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Beyond the Kenai river

Posted: June 2, 2014 - 5:32pm  |  Updated: June 3, 2014 - 8:05am

Most reasonable people can see that our Kenai River kings are in trouble but can they also see that we have many rivers around the state that have the same trouble? It is defective reasoning to conclude that Kenai River access is the sole cause of our statewide king salmon problems. This kind of defective reasoning usually results from individuals who are making money catching and selling things other than king salmon, mainly Pollock and sockeye. In general king salmon get in the way of these people making millions of dollars, therefore incidental harvest or by-catch is not their primary concern. These people then point accusing fingers back at anything other than themselves.

The above finger pointing attempts to blame Kenai River anglers for causing a statewide king problem, therefore those anglers should get additional angler restrictions. These people desire to stop Kenai River angler access but they are also willing to add on “a side order” of commercial by-catch restrictions along the way.

From 1970 to 1990 millions of dollars worth of commercial crabber vessels were built and used to harvest / devastate our Alaska crab fisheries. With the bulk of our crab then gone these vessels were then converted into commercial Pollock trawlers, which hammered away at our Pollock resources from 1990 - 2007. This expanded trawler presents then began killing and dumping around 100,000 - 200,000 adult king salmon annually. This trawler fisheries then produced a commutative resultant of lowering our statewide king stocks. These trawlers officially recorded killing and dumping at least 3 - 4 million adult king salmon during this time period and that removal resulted in a general statewide reduction in our king stocks. This was not a marine environmental “down-turn”, it was an increase in commercial fisheries by-catch of king salmon.

If you require evidence take a look at the many other rivers around Alaska, which are also experiencing a dramatic reduction in their king runs. All of the following rivers are seeing greatly reduced king runs like the Kenai but they lack angler access. Karluk River, Ayakulik River, Chignik River, Nelson Lagoon (sapasuk) River, Kuskokwim River, Unuk River, Stikine River, Taku River, Copper River, Susitan River and the Chigni River. These rivers basically lack the negative Kenai access factors yet they have the same decline in their king salmon runs. This evidence points to a statewide king problem, which is located within our ocean and not a specific river. When our commercial king salmon by-catch went from a few thousand kings to hundreds of thousands annually by 2000, the alarms and buzzers should have sounded but we heard nothing from our ADF&G until around 2007. This dramatic increase in commercial catch and by-catch efficiency should have been reported at every fisheries meeting back then but not a word was offered by our A’DF&G until it was to late. Approximately 3 - 4 generations of king salmon had been silently killed by 2008 and that means if we fixed the problem today, it will take at least 15 - 20 years to revive these runs naturally.

The bottom line is that we have people with their noses buried so deep into a Kenai River that they cannot see the ocean beyond. It is time to stand back and acknowledge the big picture regarding the statewide nature of our king problem. It is not the time to babble on about how local restrictions are going to somehow save an entire state. It is not river degradations, not excess fishing on spawning beds, not excessive boats, not erosion, not turbidity, not oil pollution, not hook and release fishing and not the killing only the big ones. Increasing angler freshwater restrictions might help this situation a little but they would be like placing a Band-Aid on cancer. The commercial by-catch of king salmon is the cancer and they are only the latest victims of this wasteful fishing. We need a statewide ocean specific prospective to even address this king salmon problem. So put away all your old local sure-fired local solutions because this problem is beyond the Kenai River.

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pengy
258
Points
pengy 06/03/14 - 10:47 am
1
0
Here's further proof that the

Here's further proof that the decline in king runs is an ocean problem. What's happening to the hatchery kings in Ship Creek? The Kasilof? You can't point a finger to freshwater issues when hatchery fish aren't returning.

jford
3801
Points
jford 06/04/14 - 12:38 am
3
2
History is full of examples

History is full of examples of the people who are causing problems blaming those problems on anyone and everyone but themselves, taking or accepting any blame is next to nonexistent amongst that group of people.

Don't expect some of those who exploited the Kenai River to the greatest extent to ever admit to being shortsighted themselves. Expect ever more lurid tales of how it's the 'other guy' who is to blame.

