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Fish and Game takes wrong approach with river restrictions

Posted: May 14, 2013 - 7:58am

On the evening of May 9th the Kenai-Soldotna Fish and Game Advisory Committee had an emergency meeting with approximately 70 people in attendance. The participants were comprised of a diverse group of fishing guides, commercial fisherman, sport fisherman, and business owners. The topic of the evening was an emergency order that was arbitrarily and capriciously issued by ADF&G on the afternoon of May 9th. This order changed the management plan for the early run of chinook salmon on the Kenai River to catch and release only. There was unanimous opposition to this plan from all attendees, an unprecedented show of solidarity from such a diverse group.

ADF&G reasoning for its decision is the department’s “projected” low return of early-run chinook. ADF&G has “estimated” the early return to be 5,326 chinook (at best an educated guess) and has an optimal escapement goal is 5,300-8,500 fish. While conservation of chinook salmon is a priority, there is some rather basic information available that ADF&G should have addressed. If an open fishery, as was originally planned by the department, was allowed to progress they would at least have in-river fish counts and catch numbers to indicate the true run size of the run. In 2012 the projection for early run of chinook salmon was similar to this year’s estimate. There were less than 200 fish caught and killed by June 7th, which is the historical quarter point of the early run. With an exploitation rate last year of approximately 200 fish, logic would indicate an in-river catch rate of more than 200 fish would mean that the run was going to be larger than expected and a lesser rate a smaller return.

Rather than rely on actual catch rates and in conjunction with the new sonar counter, the department waited until now to reveal this decision even though they established their 2013 return estimates last year. The position of meeting attendees last night is that ADF&G has acted irresponsibly in this matter and that the damage to the local economy that this action will cause is unwarranted. The proper management decision would be to execute the fishery as planned, and take action to further restrict or liberalize as the run develops. While a cautious approach is prudent, their current decision places complete reliance on the new, untested, sonar counter to establish the size of the return without angler input.

ADF&G should reverse the decision that they have made. The damage our economy will suffer this year and for years to come, will be from the perception of “Alaska is closed to salmon fishing.”

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cormit
236
Points
cormit 05/14/13 - 08:46 am
0
5
restrictions

"While a cautious approach is prudent, their current decision places complete reliance on the new, untested, sonar counter to establish the size of the return without angler input."

The newer counters may be a valuable improvement for counting salmon ....... once the Dept. has had sufficient time to assimilate new counting methods with historic ones. In the mean time ..... broad sweeping restrictions ...... like the ones that happened last year ...... seem premature at this time.

Last years king salmon harvesters (both set net and in river) could have had a more reasonable season than they got .... and escapement goals would still have been met.

Is this going to happen again? Why?

AKNATUREGUY
295
Points
AKNATUREGUY 05/14/13 - 09:29 am
8
1
GUIDES

Guides just don't get it!

AKDFG is predicting the lowest early King run on record Guys. Why would the guides want to jeopardize their future by killing ANY Kings? Because they "live by the seat of their pants" and really don't care about the future resource. They just need to "get by" one more season.

The Advisory Committee complains that the water is dirty, there are very few Kings and not that many would be caught anyway. The Advisory Committee talks about possibly 200 Kings being caught by June 7th. This sure sounds like a lot of Kings if you only have about 5,000 to work with!

If this is all true, why do they want to take $$$$ from unsuspecting tourists while they have a very poor chance of catching a King? Again, it is greed and a need to "get by today" and not worry about the future.

Catch and release is the wrong answer. Most of the Kings that are hooked and fought up and down the river will probably not spawn. As far as I know, AKDFG does not have any sufficient scientific data to suggest otherwise.

Catch and release also opens the door to illegal activity on the river and we all know there is no effective law enforcement on the Kenai River.

NO TO CATCH AND RELEASE. Either open the river to retention of Kings or close the river down to King fishing.

spybot
98
Points
spybot 05/14/13 - 01:22 pm
0
1
Early run forecast for 2013 came out on April 17, 2013

The outlook for Kenai Chinook Early Run can be found here:

http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/fishing/PDFs/sport/byarea/southcentral...

It was released on April 17, 2013.

The Fish and Game decision to go to catch and release restriction came three weeks after the release of this preseason forecast.

Roger104
137
Points
Roger104 05/14/13 - 01:43 pm
1
1
and...

....and after three weeks of hard campaigning by KRSA to take a "prescriptive, precautionary approach" to Kenai management. They have been pushing for these closures.

