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Set netters unjustly blamed for king salmon issues

Posted: July 22, 2013 - 12:14pm  |  Updated: July 23, 2013 - 8:26am

When I arrived in Alaska in the mid 1960s, the salmon fishery on the east side of Cook Inlet was primarily a commercial fishery. There were some early “in river” sport king and silver fisheries but for the most part, set and drift gill net fisheries prevailed. On the east side of the inlet, the set net fishery had changed from fishing in late May to the later part of June to protect the early sockeye run for the Russian River. The set netters have not fished the early to mid June time period for approximately 50 years except for a set gillnet herring fishery that has a low incidental by-catch rate.

In the early 1970s, the marine and “in river” fisheries, unguided and guided, started to grow at a very high rate. Bag limits were generous and the guided fishery was essentially unregulated and unlimited. Responsible behavior was thrown out the window by the guides and the fisheries management during the last 40 years. Too many guides, high horsepower boats on the Kenai River, lack of protection of the large kings, and unlimited trips put a tremendous pressure on the fishery, eventually bringing poorer and poorer returns.

Where does the east side set net fisherman fit in this scenario? My point is that they are unjustly blamed for the collapse of the king salmon fishery. Taking this idea further to the second run, why is the longtime set net fishery bearing the brunt of the collapse of the second run, both economically and biologically?

By the way, the red salmon fishery seems to be doing well without the guided fishery’s input and lobbying?

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KenaiKardinal88
517
Points
KenaiKardinal88 07/23/13 - 05:55 pm
1
9
Comm Fishers Mostly to Blame

When I arrived in the 1950's the commercial fishing interested were becoming more and more belligerent.

Nowadays, they sue for more fishing time and the majority of Alaska fishers (non-commercial), lose out on this supposed "shared" resource.

The king fishery has been killed mostly by the beach setnetters.

akkindgirl
41
Points
akkindgirl 07/23/13 - 08:07 pm
8
0
Someone with some common sense!

Kenai Kardinal 88 I can not think of one commercial fisherman who has flipped me the bird, tried to run my kids off the road driving by Fred Meyers, or swearing at a property owner when asked to not fish in front of their property during the past week. These are all examples of real life unfortunate circumstances that have happen to myself, friends and family members during the past week. Why do I know these weren't commercial fishermen because they were down on the beaches or out on the inlet trying to make an honest living for their families. These were sportfishermen who think they own our town, the river, and all the fish because they have spent some money on gas to drive from Anchorage or flown in from another state. Give me a break! As my 6 year old says after she witnessed these events. Why don't they fish their own river. Oh that's right they have either ruined their river or they don't have such a great resource. We need to quit places blame as a community and rally around our neighbors instead of these short timers who don't have respect for those of us who live here, our river, or the fish. I would sit down any night of the week with the commercial fishermen I know who are fellow teachers and teach our children, donate their time to coach our future, and serve our communities in many paid and unpaid positions, then most of the jerky sportfishermen running around these days.

leewaytooo
2167
Points
leewaytooo 07/24/13 - 02:15 am
3
0
It would seem that there is a

It would seem that there is a need....

It would seem that now is the time to

produce a video documentary of the kenai

river and the mess it has become...

I would suggest long shots that compress the

image thereby exaggerating the congestion on

the river..

Video of the combat fishing on shore as well.

The chaos of the "dip netting" ......

Maybe place the video on youtube, send

emails to tv stations offering free copies for their

pleasure to air in their communities... concentrate

first on areas of the country where there once was

a fishing resource that is no longer viable..

Maybe as a result those "clients" will decide to fish

somewhere else...where there is less congestion

and more trophy fish to stuff and stick on the wall.

well, lets see.........

pengy
258
Points
pengy 07/24/13 - 03:58 am
1
3
The setnetters should not be

The setnetters should not be blaming the in river users for the king demise. They should be made at whatever is happening in the ocen. ADFG Tom Vania says the statewide king demise is an ocean problem. How else would you explain how a king hatchery fishery like Ship Creek is closed down. Too many Kenai guides harvesting smolt?

Suss
4174
Points
Suss 07/24/13 - 06:00 am
4
0
Pengy Egg

Is your question about smolt, kind of a variation of which came first? The chicken or the egg? The killing of spawners while on their redds has been a problem. Kings sure do get agressive(sure to bite) when protecting their intended spawning grounds. There have been many, many photos of really dark red dead kings being touted on numerous river guide's web pages as proof of the kill.

potomac
191
Points
potomac 07/24/13 - 07:08 am
4
0
share the blame

too many guides over the years, go with seniority and kick the numbers down to 100, too many set net and drift fishermen from all over the country, thin out their numbers by seniority, too much by catch in the ground trawler fishery besides scraping the ocean floor habitat to death, Inlet guides are too many catching the kings before they get to the rivers, foreign processing ships sneaking into our waters the coast guard can't keep a handle on, politics with habitat destruction overbuilding the river shores both upper and lower Kenai, Kasilof gets the brunt of guides every since the early run Kenai kings crashed they own the boat landings on all rivers on the Peninsula, not enough pooled money from all user groups to study where these fish go and how they move back to the rivers, how many Kings cross over from the West side up north like the reds???, we need more science , less name calling and mandatory cut backs in all user groups to try and turn this off before there are no fish for anyone.

WRO
116
Points
WRO 07/24/13 - 07:21 am
1
2
big picture

Instead of the set netters blaming the in river fishermen and the in river fishermen blaming the set netters, why don't we as a group try to do right by the resource and all take our lumps when it comes to saving the kings.

leeway and others,

How much sense doors it make to take away one of the biggest economic contributors to the local economy because some of them are jerks. There are jerks in every trade, as for the dip netters, that is one of the few opportunitie for non sports fishing residents to fill their freezer with a public resource.

kenai123
1322
Points
kenai123 07/24/13 - 02:48 pm
1
6
Akkindgirl, you say someone behaved offensively?