And if one scapegoat won't do it, expect to see another trotted out in due course.

kingsize
34
Points
kingsize 06/04/14 - 06:37 pm
1
0
Excellant Letter!!!

Hit the Nail right on the Head with a sledge hammer!!!

jford
3801
Points
jford 06/05/14 - 12:47 am
3
2
Driving nails?

Yep, trying to drive nails with a sledge hammer is what some people admire. It's hardly to be recommended, it won't result in a positive outcome, but positive outcomes are rarely the goal of people wielding sledge hammers to drive nails.

borninak
673
Points
borninak 06/05/14 - 06:17 am
5
1
Defective Reasoning?

The author of this letter states, "This kind of defective reasoning usually results from individuals who are making money catching and selling things other than king salmon, mainly Pollock and sockeye." Point in fact: The author of the letter is a commercial Kenai River fishing guide who is killing king salmon for a living, writes hundreds of diatribes on the king salmon subject, blames the ocean, the trawlers, the Kodiak drifters, the cook inlet set nets, but not once over the decades has he ever acknowledged that the in river fishery has killed a substantial share of the kings as well. The laugher is that he then talks about "reasonable people" and "defective thinking" and the in river fisherman eat up this garbage.

mikehu
174
Points
mikehu 06/10/14 - 09:22 am
0
1
jford, borninak, I appreciate

jford, borninak, I appreciate seeing such perspectives. The resource and industry has many users. One group wants it all to the exclusion of others and a viable economic base. When the roots of the tree are damaged the whole tree suffers. The commercial industry finally had to resort to permits in limiting pressure on the resource in the mid sixties. I wonder if there is similar condition on the guide licenses. Again, in turning to history, establishing a permit system along with the elimination of traps helped. It's time to start paring down pressure on the roots as the fruit is harvested through biologically managed decisions.

mikehu
174
Points
mikehu 06/10/14 - 09:41 am
0
0
...

...

kenai123
1319
Points
kenai123 06/22/14 - 09:36 pm
1
3
beautiful fisheries minded people

What a bunch of really beautiful fisheries minded people. Let's see 7 comments, one who agrees with the article, one which is just a person attack, one who agrees with the article, one who thinks the article is excessively hard on commercial fishing, another personal attack, one that still doesn't understand sport fish guide licensing is unconstitutional and one that doesn't know what to say.

So that's 2 comments that agree with the article and 5 that want to talk about ANYTHING but the subject of the article. That's roughly 30% agreeing and 70% failing to even address the subject. This is about what I see in the public around me; most do not care what happens to our king salmon. We have always had a problem with commercial fisheries over-harvesting our fish. The reason is because we have allowed fish to equal cash.

Try thinking about cash and fish for just a second. What would happen to our fisheries if people had to consume what they caught? Really, what do you think would happen? Only one thing; we would have a ton of fish for everyone. As it is we never have enough fish for anyone. There is no international requirement that we feed the planet, no constitutional requirement that we catch and sell all our spare fish. This article regards our king salmon problem, not creating unconstitutional fishery changes and not about who you would like to personally attack. Now we know why we have a king problem. Most people would rather fight with their neighbors than save our kings!

mikehu
174
Points
mikehu 06/22/14 - 10:48 pm
2
1
Try our methods in river

It (commercial management) worked for years with adjustments being made where needed. Look to history and quit fishing the river for a few years. Bet you'd see a difference just like we commercial fishermen did in the sixties with kings and throughout years when reds were low in return. If we can do it so can you.

jford
3801
Points
jford 06/23/14 - 06:16 am
3
2
Fish = Cash AK123 came here to get cash for fish.

Now he thinks it's a problem that fish equals cash but he won't admit he has any responsibility for commodifying the in-river fishery.

People aren't inclined to address his 'article', because it's the same blame shifting that he's always attempting.

No one buys his subterfuge anymore. He's lost credibility.

