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Better ideas to restore king run needed

Posted: July 27, 2012 - 8:23am

Did I just hear what I heard? I just finished listening to the Board of Fish meeting by live streaming on my computer.They voted 5 to 2 in favor of taking no action on the 6 petitions in front of them. Granted they were received with little time to study. Seems like that’s the magic word with boards, study. The fish don’t understand studies and when they decide to go up the river away they go. Never once during this hour and a half meeting did I hear anyone ask or propose what happened to the kings throughout the state, low returns are everywhere. Are the eastside setnetters being not allowed to fish going to correct this? I think not. They talk about about not being able to allocate the resource amongst user groups, but this is exactly what they did. The idea of moving the nets further offshore is short sighted, obviuosly these people know little abount getting a set to stay in place a mile and a half to two miles off of Humpy Point. Fishermen have spent years sandbagging there and still have problems. This is not something you are going to do in the spur of the moment. 

Sorry to say it’s too late to do anygood for the biggest percentage of east side setnetters, the fish have already gone by many of them. Again I say fix the problem where it is created not solely on the backs of the eastside setnetters. Some pretty hollow words were said by board members as they are not feeling economic hardship that the people they are affecting are. The board has no representative from the Cook Inlet area and therefore have been treated quite unfairly as far as I can see. 

Is what just happened this year going to correct the problem with the king returns of the future? I would guess no on that one. If the management of the fisheries is truely based on biology and the continuance of run strength what is the reason for the in-river fishery targeting 55 inch and above kings? Do these fish not spawn and perhaps produce more 55 inchers? Lots of questions and not very many answers that my common sense can be comfortable with. 

I remember when the eastside setnet requlations stated that one end of your net must always go dry. Moving further offshore is not a realistic management tool . Maybe we should bring the traps back; at least you can close the traps, fish will go around, if you need to you can release live fish from the heart of the trap. Just saying, stranger things have been done, like shutting down the whole east side. 

Looking forward to better ideas on how to get more kings back into all rivers in the state, overfishing in the river maybe? Just a few thoughts from someone involved in Cook Inlet salmon fishing for over 50 years.

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northernlights 07/28/12 - 06:04 pm
Well said

Common sense is not being used, you letter was right on, and you care, I can tell you have put some serious thought into what you said. I hope it doesnt fall on deaf ears. Over fishing the river is another common sense, why are they not using it? All one has to do is get on a boat an look. One group has continued to get away with selfishness because they have money backing them up. Its a shame to see all those boats on the river. Most people only live in the "now" I want it "now" who cares about years down the road. Some of us who have lived here for years understand and know. What is it going to take?

hoost 07/28/12 - 06:29 pm
From a fellow setnetter

I am a fellow Eastside setnetter and appreciate and agree with most of what you said. However, I'm not sure moving to traps is the right answer. How, in a year when many of us are going to struggle to pay bills and put food on the table are we supposed to invest in an entire new gear setup for all our locations? I'm just not sure that is realistic.

julie 07/29/12 - 11:28 am
End Salmon Bycatch Petitionn

It is so ridiculous that the set netters got shut down. We all need to ban together and stop the trawlers that are still fishing! They're still catching & killing the kings which is why you got shut down! The rivers are shut down!

kenai123 07/30/12 - 04:51 am

Gary, obviously you have little knowledge of why the regulations ALLOW the retention of a king larger than 55 inches. There is ZERO TARGETING going on. Any king over 55 inches long is no doubt an 80 - 100 pound king and the Kenai River may catch one or two kings like this per year! You are talking about 1 - 2 fish max. per season. This is not targeting, it is merely allowing an angler to legally retain what they would illegally retain anyway. Most anglers would take the fine to be able to keep a king that large, so the state just made it legal. This is not targeting anything. If the Cook Inlet commercial gill net industry were allowed to do the same even anglers would not call it targeting. TARGETING is mass genocide, like when the commercial gill net industry throws 7,000,000 liner feet of gill nets into Cook Inlet each summer and "ACCIDENTALLY" slaughter one king salmon for each 260 sockeyes in a set net. This is actual TARGETING because drift nets catch ten time LESS kings for the same amount of sockeyes. The ADF&G could use the drift fleet 24 hours per day, 7 days per week to

Many Alaskan's are wondering what can or should be done to resolve the decline in king salmon within the Cook Inlet area. If you ask the Alaska Department of Fish & Game they will point to a snowstorm of data and grafts, which in the end leaves the viewer even more confused about our commercial by-catch problems. I have been reviewing our king loss data since 2002 and have come to a single conclusion. That conclusion is that many things may need to change within our commercial fisheries but key within those changes is that statewide we must stop all commercial fisheries from profiting "in any way" when they kill non-targeted specie as by-catch. This means that commercial fisheries should be legally required to retain and process ALL BY-CATCH and then DONATE it to a charity. That means that if you "by-catch kill" a beluga whale calf; you are forced to retain, process and donate it. If you by-catch kill a king salmon: you must retain, process and donate it. By charity I mean some kind of Food Bank. This would prevent commercial fisheries from donating by-catch to their favorite "commercial fisheries non-profit".
This change alone, over time would eventually resolve most of Alaska's current by-catch problems. With this change commercial fisheries would eventually be forced to at least begin thinking about avoiding non-targeted by-catch. The king salmon by-catch issue is 100% about money; if you can make by-catch non-profitable, commercial fisheries will eventually find a way to prevent the financial drain. If we leave things the way they are we will be permanently losing many marine specie and fisheries in the very near future.
As long as commercial fisheries are allowed to profit "in any way" from by-catch, the by-catch issue will never go away and therefore all our Alaskan natural resources
and fisheries will go on suffering FOREVER. The Alaskan public must organize on this commercial fisheries by-catch issue and tightly focus on this single goal.
That goal must be to " REMOVE ALL THE PROFIT" from all commercial fisheries by-catch. The new reality in our fisheries future must be that commercial by-catch is going to cost you BIG. It really does not matter if it is a large fine or the charity donation, the Alaskan [filtered word] needs to organize and do whatever it takes to begin the process of eventually holding commercial fisheries accountable for the marine destruction it is causing within our ocean. The wholesale slaughter of non-targeted species is no longer just acceptable losses. This mean that the Alaskan public must rise up and compel the Alaska Board of Fish and the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council to take action and make SUBSTANTIAL changes in the way ALL by-catch is processed by ALL of our commercial fisheries. This is a very reasonable goal for the Alaskan public to pursue in resolving this very unreasonable waste of our common Alaskan natural resource heritage.

If you are concerned about the king run, bycatch, closures, the pollock trawlers STILL FISHING and KILLING KINGS & HALIBUT sign & forward this petition to all your friends

smithtb 08/01/12 - 07:04 pm

That has got to be the world's dumbest defense for a rule that needs changing. Why don't we just make it legal to poach all trophy animals? I mean somebody's gonna do it anyway, right?

The reason for the 55" exception is purely a financial one. Mr. 123 can still tell his clients that although it's catch and release because somebody else screwed up the King runs, they can still keep a hog if they catch one... If.

So yes buddy, its targeting. You're not taking someone who flew 4,000 miles to fish the world famous Kenai out to catch a 20 pounder, you're fishing for a hog. As you say though, the big ones are few and far between now. Funny that you refuse to ignore the logical conclusion as to why that is. Instead you keep hammering away on top of the spawning beds hoping to get your client the last one or two lunkers left. Be careful though, because I doubt your clients are as dumb as you. They're starting to figure it out. The world famous Kenai isn't quite all that any more. Pretty soon they'll go somewhere else. I can only pray that you follow.

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