Thanks guys, the locals love you even more now than they did after the whole Webster thing!

Alaskn4ak
15
Points
Alaskn4ak 05/15/13 - 06:42 am
5
1
Right Move!

I am glad to see ADF&G take a precautionary approach to go to Catch and Release. They can always open it up if more kings arrive than expected. Leaving it open for financial reasons, as the article suggests, makes no sense and is short sighted for helping future runs. The only change I would make is to not allowing retention of fish over 55". I realize these fish are very rare or maybe already extinct which is why they should be protected all the time.

LaFern
147
Points
LaFern 05/15/13 - 08:28 am
4
0
Bullying

Once again a state agency resorts to bullying and politicized-slanted science to make a buck. Fish & Game is trying desperately hard to deter locals from being able to use their fisheries in favor of big dollar tourists and large operation commercial fleets stateside (and in countries like Japan) to keep the big dollars coming in. They recently opened some of their educational permit fisheries along the Peninsula and surprise surprise, they call the troopers on people they assigned permits to themselves, and the troopers don't know anything about the permits! It's all intimidation and threats to people using the educational program. What a handy way to tell born locals "You're not welcome on your own waters! Make way for Bubba Joe from Kentucky with his thousands of greenbacks!"

This bullying and thuggery needs to stop in all state departments. Vote Alaska Democrats in 2014.

Suss
4030
Points
Suss 05/15/13 - 08:47 am
1
0
Educational permits, LaFern

Are these permits allowing the rentention of Kings? Incidental killing of Kings. What would this teach about conservation? How many nets are fishing for educational reasons? No wonder the troopers are concerned and confused. I guess me, my friends and family need to go get educated on how to keep a King in these times of closures based on poor returns. Thank you LaFern for spotlighting this inequity in the harvesting fairness.

Seafarer
1147
Points
Seafarer 05/15/13 - 03:21 pm
7
0
Amount of Damage?

The only amount of damage the writer is bemoaning is all on him. He doesn't like what's happening, so it must be wrong!

Dude, I can't help it if you weren't smart enough to see this coming and booked way too many folks with the promise of a King. See where it got you? The handwriting (and the actual facts) was on the wall last year!
You have a whole committee that didn't see it coming. What does that say? It sez, it's a good thing you are only advisor, and not policy. Day late and a year behind.

When will you people get it: The river cannot sustain the constant strain it's under! Just as farmers let certain crop fields lay fallow to bolster their health, so should the users of the Kenai.

Did you honestly think it would last forever? No back-up plans? Oh well, sorry about your bad luck.

Seafarer
1147
Points
Seafarer 05/15/13 - 03:27 pm
1
1
LaFern

I take you sit around all Winter thinking they are all out to get, you, you, you! Your wild conspiracy theories helps no one. Whining seems to be your favorite activity.

jbohren
8
Points
jbohren 05/15/13 - 07:52 pm
2
0
Catch and Release is only the 1st step.

5300 is a very small number of fish for a river the size of the Kenai. Obviously this river has been overfished by all user groups for a very long time. Catch and release is the only prudent step short of completely shutting down the river to all king fishing. This doesn't exclude the commercial and subsistence fishers from also biting the bullet.

It is also insane to think that these biologists know how many returning fish are too many when they don't know how many fish they have in the river.

kenai-king
255
Points
kenai-king 05/17/13 - 08:35 am
5
0
Early King Run

The guides should have seen this coming 30 years ago but they just keep killing the king fishery. And besides did it not used to be around 25,000 they wanted for the first run escapement just seems like that is what it started at.

riversharkes
7
Points
riversharkes 05/17/13 - 08:58 am
1
0
salt water sport fishing

when will we wake up and address the sport fishing for kings down peninsula? they can keep kings if you fish in the inlet and are these not kenia kings?
raise your voices

Suss
4030
Points
Suss 05/17/13 - 09:35 am
2
0
Salt Kings

Kings caught earlier in the year are mostly feeder kings from B.C. Later kings are a mixed stock with still a good number of B.C. feeder kings. Restrictions of no fishing zones near shore are in place near the rivers as an added protection. It is not too easy to catch a king in the salt, hooking and keeping are for the best anglers, the 10% of fisherman.

robert white
378
Points
robert white 05/17/13 - 02:07 pm
1
0
kings

save the kings and the number of guides will take care of itself!

kenai123
1312
Points
kenai123 05/18/13 - 12:40 am
2
5
AKNATUREGUY, Hooked kings spawn

