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Fish and Game management actions supported

Posted: June 26, 2012 - 8:05am

As a lifelong Kasilof district commercial setnet fisherman, I would like to voice my support for Fish and Game's decision to close setnet fishing in the Kasilof district on Monday in order to let more kings escape into the rivers. 

This decision makes sense -- there are few reds escaping at this time, and our king to red catch ratio would most likely be higher than it would be later in the season. This decision would make even more sense if it were made with the understanding that when the reds do show up, we would be allowed, if the strength of the red run permits, to fish through the ill-conceived mandatory closures that the Board of Fish has imposed on us. This would maximize a responsible harvest of reds while minimizing our king catch in a year of low return.

I challenge the Kenai River Professional Guide Association and the Kenai Peninsula Sportfishing Association to support this, for the health of the entire fishery and our community. I too am concerned that we achieve adequate escapements of kings in our rivers, but do not feel that we should unnecessarily sacrifice our red run, or the entire setnet fishery to do so. The mouthpieces of these two associations would rather see the setnet fishery eliminated regardless of the cost to our community. It's time for everyone, including this newspaper, to call them on the misinformation that they spread. Why not listen to real biologists for a change? It seems we could spend more time listening to experienced, accredited Fish and Game biologists and the years of legitimate data they have gathered rather than specific interest group spokespersons with questionable credentials and very transparent agendas.

Thank you Fish and Game for striving to make decisions in the best interest of our resource and everyone in our community in spite of senseless management restrictions passed by the Board of Fish and overwhelming pressure from self-serving special interest groups.

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spybot
98
Points
spybot 06/26/12 - 02:36 pm
1
0
King salmon conservation measures to date

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game stated preseason that to conserve king salmon it would most likely place restrictions on both the commercial set net fishery and the in-river sport and personal use fisheries.

This season to date, king salmon conservation measures have been enacted to restrict or close each king salmon fishery in Cook Inlet due to low abundance, and similar restrictions have been put in place statewide for kings - from the Yukon to SE Alaska.

Sport anglers, KRSA and KRPGA have supported the Department's actions to date involving king salmon conservation measures, including the early-run Kenai River restrictions and then closure, and the unprecedented measure to restrict bait and two thirds of the river to harvest. These in-river measures for the July sport fishery will yield a Kenai River king salmon savings of 3 - 4,000 kings.

All user groups that harvest king salmon must share in the burden of conservation for king salmon. Last year, even with restricted EO time and use of the mandatory window closures, the commercial set net fishery was the largest harvester of Kenai River king salmon.

Last season, the commercial drift fleet harvested 3.2 million sockeye while catching 500 kings, while the commercial set net fishery harvested 1.8 million sockeye while catching 6,500 kings. The set net restrictions used by the Department were estimated to save 2,500 kings last season. All the while with a near record harvest of 5 million sockeye.

Because the commercial drift fleet harvests many fewer kings than the commercial set net fleet, the Board of Fisheries directed the Department to decouple these two fisheries, meaning they can be fished independently, which the Department did for the first time last year.

Decoupling of the drift and set net fleets is one of the few tools for the accredited Department biologists to use to conserve king salmon in the commercial fisheries, along with time and area restrictions for commercial set nets.

There are few management actions in the toolbox for the Department to take to conserve king salmon in the commercial set net fleet, because every effort to enable any other tool for use has been either rejected by the commercial set net community or the accredited Department biologists. A lonely On / Off switch paired with fishing the drift fleet independently of the set net fleet is what we have.

Are there specific areas along the commercial set net fishery that have high rates of king harvests? We do not know.

Would shallower set nets be effective in reducing king harvest rates? We do not know.

Would the use of beach seines be a viable option to reduce king harvest rates? We do not know.

Would moving the inside set nets further off-shore be productive in reducing king harvests? We do not know.

We have no data on the effectiveness of any type of king salmon conservation measures in the commercial set net fishery, because the commercial set net community has repeatedly stiff armed any such attempts.

For the in-river sport fishery for Kenai River king salmon, years of legitimate data exist that underpins our understanding for the effectiveness of various king salmon conservation measures.

For example, the use of single hook, with bait, will produce of harvest rate of about 50%, meaning that out of every 1,000 kings that enter the river, about 500 will be hooked. When bait is restricted so that it is only a single hook no bait fishery, the harvest out of every 1,000 kings will drop to about 200 kings. When the fishery is further restricted to catch and release, the mortality per 1,000 kings drops to less than 20.

Such data is available because the Sport Fish Division of the Department, sport anglers, and groups like KRSA and KRPGA have supported the research and development of such information and have demanded that specific tools be available to restrict sport fisheries when it becomes necessary to enact king salmon conservation measures.

The time has come for the On / Off switch to click in the commercial set net community - to support and demand that there be research and development of other tools for king salmon conservation other than only time and area closures.

CFFL
83
Points
CFFL 06/27/12 - 06:32 am
3
1
King conservation

Spybot I have read many of your comments and there is no doubt what so ever you are a guide/sport activist. I believe that the set net fisherman have tried to accomodate the king salmon conservation. As a matter of fact a few years back the east side set netters participated in releasing all of the live kings which were caught in their nets so they could continue on into the river. The Kings which were unfortunately not alive were sold and the money they bought in then being donated to a, "Kenai river king conservation fund". The fisherman did not take a cent from a king salmon for 3 years. For this effort during the next board of fisheries meeting there fishing time was cut back even more.

At this point I believe that the set net fisherman are to the point where they do not want to catch a single king what so ever!! The set netters are in the water to harvest reds!!!.

With large red return being predicted the set netters need to be able to harvest the sockeye salmon so that the river does not experience another sockeye over escapement event. Which is detremental to not only future red runs but king runs as well.

If all commercial fisherman in cook inlet turned back every king that they caught would that make the guide association happy or would they just continue on to the reds next??

Beach Boss
124
Points
Beach Boss 06/27/12 - 07:35 pm
3
1
King salmon

Great article Todd. Spybot I have some questions for you. Why are all of your recommendations to limit the set net fisherman more. Set net fisherman do not target kings. Last year they had less than 1% by catch king harvest. What is an acceptable by catch number for you spybot?

What has been the changing factor in the last 20 years on the Kenai River? The set netters have had the same amount of permits, leases and gear in the water for 20 plus years. The only changing factor is the in river user groups, who continue to grow and have no number limits. All the guides want is the set net fisherman to be restricted more and allow the kings to get into the river so that they can sit over their spawning beds and catch them. Is it not time to look at putting restrictions on the user groups who actually target the kings? Why is "limit the set net fisherman more" always the answer?

I to would like to thank Fish and Game for finally making some biological decisions that were not politically motivated.

