kings. Claiming that a person is wrong without a link or even a quote to support your claim only shows the weakness of your claim.

borninak it appears that you really do not even know what the word narcissists means? One of its meanings is arrogant pride in ones own abilities. Is it just me or do I see arrogant pride buried between just about every line of your posts? Since you miss quoted me earlier and sound narcissistic yourself, I doubt that you understand the word.

I did not tell the AFCA to appeal the initiative issue, mainly because I cannot locate supporting reference to back up the initiative process for a gear type ban. That does not mean it isn't out there, just that I could not locate it. If they asked me, I would tell them to try what they want and if it all fails use a constitutional amendment as a back-up. I know the constitutional amendment would be legal because it has already been used to remove commercial gear types and that ruling has withstood 50 years of judicial scrutiny.

borninak guaranteeing that the initiative will "get shot down again" is meaningless as we can see that he knows little about the initiative issue or its legal implications. I say that we won't know until the courts rule and then the public will move on to the next step to ban set nets. What the next step will be is not the point; the point is that eventually a public ban vote will happen, even if it has to be a constitutional amendment. When that vote is finally taken, I will guarantee you that it will ban set nets at least in Cook Inlet, maybe statewide. So if you really want to remember "something I actually said" remember that one. The set net ban issue will eventually get to a public vote and when it does it will at least ban set nets in Cook Inlet.

Regarding allocating money to pockets; I personally am in favor of closing down all users in and around Cook Inlet over the king issue, if that's what it comes to. Can borninak say the same? I would not pick that solution first but I see it as the only fair thing to do for the people and the kings. I do not believe that a 100% Cook Inlet shut-down is the way to go but if commercial fisheries insist on "pressing the pedal to the metal to kill sockeye's" thereby destroying the kings, it is the last resort.

Alaska commercial set net fisheries must see the "king salmon brick wall" before them as they chase sockeye salmon. If they continue on the path they have followed in the past their fisheries will be totally pre-season closed very soon, for years into the future. These fisheries must see this coming. Right now set net fisheries have a chance to avoid this total pre-season shut-down but if the past predicts the future, they will NOT take the opportunity to change their king salmon impact and will be forced to close down one way or another. The set net industry can run on this issue but it cannot hide when dealing with a publicly own naturally resource. Set netters must successfully stop this public vote over and over into the future, the public only needs to succeed one time in getting the ban vote and set nets will be banned forever. Time is on the public's side with this one. .

smithtb
240
Points
smithtb 01/24/14 - 08:07 am
3
0
Bla bla bla

123,

Do you really think people believe you?

So setnets aren't "normal" gillnets now, huh?

If it is illegal for CI setnets to harvest kings, how come they're still allowed to? Are you aware of the Northern District King fishery? Are these guys just outlaws?

Your claim that 50% of the ESSN kings are sold under the table is as crazy as you - you have no way to back that up. You made it up, and its a total lie.

And of your six king killing factors, where does the inriver targeted size/sex selective sport fishery that takes place on the SPAWNING BEDS rank? Oh, thats right, its not a problem and we should take your word on that, since you are so enlightened.

Time for you to go take your medicine.

kenai123
1312
Points
kenai123 01/25/14 - 12:10 am
1
3
smithtb

smithtb, no I do not expect a set gill netter to just believe me. I expect them jam their foot on the gas pedal and watch the road disappear out from under them as they fly off their fisheries mis-management cliff.

Regarding your Northern District mis-information, when is the last time they opened that mess of a king fishery? That bad idea has been shut-down for years because it has wiped-out the kings from the Deshka and Kashwitna Rivers and Willow, Little Willow, Greys, Caswell, Sheep, Montana, Goose, Sunshine, Birch, Trapper and Rabideux creeks. I can still remember those really troubled commercial gill netters when they testified to the board of fish that there were "so many kings" that they just had to let them slaughter them all... The board agreed and that ignorant fishery helped harm our later statewide king salmon returns. Are they outlaws? Yes, anyone fishing in that fishery would have to be an outlaw because IT HAS BEEN CLOSED FOR YEARS. They dumped their king nets in and that was the END of any kings making it up north.