I cannot believe how little all of you know about the history of our early Kenai king run. Guides are basically the only ones who do get it, they have been telling the commercial fishery and the ADF&G for 30 years that we cannot keep commercially gill netting the bulk of our kings while trying to wipe out reds. Neither group paid any attention until j2012 when the gill nets were closed because they have finally killed enough kings that the resource can no longer absorb the abuse. You say ADF&G predicts the lowest king run on record! The ADF&G has (no idea) what kind of run is coming back in 2013. If you knew anything about the ADF&G you would know that they are half of the reason our fisheries are almost gone. The other half is the commercial fisheries, they have destroyed most of our herring, most of our crab, most of our kings, most of our halibut and our sockeyes will be next to go within 5 - 10 years. Do you think the ADF&G will predict that for ya? The ADF&G just says, well last year wasn't that great so we should probably guess low again... Does that sound to simple? It is what they are doing to cover their back side.

Guides do not live by the seat of their pants and they do care about the resource. Our ADF&G has stated that 200 kings is meaningless within a run of 5000 kings. Nobody wants to take $$$ from unsuspecting tourists, guide don't call tourists, tourists call guides and request a chance to hook into a giant king. This is not that far from a person desiring to go on a Disney Land ride but when is that last time you complained about Disney taking $$$ from unsuspecting tourists. Catch and release is not what guides want, it is what we are left with when our commercial fisheries and the ADF&G are allowed to completely destroy our king, sockeye, halibut, herring and crab fisheries.

Most kings that are hooked spawn. We spent $200,000 to radio tag track them, study them to death and the actual record states that more than 90% spawned and died. They tracked them to their dead spawned out bodies so close the mouth and open the eyes and start reading instead. What is wrong with you people!

AKNATUREGUY
295
Points
AKNATUREGUY 05/18/13 - 08:00 am
5
0
Kenai123 where is

Kenai123 where is your scientific data to support your statements?

Can you cite some scientific published studies that show hooked and battled king salmon still have a high percentage of spawning success after they are released?

You mention. "We spent $200,000......................." Who is we and where are the results published?

I don't doubt that ADF&G does not have a good "handle" on the fisheries in Alaska. They are highly politicized and probably do not hire the most compentent personnel. Just look at the Parnell administration. They couldn't care less about sport fisheries management or our natural resources in Alaska. On top of this, you have political appointees to the Boards of Fish & Game making decisions on the natural resources that should be made by managers with non-political scientific educated backgrounds.

The State of Alaska is years behind most other States with regards to managing their fish & wildlife resources in a responsible scientific manner.

I also agree that the commercial fishing industry in Alaska is on tract to destroy any long term sustainable fishery resource.

However, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to realize we no longer have any large Kings remaining and the fishing success rates for Kings on the Kenai River has plumeted dramatically. You also don't have to be a rocket scientist to see that there are way too many guides on the Kenai River to provide a quality fishing experience for a sport fishing tourist. I don't see the guides out there promoting a reduction in their numbers.

Most guides are not ethical and do not care about the resource. Guides are after the $$$$$ and will do what it takes to make their clients happy. I have sat on the Kenai River and watched several guides violate the laws and regulations day after day. There is no effective law enforcement on the river and the guides know that.

How many guide websites do you see out there that honestly tell the unsuspecting tourists that he probably won't catch a King while fishing on the Kenai River.

The bottom line is that any time you interject $$$$ into a natural resource, the resource almost always looses.

beaverlooper
3152
Points
beaverlooper 05/18/13 - 09:43 am
6
1
123 I can't believe a word you say.