Nobody
4
Points
Nobody 06/29/12 - 12:28 pm
2
1
KASILOF

So we close down the fishermen in Kasilof because we are worried about Kenai Kings? And still the personal use and dip netting is still open down there. Oh yea that"s right they are not catching any fish down there or it is they are just not reporting what they catch so they can fill there freezers and let it go to waste. No people would not do that. Lets make sure that we keep the guides happy. Because if they can fish for kings what would they do go out of business to bad I think that if you want to be a guide you should live in Alaska year round not to just come and take the money and run and leave all your trash here.

smithtb
240
Points
smithtb 06/29/12 - 02:57 pm
1
1
By Catch?

I am tired of hearing about commercial fishing King by catch. My permit is a Commercial Salmon Setnet Permit, not a Commercal Sockeye Setnet Permit. Kings are part of my catch, as they have been for many years. That being said, I have no problem giving the Sport/Commercial inriver fisheries priority as far as King Salmon are concerned - Sockeye are definately every Eastside Setnetters' main focus. ADF&G'S escapement goals are adequate for King salmon, and we have met them in many years past with the exact same number of Commercial Nets. The in-river fishery has grown unchecked, putting more pressure on spawning Kings. The Kenai River has exceeded its carrying capacity of boats and anglers. As poor King return is a state-wide problem we know that ocean survival is also playing a role. Why do we need to make drastic changes the most static fishery with the longest history of responsible harvest?

The truth is that kings are caught at different depths and varying distances from shore all along the East Side. It varys from area to area and from tide to tide. Due to the accurate, firsthand, real-time data that ADF&G recieves from its own people at commercial buying stations, they have the tools and capability to open setnetters when the Sockeye are running, and close us when the King run is strong. More often than not, the two runs peak at different times. Unfortunately, ADF&G cannot do this effectively due to the mandatory closure windows that Spybot loves so much. If they close us too much early in the season when the King run is strong, they risk sockeye overescapement (which REAL biologists agree has proven to be detramental to future runs) becuase they are still bound to the mandatory closures later in the year when the Sockeye run is strong, and the King run is tapering off. Salmon runs are dynamic; allow our fisheries management to be so as well.

Spybot, you say that your organizations have supported research, and you puked out a bunch of extrapolated numbers that we're supposed to trust. How do you know these are accurate? You know almost exactly how many Kings, Jacks included, that my commercial nets caught, broken down by area and gear type. How many did I personally catch last year on a rod and reel? Oh yeah, I don't have to report that. How many Jacks were caught in-river? Oh, those don't count as King harvest in-river. Did you include Jacks when you tallied the Commercial King harvest? I bet you did! Stop playing with the numbers, you're not helping anybody.

skyline
7
Points
skyline 06/29/12 - 09:20 pm
2
1
Commercial fisherman, King Salmon, $ and ?

Commercial salmon fishing is the activity of harvesting [killing] salmon for profit [money]. If a buisness uses nets, sticks,hooks, fish wheels or any other legal means to harvest for profit it is a commercial fishing buisness. The buisness of killing massive amounts of king salmon by fishing guides for profit is a commercial activity just like any other.It is done every day during an average fishing season on the Kenai River as well as in the coastal waters of Cook Inlet.Why is this method of killing king salmon for money not regulated in the same manner as all the other methods of harvesting these world class fish? Why are the sheer numbers of king salmon killed by guides not even legally reported? Why are the mortality numbers of catch and release fish not even known?Why is the licencing of the guides not limited? Guiding is a profitable commercial buisness that has killed king salmon almost unabated for so long that the industry now claims ownership of all king salmon before they even kill them. It all about money $. It is just buisness for money $. It is commercial fishing for money $ and NEEDS to be regulated as a commercial salmon fishing buisness with the same kind of limitations, requirements and transparencies as the rest of the salmon industry. The unregulated nature of this commercial activity has created a sense of entitlement and monopoly to the king salmon resource that is now showing signs of it's limits. The commercial guiding buisness for these king salmon is a legal and sustainable activity but it needs to be managed in a responsible and sustainable manner such as the other commercial fisheries of this state.

spybot
98
Points
spybot 06/30/12 - 11:35 am
2
0
Do the math

OK. Let's do the math. CFEC commercial fishing permit holders can legally harvest any of the five salmon in Cook Inlet.

That would be Sockeye, Pinks, Chums, Kings and Coho.

Last year CFEC commercial fishing permit holders in Upper Cook Inlet central district took in about $52 million in ex-vessel value, $50 million from sockeye, $1/2 million in pinks, $1/2 million chums, $1/2 million kings, $1/2 million coho.

What fish is the money fish???Obviously sockeye.

Drifters harvested 3.2 million sockeye and 500 kings.

Money to drifters - about $32 million.

Set netters harvested 1.8 million sockeye and 6,500 kings.

Money to set netters - about $18 million.

Did the large harvest of kings help or hinder the economic performance of the set netters?

Drifters can fish without king conservation restrictions due to their ability to fish without harvesting large numbers of kings over the course of the season.

Set netters at this time cannot fish without harvesting large numbers of kings over the course of the season, hence king conservation restrictions are place on set netters - meaning drifters are fishing unrestricted and set netters are fishing with restrictions.

In times of low abundance and low returns for kings, restrictions will be placed on users who harvest kings, both in the marine and fresh waters.

kenai123
1312
Points
kenai123 07/08/12 - 02:59 am
2
2
Tired Of Commercial?

I AM SOOOO TIRED OF COMMERCIAL FISHERMEN.
I AM SOOOO SOOOO TIRED OF COMMERCIAL FISHERMEN.
I AM SOOOO SOOO SOOOO TIRED OF COMMERCIAL FISHERMEN.
I AM SOOOO SOOO SOOOO SOOOO VERY TIRED OF COMMERCIAL FISHERMEN.
I DON'T THINK I CAN GET ANY MORE SICK OF COMMERCIAL FISHERMEN.
EVERYONE IS SOOOO TIRED OF COMMERCIAL FISHERMEN...............

kenai123
1312
Points
kenai123 07/08/12 - 02:51 am
2
2
Tired Of Commercial Fishermen

I'm Tired Of Commercial Fishermen Catching Stuff They Are Not Supposed To! Believe it or not king salmon are not part of any saltwater gillnet catch. IT IS CALLED BY-CATCH!

Managing kings salmon stocks on the Kenai River is not a job for the faint hearted. From 1980 to 1990 our Kenai River king runs were much more predictable than today.
The main reason these runs were more predicable then is because there were less humans attempting to intercept them back then. King salmon commercial by-catch issues
back then were at a minimum as Bering Sea, Gulf of Alaska, Kodiak and Cook Inlet commercial fisheries intercept factors were very low.
By 1990 those commercial intercept factors began taking huge bites out of Alaska's extremely strong king runs. Commercial fisheries which had only been
by-catching a few thousand kings annually suddenly exploded and began intercepting hundreds of thousands of these kings between 1980 and 2000.
Kodiak Island and Cook Inlet commercial fisheries basically sell their king by-catch and Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska commercial fisheries kill their kings and throw them
away dead back into the ocean. These Bering Sea and Gulf kings must be dumped dead because it is illegal to sell them. All of this basically comes down to hundreds of thousands
of kings being annually removed from Alaska's saltwater before they have a chance to return and spawn within their home rivers and streams.
Year after year of this ocean shredding of our king resource has had a tremendous cumulative effect thus resulting in the general suppression of all Cook Inlet king stocks.

