I find it difficult to accept the whining from setnetters about their perceived fiscal peril this year. Last year about four hundred halibut charter captains had their livelihoods ruined when NOAA/NMFS eliminated about a third of the charter fleet. That makes for more than just a bad year ... more like a change in career paths. I haven’t heard of any charter businesses calling for disaster relief or bailouts from the government. I do however support the setnetters discontent with ADF&G’s decision to shut down their season based on ADF&G’s chinook return “estimates” of a dismal year. As of 25 July ADF&G guestimates that 9082 Chinook past their counters compared to 13,241 in 2010 and 16,616 in 2011. That puts 2012 at 61 percent of the average return for the past two years; not really dismal.
According to ADF&G, the chinook numbers have dropped significantly after 2009. Note that in 2010 ADF&G started using their newfangled DIDSON Sonar system and hark, we now have a guestimated drastic decline in the chinook numbers. Maybe what we’re experiencing is not declining numbers in the chinook return but the result of ADF&G buying into an expensive and possibly bogus new sonar system.