"I cannot believe how little all of you know about the history of our early Kenai king run." ...ALL of us ?....And you're the oracle that will enlighten us?
I do know this,I was here ,were you? There used to be a strong one,until the guides took over the river. In my opinion Amil(sorry about the spelling) Dolcheck was right. The early king run was a traditional native fishery,they could dry the fish early because there are hardly any flies to ruin them,and early kings should be for Alaska natives only.Supervised to protect the run of course,Which could mean no fishing for anybody for a few years. No commercial fishing early kings at all, saltwater or freshwater.
"Most kings that are hooked spawn. We spent $200,000 to radio tag track them" By we I assume you mean KRSA. Show me the study or where to find it.
123 comes on this forum and states things that half of the time are just made up.A study says this ,the state constitution says that ,etc,but when asked to prove anything he/she says,there is no reply.
"Guides are basically the only ones who do get it, they have been telling the commercial fishery and the ADF&G for 30 years that we cannot keep commercially gill netting the bulk of our kings while trying to wipe out reds." Like they know, because by God they're guides . And yet the kings were doing great and it was still fun fish the Kenai river 30 years ago when gill netters in the inlet were still fishing 3 to 7 days a week and the fresh water commercial fishery was just new.
"The other half is the commercial fisheries, they have destroyed most of our herring, most of our crab, most of our kings, most of our halibut and our sockeyes will be next to go within 5 - 10 years. Do you think the ADF&G will predict that ?" As far as halibut and crab go no I don't. ADF&G does not have jurisdiction over those two,not sure about herring ,those fisheries are controlled by the feds. As far as sockeye go,it is one of the best managed fisheries in the world. Kings? That one is up in the air,but I include the in-river commercial fishery.
"Nobody wants to take $$$ from unsuspecting tourists, guide don't call tourists, tourists call guides and request a chance to hook into a giant king." I think I'll do a little study of my own and have some of my relitives from the states call up here and see what they are told. I wonder if it will be, come on up the fishing is great .....or the run is going to be restricted we may not be able to fish and if we are able to it will be catch and release? As far as the legendary "giant king". How many kings were caught last year or the year before that weighed 70 pounds or more,60 lbs or more? Do you tell them that? When you keep all of the big ones that gene pool gets wiped out.
"when is that last time you complained about Disney taking $$$ from unsuspecting tourists." Why would I ,they don't.
I DO GET IT guides ,and 123 is a shining example, are irresponsible. They ABSOLUTELY refuse to admit that they have ANY part in the problem with kings on the Kenai river. 123 Has compared Kenai river guides to nuclear power plant workers and Disney land.I think a more accurate comparison would be to the buffalo hunters of the old west and they will fish kings till they are all gone if they are not corralled.

kenai123
1312
Points
kenai123 05/18/13 - 12:49 pm
1
5
beaverlooper claims?

I can remember fishing the Kenai River early run back in 1979, there was NOTHING there to fish for back then. The July run was all we had back then. July was the only king run which had managed to RECOVER from the commercial fish-trap wipe-out pre 1959. The July run of kings was stable and healthy back then, unlike today, now it is gone.

I don't know what river or drugs you are smoking beaverlooper but the "STRONG ONE" regarding the Kenai's early run of kings did not develop until many years later after we actually began trying to MANAGE from 1980 - 1990. We did an okay job managing it through the 80's and 90's. The run finally became a strong run and then our commercial fishermen to the south got wind of all the fruits of our labors from Kodiak to the Gulf of Alaska. So the commercials started "Operation Wipe-out 2". These commercial fishermen built boats and manipulated permits until they positioned
themselves to take huge bites out of our pollock resources and in the process began hammering our kings and silvers into the ground with by-catch. They did this through-out the year but especially in June when no commercial nets were said to be fishing for our early run kings. ADF&G data shows a non-existent commercial impact pre 1980, a few thousand king by-catch from Kodiak nets up to 1985. By 1990 that went to a 10,000 king by-catch, 40,000 kings by 2000, 80,000 kings by 2010.

The Gulf of Alaska commercial pollock fishery has done the same thing going from no impact to hundreds of thousands of kings caught, killed and dumped back into the ocean. People began screaming about the by-catch and the waste around 2002 as the world slowly began to see the wipe-out that was going on. At first nobody would believe this was going on right under their noses but 2002 to 2010 was the time of enlightenment as many began to see the destruction of our fisheries within these commercial saltwater fisheries. Today we are showing all of our Alaska rivers in trouble with regard to salmon while we are forced to listen to beaverlooper claim that the guides on the Kenai River caused all the rivers in Alaska to lose their king runs. Unbelievable...

The early run of kings may have been a traditional native fishery a thousand years ago but we are not trying to figure out what happened to the kings a thousand years ago. We are just looking at what has been done in the last thirty years. We could argue for a thousand years about what happened a thousand years ago. We are trying to deal with the present, please try to focus on one problem at a time.

With regard to "show me the study, show me the constitution?" you are not my student and I am not your teacher. I have the same amount of time to read as you. I have decided to educate myself with regard to what happened in our history and you have not. Our constitution is available online right along with all the many hook and release studies out there. There are dozens of them, take your pick, they all say the same thing, hook and release is a non-issue, turn on your computer, enter the issue into a search engine and spend a few days reading rather than typing your opinion. From what I have seen, if most people spent 10% of the time they devote to publishing their opinion, reading other peoples opinions, they would never publish most of their opinions.In stead of taking the time to read these people want the world around them to take their time to educate them fast with no effort on their part. That is pure lazy.

