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Where have all the king salmon gone?

Posted: March 7, 2013 - 3:49pm  |  Updated: March 8, 2013 - 8:57am

Are you concerned about where all our king salmon have gone? Have you been listening to the great many people attempting to convince you that the reasons for our missing king salmon are mysteriously lurking out there somewhere but can’t be precisely located? The reasons for our missing kings are more simple than some would have you understand. If you would like an instant explanation, here is how you may get it. When you encounter your next Alaska Department of Fisheries Management Person, try asking them the following basic question: What does it take to build a juvenile king salmon in the ocean? You will no doubt be shocked when you hear the response because most of these fisheries management people have no idea what it takes to build a king salmon in the ocean. If you are lucky you may get a response like “feed them a bunch of herring, sand lances or something else.” Your average ADF&G fisheries manager has great knowledge regarding what it takes to keep fisheries user groups happy but they will display very little knowledge regarding what it takes for our ocean to generate a king salmon. This lack of “ocean ADF&G king salmon concern” is a large part of the reason why we are seeing fewer and fewer king salmon.

The correct answer to the above question is “a great many crab larvae” because that is precisely what juvenile king salmon exclusively require to get them to where they are finally able to begin feeding on larger prey like herring or capelin (small fish). Unfortunately sockeye salmon also feed exclusively on these same crab larvae. It is even more unfortunate that these sockeye exclusively feed on extremely young crab larvae, which are less than 5 mm in size. It is even more unfortunate that juvenile king salmon happen to exclusively feed on older crab larvae which are greater than 17 mm in size. Are you beginning to see the conflict which is so mysterious? What would happen if you increased sockeye stocks by many millions of additional fish, while maintaining king salmon stock levels? The out come is predictable. It would be like viewing a group of people lining up to a cafeteria for lunch and suddenly a mob of rowdy line cutters jump in front of the group and get themselves served first. In this “marine cafeteria” the rowdy mob are sockeye salmon and they are basically line cutting our king salmon. As our ADF&G manage our fisheries to greatly expand (only sockeye stocks) more and more line cutting sockeyes displace more and more juvenile kings, until kings are actually being pushed backward away from where the food is located.

The situation is much more complex than what is described here but this is a basic explanation as to where many of our king salmon have gone. Deep within our ocean food web, king salmon are being substantially displaced by sockeye salmon. There are many other issues involved like king by-catch within commercial pollock and salmon fisheries and our decreasing ocean nutrient levels but how do you address them if juvenile kings are being starved to death? If you would like to read a more detailed explanation it is located at http://www.voy.com/177140/151.html?z=1

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soldotna54
119
Points
soldotna54 03/08/13 - 09:59 am
4
1
Left out a few details

But no mention at all of the commercial fishing guide or the toxic waste products from the motorized propulsion units, nor the destruction of habitat by motorized boat wakes and on and on. Don makes some good points but leaves out far too much to be credible. His self interests are showing.

pengy
258
Points
pengy 03/08/13 - 04:49 pm
1
0
Apparently all the commercial

Apparently all the commercial guides and motorized boats have caused the king fishery to be restricted in the Yukon, Kuskokwim, Karluk, Deshka, Susitna Drainage, Anchor, Ninilchik, Kasilof, Kenai, etc. If you say the letter writer is showing his self interest than you are too by pointing fingers at in river Kenai users. This king problem is statewide and I'm going to listen to the professionals. ADF&G biologist Tom Vania stated this summer that the king collapse is an ocean problem.

robert white
378
Points
robert white 03/09/13 - 04:38 am
0
0
kings salmon

We need to give the kings every chance to recover and if that means shutting down all interest groups. so be it.. save the king!

akmscott
131
Points
akmscott 03/10/13 - 07:25 am
0
0
Really?This question even has

Really?This question even has to be asked?Just don't ask the commercial fishing industry!

kenai123
1312
Points
kenai123 03/12/13 - 03:31 pm
2
1
soldotna54

When Trick or Treaters come to your door do you joyfully shout Merry Christmas? When New Year days arrives do you start singing Happy Birthday To You? This is what you are doing when you point fingers at isolated locations and issues with regard to Alaska's current Statewide King Salmon Problem. We have many rivers and streams through-out Alaska which have zero freshwater users fishing them and those locations also have a big king salmon problem.
How many times and how many ways does it have to be screamed into a persons ears? This is a fisheries issue that you cannot blame on your latest gripe floating down the Kenai River. This is a problem which has been inflected on our ocean by our commercial fisheries. It's not a freshwater problem and it is not a toxic waste problem, it is a commercial fisheries problem. It can be resolved by addressing the way our commercial fisheries over-harvest our limited fisheries resources.

kenai123
1312
Points
kenai123 03/17/13 - 09:10 pm
1
1
Our Kings and Beluga's?

If you are really interested in where all our king salmon have gone (along with our Beluga Whales), you are going to have to do some reading. Please do not listen to the King Salmon Task Force People, they are primarily motivated by $$$, try doing your own research. Don't just listen to the many people attempting to convince you that the reasons for our missing king salmon and belugas are mysteriously lurking out there "somewhere" but can't be precisely located? The reasons for this missing marine life is simpler than most would believe. Juvenal king salmon exclusively feed on crab larvae until they are able to begin feeding on larger prey. Unfortunately sockeye salmon and pollock are consuming most of these crab larvae, thus many of our juvenal kings are starving to death. Our Beluga Whales are "coincidentally" in the same boat as they search to feed on sockeye salmon which have been commercially gill netted and sold to the highest bidder. If you would like to read the details they are located at http://www.voy.com/177140/152.html?z=1

kenai123
1312
Points
kenai123 06/08/13 - 12:20 am
0
0
Our juvenal kings are starving to death.

1980 - 2007 excess commercial harvest has resulted in a lack of extra salmon escaping, spawning, dying and rotting in our freshwater. The resulting lack of ocean water nutrients resulted in our crab populations not being able to recover after excess commercial crab harvest 1980. Our current ocean water nitrogen ratios are at a 50 year low. This lack of crab resulted in a lack of >17 mm crab larval. (98% reduction) Our juvenal king salmon and herring feed exclusively on >17 mm crab larva and they are gone. The result is that our juvenal king salmon are currently starving to death because we commercially scooped up most of our returning salmon and sold them around the world, thus killing our crab, thus killing our herring, thus killing our king salmon. Any kings which managed to somehow survive starvation were commercial by-catch and either dumped or also sold around the world. Our kings are being mis-managed in the freshwater with to little escapement, spawning, dying and rotting, in the saltwater with commercial crab over-harvest and within the commercial pollock trawler and set gill net fisheries as by-catch. Commercial nitrogen mis-management, commercial crab mis-management and commercial by-catch mis-management.

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