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King salmon projections lead to confusing management

Posted: May 30, 2013 - 5:25pm  |  Updated: May 31, 2013 - 12:49pm

Some have asked why our ADF&G wishes to enforce a catch and release fishery on the Kenai River early run of king salmon. Some say it is because the fishery resource is troubled. The ADF&G claims that the 5 AAC 57.160 Kenai River Early-run King Plan, allows them to enforce this catch and release fishery. If you read 5 AAC 57.160, it doesn’t take long for a person to discover that it does not grant the ADF&G this kind of authority unless they can (pre-season) project a low or high escapement. It states that if the run (pre-season) projects within the Optimal Escapement Goal, OEG of 5,300-9,000 kings, that the sport fishery is to be conducted within the management plan rules until June 30th. If the run (pre-season) projects above or below the OEG range, the ADF&G is authorized to establish a catch and release fishery until June 30th.

This seems like a simple way to run a fishery but the ADF&G has decided to not play by the rules. The department has decided to not make the single (pre-season) projection and instead desires to make as many projections as it wants. These multiple projections can then result in multiple management shifts. With this kind of management there could be a new daily projection, along with a new daily management direction. This kind of fisheries management can destroy a sport fishery.

I see that 5 AAC 57.160 infers a context of a single (pre-season) run projection, which either (restricts/liberalizes) or (uses Plan Tools) for the entire early run. This kind of management choice would provide clear and stable fisheries management for a sport fishery. Our ADF&G is claiming that it is acceptable to make a new projection everyday of week and jerk a fishery and the public around with each change. The unpredictability of such a fishery would not only destroy our economy but also destroy many of our residents’ lives. Our Board of Fisheries knew this; that is why they did not intend this kind of management within 5 AAC 57.160.

I have no idea why the ADF&G worked up an escapement projection 30 fish over the lower OEG limit but according to 5 AAC 57.160 when the projection hits within the OEG (like it did in 2013) the river automatically goes into standard management plan tools like restricting lengths, the use of bait or multiple hooks and methods and means. I see that 5 AAC 57.160 requires the ADF&G to announce their management choice in the (pre-season), which would be before May 1st.

The ADF&G is required to pick between (a dramatic reduction / liberalization EO fishery) or (a standard rules management plan fishery). Our ADF&G is currently claiming that they do not have to pick one or the other and can in fact straddle both management choices at the same time. This is why many people are upset and confused by their actions.

The problem with the resulting fishery begins with the ADF&G inability to decide which management prospective they wish to start the fishery with. When the ADF&G says they want to enforce an emergency order to restrict because of their “latest projection”, they are really saying that they want to completely destabilize the sport fishery, even beyond the problems which already exist within the resource itself. So the bottom line becomes one of our fisheries management being as mixed up as the resource itself. These two extremely negative forces now appear posed to combining together to severely reduce or injure our economy.

The only thing worse than not having a fishery is not having any fisheries management.

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kenai123 05/31/13 - 11:24 pm
The word "projection"

The word "projection" in 5 AAC 57.160 simply means "an estimate of future possibilities based on a current trend". The word refers directly to the future as opposed to the present.
The words "future and present" are clear Board of Fish attempts to addressing time. This is a clear Board of Fisheries reference which separates the (pre-season)
management intent from the (in-season) management intent. This 5 AAC 57.160 wording defines the 2013 Kenai River Early King Run (pre-season), as being any day prior to May 1, 2013. This wording then also defines the 2013 Kenai River Early Run King (in-season) as being from May 1 - June 30th.

Emergency Order No 2- KS-1-11-13 was announced on May 9th, 2013 and effective by May 16th, 2013. 5 AAC 57.160 makes a direct "time" reference and therefore requires a pre-season projection by May 1 each year. This 5 AAC 57.160 time projection then requires the ADF&G to make a management choice between either "standard plan tools" or "emergency order plan tools". The ADF&G did fail to make this required management choice, within a timely matter, within its allowed (pre-season) window, therefore
Emergency Order No 2- KS-1-11-13 is invalid and should be re-evaluated. The best thing for the ADF&G to do at this point is to cancel EO 2- KS-1-11-13 and allow 5 AAC 57.160 standard management tools to again manage the fishery.