It was in 2002 that these commercial by-catch factors first began having an effect on the Kenai River sportfish environment That effect showed up as both first and second
king runs began showing up late along with a size reduction. At first we notice these runs only showing up a few days later than normal. Eventually the few days turned into
weeks as our "second run king arrival" moved from the first week of July to the second and then even sometimes on into the third week.
Occasionally our second run of kings would show up in the first or second week of July but in general the run had been destabilized and was very unpredictable by 2002.

Currently we are forced to expect our late run of kings to show up at just about anytime between July 1st - 25th. This run instability did not need to happen; it is the
direct result of run-away commercial saltwater by-catch factors These by-catch factors were also first notice by fisheries managers in 2002 but few of them could convince
themselves that our saltwater commercial fisheries were capable of such dramatic and far reaching run changes. Today we have modern fisheries managers who
are "still unaware" of the history behind this delayed July king entry pattern on the Kenai River. These managers basically take a short-term view of this situation
and interpret this wildly fluctuating entry pattern as some kind of recent event. Because these managers assume a freshwater king problem, they attempt to resolve
the problem with only freshwater solutions. These chosen freshwater solutions are usually only freshwater sportfish restrictions. These fisheries managers are incorrectly
applying freshwater fisheries solutions to a saltwater problem. This improper assessment / solution format then basically results in a delayed reaction to
actually resolving the source saltwater problem. This incorrect problem solving can be compared to placing a bandage on cancer and somehow expecting the problem to go away.
Using freshwater solutions to remedy saltwater problems creates even more problems as fisheries managers are lulled into a false sense of security, while they stop looking for real solutions.
The end result of following this kind of a false logic and problem solving, is that everyone stands around for years waiting for saltwater killed kings to return to the freshwater.
If a person desires evidence of what is happening here they need only view the results of decades worth's of king salmon freshwater restrictions on anglers
in the Cook Inlet area. All of these extensive freshwater restrictions have resulted in fewer and fewer kings returning to Cook Inlet.

At this time Kenai River king salmon stocks require a fisheries manager with an extremely cool hand. The realization that our Cook Inlet king troubles ARE NOT
freshwater based must dominate the solution debate and resulting regulatory changes. Most of our proposed king salmon, freshwater regulatory changes should be
viewed for what they actually are, superficial camouflage for a much deeper rooted problem within the saltwater. It is not rational to continue assuming that
short-term freshwater regulatory solutions will in anyway address this long-term saltwater king salmon problem.

CFFL
83
Points
CFFL 07/08/12 - 05:17 pm
2
1
Plain and simple

To put it as simple as possible. There has been commercial set net fishing in cook inlet for over 130 years. There has been a commercial drift fishery in cook inlet for over 70 years. A limited number of commercial fisherman allowed in cook inlet was limited in 1974 38 years ago. The cook inlet salmon runs are some of the most consistent and static fishery runs in the world. So after all these years of these terrible commercial fisherman harvesting fish is it just some sort of miracle that the fishery has been sustainable for this long?? Bottom line the pressure which has been put on the king fishery is an in river issue!!! Kenai123 you think that the decline of the king salmon run was all commercially related. What about the fact that the guide numbers on the kenai have increased almost 400% since 1990, that could not possibly have anything to do with the problem now could it?!

All we hear is commercial guide propaganda!!! What about the early run of kings I suppose that is the east side set netters fault too huh?!! Oh wait thats right there is no commercial gear in the water during the first run and there has not been for the last 15 years!! However the guides are out there hammering away on them day in and day out. All of the sudden when we have reached record high numbers of in river user groups and no kings are coming back the guides will point the finger at everyone but themselves.

I AM SOO SOO SOO SICK AND TIRED OF GUIDES!!!!

kenai123
1312
Points
kenai123 07/09/12 - 01:06 am
0
0
.

.

kenai123
1312
Points
kenai123 07/09/12 - 05:56 pm
2
1
Thank you for that complete pack of non-truths CFFL.

Lie # 1, (There has been commercial set net fishing in cook inlet for over 130 years?) This is a lie because two guys with a gill net cannot be compared to 7,000,000 liner feet of gill nets being thrown into Cook Inlet each summer. Yes that's right you crazy commercial fishermen are tossing over 7,000,000 liner feet of killer gill nets into Cook Inlet each year.
Anyway commercial fish traps were the gear of choice until they were banned in 1959, banned because, again the commercial fishing fleet destroyed 100% of Alaska salmon fisheries. That's 100%, with nothing left! Do you think an angler or a sportfish guide could accomplish that? Yeah right...

Lie # 2, (A limited number of commercial fisherman have been allowed in cook inlet since 1974?) This is a lie of generalization, many permits went unfished after 1974 but are now fished today. Many permits did not fish maximum nets back in 1974 but now they do, many permits which were spread all over Cook Inlet moved to the mouth of the Kenai River thus greatly impacting Kenai kings. There is nothing limited about Cook Inlet gill nets, the maximum number of gill nets in Cook Inlet were not calculated with them all camping off the mouth of the Kenai River. After 1974 a HUGE number of these permits moved to the mouth of the Kenai River thus now we have a giant king salmon interception problem. This is like claiming that there is no difference between having a thousand drug dealers spread all over a city and having them all camping on your doorstep. You have got to be kidding me. Anyone can see you are making statements which sound good on the surface but once a person takes a hard look at them they can clearly be seen to be totally mis-directed fact. Propaganda is the actual term.

Lie # 3, (Cook inlet salmon runs are some of the most consistent and static fishery runs in the world?) Another lie, as 100% of Cook Inlets king runs have been destabilized since about 1990 and the ADF&G has discovered that they are being destabilized by saltwater factors. We basically now have zero static king runs in Cook Inlet. Now as all Cook Inlet rivers and streams now face huge short-falls in king run returns you dare state our king runs are static. There is nothing static about king runs which are now in free fall decline because of saltwater factors.

Lie # 4, (Commercial fishing has produced sustainable runs?) World wide the commercial fishing industry has destroyed 100% of all runs it has ever had access to. Check the records, if the fishery had a commercial fishery on it, it was eventually wiped out, thus forcing someone to rebuild it. Name a single long term commercial fishery which has been running for any amount of time? They are all either dead and gone or in the process of being rebuilt with hatchery stocks. Commercial fisheries destroy with time and then move on to another location. It may take 10 years or 50 years but they eventually destroy all runs and then move on. How much money is enough money? There is no such thing as enough money or enough fish as commercial fishing lobbies for fish until they are all dead.