Regarding 50% of ESSN kings being sold under the table. I said that if you wanted proof to watch those commercial smoke houses imbedded among the east side set nets in July.

Regarding the six king killing factors and the Kenai River sport-fishery. The Kenai sport-fishery is NOT part of the killing factors because the Alaska Board of Fisheries has directly allocated these kings to that fishery for primary consumption. As opposed to the accidental nature of commercial fisheries consumption of these kings. Do you see the difference? The board allocated primary sockeye consumption to commercial fisheries and primary king consumption to sport-fisheries. Commercial wipes-out about 90% of the sockeyes and sport about 20% of the kings. Do you see the difference? The board allocates primary use to commercial and commercial takes 90% of the resource leaving 10% for sport and escapement. The board allocates primary use to sport and sport takes 20% of the resource leaving 80% for commercial use. Do you see the difference? The board knew sport anglers fish on spawning beds when they made this allocation. Are you listening? They made this allocation judgement call believing that this angler access would NOT significantly impact the resource and they were correct. So anglers fishing "SPAWNING BEDS" has been completely calculated into our fisheries allocation management therefore IF YOU DISAGREE WITH IT TALK TO THE ALASKA BOARD OF FISHERIES.

What was not calculated into Kenai River fisheries management is the fact that our commercial crabbing fleet would completely WIPE-OUT our crab, therefore leaving them nothing to WIPE-OUT, so they would convert their boats to Pollock trawlers and then begin by-catch WIPE-OUT killing 4 king salmon for each ton of Pollock they would catch. 4 kings X 1.17 million annual tons of Pollock equals an annual potential 4.68 million king salmon by-catch. Yet this king by-catch is supposedly capped at only 85,000 kings? We have a harvest machine capable of killing over 4 million kings per year but somehow it only kills 85,000?
(http://www.fishwatch.gov/seafood_profiles/species/pollock/species_pages/...)

What was not calculated is the fact that as our crab resource collapsed, we would lose 99% of the <17 mm crab larvae feed which our juvenile wild kings require to survive their first year at sea. (Billions of hatchery sockeye and chum are therefore able to consume the remaining larvae at the 3 - 5 mm stage)

What was not calculated was the fact that most of our juvenile kings would then starve to death before their second year at sea and never return to the Kenai River. And NO you do not need to take my word on any of this because "you CAN read" and "you HAVE access" to the internet just like me. This information is all out there if you want to read it but you don't want to take the time to read it. So as far as you are concerned it is not happening, now is that enlightened or just plain ignorant?

rwhobby
196
Points
rwhobby 01/24/14 - 10:48 pm
1
0
Kings

Well if you can't catch a king in the Kenai river, so let's go the ocean and catch them, the winter king fishery has tripled in the last couple of years. The kings are in there ocean phase feeding and growing fallowing the good food source. It's sad that the guides think that they own the fish, but you don't the fish are for all the people of the state. All I hear is let's get rid of other user groups, but don't hear anything about the guides getting any kind of restrictions, you just want more.
The ocean problem has been addressed couple years ago and restriction have been put in place with the polluck fishery, which is the largest fishery in the state.
Here's a thought for the guides, make the Kenai drift boat only, Alaska residents guides only, stay out of the spawning beds.
The king fishery is going to take years to recover it's not going to happen over night. Some of these comments are off the wall and sound like sitting at the bar.
Save the king fishery close the river and winter king fishing.

kenai123
1312
Points
kenai123 01/25/14 - 01:09 am
1
2
rwhobby, Wow that's really sweet?

rwhobby, Wow that's really sweet? We just forget about the fact that our kings are NOT returning to their rivers and just angle in the ocean! What a great idea! We will all catch 20 pound Canadian hatchery feeder kings and forget about the worlds largest king salmon which use to return to the Kenai River...

