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Magnifying the meaningless, miniaturizing the meaningful

Posted: August 5, 2012 - 7:00am

 There is absolutely no valid reason to ban bait and hooks for silver, humpback and sockeye salmon fishing in the lower Kenai River between Aug. 2 and 14 this year.

In the last thirty years I have “accidentally hooked and released” about 10 kings while fishing other salmon during this time period. That is about a king every 3 years and they were all released in good shape. So if each angler catches 1/3 of a king each year and there are about 100 anglers fishing everyday below the Soldotna bridge, that would be about every third person accidentally hooking and releasing a king each year. That would be about 33.3 kings accidentally hook and released each year. Maybe 3 of those  

kings would die annually from hook and release mortality. We are really talking about a grand total of 3 kings dieing annually from the whole Kenai River sport fishery, while using bait and multiple hooks from July 31 to Aug. 14.  

This is a specific example of our ADF&G micro-managing our fisheries while it magnifies the meaningless and miniaturizes the meaningful. This is also a specific example of how our ADF&G projects to the public that it has little idea what they are actually doing. Three king salmon per season is not enough of anything to make any kind of fisheries management decision. Our ADF&G is now officially functioning as a political body, as they somehow attempt to placate shutdown Cook Inlet commercial gillnetters. Further destruction of our Kenai Peninsula’s economy with unwarranted “collateral Kenai River king salmon restrictions” are absolutely outrageous. These political ADF&G fisheries managers must be held accountable for their ridiculous use of politics within freshwater fisheries to resolve saltwater problems. Our ADF&G is the problem on this one.

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kenai123 08/07/12 - 01:11 pm
accidentally hooking & releasing kings?

We all know that further freshwater restrictions from Aug. 1 - 14th on the Kenai River, have very little to do king salmon escapement. I see those guys back-trolling and accidentally hooking & releasing kings. I also see the political posturing back and forth within the ADF&G and on up the political food chain, while they attempt to grab as much political power and money as possible. This is nothing but a money and power grab as our government tries to grab as much money, power and job security as they can. The gill netters scream at the ADF&G to jump and they only ask "how high and how much money they will donate to their bosses next political campaign". It appears that our ADF&G does not really care where our kings are really dying. The truth is that any kings hooked & released, H&R on the Kenai River are biologically meaningless and politically meaningful. If the Director wants to see less accidental H&R of kings on the Kenai, that's fine but that desire is not part of any of our salmon management plans. If the Director has concerns in this area I suggest that the ADF&G send in a Board of Fish proposal change to address it. Whatever the concern, it is not any kind of emergency and the ADF&G would need an official emergency concern to address it. As usual "The Director" is TOTALLY blind to the unseen hundreds of thousands of wild kings being slaughtered by the commercial trawlers out in the Gulf of Alaska. At the same time "The Director" is TOTALLY focused on a couple dozen possible H&R mortality kings presenting on the Kenai River. I don't back-troll for silver but I have been charter fishing for silvers, reds and humpbacks since July 31 on the Kenai River and not even hooked a single king. I usually hook and release about one or two kings every three years. The Director needs to get a grip on reality and then get concerned about where all our wild kings are really dying. They are dying as a result of saltwater commercial fishing from Cook Inlet to the Gulf of Alaska. Regarding anglers voluntarily to not back-trolling because they may hook a king. If anglers give-up back-trolling for silvers today, just to save a couple kings, why not also give up spinners, spoon, flies, hooks, bait and anything else? Why not just cancel every freshwater fishing season on the Kenai River forever?
The reason we don't is because the king problem is not in the freshwater, it is in the saltwater and within our trawlers first and our set gill netters second.Rather than address the trawlers and set gill netters our ADF&G desires to attack freshwater presenting king symptoms rather than actual saltwater king problems. There is zero emergency justification for the ADF&G banning bait and mult- hooks in the lower Kenai River because the use of bait and mult-hooks is not
causing any kind of biological emergency for kings. The emergency is out within commercial fishing operations in the saltwater. Addressing saltwater king issues is much more difficult than addressing freshwater issue so the ADF&G desires to take the easy choice. Screaming doom and gloom for the freshwater because it is difficult to address the saltwater source problem, is totally illogical. Just because the ADF&G desires to be illogical on this issue; are the people of Alaska expected to also become illogical? Back in 2002 our ADF&G only gave us puzzled stares when freshwater anglers claimed they were seeing saltwater commercial king interception factors. Back then the ADF&G would not even listen to a person claiming our king losses were to large in the freshwater, to be a freshwater source problem.
Back in 2002 "The Director" would not even listen to "angler saltwater king interception suspicions". Today twelve years later, now "the ADF&G believes" in the saltwater source problem "but they are still attempting to pin-point the saltwater source"? It took our ADF&G twelve years to determine our king problems are in the saltwater; at this rate they should find that our commercial fisheries are responsible by about 2022 and then generate a saltwater solution by 2025.
At this rate we may be able to bring our king runs back by about 2035 - 2045. These current freshwater king concerns from the Director have us on track for an actual king salmon solution about 25 - 35 year from now. Is this what the people of Alaska want? Do the people of Alaska want our ADF&G to resolve our king problems by 2035? The Director freshwater concerns have us on track for a king salmon solution by 2035 but we should be compelling our ADF&G to get its eyes off freshwater symptoms and onto the source saltwater commercial fisheries problem. H&R in the freshwater is not the problem issue and every second our ADF&G spends hovering over freshwater issues just means additional YEARS we will be spending waiting for our kings to return.
If the ADF&G screams FRESHWATER we should scream right back SALTWATER!

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