Lie # 5, (The fisheries pressure on the king fishery is an in river issue?) This is another lie, call the ADF&G at 262 9368, ask someone who knows, if our king problem is saltwater or freshwater caused? I guarantee you they will inform you that since it is effecting all Cook Inlet rivers and streams, that it must be a saltwater problem. You really need to get over this freshwater/guide/angler hatred.

Lie # 6, (Guide numbers on the Kenai have increased almost 400% since 1990?) Another lie, guide numbers on the Kenai River have been on a very steep decline. This is the results of a solid decade of unstable king runs. There has been a loss of about half of these Kenai guides. If our king runs were static I can assure you that our guide numbers would be static or even rising.

Lie # 7, (Guides are causing the loss of king returns on the Kenai River?) Another lie, again the loss of our kings has been studied by the ADF&G and it has been determined to be a Cook Inlet wide problem. We are seeing massive kings losses on rivers and streams with and without guides, with and without anglers. This has been proved over and over to be a saltwater problem. It is not rod & reel fishing pressure, it's not river bank trampling, it's not boats or boat wakes, it's not any public issue you can dream up. Our king declines are happening on rivers and streams without anglers.
Why would anyone attempt lie so much CFFL? NEXT!

CFFL
83
Points
CFFL 07/09/12 - 05:38 am
2
1
Limit the numbers

Out of all of the above babble the only thing that is true is that this is an inlet wide issue. The commercial set netters are not fishing!! they are not in the water but the guides sure are aren't they??
If having no limit of the amount of guides and in river users has nothing to do with the king issue then why do you keep referencing 1990 when the guide numbers did increase??

There is a reason only a select number of trophy moose tags are issued in various locations each year. The same reason that there are only so many kodiak brown bears allowed to be taken each year. If as many people that wanted to were allowed to hunt these trophy animals uncontrolled guess what would happen, eventually there would not be any more of them!!! So why do these guides feel like they can sit on top of the king spawning bed hammering these kings year after year with no effect on the fishery??

kenai123
1312
Points
kenai123 07/09/12 - 04:38 pm
0
0
.

.

kenai123
1312
Points
kenai123 07/09/12 - 04:26 pm
2
1
Gill nets and rod & reels are not the same.

Dear CFFL,
First you said that salmon numbers are static in Cook Inlet because of the commercial fishing industry. Now you admit that they are not static and that an inlet wide king problem exists. For this reason I say this shows that you are here to confuse the issue.

Then you say that commercial set nets are not fishing so they are meaningless but because anglers are fishing under hook & release regulations that they are meaningful?
If the entire Kenai River sportfishing industry fished 24 hours per day and 7 days per week they may end up killing a few dozen kings by accident. A single set net has the ability to kill ten times this amount in one set. You are attempting to compare apples and oranges. The bottom line is dead kings, if there is a problem with spawning numbers a couple dozen kings will not effect that problem for better or worst. Set nets have the ability to completely wipe-out what is left of our Kenai River king runs. You cannot compare methods and means fishing the way you are attempting to do. For this reason I say this shows that you are here to confuse the issue.

Claiming that set nets are not currently fishing is really meaningless. What is meaningful is that they should not have been fishing back 5 years ago when the parents of today's kings were attempting to migrate back into the Kenai River. Those parents were slaughters by a commercial fishery which was not allocated those kings but they killed them anyway in order to kill reds. The guides you keep referring to were legally allocated those kings for consumption, gill nets
were never allocated any of those kings for consumption. You keep attempting to place guides and gill nets on the same priority access level and it is a pure lie. For this reason I say this shows that you are here to confuse the issue.

So to simplify it as much as possible, anglers have a right to be in the fresh water harvesting kings, while making sure enough remain to spawn for the next generation. Commercial gill netters do not have this same right. Anglers have a plan to both send out kings as smolt and harvest returning adults, commercial fisheries do not because they really do not care if any kings return. The only concern they may have is one of being shut down from harvesting red because of low king returns. Commercial fisheries only care about the plan to send out red smolts and harvest those returning adults, anything which works to prevent or disturb that plan becomes a giant problem to them. Therefore returning Kenai River kings are a problem to commercial fishermen and a benefit to anglers. Why would any commercial fisherman want to increase their problems by avoiding or releasing kings? They don't, they could not care less if our kings get wiped out. In fact they are more likely to work to help them get wiped out, rather than help them when their numbers reduce.

Regarding the 1990 references, "Cook Inlets king runs have been destabilized since about 1990 and the ADF&G has discovered that they are being destabilized by saltwater factors." 1990 references are listed because this is when we first began noticing destabilized king returns on the Kenai River and we began seeing the ramp-up of Kodiak and Gulf of Alaska by-catch issues. You just don't get it, let me put it another way. If we had ten times the number of guides and anglers on the Kenai River, we would still have great king returns because most kings do not decide to bite baits offered to them by anglers. Those non-biters make up a very large percentage of what comes into the river, therefore anglers only pick at around the edges of a run.
Gill nets cannot be compared to rod & reel fishing because they cannot pick at any part of a run, they only kill what is there, leaving only the luckily or small sized salmon
to reach the river.

Claiming that we have game permit harvest because if we didn't people would be wiping out our game is just another attempt to confuse this issue. We have game permit harvest for the same reason we allow anglers to harvest when gill nets are prevented from harvesting. Permit harvest can be surgically tuned to prevent over harvest the same as rod & reel harvest can be surgically tuned to prevent over harvest.
Gill nets are massive and overwhelming by nature, you can turn them on today and they may take such large sweeping bite out of fish stocks that you could easily over harvest.
Permit game harvest is specific by nature, rod & reel harvest is specific by nature, gill net harvest is non-specific by nature and is not comparable to permit or rod & reel harvest.
Just use your common sense for a second. If you were to actually compare these harvest methods you would have to imagine someone hanging gill nets over every moose or bear trail on the Kenai Peninsula for 24 hours. Could you imagine the scale of destruction which would result? This is the world of nonsense you are painting, a world where all terms and concepts are mashed together without thought. Just the fact that you raise such unreasonable concepts shows an intent to confuse the readers of these posts.

gfds98765
1013
Points
gfds98765 07/09/12 - 06:13 pm
1
0
Just mention the word ‘fish’

Just mention the word ‘fish’ in Kenai and you got yourself a shoot out at the OK Corral. World War lll will start on the Kenai River over a king salmon. to dang many laws, too many people fishin for one littlle town.

smithtb
240
Points
smithtb 07/09/12 - 08:30 pm
1
1
Kenai 123, you need ABC's

Kenai 123, you obviously aren't concerned about the facts or the truth. Let me start by saying that my family has fished the same site, with the same nets, since 1965. I am raising 4th generation commercial fishermen, and I work at a local business that depends on the patronage of many Kenai River Guide establishments and the businesses that tourism supports. Obviously I care about a whole lot more than just getting my nets in the water. We have always caught kings. In fact, the UCI gillnet fisheries as a whole have averaged an annual king harvest of 19,000 kings a year for the last 57 years. I believe that would be called a sustainable harvest. Last year we caught just north of 11,000, substantially lower than both the 10 and 57 year averages. You can check the numbers on the ADF&G website if you want, unless you dont trust the facts and would like to supplement your own truth. That seems to be your thing.