So when someone chops down all the redwoods we will be expecting rwhobby to jump in and tell us all to just forget about them and just chop down other kinds of trees? See kids, these are the kind of things you will be saying after you use drugs... Hey rwhobby what is your opinion on the origin of the universe, making unobtainium work with cold fusion and last but not least, how to get NBC to actually put on some good shows?

rwhobby
196
Points
rwhobby 01/25/14 - 07:16 am
1
1
123

You have no clue what you are talking about, you must be a guide!! You think the answer is to close the set net site, which in fact the guides are the biggest problem with the Kenai river!

FrozenNorth
56
Points
FrozenNorth 01/25/14 - 02:04 pm
2
1
Wow...

Instead of responding to some of the woefully misinformed posts here, I encourage some here to take the time to look on the internet at published papers by NMFS (and others) on trawl by-catch of chinook in both the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska pollock/groundfish fisheries and get grounded in basic facts. Also, it might be worth getting informed on the genetic stock composition of these catches as to their origin. At least to dispense with all the conspiracy stuff, if nothing else.

The commercial fishery in CI wipes out 90% of the sockeye? Try learning about exploitation rates in directed salmon fisheries around the State and come back on here and defend that statement. That's completely absurd.

Frankly, it the set net ban even does make it to a vote, I'm pretty confident that it will be defeated handily. Look at green, tree-hugging Oregon where Measure 81 to ban gillnetting on the Columbia went down 65-35 as an example. Alaska's not going to vote for it.

kenai123
1312
Points
kenai123 01/25/14 - 03:10 pm
1
2
FrozeNorth, ballot box predictions.

FrozeNorth, the same words were pronounced over the vote to ban fish traps back in 1959. It was also a standard cannery proclamation back then as they attempted to brain-wash the public into believing that nobody would vote to ban a commercial gear type. The vote was 5 to 1 in favor of the ban. So much for confident ballot box predictions.
http://www.akhistorycourse.org/articles/article.php?artID=137

FrozenNorth
56
Points
FrozenNorth 01/25/14 - 03:32 pm
1
1
Different times, different issue

123....well, we shall see won't we? Aside from the apples and oranges comparison between family run set net operations now and fish traps run by Seattle based companies 50+ years ago, one can look at public comments in this paper, the ADN, AJOC, or even KRSA's own Facebook page, to get a barometer of public sentiment on this issue. I don't like your chances. I don't think Alaska will be much different than Oregon was on their vote, should it ever come to that.

kenai123
1312
Points
kenai123 01/26/14 - 11:29 am
1
1
FrozeNorth, commercial set netters do not want facts

FrozeNorth, commercial set netters do not desire facts or science, they only want information which supports their personal view on fisheries. Here is a fact which I personally witnessed; a dozen commercial set netters posted that our Kenai River, king problem is located within anglers on the Kenai River. I then post a six internet links displaying ten biologists claiming the king problem is in the ocean and the same fishermen ignore the science and continue making the same local fabrications. So should I then post seven links or eight, maybe a million links to the fisheries science? You are not getting it. Everyone says this is about science when it is really about money and fish equal money. Once you admit this basic truth you can then actually attempt to solve whatever issue you want to tackle. The issue is money and the fisheries science is the tool each side uses to manipulate the system into giving them more money.

But if you really want to deal with science, okay who is really wiping out Cook Inlets salmon? Is it really a 90% kill factor in the commercial fishery?

2011 total sockeye forecast 6.5 million, total projected commercial harvest 5 million, which gives a 77% harvest, (90% claim - 77% harvest = 13% difference)
www.adfg.alaska.gov/.../2011_uci_sockeye_forecast.pdf
5.4 million sockeyes were actually harvested in 2011, 5.4 million is 83% of 6.5 million.
(90% claim - 83% actual harvest = 7% difference)
http://www.alaskajournal.com/Blog-Fish-Bytes/November-2011/Salmon-harves...

Management at least desires about a 70% kill rate. But the point is not actually the 90% or the 70% kill rate, either number is WAY TO HIGH. Do you think a starving beluga whale cares if this commercial fishery takes either 70 or 90% of what he needs to survive? The Soviet Union took only 50% of what their citizens earned and the nation eventually collapsed.

