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Is overescapement financial or biological?

Posted: July 25, 2014 - 8:39am

In the days and weeks ahead, we will be hearing all about “overescapement” of sockeye salmon into the Kenai River. “Too many fish will spawn on top of each other,” will be the war cry, “They will kill each other off and the run will die off.” “Manage biologically” will be heard over and over. “There will be too many fry and not enough food for them to successfully survive over the winters in the lakes.” And on and on. One “retired” biologist has even “proven” on his trusty computer model that the reason our kings are nonexistant is because they were allowed to “overescape” for years into the Kenai River.

It is time to stop drinking this political Kool-aid!

If we could all get on the same page and agree that the term “overescapement” is strictly a corporate financial term, then the basics of fisheries management would change for the better for everyone. In my opinion, we are not escaping enough sockeye salmon into the Kenai, which can cause extreme changes in the phosphorous and carbon and nitrogen levels that a river needs to be healthy.

In Bristol Bay, overescapement is a financial term. It means lost revenue for the commercial fishermen. Biologically, there is no such thing as overescapement in the waters of Bristol Bay.

In the 2008 Karluk River, Kodiak, salmon crash, the cause was determined to be underescapement of sockeye salmon which in turn caused the crash of the plankton blooms necessary to fry survival. The state of Alaska spent nearly a million dollars seeding Karluk Lake and apparently are seeing good results.

If “overescapement” is anything more than financial, why then is Bristol Bay Aquaculture Corporation allowed to dump over 600,000,000 hatchery pink salmon into Prince William Sound every single year? This is done without any meaningful environmental study on the impact this has on our many other species sharing the same waters and food chains. And we wonder what has happened to our king salmon?

Please folks, go immediately to your cupboards and pantries and throw out all the Kool-aid. Kool-aid is not good for the fish.

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Carver 07/25/14 - 12:16 pm
It's both . .

"Overescapement" is both—financial and biological.

It's financial because any loss of harvestable, sustained yield represents financial loss.

It's biological because any good rancher knows you can put only so many cattle on an acre of grass before the overall welfare of the herd declines.

That said, the real question is whether or not we know what actually constitutes overescapement. Your "retired (CommFish?) biologist" and more have been telling us for years we're over-escaping sockeye in the Kasilof and Kenai Rivers yet the fish keep coming.

Because of the inescapable, inherent uncertainties of the natural sciences, nobody knows, and all management plans are agenda driven in terms of realpolitik. Everyone has an axe to grind.

borninak 07/25/14 - 04:20 pm
Kool Aid Degree In What?

Mr. Berg has a lot to say for sure and talks a lot about financial this and that but where are the references to back up his claims and what degrees does he hold to be knocking trained biologists? What fisheries management experience does he have and statistical analysis doctorate perhaps? NO, Mr. Berg is a Kenai River Guide and that makes him an expert on all things to do with fisheries management as everyone knows. Time to have another cup of that Kool-Aid you are drinking Rod.

jford 07/25/14 - 09:05 pm
Rod Berg is nothing but a carpetbagger,

The Berg brothers moved here from California in order to cash in on Kenai River Kings. The brothers Berg all have guide businesses and they've been killing as many kings as they can put clients on fish for years, all for the sake of their own profits.

Their profits come at the expense of others, and they've always put their profits first.

The people who have only ever wished to gain profits for themselves at the expense of others aren't the people to listen to when it was their own greedy actions which have contributed to the decimation of the king fishery.

Time for the Bergs to move back where they came from. Go lecture the people of California, we don't need lecturing by carpetbaggers.

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