Bottom line is that we have years of data to show that our fishery is sustainable, and no amount of uneducated babbling will change that. Tourism is very important, and the personal use fishery is handy for many people. No matter how you feel about it though, commercial fisheries have been a mainstay of Alaska's economy since long before statehood. Most commercial fisherman are not greedy money grubbing millionaires, but hard working people who care about their resource and its responsible management. You may be sick and tired of us, but you're stuck with us, and we could all work together toward the betterment of our resource if we focused on the real issues.

An honest look at the data and a thimbleful of common sense would tell you that UCI commercial fisheries are not the problem. The fact that you claim there are no in river issues shows that you don't really care about facts or common sense. Take right now for instance. Every fishery that could intercept kings is currently closed except the in river fishery. Even with the catch and release restrictions taking effect tonight, the taking of kings over 55 inches is still permitted!!! In year of record low return, the in river fishery is still allowed to hunt and harvest our last best kings before they have a chance to pass on their genes. Oh, but thats right, you just tried to blame the reduced size of the Kings on the saltwater fisheries. No inriver issues at all.

The market price of King Salmon is currently over $5.00 a pound. I care about these fish what they provide for all of us. Not just because of the price. I sport fish for them and put them in my freezer as well. There is no better fish to catch or eat. The lack of kings is very obviously a two fold issue - both an in river issue of too much, too much, too much, and an ocean survival issue that could be a combination of many factors, and has affected most all rivers in our state. By catch issues in the ocean are most certainly an issue, however it is very obviously not the UCI gillnet fisheries' fault that these fish have not faired well lately. We cannot be compaired to the trawl fisheries that kill and dump large amounts of kings. King escapement numbers are considered paramount in all management decisions concerning the UCI gillnet fishery.

You need to either be quiet or get educated and tell the truth. If the Kings really do come first, focus on the real problems. Right now, when they need it most, leave those beasts alone and let them spawn.

kenai123
1312
Points
kenai123 07/10/12 - 12:32 am
1
0
King by-catch? Who is the real problem?

Well Smithtb that's a real can of worms ya got there. I will attempt to address all your many accusations.

(You have been around for like a million years therefore we must believe all the word which flow from you) This is not true, we will judge you by the truth found within your words not how long you say that you have been around.

(You work at both tourism and commercial fishing)
That may be true but is really not relevant for the purposes of this discussion.

(You claim that because you have caught kings "forever" that you should continue catching them "forever")
This is not true for anyone. It does not matter if you are sportfish or commercial fish. Just because you caught fish for the past million years does not guarantee that you will be able to catch them for the next million years. Read the fine print of your limited entry license, the state can legally take it away from you at anytime with zero compensation to you. The same can be done to sportfishing, believe it or not things change. The commercial fish trap guys thought they had a lock on our salmon and the public threw them out on their ears in 1959. They went from riches to rags over night, that's what you can get when you attempt to live off a public natural resource. A limited entry permit only grants temporary access to our salmon fisheries, it's not a holy grail to hang on the wall and bow down and worship each night.

(You claim that because UCI or any commercial user can kill 19,000 kings per year for 57 years that this interception is a sustainable interception)
That might be true if you could actually control every other possible down-south user. Even Upper Cook Inlet commercial fisheries, UCI cannot control every down-south user therefore you cannot truthfully make this claim of king interception sustainability. What if Kodiak or Gulf of Alaska start taking 100% of our Cook Inlet kings and do not even leave you your 19,000 kings to intercept? Do you think our Cook Inlet king runs would still be sustainable?
For this statement to be true you would have to control all Kodiak and Gulf fisheries, you do not therefore your claim can not be true.

(You admit killing 8,000 less kings last year)
Well I guess the sustainable 19,000 kings interception was not sustainable after all.

(You accuses me of stating non-truth and using my own truth instead)
Please specifically state what words did I posted that are not true?

(You accuse me of uneducated babbling because I disagree with you)
Specifically what words are you referring to as being uneducated or babbling?

(You claim commercial fishing is where it's at for our economy)
I do not have a problem with commercial fishing within our economy. I did not see anyone post that commercial fishing should be tossed out.I did claim that some commercial fishermen believe they own the planet and all the little fisheries in the ocean. I have a problem with that kind of an attitude.

(You claim commercial fishermen are hard working and not greedy or rich)
I will not attempt to misdirect this discussion away from the real king salmon interception issue like you have.

(You claim UCI is not the king problem)
You may be correct on this point. UCI is not our main king problem but UCI consistently sides with our east side set nets on major king issues therefore it catches a lot of the flak directed at our east side set nets. The solution is to not side with these east side set nets and the public will be happy to let UCI fish a lot more.

(You claim I believe there are no in river issues)
I do not claim that the Kenai River has no problems. The river and its anglers have there problems but those problem are baby monsters while our saltwater problems are adult monsters. Me focusing on saltwater problems is not a river holyer-than-thou attitude, it is in fact an expression of efficiency of effort. One hour of fix the kings effort in the river might save 10 kings but that same effort in the salt will most likely result in saving a 1,000 kings.

(You are upset because everyone is closed but Kenai River anglers because they might harvest a king over 55 inches)
Are you totally insane? We have had that 55 inch retention thing for like a decade and it may have been used maybe once or twice. That's maybe two kings in a decade?
You are actually attempting to stack the power of 7,000,000 liner feet of Cook Inlet gill nets fishing against two kings per decade? This is why I am tired of commercial fishermen. Logic does not matter, you just grab at anything in the room and throw it to see if anything damages the other side. Mindless logic.

(You claim to care about kings because you sell and eat them)
Who said you do not care about kings? I said that if a king gets in the way of you making a run to the bank with sockeye dollars, that king is going to suffer. That comes down to meaning sure you care about kings, AFTER your bank account is full.

(You claim that all the king problems are in river)
This is plainly a false statement on the surface for all the above reasons. It is also a false statement because all of our rivers are different, with different users and in river conditions. If your claim were true, rivers with less anglers would be seeing less kings return problems. All of these rivers are experiencing the same low king return problems, therefore the public and ADF&G have correctly assumed the problem to be in the saltwater. If UCI wants to avoid
becoming entangled within this issue they need only side with the public and the ADF&G instead of the east side set netters and trawlers. Claiming the problem is in the river places you squarely with the east side set netters and trawlers.