Now that we have a new science fact to refer to, let us apply that science to our world of logic. Let's see, we have a proven 83% sockeye Cook Inlet, gill net kill rate, which proves that if you swim in Cook Inlet in July, 83% of you and your buddies are dead meat. It is also proven science that kings and sockeyes migrate together and that kings mainly bump along the coast as they move up Cook Inlet. This is why the ADF&G closed only set gill nets last year and let drift gill nets continue fishing. This science is then logically resulting in another fact of science being that these kings now also have an 83% set net kill rate applied to them. It is also a proven science fact that Cook Inlet set gill netters claim to only kill 17% of the kings attempting to enter the Kenai River. Now we have a science conflict as our proven (83% gill net kill rate science some how conflicts with our 17% kill rate science) for king salmon trying to enter the Kenai River. Both of these gill net kill rates cannot be true so which one does a logical person believe?

The above exercise in logic produces a question which we are just not suppose to be asking. Do set gill nets really kill the bulk of things around them "except when applied to beach bouncing king salmon" trying to get into the Kenai River?

Our science is telling us that the bulk of our returning Kenai River kings are in fact being killed by commercial set nets. This is why there are people out there looking to ban set nets in Cook Inlet.

Alaskaborn
49
Points
Alaskaborn 01/25/14 - 03:59 pm
0
0
Winter king harvest numbers remain average

Rwhobby: The winter king fishery has not tripled in recent years. Below are the king harvest numbers for the winter fishery. You can check them for yourself:
http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static-f/regulations/regprocess/fisheriesboar...
Table found on page 47.

2002: 1,423
2003: 1,804
2004: 2,069
2005: 2,958
2006: 1,515
2007: 2,011
2008: 1,692
2009: 1,696
2010: 2,559
2011: 2,000
2012: 2,079

profishguide
15
Points
profishguide 01/25/14 - 04:50 pm
0
0
Set net ban

Just to clarify Oregons gilnet ban went down 65/35 when the governor got the CCA to back off after agreeing to close all gilnetting on the Columbia river and leave it in the states hands.
Polls showed it would have passed easily. This isn't the first time those numbers were thrown out as a win.
PS The Columbia had a record run of Kings last year and expect another this year.

FrozenNorth
56
Points
FrozenNorth 01/26/14 - 12:27 am
2
0
123

To get a harvest/exploitation rate (your "kill rate") on a system you have to divide the harvest by the ACTUAL return, not the forecast return, as you do in your examples. CI has no where near 90% harvest rate on any stock. I'd be surprised if the sockeye commercial harvest rate is much more than 50% for the Kenai. They just don't get to fish that much. What a couple 12 hr. fishing periods/week, plus some restricted corridor openings (maybe)?

An intense fishery, like in Bristol Bay, may commonly have exploitation rates in the 60-70% range, and the beluga's seem to be doing fine there. BB has a 100 yr. history of harvests at this level, so its certainly sustainable by any measure.

Anyway, Cook Inlet salmon systems are managed to achieve escapement goals, not to reach some target exploitation rate.

I do happen to agree with you that ocean conditions are likely mostly responsible for poor king production, as it seems fairly widespread around the Gulf of Alaska, in particular. I don't think you're going to do anything to the setnets or to the in-river fishery that is going to substantially change the big picture. People will just have to try to get along with each other until environmental conditions get better.

FrozenNorth
56
Points
FrozenNorth 01/26/14 - 12:48 am
0
0
profish

How Oregon's Measure 81 would have fared with an all out CCA effort is speculation...we'll never know.

So the near record fall Chinook return to the Columbia this past fall is due to the banishment of the gillnet fleet? Seriously? I wonder why the Klamath did so well too?

Avik66
18
Points
Avik66 01/26/14 - 09:19 am
0
1
PNW Salmon Recovery

It's kind of absurd to say that the stocks in the PNW are coming back in large numbers without quantifying how those results were obtained. Please remember that many of these salmon stocks were listed under the endangered species act and the US Govt. poured billions of dollars into habitat restoration and salmon hatcheries. They filled the rivers with millions of hatchery fish and even had to re-introduce some wild stocks back into some rivers that had become void of any remnents of wild Kings.