Beaverlooper believes our sockeye's are one of the best managed fisheries in the world? I would have said that about our king management back in 1990 but we all know what happened to them. Our sockeye runs will go down the drain just like our kings and silvers. Did you hear that? Sockeye's Gone statewide within 5 - 10 years. The reason is large and will require you to read up on what we are doing to the ocean in the way of nutrients, nitrogen, plankton, zoo-plankton, crab larvae, herring, juvenal kings, sea lions, sea urchins, kelp beds and whales. It is all connected up and begins with us NOT allowing excess salmon to spawn, dies and rot in our rivers. We have stopped the excess spawning, dying and rotting along with the excess nitrogen and that has broken the ocean machines ability to regenerate our fisheries. It is all out there on the internet, please try reading it sometime.

kenai123
1312
Points
kenai123 05/18/13 - 02:11 pm
0
4
AKNATUREGUY

Again another person who refuses to study the subject but they decide to publish opinion about it anyway. You claim there are toooo many guides? Again call state parks and ask them how many guides registered to guide on the Kenai River in the past as compared to today. No you refuse to do that, you prefer to be lazy and get me to prove it.
The number is 50% of them are gone. There now you can be lazy. That's right 600 guides have gone to 300 guides. Forget about a quality fishing experience, tourists are just desperate to find a guide still in business. But you don't know any of this because you are so in-tune with what is going on within the subject you are publishing about. You don't see guides promoting a reduction in their numbers? Why do we need a guide wipe-up promotion when we have lost half of them and our ADF&G now shuts the river down by canceling the management plan and flipping a coin instead. You cannot book fishing trips on a coin toss therefore 300 guide must go to around 100 within five years, AUTOMATICALLY. Regarding your claim that most guides are not ethical. You are incorrect 99% of guides are ethical but 1% is an extremely large percentage if it is staring you in the face and fishing in YOUR fishing hole. Your prospective is warped from negative encounters.

Guides to react to issue according to $$$ just like you would react to issues according to the dollars if someone threatened your job. This is a no brainier but guides are not any dumber than you. Guides know that within a natural run of fish that you must let a bunch live and spawn or its game over. Commercial fisheries do not know this because, in their opinion, they can wipe-out all the kings and it is not game over from them because they are fishing reds. They are totally wrong on this but it is what they believe. Commercial fishing not allowing excess salmon to spawn and rot in
our rivers is killing our rivers.

Regarding you claiming that guides don't tell tourists they probably won't catch a king on the Kenai River. That's like saying you shouldn't try driving cause you might get a ticket in the next ten years. Some people can drive for tem years without getting a ticket. If people want to sport fish for kings on the Kenai River why should guides tell them to not even try cause they may fail? Your logic is faulty anyway because telling a tourist that they will catch a king, is illegal in Alaska. It's illegal because the state says you are selling a fish. Guides do not sell fish like commercial fishermen, they sell an experience which involves chasing a fish around. Since guides are clearly selling an experience only and not a fish, they usually claim to go fishing and not catching. Why would any guide attempt to address the probability of catching when they are only involved within the probability of fishing? Tourists are not "unsuspecting" like you claim, they are accessing the ability to fish only. The chances of catching are currently controlled by politics and money. He who pays his representative enough money gets fisheries managers which will place people in positions which will place fish where he fishes.

You are very correct about the resource losing when you take a fish and make it equal a dollar. Directly selling fish is the main reason we have fisheries problems. How much money is enough money? Just one more dollar. How much fish is enough fish? Just one more fish. Directly selling fish eventually kills the fishery, it is just a matter of time.

spwright
1376
Points
spwright 05/18/13 - 02:05 pm
0
2
"Is it Day or Night ?"

Sat 5/18/13 Just make the time to read the statements posted above.

All User Groups repeat ALL can't agree on any one issue !
None could agree IF it is Day or Night !

No agreements, no compromise, no common understanding,
NOTHING repeat NOTHING is ACCOMPLISHED.

Where is the Leadership & someone that can make decisions & follow thru with those decisions ?

