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Thread: A King (and other salmon) Conservation Question

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    Default A King (and other salmon) Conservation Question

    Should nonresidents and people fishing with a guide's services be subject to the same conservation measures and E.O. changes in regulation as people "independently" fishing in a noncommercial way? What ways could/does ADF&G and DNR address this?

    The only regulation that I am aware of that treats these two groups separately is the one on the Kenai restricting guides at certain times, and it does nothing for nonresidents. Maybe there are more. Currently, a group of guides heavily fishing clients on a river for Kings can cause escapement numbers to plummet (not the only cause but certainly a substantial factor especially after years an years of heavy use) reducing or closing the fishery and all near-river and in-river harvesters then must suffer.

    Likewise, the number of people "sportfishing" different rivers is drastically inflated by non-residents (guided and non-guided) whereas, many residents know that without such large numbers of guides and nonresidents on many of Alaska's wonderful rivers, there would be ample fishing opportunity in many (not all) situations for individual resident anglers to fish and retain fish from what are now heavily restricted Catch and Release only situations.

    Currently we have year after year of King harvests being clamped down on early in the season, creating a fervor to get Kings even early next year before they become restricted. It's disgusting. And I think everyone can surmise that guide operations are probably leading the way in fishing as hard as they can early before things get closed. (Nushagak, Gulkana, Little Su, Anchor, KENAI) to name some of the more popular streams with numerous guides where the king fisheries have faced complete retention closures recently.


    I repeat, this is disgusting. How can adf&g and dnr address this?



    PS. I do NOT have it in for guides or nonresidents. I fish with both, and will share the waters with both. But who will deny that what I say is true?


    Several King fisheries could be open right now for residents, Alaskans, for whom the resource is to be managed for the maximum benefit of, but they are not


    Please share constructive ideas and perspectives. I do not want this thread to be an argument about the validity of different resource users. All are valid. But the truth is that per the Alaska constitution, which i consider the best in the nation, it is to be managed for the benefit of Alaska residents.



    The closures I completely support. But year after year a system that forces non-commercial residents to bear this same burden alongside guides who are commercially fishing with their clients, and a boon of relatively novice nonresidents, is inequitable.


    I have a few ideas but am curious to get some other perspectives before promoting what I think needs to be done, as I am unsure.

  2. #2

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    SE Alaska has differing bag and annual limits between resident and nonresident anglers in many of the fisheries down there.

    Do you have any catch and harvest numbers or angler effort information to present for discussion or is this going to be a discussion based upon generalized statements that may or may not have merit? What is the catch/harvest/effort in southcentral by residents and non-residents? That information would go a long why to develop a good discussion on this topic.

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    Thanks for the info on the SE difference in regulation. As I understand it there is rarely a difficulty in dividing up the salmon harvest amongst residents in SE as there is relatively plenty to go around. Thus all the guiding there has not sacrificed the resident King fisheries yet, hopefully never.



    Have seen annual reports that estimate sportfish harvest, anglers, days fished, etc. for all regions of Alaska. Rarely do they break things into guided/nonguided totals, generally only for the Kenai and it seems recently the Kasilof. The numbers there clearly indicate that guided King anglers have a much higher success rate than nonguided.

    I have never seen any detailed resident/nonres or guided/nonguided angler reports for the Gulkana, Klutina, Little Su, Deshka, Nushagak-Mulchatna, etc. Would really like to know such numbers for these streams if the info is out there. Only the total are in the annual reports.



    Here are some resident versus nonres sportfish license numbers: (I rounded a few, from the table that has every year 1961-2008

    1961: 41,000 residents (74 percent) ; 14,000 nonres
    1968: 58,000 residents (64.4 percent); 32,000 nonres
    1978: 129,750 residents (66.5 percent); 65,481 nonres
    1988: 177,000 residents (54 percent); 151,308 nonres
    1998: 173,833 residents (41 percent); 254,000 nonres
    2008: 186,000 residents (38 percent); 300,000 nonres


    Clear trend of last 20 years is slowly increasing resident numbers and rapidly increasing nonresident numbers, doubling since 1988, while residents license numbers have gone up about 5 percent during that time.