The PNW recovery was anything but normal. Now on the Kenai, we are so caught up in providing opportunity (ADF&G included) that we will continue to downplay resource protection. Unless we do more to set aside some key spawning areas and protect more of our biggest fish from selective harvest in-river we will also be in a persistant recovery mode untill the fish stocks are so low that we face complete closures again like in the 50s & 60s. We are our own worst enemies and the agencies aren't helping matters because of political pressures to pretend like this is all just a little hickup.

kenai123
1312
Points
kenai123 01/26/14 - 11:39 am
1
2
What Molly should have posted for the set net initiate

Here is the story Molly should have posted. It was published in the Juneau Empire, Friday, Aug 2, 2013.

My Turn: The main point:Kenai king run is in peril
By BOB PENNEY
KENAI KING CONSERVATION ALLIANCE

It is a bit ironic, but the Salmon Policies Alliance Compass piece which ran this week in the Juneau Empire stated, “…the Kenai River is not at risk or in crisis…” Really? The very next day, the Kenai River and the East Side Set Net (ESSN) fishery were closed for fishing due to a dismally low return of Kenai kings. While there is a big run of red salmon, the Kenai kings caught by the ESSN has put the Kenai king run in jeopardy.

The closing of the river last week by Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) was absolutely the right thing to do, it should have been much sooner. The seven largest kings ever caught came from the Kenai — each weighed over 90 pounds. Our Kenai kings are a world renowned national treasure. They must be protected. The extremely low return numbers of Kenai kings tell the tale — we must act now or these spectacular fish will be lost forever.

There are two means of commercial fishing for reds in Cook Inlet. There are about 640 Drift Fleet boats which fish two or more miles off shore.

Last year, the drift fleet proved they could harvest the reds without catching Kenai kings. Other than interception of North District reds and silvers, we have little problems with the drift fleet, since they catch few Kings. Earlier this year, we pled with the Governor and the Commissioner to not use the ESSN, but use the drift fleet as they did so successfully last year. Then, they caught 95 percent of the state’s red harvest goal.

The second means of commercial harvesting reds is the fixed-in-place “set nets”.

There are 750 set net permits in Cook Inlet – about 390 of them, known as the “East Side Set Netters,” who fish above and below the Kenai River — stretching from East Forelands to Ninilchik.

This is over 70 miles of nylon nets forming gates 600 feet apart and stretching one and half to two miles off the beach. They are lethal traps, few fish can get past them, including the majestic Kenai kings who migrate along the beaches in shallower water on their way to spawn.

This year the nets killed approximately 3,000 “reported” kings and the ESSN is now ironically suing the ADF&G for more fishing time. We have enjoined on the side of the state to disallow that request.

In June, the ADF&G projected a minimal Kenai king run, even less than last year’s record low return. Knowing this, the commissioner and department started off the season using the ESSN anyway.

Our big question is: Why didn’t they use the Drift Fleet like last year? That wasn’t a biological decision, what kind was it? The responsibility for Kenai kings not making minimum escapement this year lies with ADF&G and on the desk of the commissioner. Period.

The Salmon Policy Alliance piece refers to ‘economic factors.’ The following facts are clear. Per studies by the State of Alaska, University of Alaska and others, more than 80 percent of the salmon harvest allocated to commercial fishermen generates less than 20 percent of the economic value to our communities.

Cook Inlet anglers and dip netters get less than 20 percent of the fish and generate more than 80 percent of the economic value within our communities. In addition, the studies show the economic value to our communities of sports caught salmon is eight to 15 times that of a commercially caught one. We anglers get a minimal share of the salmon harvest, but produce at least five times the value of the entire commercial catch in Cook Inlet.

We can all agree on one thing — we need new policies for sharing and preservation of our wonderful salmon fishery. And, it’s about time the public receive our fair share. Maybe it’s about time for a public initiative to do so.

• Bob Penney is a founding member of the Kenai King Conservation Alliance.