SPW

beaverlooper
3152
Points
beaverlooper 05/18/13 - 03:58 pm
3
1
"Kenai's early run of kings

"Kenai's early run of kings did not develop until many years later after we actually began trying to MANAGE from 1980 - 1990. " Do you mean the dreaded ADF&G?.They were the good guys back then?
Again you blame the ESSN but when confronted about it you always go to the pollock fishery.On the pollock fishery I fully agree with you, I think trawlers should be outlawed. The problem is there is BIG money there,so good luck .And again there is absolutely no problems assigned to the in river commercial fishery.1/2 the fault is ADF&G's and the other half commercial fishermen (salt water I assume)You guys should have halo's over your heads.Unbelievable!
"Our constitution is available online right along with all the many hook and release studies out there. There are dozens of them, take your pick, they all say the same thing, hook and release is a non-issue, " I have read the constitution and it does not say what you have said it does,I have also read some catch and release reports and they do not all say the same thing.
I did fine fishing in 1979,I caught a 68 pound king that year,but my perception of guides too,while I wouldn't call it warped, has been definitely been skewed negative by my encounters with guides that think the river is their private domain, that is the reason I quit fishing kings on the Kenai.I hope the number of guides does go down to 100 in the next 5 years,a much more reasonable number.It should also be made a row only fishery (no anchoring or back trolling) which would make it a more pleasant experience with no engine noise and no wake problem,destroying habitat.
By the way the only thing I smoke are reds in my smoke house.

akmscott
131
Points
akmscott 05/19/13 - 09:33 am
0
2
If you look closely-state

If you look closely-state after state are slowing but surely closing down hunting and fishing!If the fish are that big a concern then commercial fishing should be closed down.Most biologist's in these states are secret greenie's who eventually want all killing of fish and animals done away with.Just wait and see!

spybot
98
Points
spybot 05/19/13 - 09:20 am
0
0
Mortality and Movement Behavior of Hook & Release Kenai Kings

The link is to the study for the Kenai River king salmon hook and release mortality and movement research done between 1989 - 1991. For those who want to read and learn about catch and release mortality rates for Kenai kings.

http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/FedAidPDFs/fms92-02.pdf

smithtb
240
Points
smithtb 05/19/13 - 10:35 pm
2
0
Not exactly the most recent data....

Thanks for the link Spybot. I couldn't help but notice that this data is over two decades old.

I was interested in the results found from multiple hookups - seems this increases mortality significantly. I can't help but wonder if the increase in fishing pressure and efficiency over the last 20+ years has led to an increase in multiple hookups and subsequent mortality.

Also, I thought it was interesting that the study showed there was a tendancy for fish hooked and released upriver to migrate back downstream. No doubt this could have led to many ER Kings being harvested in the lower river.

Also dissapointing that there has been no study on the effects of C&R on fecundity, or spawing success. Although there has been studies that show stressed Sockeye retain eggs and do not spawn as successfully as healthy fish, this was not covered in the study.

We can only hope that the gazillion dollars the state has appropriated to new King research won't simply focus on saltwater life cycle and marine bycatch, but will focus on understanding the freshwater life cycle of these fish, and the habitat and harvest pressures they face. It is a very important component to understanding how to keep these runs sustainable.

radiokenai
562
Points
radiokenai 05/20/13 - 10:08 am
0
0
Simple Solution
Unpublished

Close the darned river down for King Season until the Population increases. As someone mentioned above, once the River is shut down for a couple of season, attrition will take out the outside guides who are exploiting the Kenai River.

Once we eradicate some of the Guides, and increase the King Population, then we can manage the River in a more precise manner.

To all you Guides who live in the Lower 48...GO HOME! You are not welcome here, you have ruined the King Fishery to the brink of extinction....GO AWAY!

Simple as that..

Suss
4030
Points
Suss 05/20/13 - 01:05 pm
4
0
Imperfect data

The Kings caught for this study were not done so by inexperienced anglers that horsed the fish around for an over extended period of time. Try this study again with real river conditions and rookie first time anglers. 40% mortality with catch and release. The bigger the King the greater the damage was done to them.

bigtalkahh
184
Points
bigtalkahh 05/27/13 - 09:57 am
2
0
The King

The Kenai River record Chinook was an early run fish. We used to see a lot of big ones through the eighties. They were all removed from the system and are pretty much gone forever.

kenai123
1312
Points
kenai123 05/27/13 - 11:31 am
1
2
Where Do You Think Our Kings Went To?

Lots of people are asking where all of our king salmon went to but few if any will take the time to research out the issue to the degree necessary to get a truthful answer. You cannot resolve this issue by blindly studying every possible solution out there. Somewhere along the way a person must use their common sense and life experiences to narrow down the possible factors which could likely cause a statewide decline of our king salmon fisheries resource. To understand our complex fisheries issues you must intensely examine our fisheries past and present in order to predict the fisheries future.