(You claim king by-catch is a problem but it's not UCI who is causing this problem)
You may be correct on this one but I never said UCI was the main player intercepting Cook Inlets kings. I do say that our east side set nets are the main problem in Cook Inlet. I also claim that we should allow our gill net drifters to gill net 24 hours per day seven days per week and no closer than 3 mile from shore. Drifters are a much better solution to our king problems than having our east side set nets slaughtering our kings day after day within 3 miles of our shores. I vote we shut down the east side set nets and open the drift season June 25th for continuous gill netting 3 mile and beyond in Cook Inlet. If UCI is not the problem then you should agree with me so we can trim down the reds before they hit the beaches. But UCI can't do that can they? They want the red on the beach right along with the kings. So who is really the problem?

(You claim UCI cannot be compared to the trawler fisheries)
You are very correct on this one, the trawlers are wasting millions of our king salmon by dumping them dead. I never attempted to compare UCI to anything, actually I never even raised the Upper Cook Inlet commercial fisheries issue, you raised it.

(You claim UCI is concerned about king escapement)
You maybe correct on this one but I never said UCI was not concerned with king escapement.

(You claim that I am uneducated and lying)
Please specifically list the statements you are referring to.

(You claim that I am focusing on the non-real problems)
Please specifically list the non-real problems.

(You claim that anglers must leave kings alone in rivers and let them spawn)
Obviously you have not been listening, the state of Alaska has specifically allocated its kings to the anglers on the Kenai River. The state has decided that the public shall access those kings from the freshwater access point mainly because in general the
public does not have a pile of cash to dump into a ocean boat and go chasing after them. The state understands that people would die and lots would go hungry rather than risk the ocean to get some food for survival. You claiming that the state is incorrect on this and should in fact let these people die and starve is unbelievable. But that is what a selfish person does, they do not see the problem their neighbor would have getting some fish to eat. They can only see that they want to be allowed to catch as many floating twenty dollar bills as they can catch forever and then they tell their neighbors to just leave the fish alone in the rivers. These kings have been allocated to the public, to be accessed within the freshwater environment to reduce the risk of life. You don't care, I understand that. You want what you want and you're going to get it no matter what. That's is pretty cold man.
I suggest you get off the greed bandwagon and join the human race.

KenaiKardinal88
512
Points
KenaiKardinal88 07/10/12 - 07:00 am
1
0
Comm Fish Greed

The commercial fishermen have destroyed every fishery they've been involved with, EXCEPT when a strong regulatory agency steps in. ADF&G DOES NOT qualify as that strong agency because they pander to comm fish interests always.

The commercial take dwarfs the sport take and many comm fishers are NOT year-round residents of the state.

For decades, Alaska comm fish loans were not paid back.

I'm sick of this cancer and their greed.

smithtb
240
Points
smithtb 07/10/12 - 10:04 am
0
0
This does not help our Kings

Kenai123, you're obviously more concerned with twisting words and vilifying the commercial fishermen than you are with saving the King Salmon. The biggest problem with Cook Inlet Fisheries is people like you. Most reasonable people agree that all of our Salmon user groups are important, and that we need to work together to solve our problems. They are OUR fish as Alaskans and members of the community. We as a community have depended on them for generations. Your comments show your lack of respect for our fish, our fishery, our community, and the years of hard work others have given to preserve and understand this resource.

I didn't say my family has caught Kings forever, only for the last 47 years, with the historical data to prove it. You're right, we have interception issues, and that in part is why I'm not fishing today. No one is going to starve if they don't catch a king this year, but for a lot of us salt and fresh water fishermen who depend on these fish, (and the sockeye that we may have to let swim by) for part or all of our income, it's going to be a tough winter. That's why we're interested in solving the problem instead of just placing blame, and EAST SIDE SETNETTERS ARE NOT THE PROBLEM. Just because we catch a large number of fish doesn't mean that we are the reason they have not returned. It also doesn't mean that we are greedy. It means that our local economy is built around a diverse fishery with many different user groups, the oldest and largest of which is the gillnet fishery. I brought up historical catch data to show that, for the most part, our community has been blessed with historically abundant salmon runs. Enough to satisfy all local user groups. Why not work together so that may continue?

Anyone who boils this down to a single issue is misguided. We need to keep other fisheries off our fish, and spend more time and money supporting our biologists and improving our management and understanding of this resource. Or we could just ask you I guess, since you have it all figured out.

Please stop twisting the words of those who comment with facts and true historical data. Unlike you, we have an interest in both preserving this resource and being able to continue sustainably harvesting it. That's not greedy or cold, just common sense. I wrote the above letter to the editor with the hope that is would spur honest, constructive debate about this subject. You are not engaging in honest, constructive debate. You know who I am, if you decide you would like to talk about the facts and how we can all work together to solve this problem, look me up.

s2wheel
55
Points
s2wheel 07/10/12 - 12:25 pm
0
0
think about it

our red numbers are down our king numbers are down,2004, 2005,2006, 2007 this happened
NEWS RELEASE
Kevin Duffy, Commissioner
Doug Mecum, Director

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

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

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

s2wheel
55
Points
s2wheel 07/10/12 - 12:28 pm
0
0
something more

I would also like to add I did personal fish in the kasilof for 4 days my catch 3 fish not one king

smithtb
240
Points
smithtb 07/10/12 - 03:57 pm
0
0
Overescapement

I'm glad this was brought up. This was a terminal fishery dreamed up at the Board of Fish and opened by fish and game to the dismay of many setnet fishermen. If I'm not mistaken it was provided in the management plan as a way to prevent overescapement of sockeye in the Kasilof without catching Kenai Kings. You see, the Guides wanted to provide "predictablily" in the in river fisheries by having gillnetters closed on certain days, and only able to fish a certain amount of hours each week.

The optimum escapement goal for the Kasilof in 2004 was 160,000-390,000 fish. This EO was issued on July 14th. The Kasilof escapement on July 14th was already 276,526. Needless to say, the Kasilof river was overescaped because fish and game could not fish the gillnet fisheries as they needed to. This terminal fishery was a product of the board of fish decisions, and it was all they had to use. Ultimately, everyone learned it was a poor way to manage the fishery. Like I said, learn from our (or their) mistakes.

Both the Kenai and Kasilof Rivers exceeded their optimum escapement goals in 2004 The Kasilof river escapement was over 500,000, and the Kenai reached 1,945,000, 745,000 over the 1,200,000 maximum optimum goal!!! This does not provide predictability in the in river fishery, and the lost opportunity cost of these fish was significant. The fishing was great in the river though!!! That year, at least.