5 AAC 57.160. Kenai River and Kasilof River Early-run King Salmon Management Plan.
(3) if the spawning escapement is "projected" to fall within the optimal escapement goal, the commissioner shall, by emergency order, liberalize the sport fishery downstream
from the outlet of Skilak Lake, by allowing the use of bait if the department projects that the total harvest under a liberalized sport fishery will not reduce the spawning escapement below the optimal escapement goal; only king salmon less than 46 inches in length or 55 inches or greater in length may be retained;

potomac 06/01/13 - 07:48 am
Same old folks saying the same old

I know these folks don't get it and never will, all they want is to make money off the fishery till it is no more, they over crowd the rivers, if the Kenai is down they clobber the Kasilof, they don't care , they want non science based guide only fisherys on both rivers and they are seeing success as more and more locals quit the fishery altogether, and the F&G bends to their demands, i.e. being able to keep a king over 55 inches, you have got to be kidding, these are the fish that made the river famous, why can anyone keep one of these 7 year fish in a dieing fishery?? Wake up, point your frustration with the fishery where it belongs and learn to limit your guide numbers, and take care of the fishery, give it a break Don.

kenai123 06/02/13 - 03:36 pm
Potomac, you have no idea

Obviously Potomac you have no idea what is going on beyond your own personal fishing hole. To bring you into the world of reality we can start by informing you that nobody is fishing either the Kenai or Kasilof rivers. There is no money being made, no over crowding, no guide only fishery, no killing of 55 inch kings and guide number have fallen from 600, to 300 and are headed toward about 100 within the next few years. Have you been out fishing any of these rivers lately? In the past couple weeks I see an average of only 3 - 4 boats PER DAY, even fishing. Is this your money making, guide only, OVER CROWDED king fishery? If anyone should "GIVE IT A BREAK" it should be folks like yourself who are totally convinced that (10%) sportfish is the problem and (90%) commercial fish is meaningless.

Even if you multiplied the ADG&G in-river 16 kings hooked and released on the Kenai in 2013, by a factor of ten times, it would still be meaningless with regard to the early run of kings.

Every single word you publish on this page, which attempts to focus on our public fisheries users (10%) and ignores our commercial fisheries users (90%), is a total waste of energy. The bulk of the salmon problem is excess commercial salmon harvest. You pointing all of your fingers at freshwater users is really pathetic.

potomac 06/03/13 - 07:16 am
kenaii23 is a commercial fishermen

it is laughable what words you chose to degrade anyone who isn't in line with the commercial guide crowd, I am glad to see your numbers being down sized but that is strictly voluntary since you and the ground fishery have killed off the fishery. Yes there are several places to put the blame and if you and your crowd weren't so arrogant , some of us might be heard over your laughter and jeers in the so called fishery meetings. There is frustration all around but it hasn't shown any signs of voluntary action other than one individual has redesigned his fishing gear i.e. nets, with the blessing of the F&G to try and curb the king harvest. Sorry, you haven't done a thing other than [filtered word] and laugh when others propose drift only fisheries or more drift days , less guide days, etc.. The F&G has done their best with the commercial drift and set net groups, mean while you have done nothing and you 10%/90% shows how off the scale you and your way of thinking is and why we are where we are now thanks to you and yours shouting down all the good honest suggestions over several years. This didn't happen over night, maybe you are new to the Peninsula, you/your guide crowd screamed bloody murder when suggestions of having 300 or less guide lis. available and split between the Kasilof and Kenai based on seniority, instead you pushed for a big fancy boat ramp , more take outs, motors to go back up stream on the Kasilof, bigger motors 35hp to 50hp on the Kenai, the list goes on, you hogs crashed what was left of the fishery so don't blame joe fishermen or put you unfounded % on the commercial guy who was here way before you ever set foot on the Kenai. Work together, get your head out of that dark place you have it in and open your eye's

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