    Kenai 2008: Guided angler days fished 51,000 7400 kings harvested
    Nonguided angler days fished 309,000 9100 kings harvested


    Kenai 2007: Guided angler days fished 58,000 8600 Kings harvested
    Nonguided angler days fished 352,000 9800 Kings harvested

    Kenai 1995: Guided angler days fished 86,000 13,000 Kings harvested
    Nonguided angler days fished 291,000 10,200 Kings harvested

    There is ample reason to believe that the other drainages such as Gulkana, Klutina, Susitna tribs, Little Su, etc. being similarly accessed as the Kenai is, will hold similar trends for guided versus nonguided success.

    Found the below exerpt from a 1996 board of fish document on the copper river mgmt.


    "In the sport fishery, there has been an increase in guided-sport fishing of some substantial significance . Again, exact data is not available . The department states that there are approximately 13 guides on the Gulkana River . Anecdotal evidence was presented to the board indicating that there may be as many as fifty guides operating in the area . In any event, it is clear that guided activity has increased substantially .

    Information was also presented to the board as to the relative efficiency of the guided-sport fishery when compared to the unguided-sport fishery . While the guided fishery comprises between 20 and 40 percent of the fishery, the guided fishery harvest is between 40 and 60 percent of the catch."




    The same In-river inequitable harvest seems to be happening on many of these dwindling King runs. Again, I'm not calling this a silver bullet fix but it is a large part of the in-river problem

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    Quote Originally Posted by commfish View Post
    SE Alaska has differing bag and annual limits between resident and nonresident anglers in many of the fisheries down there.

    Do you have any catch and harvest numbers or angler effort information to present for discussion or is this going to be a discussion based upon generalized statements that may or may not have merit? What is the catch/harvest/effort in southcentral by residents and non-residents? That information would go a long why to develop a good discussion on this topic.
    Commfish

    The authors last names are Sigurdsson and Powers for the ADF&G. Here is the link to the search for ADF&G publications/reports. Type in Sigurdsson or Powers as authors names and you will get the pdf's for the reports:


    http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/sf/publications/

    The freshwater guide logbook program has been in place since 2006. Since that time as reported by the ADF&G in the last BOF meeting, guided non-resident catch and harvest during the months of June, July, August, and September on the Kenai River has by by FAR outnumbered that of resident anglers. I'm talking on average approximately 90% non-resident catch and harvest!

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    Excerpt from a Letter to the Editor (Peninsula Clarion) I penned back in Jan 2003....

    Guided anglers harvest more early run kings than non-guided. Armed with this undeniable fact, locals seem pre-occupied with the issue of guided versus non-guided parity. This attitude has been reinforced by regulatory agencies acknowledging guided fishing as a "superior method and means" of catching Kenai kings. Mr. Palmer informs us that this is why guides must be restricted.

    I fail to understand how this is pertinent to the allocation of this resource. Boat fishermen use a superior method and means of catching Kenai kings than do bank fishermen. Shall we begin placing more restrictions on boat anglers to level the playing field for bank anglers? Do you really believe that would help bank anglers to catch a bigger share of the harvest? Sounds pretty silly, yeah, but that's a very relevant analogy.

    So why do we make such a big stink about guided anglers catching more fish? They should catch more fish because that's what these professionals are paid for... to produce for their clients! The guide is simply the vehicle for the angler to access the fishery when he/she has neither the time or money to invest in the proper equipment or techniques to pursue a Kenai River king salmon on his/her own. Anti-guide restrictions punish that segment of the angling community that otherwise has no access to the fishery, for instance those who 1) do not have a capable boat, 2) have no rich friends who own such a boat, or 3) have a boat but lack the capability or confidence to operate it in this intense fishery.

    Such restrictions also punish those who just want to assure greater success during their angling adventure. Shall we start restricting anglers who buy books or videos on effective fishing techniques, who buy a top-of-the line rod or reel or lure or hook or bait, for the sake of being a better angler, seeking a better "method or means" of catching a fish? I think you get the point. Seeking to achieve parity along this line of reasoning is a lost cause. Some people catch more fish because they use better equipment, use better technique, or are simply better fishermen. Should they be punished for that?
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
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    Doc

    I guess I don't understand why you posted that. It has nothing to do with the resident vs. non-resident fish harvest of Kenai river kings. All it has to do with is guided anglers vs. non-guided anglers. What's your point in posting that old op-editorial? Andweav's point was the resident vs. non-resident effort/catch/harvest.......please clarify.

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    I'm just not seeing anysubstantial argument in that excerpt, and it seems only partially on topic and doesn't bring much for discussionto the table. Remember the Alaska state constitution requires the fish to be managed sustainably for the maximum benefit of the people of Alaska, not for paying anglers who mostly are not residents.