In 2004, the estimated (because no one really knows) Kenai sport harvest of Kings was twice what it was in 2011, as was the commercial setnet harvest. The estimated King sonar passage in the Kenai was 3 times higher than last year. There were lots of Kings, and we didn't catch them all. Setnet harvest of Kenai Kings has fallen steadily since. Sport harvest estimates (because no one really knows) and sonar estimates bounced around a bit, but have also fallen. It's not because East Side Setnetters caught them. Here's the link. http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/sf/FishCounts/index.cfm?ADFG=main.kenaiChinook

Biologists agree that continued escapement harms future runs. The in river commercial guide associations have funded their own studies that they say prove otherwise. I believe the real biologists, and do not wish to needlessly sacrifice quality sockeye runs to save kings for the guides to selectively harvest. I want a sustainable fishery that includes all user groups. This will benefit our community the most.

s2wheel
55
Points
s2wheel 07/10/12 - 06:17 pm
0
0
this EO was not done in just

this EO was not done in just 2004, it was done in years after, it takes more than one year for the fry to return to its spawing ground, what we are seeing is the result of this EOs, and as far as overescapment I disagree, we have always had an abundance of salmon in our streams, the drift boats were not allowed to fish in any river terminal until that year,I saw first hand what they did it was shameful and greedy,and I do know they were catching anything that swam in that river including the kings,trout and any other fish that was unlucky to be there.

alaskalove
3
Points
alaskalove 07/11/12 - 11:04 am
1
0
in response:

First of all, a word about where I'm coming from: I grew up with many commercial fishing families. My brothers have commercial fished, and I have been involved in commercial fishery research. But, I also worked at a sport fish lodge for 4 years, and loved it. I personally love to sport fish and I love showing off our incredible state to the visitors that fishing draws. If kenai123 decides to read this, know that I have said these things as an attempt to do away with bias, and because this is such a heated issue, showing a concern for both sides is a completely relevant thing to do.

I'm not going to state my full opinions about what is going on in the Inlet and our rivers. Like most of you, I presume, I am not a fisheries biologist. I'd like to leave the decision making up to those who are.

I would simply like to respond to a few specific things stated in this comment thread.

to KenaiKardinal88:

You say that you're sick of all the decisions being made around commercial fisherman, that ADF&G "panders to comm fish always." This year, for example. Setnetters have fished twice. Twice. Which is unheard of. I realize it is also unheard of to be limited to catch & release on the rivers. In the management plan, it states that if the Kenai river gets closed, Eastside setnetting gets closed as well, leading to extreme over escapement of sockeye salmon in the effort to preserve kings. These are not exactly pro-comm fish decisions.

Also, you stated "many comm fishers are NOT year-round residents of the state." I wouldn't go so far as to say "many," but, it is true that some are not year-round residents. I assume this comment was made in regards to local economic benefits of the fisheries? The ratio of guides I worked with at the sport fish lodge was about 3:1, with the 3 being non-residents.

to S2wheel:

You said that you "disagree with over escapement." Over escapement is not something to agree or disagree with. It is a simple scientific fact. Biologists create an escapement goal based on how many fish a certain habitat can sustain. Here's an analogy: if I have 3 dogs, I feed them three portions of dog food. One day, if I ended up with 12 dogs, and still only fed them all three portions of food, some of the dogs would end up dead. This is what happens when too many spawners are allowed in the river. The habitat cannot support the high numbers of fish, and fish start to die. It really would be a kinder, easier concept to think that the more fish we let in, the more fish we get back, but it isn't the case.

To kenai123:

Here's a quote from one of your posts in which you are responding to Mr. Smith:
"(You claim to care about kings because you sell and eat them)
Who said you do not care about kings? I said that if a king gets in the way of you making a run to the bank with sockeye dollars, that king is going to suffer. That comes down to meaning sure you care about kings, AFTER your bank account is full."

What I simply hope you can notice is that what you are claiming above, about comm fishermen trampling kings in order to get a sockeye paycheck, is EXACTLY what you are doing to sockeye, in order to get a king paycheck. I'm not necessarily blaming either of you for this; everyone involved has the pressure to provide for themselves and their families. But, it's not fair to attack another person's personal interests while trying to hide your own.

to smithtb:

I really appreciate your original letter, and what sounds like an openness to let biological decisions be made (even that you suffer consequences for) for the health of a salmon species you are not primarily targeting.

When the time comes this season (and it likely will), that reds are entering the river in excessively large quantities due to a lack of setnetting, I challenge sport fisherman to have the same attitude.

---

On a personal note, if I did not live in Alaska, I would not be able to afford to come here and sport fish. Between the airplane tickets and a guided trip, it has become an expensive endeavor. I am thankful, though, for the large numbers of people who can afford it, and who come and support our economy by doing so.

What I would be able to do, though, is splurge every once in a while by going to the store or the market and purchasing a bit of wild Alaskan salmon, caught by commercial fishermen.

Both industries are incredibly important.

Imagine the beauty if both sides had both sides in mind? This will never fully happen because money is involved. I realize I am easily able to stand up and preach this because I am not currently a commercial fisherman or a guide.

Please, please, all of you involved, stop for a moment, and view whoever it is on the opposing side as a person. A human. Same as you. You might be mad at them for spouting off what you consider to be misinformation, but realize that they think the same exact thing about you. Both of you have people to feed, payments to make, and potentially even employees that you're responsible for writing a paycheck to. But, the fact of the matter is, your income is dependent upon a wild animal. We, man, have stepped in, and tried to regulate this creature. It takes a great amount of study to do so. So, the best that we can all do, is make our greatest effort to set personal $ interests aside, and support our local scientists.

It is in Alaska's constitution to manage the fisheries for a maximum yield. I don't claim to know how to do this. That's why it's not my job. There are individuals, though, very management positions to do so. I suggest we do our best to remove financial and political pressures in order to let them follow their constitutional orders.

kenai123
1312
Points
kenai123 07/12/12 - 07:37 am
0
0
.

.

kenai123
1312
Points
kenai123 07/12/12 - 09:28 am
1
0
Limited entry communism is not the solution

Well smithtb, you certainly have plenty of time to tell the world how messed up it is. If you spent as much time looking for alternative king/red harvest gear our stock separation problems would be long behind us now. Instead you wish to go on and on debating the little nit-picky numbers the ADF&G recorded years ago.

Regarding your claim that (no one really knows what sportfish caught for kings in 2004 because they weren't individually counted by some giant center of the universe counting station).
The ADF&G runs extensive catch surveys to figure out what was caught by sportfish in this area. Are you claiming that these ADF&G surveys are defective? If you are please inform us as to why they are defective. The ADF&G recorded in 2004 that the Kenai River sportfishery caught 3,383 kings within the first run and 18,393 in the second run. This was a total of 22,037 kings caught in 2004 by sportfish.If these numbers are incorrect please let us all know why and how smithtb would do a better job? Oh that's right you can't do that, limited entry guarantees that nobody will take your job if you fail to do a better job. I guess you will just have to go on and on forever telling everyone how they are incorrect, resolving nothing, creating nothing, doing nothing.