If he and others weren't attempting to cash in on the Kenai's fish, we'd have the fishery that was here before AK123 came along.

borninak
673
Points
borninak 06/23/14 - 07:27 am
3
2
Great Point jford

The fact is that kenai123 is a commercial kenai river fishing guide who cashes in on killing king salmon and bemoans those pesky gillnetters who are also have been trying to make a living for over 100 years now. The problem is he refuses to acknowledge his CASH taking or BUSINESS license hanging on the wall and really isn't interested in fisheries conservation, just casting blame wherever it might get any traction. Fortunately the hypocrisy has been clearly exposed for quite some time. The word of the day used by jford is spot on: subterfuge - deceit used in order to achieve one's goal. Now if you will excuse me, I am going to go attempt to make a living by catching sockeyes and yes 123 I will sell them, but unlike you I am not in denial about catching fish for money. If I catch a king salmon, I will let it go because I am conservation minded and I pray that you will not be the one to catch it and receive CASH from your client when you do.

kenai123
1319
Points
kenai123 06/23/14 - 11:18 am
1
3
same old stuff over and over...

Same old refusal to address the statewide king salmon problem in the article along with deliberately attempting to side-tracking the issue into personal attacks.

jlmh
352
Points
jlmh 06/23/14 - 11:42 am
1
3
After what trawling did to

After what trawling did to the New England cod fishery, I can't believe we ever allowed it off our Pacific coast.

mikehu
174
Points
mikehu 06/23/14 - 01:56 pm
1
0
Management

It's about managing for all users and up to the users to manage their share (responsibly). The fish belong to all of us and there is enough for everybody for their own purposes.

kenai123
1319
Points
kenai123 06/23/14 - 05:44 pm
2
3
jlmh, east coast fisheries and the federal government

I agree 100% jlmh, allowing trawlers off our Pacific Coast is a very bad idea but it seems that some folks spend more time attacking their neighbors than studying fisheries history. Back in 1930 U.S. East Coast commercial trawlers were catching around 37 million haddock annually, while DUMPING another 90 million baby haddock dead at sea. This commercial abuse went on for about 25 years and then in 1955, with the fishery totally collapsed, they finally regulated to a minimum commercial mesh size to prevent the waste. 25 YEARS WORTH OF OCEAN DESTRUCTION.

The stocks re surged in the 1960's and then foreign commercial fish factory fleets discovered the U.S. East Coast haddock, hake and herring. After about 10 years of foreign commercial trawler abuse they destroyed and collapsed the fisheries AGAIN by the 1970's. International commercial fisheries restrictions were then developed that resulted in another resurgence of the fisheries. These fish were then ALSO commercially scooped up by U.S. commercial fisheries and the resource then declined to the lowest levels ever seen.

Now today, everyone on the East Coast is clamoring for more commercial fisheries regulations and they all think that the millions of federal dollars spent to support commercial fisheries has actually HELPED COLLAPSE their fisheries and destroy the environment.

Now we see the same kind of commercial trawler fishery here in the North Pacific, along with the same kind of fisheries destruction, while some desire to blame it all on the Kenai River? The only real difference here is they are now abusing king salmon instead of haddock. Is it actually necessary for us to go through the same cycle of events described above?

So now we see our own Pacific commercial fishermen actually REQUESTING additional federal over-sight of our Pacific fisheries? Have these guys been pay attention to what happened on the East Coast? Do they even care what our federal governments track record is with regard to fisheries management? The record is clear, if commercial fisheries and the federal government are involved, you can kiss your fishery goodbye...
http://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/history/stories/groundfish/grndfsh1.html

jford
3801
Points
jford 06/23/14 - 11:44 pm
3
0
It's not sidetracking when your actions are part of the problem.

It's called addressing the facts that you won't. Your part in the larger picture.

As I said before, you'll whine long and hard about everyone else, you'll try to deflect the blame onto anyone but yourself, but you never have publicly acknowledged your own part in the problem.

You can't deflect the blame onto everybody else and not stand up and admit your own part anymore.

Well, you'll try, you always do, it's not a bug but a feature with you, but no one is fooled. You haven't fooled anyone for a long long time.

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