FrozenNorth
56
Points
FrozenNorth 01/26/14 - 12:17 pm
1
0
Penney

Penney conveniently left out the fact that setnets fish two 12hr. fishing periods per week. He gives the impression the nets are in 24/7, the "curtain of death" that no fish can survive.

The Kenai is meeting minimum escapement goals for king (if you believe in ADF&G's ability to count kings accurately), but there is little surplus to harvest, which is why everyone is fighting over what is caught. To say, as Penney does, that means the Kenai king run is "in peril" or will be "lost forever" is just hyperbole, with no basis is fact. I suppose next we'll hear about an ESA listing for the Kenai.

His statement at the end " it’s about time the public receive our fair share" says what he's about. I notice there was no mention of conservation in that statement either.

borninak
657
Points
borninak 01/26/14 - 12:18 pm
3
0
Interpretation of 123

Interpretation of 123's Letter:

We,the Kenai River Commercial Guide Industry,wish to represent ourselves as "the public" so that we can reallocate all the fish to our commercial fishing guide industry. We will kill all the king salmon, in river,that the set netters would have caught and we will destroy the spawning beds and habitat because we couldn't be burdened with drift boat only fishing. It's much easier to force the unguided anglers off the river with power boats and we prefer not to have them in our way. Don't worry about the loss of 500 commercial fishing livliehoods, we will kill all the kings, the economic engine and river development will run strong and everything will be in perfect ecological balance. Long live the kings.

rwhobby
196
Points
rwhobby 01/26/14 - 01:58 pm
1
0
Save the resource

Winter king fishery, I have seen about 100 kings caught before January 15 on Facebook people bragging about how we are catching kings before they get to the river and it's not even the winter king derby yet. The fish traps were here before statehood, and were band the day the Alaska became a state.
Do you guides think that the bigger boats and motors are the problem, cause the numbers of declining kings show correlation to that, but hey let's blame the other groups and try to take away there lively hood.
The state Constitution says the resource is for all the people of this state, it's does not say that the kings are for the guides, the sad thing is that 80% of the guides are not Alaska residents. So that would mean you have no say about the fishery in this state, and should not be allowed to guide in the state of Alaska, cause the resource is for the Alaska residents.

FrozenNorth
56
Points
FrozenNorth 01/26/14 - 06:36 pm
2
0
123

Good Lord...I read the paragraph you added to your post above on "kill-rates" where somehow you came up with an 83% harvest rate (again erroneously using forecasted returns instead of actual returns) and then, by some tortured twist of logic, claimed this erroneous rate could be applied to just the set net fishery. So the harvest rate in the setnet fishery is really 83%, not 17%.

You should go up to the BOF meeting next week and present your work as the center piece of your public testimony, because, clearly how could anyone dispute your logic, let alone your math skills?

Maybe on a break you could get one of those nice ADF&G scientists--maybe Eric Volk--to sit down with you and teach you how to calculate an exploitation rate on a salmon stock. You know, just in case you made a mistake or something.

Raoulduke
3055
Points
Raoulduke 01/27/14 - 03:58 pm
1
0
Still Pointing Fingers

Is not CONSERVATION The most important aspect for the Kings survival? If you agree.Then STOP fishing for the Kings.I have come to realize. No one group wants to stop fishing for the Kings,but this time one needs to look at the big picture.Do you really want your grandchildren to catch a King? Then Now is the time to do something about the problem.CONSERVE the resource,or your grandchildren will hear.I remember there use to be Kings in this river.Alaska is fortunate in that there are other,and more abundant species of Salmon.Just think about it.

pengy
253
Points
pengy 01/28/14 - 09:14 am
1
0
raolduke, good point. All

raolduke, good point. All user groups need to bear the burden of conservation or it will be too late.

borninak
657
Points
borninak 01/28/14 - 09:58 am
2
0
The Real Kenai River Problem

Trophy Sportfishing

Genetic Selection For Small Jacks & Declining Returns

The Ecological Importance of Large Spawners

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ousioCKX_U4

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