Akkindgirl, you say someone behaved offensively towards you, while they were out sport fishing on the Kenai River and you say that it is not possible that these persons are commercial fishermen? You say that your kid asks why someone fishing the Kenai doesn't just go away and fish "their own river"? I have news for you akkindgirl, those bad people are fishing "their river". All the water, all the fish and all the forests in Alaska are owned by JOHN Q PUBLIC and not you or your kid. I don't care if you are talking about your personal river back yard or some other natural resource in Alaska. You own the water in those bad peoples back yard and they own yours and that is the current law in Alaksa.

Your attitude is what is really curious to me akkindgirl. You see someone doing something bad and without discovering where they are from or even if they are in fact a commercial or sport fishermen, you automatically assume them to be sport fishermen. I have been fishing around the Kenai River for about 30 years, never had anyone flip me the bird, never been run off the road or even been sworn at by a property owner or another sport fisherman. You say this is real life but my real life appears to lack the events of your real life. I always attempt to be kind and generous and forgiving to everyone I meet around the Kenai River and I guess it gets reflected back at me. This leaves me wondering what on earth you have been dishing out to those around you, in order to get back such awful returns. I am directly suggesting that the events you describe have more to do with (what goes around, comes around) than the sport fish / commercial fish issue. I am suggesting that you have a hidden and
direct commercial fishing agenda to remove sport fish users so you can some how gain commercial fish cash. So if you want to be honest you can blame your negative river encounters on your greed for commercial fish profits. You can blame your lack of understanding as to who owns what resources on your personal ignorance.

kenai123
1322
Points
kenai123 07/24/13 - 03:17 pm
2
4
eewaytooo you missed the real issues...

eewaytooo, you think we need a video of the way the Kenai river used to be and what it has become? This is like claiming that because a video of Anchorage today doesn't match a video of Anchorage 30 year ago proves, that there is something wrong with Anchorage. This kind of an attempt proves NOTHING. What are we going to do, bull doze Anchorage and let it over-grow back to nature? Give me a break. You are as usual, dodging the real issues.

The real issues are who owns the fish in our waters? Commercial fisheries claim they own our fish and public fisheries claim they own these same fisheries. Pointless focusing on one river is not the true issue. If you would still like to do your video I would suggest that you do that video the day after a set net opener south of the Kenai River mouth. You could film the piles of dead halibut, flounder, sharks, jelly fish and sea gulls which are picked from the set nets and discarded dumped on the beach after every set net opener ! Do you think that might interest folk? No probably not, you want to find a public fishery which is impacting a fishery resource at a 5 - 10% level and video it. At the same time you want to AVOID videoing a commercial set gill net fishery which is impacting all of our fisheries at about the 80 - 90% level. I wonder why you would be so interested in a clear focus on a 10% impact fishery and a blurred focus on a 90% impact fishery? I wonder? Lets see....

kenai123
1322
Points
kenai123 07/24/13 - 03:38 pm
1
6
pengy, The ESSN's are only the latest culprit

pengy, The east side of Cook Inlet set nets, ESSN's are only the latest culprit within a long list of culprits in the saltwater who are abusing king salmon in order to get rich. These commercial fisheries chase the dollar bill and if something like a king salmon gets in there way, well that is just to bad for that king salmon, they will die. These commercial set nets kill kings while chasing reds; do they care about the king? Yes and no. Yes in that they might get shut-down because kings may have to be placed on the endangered species list. No in that kings are a minor player within the reasons their bank account reaches lofty heights in August.

Have you ever seen a baseball player crash into something while chasing a ball? Have you every watched a nation be totally destroyed by a leader chasing after some twisted goal? These people could not see the bitter end of their actions because they were so focused on something else. With ESSN'S that something else is money obtained from catching and selling red salmon. These ESSN'S do not even see the king salmon destruction they are causing.

borninak
673
Points
borninak 07/26/13 - 08:11 am
1
0
Sounds Familiar

Bigot - Someone who, as a result of their prejudices, treats other people with hatred, contempt, or intolerance.
Hypocrite - someone who complains about something but finds themselves doing exactly the same thing.

Seafarer
1147
Points
Seafarer 07/29/13 - 01:56 pm
6
1
Thank You, Darwin!

You are the voice that rings a bell. Hope the riverheads get it, but I know they won't. They need a scapegoat and are encouraged by corrupt organizations, such as, the KRSA, who's money seems to be spread far and wide in the area.

The downfall of Kings rests squarely on the guides and ADFG for letting it go w/o regulation.

I remember massive King runs in Cook Inlet in the 60's, when my family came to this area from Southeastern. Not in the river, but at setnet sites. There was enough for all types of gear.

Seafarer
1147
Points
Seafarer 07/29/13 - 02:07 pm
6
0
Vomit = Kenai123

You spew your vomit of hatred towards Commercial Fishing here every, single, day. Have you nothing else to do? It's sunny outside, and you could go fishing, if you want. Take a breather, pal, cuz your buicks are getting so old, I scroll right past your crap.

WRO
116
Points
WRO 07/30/13 - 06:00 pm
0
0
make sure you look in the mirror

seafarer,

Make sure you look in the mirror next time you say that, you are part of the issue as well. A dead king is a dead king no matter how it died before it spawned.

Red salmon are a completely different species with a completely different lifecycle. In times of low abundance, everyone should bear the burden of conservation.

The sports fishermen have taken their cuts as well.

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