Since 1959 our commercial fisheries have been operating under the mistaken belief that we can harvest most of our returning salmon and allow only a small number of salmon to escape, spawn, die and rot within our rivers and streams. In general the Alaska Department of Fish & Game, ADF&G has greatly under estimated the correct amount of salmon needed to escape and rot within our rivers and streams. This statewide ADF&G salmon escapement error has produced a 50 year nitrogen low within our fresh and salt water. This fisheries management error has been inflicting marine stress within the ocean food chain for many years now as the bio-mass energy of the ocean has been slowly draining away. This is the equivalent of having a garden the size of our ocean and never fertilizing it, eventually the garden production must decline.

Alaska has established extensive commercial harvests upon all of its fisheries until most of those fisheries either partly or completely collapsed. In 1980 Bering Sea, (red king crab) commercial over-harvests peaked at around 130 million pounds and then (crashed) to what we get today at around 15 million pound annually. The Alaska (tanner crab) commercial over-harvest peaked at around 67 million pounds in 1978, went to 1.2 million pounds by 1984. The same was done to the (snow crab) and both were officially declared (crashed) and commercially over-harvested by 1999. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council, National Marine Fisheries Service, and the ADG&G together tried to rebuild crab populations in 2000 but our ocean lacked the marine bio-mass energy necessary to sustain a crab population rebound. The end result of (the great crab crash) was that hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Crabber Vessels were either sold for 10% of their purchase valve or converted over into pollock trawlers. Those trawlers now stalk the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea as they by-catch kill and dump the same king salmon which we are patiently looking forward to catching each summer. This is an infinite loop with our crab not able to rebound because of our mis-managed salmon and our salmon not able to rebound because of our mis-managed crab. ( See KING SALMON OCEAN FEEDING http://www.voy.com/177140/154.html )

We are currently seeing Alaska halibut and salmon resources studies which conclude that our fish weigh half of what the same age class weighed in 1988. These fish depend heavily on herring as a main element within their diet. Our historic stocks of herring have greatly declined over time. The reasons are commercial over-harvest, climate change and increased predation. These negative factors have combined and impact the abundance of our salmon and halibut? The story is hard to follow but is hiding in plain sight and published just about everywhere you look on the internet.

We saw peak annual commercial herring catches back in 1929 at around 80,000 tons. The total annual commercial sac roe harvest in 2009 was around 40,000 tons. One of the big reasons we are seeing half the herring harvest today is because we are currently over-harvest around 300,000 tons of herring eggs on kelp annually. Our ADF&F opened herring roe fisheries back in 1976. We had seven very major herring spawning areas in Southeast Alaska back then, with many other smaller ones. Currently we only have two major herring spawns areas left and the smaller ones are completely gone. But each year our ADF&G still conducts an excessive herring and herring egg on kelp harvest from the Sitka Sound. We are currently looking at total disaster within our salmon and halibut resources, not to mention all the other species which depend on this herring resource but we are still commercially over-harvesting that resource. Many Alaskan communities and their economies depend on the salmon and halibut which feed on herring but this natural resource has been greatly reduce with commercial over-harvest. With herring, salmon and halibut disasters now hanging over our fisheries, our ADF&G continues to try to commercially over-harvest our herring resource every year.

Alaska did have thousands of square miles of Southeast waters filled with major herring spawning areas. Now with only Sitka Sound remaining as a major herring spawning area, we in Alaska come face to face with a tremendous lack of both salmon and halibut, what a tremendous coincidence. Most areas which had swelling populations of herring now host severely depleted or even nonexistent populations. Alaska used to have many herring reduction plants going 24 hours per day, year around as our commercial fisheries could not catch all of the herring, that all ended by 1967. Alaska had thousands of people employed as they worked continuous shifts trying to process and ship out our fisheries bounty. Our bays were so over-flowing with herring that docks and harbors were inundated with them as anyone could catch them just about anywhere. The beginning of the end of our herring happened in 1976 as Alaska's commercial sac roe herring fishery began hammering away at our seeming endless supply of herring. Buyers from Japan were willing to purchase herring sac roe for over $2,200 per ton as we began to watch our herring masses decrease. Commercial fishermen watched on as our herring bio-mass began to wither, while our ADF&G biologists blank faced denied that our herring were decreasing. The ADF&G continued claiming that the reason fishermen could not find the herring was because they had moved. Herring do not usually move, they like to spawn in the same place year after year. If in fact they had moved, why have we failed to locate their mysterious hiding place?