Regarding you (believing only the "real biologists" and do not wish to needlessly sacrifice quality sockeye runs to save kings for the guides to selectively harvest)
With that said by you why shouldn't a guide just respond by saying the same? "I do not wish to needlessly sacrifice quality king runs to save sockeyes for the commercial gill nets to randomly harvest?"
Your statements do nothing to resolve the situation between the users bashing each others stocks. You do this because your limited entry job is communism secure by the state of Alaska. Why not instead spend the time coming up with an idea to effectively separate reds from kings when commercial fishing? I can assure you that if you spent as much time attempting to discover a new gear type to help separate these stocks for commercial harvest that your efforts would be more productive. Limited entry has acted like a giant drug for the commercial fishing industry and has removed any attempt by the commercial industry to improve itself. Within a free and open fish market commercial fishermen would have a reason to get up each morning and find a better way to harvest reds. As it is they just spend their time coming up with communism excuses as to why they have not been unable to separate kings from reds when harvesting. It is like an alcoholic reaching for another bottle as he claims that he has done all he can to help himself. Limited entry is an economic drug like welfare or communism and it discourages its participants from attempting to better themselves. There are economic and fisheries management plans which could be used to replace limited entry communism, they would perform the same function as limited entry communism and leave commercial fishermen looking for better harvest separation. As it is they will not even attempt to look for those better ways because limited entry communism and the state guarantees that nobody will take their job unless they want to jump out of limited entry communism. This is what limited entry communism does to the human spirit, it dopes fishermen up and leaves them half functional as they convince themselves that floating along with the current is a REALLY BIG JOB. The solution to this stock separation issue will not be located floating along with the limited entry current.

smithtb
240
Points
smithtb 07/12/12 - 12:39 pm
0
0
Level-Headed

Alaskalove, thank you for bringing some common sense back to the table. All this talk about drugs and communism seems to distract us from the facts.

It is a fact that Alaska has done something most of the world has failed at. We have, for the most part, sustainably managed and harvested our fisheries resources for many years. This has benefitted all Alaskans in one way or another. Commercial fisheries are a major part of Alaska's economy. We need them, just as we need tourism, oil and gas exploration, and many other industries. Without our natural resources, Alaska is just a big, cold chunk of ice.

The Cook Inlet fishery is one the most accessible fisheries of size in our state, and this is why we have so many issues between user groups - all of which are important to our community. None of these user groups will have access if we destroy our salmon runs. We need to manage this resource biologically.

Just becuase we have experienced a poor run this year does not mean that we are screwed, however some of the data biologists are recieving is scary. Commercial catch data (which provides vital info to our fisheries managers) has shown a subsantial drop in number of large Kenai Kings caught in our nets - we have caught less Kings, and the average size of these Kings has been substantially smaller. The average weight of UCI gillnet caught kings last year was 20.2#. This is almost 6# below the 40 year average, and more than 8# below the average between 1970-1990! Also, the ratio of Jack Kings caught in our nets is now very high. I believe that last year, over 40% of all Kings caught in our commercial fishery were Jacks. I don't pretend to know why, but this is scary.

Interestingly, this is not reflected in catch numbers. Jack Kings are not counted as Kings when harvested in river. They are included and not differentiated in the commercial King harvest numbers. This seems an important fact to keep in mind.

kenai123
1312
Points
kenai123 07/12/12 - 09:43 am
1
1
The more fish we let escape, the more we would get back.

alaskalove you said that (Over escapement is not something to agree or disagree with. It is a simple scientific fact.)
Then you claimed that (if you only have food for 3 dogs and own 12, some are going to starve and die). You then stated that (if the habitat cannot support the number of fish the fish will die).
You then claimed that (it would be nice if the more fish we let escape, the more we would get back but it just is not the case).

alaskalove you are incorrect about over escapement with regard to salmon. Over escapement is a miss-used term because many people do not really understand the salmons life cycle. You failed to use the proper illustration. The correct illustration is a garden.Take a garden which is planted with 3 plants, which when mature will produce some kind of fruit. Water the garden until its fruit can be either harvested or allowed to fall to the ground. If the fruit is allow to fall to the ground thus improving the nitrogen content of the gardens soil, that same garden will be capable of supporting a larger number of plants because of the improved nitrogen content of the soil. The gardener then plants 5 plants, allows them to go unharvested, further increases the soils nitrogen content and continues planting like this until the garden is producing fruit at a pace never dreamed possible. The reason this process results is because biogenic nitrogen fertilization carries with it the ability to expand the productivity of a garden. The reason I use a garden within this illustration is because when salmon escape and die they "nitrogen super charge" the water they die in. When that waters nitrogen ration peaks it provides super charged salmon production capability. A given lake, river or even ocean may have only been able to feed a million salmon fry but once those waters are super nitrogen charged in this way, they may expand their rearing capacity to 10 - 20 times their previous levels. This natural biogenic fertilization process is as natural as you adding commercial fertiler to your home garden to increase its productivity. The only real difference is that you are using salmon nitrogen to fertilize the water instead of commercial fertilizers.

Your dog illustration may work to prove that the dogs would starve to death but the open salmon life cycle cannot be compared to the closed dog life cycle. To correctly compare these two you would have to imagine dogs returning to their place of birth in 3 - 5 years, dying on the ground and their offspring consuming the grass which grows from the nitrogen increase in the soil. If you could get all this to happen natually you would no doubt get the same ability to eventually feed more and more dogs but the dog illustration is illogical because it does not naturally happen. So in reality the dogs and salmon comparison fails.

I agree with your claim that over escapement is a scientific fact but as you can see, it is not as simple "a fact" as many believe it to be. The actual fact is that the surface area of
a lake, river or ocean may be easy to calculate to measure rearing capacity but how much a salmon run can be expanded with additional dead salmon bodies is not that easy to calculate. The bottom line to all of this is that by allowing additional salmon to spawn and die (escape) within nursery lakes and rivers, we can expand what appears to be the maximum
capability of a run of fish. So as you can see, dog and salmon life cycles are not the same. So it is actually true in many cases that the more salmon we allow to escape, the more we actually can get back in return. Every system and run will eventually have its maximum capability, even with peak salmon nitrogen levels but that capability is much more complex than most people assume.

smithtb
240
Points
smithtb 07/12/12 - 03:24 pm
1
0
DO YOU HAVE A DEGREE IN BIOLOGY?

I doubt it. I don't either, so I listen to our fisheries biologists who say that while one year of overescapement now and then can produce a bumper crop of fish, continued overescapement harms future runs.

The opportunity cost of letting all these excess fish swim up the river and die needlessly makes your argument completely irrelavant. Our bioligists have determined the escapement numbers needed to produce maximum sustainable yield. We strive to achive that escapement number and responsibly harvest the surplus. The food and money our community and its people recieve from these fish benefit us greatly. Common sense.

By the way, 78% of the UCI Commercial Permits registered in 2011 were resident permits. This came straight from the 2011 UCI Commercial Fisheries Management Report. Real facts by real biologists. What a concept. It's really not relevant to perserving the King run but interesting nonetheless. What's more interesting is that try as I might I could not find the residency statistics on in river guides. It seems the division of sport fish doesn't make many of these statistics nearly as accessible. If I find them, I'll post them. Just for fun.

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