While commercial fisheries were over-harvesting our herring and crab, our federal government was busy figuring out new inventive ways to protect herring predators like whales and Stellar sea lions. The National Marine Mammal Protection Act resulted in 1972 and these predators began increasing. The Alaska humpback whale population around Frederick Sound, Southeast Alaska went from about 400 animals in 1995 to 1,700 whales now eat over 4,000 tons of feed per day. We are now seeing much larger humpback whale populations, which prefer to feed on herring, and each whale can eat up to (3 tons of herring per day). Each of these whales is like an unrestricted commercial herring fisherman who gets to fish year round, thus placing enormous demands on our remaining and dwindling herring resource. This information refers only to one kind of whale in one location, thus revealing the possible level of plankton, krill and herring demand whales in general are placing on our dwindling resources. The listed user demands make it next to impossible for any depleted stock to rebuild and that is precisely what we are seeing as our ADF&G bewilderment increases over the fact that our herring and crab stocks refuse to rebuild, regardless as to what management actions they may take. With our once great herring masses now gone and Japan not willing to pay the high prices they used to pay, it appears that our herring and their sac roe is now worth more to Alaska left in the water.

A National Research Council (NRC) thesis concluded that the commercial fisheries over-harvest of herring and capelin in the North Pacific forced Stellar sea lions, which had previously fed on herring and capelin, to instead feed on the less nutritional pollock. This then began (the Stellar sea lion decline). The thesis concludes

that the sea lion decline was mostly the result of commercial herring and capelin over-harvest along with the (junk-food hypothesis). This theory concludes that when sea lions are forced to consume what is left, they eventually die. What was left is the less nutritional pollock. In 1998 a Journal Science paper came out concluding that (the lack of Stellar sea lions) was forcing Orca whales to begin feeding on sea otters and that redirected otter feeding then resulted in (the decline of the sea otter's) in that region. This sea otter decline then allowed sea urchins to greatly increase because sea otters enjoy feeding on sea urchins. The increased urchins then resulted in the wiping out all the region's kelp beds because kelp is what sea urchins like to feed on. Herring also like kelp, herring lay their eggs on kelp, they feed on algae, plankton, kelp phytoplankton and zoo-plankton. The commercial over-harvest of herring and capelin looped its way back through the marine food chain until it destroyed the very habituate which generated the commercial fishery in the first place.

What is resulting here are less than apparent circles of destruction as commercial fisheries over-harvest our fishery resources. These commercial fisheries kick out a single leg from the marine table which is attempting to support everything, therefore everything must collapse because of it. Many things could have started reducing our herring, capelin and crab, which king salmon and sea lions feed on but the resulting commercial over-harvest then exacerbate that problem into a complete marine disaster. We are now seeing the end result of years worth of fisheries mis-management within a dramatic reduction in the total numbers of herring, capelin, crab, sea lions, sea otters and king salmon along with great increases in things which help destroy herring and crab habitat. The bottom line is that we cannot precisely prove what first started this (marine fire) but commercial over-harvest then dumped drums of gasoline on that fire. The resulting fisheries disaster is eating away at our marine environment and is not comparable to anything observed since the great 1959 fisheries disaster which was brought on by commercial fish trap over-harvest.

This information may appear over-whelming thus leaving the reader to ask what can be done to remedy such a large scale problem? There appears to be two possible natural solutions. One being for us to greatly reduce our commercial fisheries, greatly increase salmon escapements in all rivers and stream and then wait twenty to thirty years for our fisheries to naturally rebound. The other is to close all of our commercial fisheries, allow massive escapements of salmon and the resulting massive nitrogen injection into our ocean and then waiting five to ten years for our fisheries to rebound. Most who are reading this information will laugh at the thought of closing down our commercial fisheries. The 1959 commercial fish-trap era had a great many fishermen who also laughed at just the thought of the state shutting down their fish-traps. Those fishermen also predicted that the state could not survive without them or their fish-traps.

beaverlooper
3152
Points
beaverlooper 05/27/13 - 05:09 pm
1
1
OK

OK. OK. We get it ..........commercial fishing is evil and the people who do it are the devils spawn.Except of course our beloved Kenai river guides who are gifts from heaven.

AKNATUREGUY
295
Points
AKNATUREGUY 05/27/13 - 11:35 am
2
0
Kenai123-HUMAN OVER POPULATION

Kenai123............the simple answer is HUMAN OVER POPULATION and the demand (both sport and commercial) for all fisheries products far exceeds the natural production.

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