    In my mind allowing nonresidents fishing opportunity, guided or not, is essential. Alowing this opportunity to ultimately trump a substantial number of resident angler days, and allowing it to trump a substantial opportunity for kings to fill Alaskan dinner plates is irresponsible.


    Also I want to be clear I am not just talking about the Kenai, the pattern is the same on most SC streams with king runs, including some that are completley closed to King fishing well prior to the middle of the run.

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    I guess I read the opening post differently...

    Should nonresidents and people fishing with a guide's services be subject to the same conservation measures and E.O. changes in regulation as people "independently" fishing in a noncommercial way? What ways could/does ADF&G and DNR address this?

    Kenai 2008: Guided angler days fished 51,000 7400 kings harvested
    Nonguided angler days fished 309,000 9100 kings harvested


    Kenai 2007: Guided angler days fished 58,000 8600 Kings harvested
    Nonguided angler days fished 352,000 9800 Kings harvested

    Kenai 1995: Guided angler days fished 86,000 13,000 Kings harvested
    Nonguided angler days fished 291,000 10,200 Kings harvested

    There is ample reason to believe that the other drainages such as Gulkana, Klutina, Susitna tribs, Little Su, etc. being similarly accessed as the Kenai is, will hold similar trends for guided versus nonguided success.
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
    http://www.piscatorialpursuits.com/uploads/UP12710.jpg
    The KeenEye MD

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    Doc, I guess I didn't catch the guide reference along w/ the non-resident reference. But, again, most guided anglers are non-residents, period. So, I've got to ask. What proportion of unguided anglers do you think are non-residents? I can tell you personally, that I take out alot of relatives and friends from out of state king fishing on the Kenai. Given that most guided fishing is non-resident, and alot of unguided fishing includes non-residents, I'd be willing to guess that it's at least 50/50 resident vs. non-resident effort/catch/harvest of Kenai kings on the Kenai. I don't know know where you could find out what the proportion of non-resident unguided anglers are on the Kenai fishing for kings, but it would be interesting to know given that SE Alaska imposes reduced bag limits on kings.

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    About 10th years ago nonresidents were restricted to fishing from 6am to 6pm in June on the kenai. The resident locals hated it because they were taking our friends and relatives before guide hours, it got changed the next bof cycle. At the time of the regulation the nonresident catch had significantly increased. I am not sure what it is now. I don't trust the statewide harvest survey as being very accurate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Papi View Post
    Given that most guided fishing is non-resident, and alot of unguided fishing includes non-residents, I'd be willing to guess that it's at least 50/50 resident vs. non-resident effort/catch/harvest of Kenai kings on the Kenai. I don't know know where you could find out what the proportion of non-resident unguided anglers are on the Kenai fishing for kings, but it would be interesting to know given that SE Alaska imposes reduced bag limits on kings.
    I'd guess the proportion probably mirrors the sale of resident vs non-resident fishing licenses. Tourists probably outnumber locals on the Kenai today.
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
    http://www.piscatorialpursuits.com/uploads/UP12710.jpg
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    Looking at totals frome guide logbooks, the conversation about inequitable nonresident in-river harvest of kings cannot avoid talking about guides, who are front and center promoting what is nearly a direct allocation of resource away from residents.


    2006: 39,512 guide trips in freshwater, with 9,742 residents and 111,956 nonresidents.
    2007: 40,543 guide trips in freshwater, with 11,278 residents and 112,358 nonresidents.
    2008: 40,587 guide trips in freshwater, with 11,039 residents and 113,089 nonresidents.
    2009: 31,305 guide trips in freshwater, with 10,420 residents and 82,097 nonresidents.

    2009 expanded (most recent published data)

    Total for SC freshwater: 31,305 guide trips, 10,420 residents, 82,097 nonresidents, 13,288 kings kept

    A quick selection of some SC king streams

    Lake Creek: 1444 guide trips, 324 residents, 3696 nonresidents, 786 kings kept
    Talkeetna R: 339 guide trips, 218 residents, 1140 nonresidents, 254 kings kept
    Kasilof R: 1746 guide trips, 1066 residents, 4576 nonresidents, 2214 kings kept
    Kenai: 6136 guide trips, 3864 residents, 17,000 nonresidents 3611 kings kept
    *(Data for Kenai and Kasilof is just for the most heavily fished portion of river)


    Ratio of nonres:res is not quite as exaggerated for streams like gulkana, klutina, little su, deshka, but is still on the order of at least 2 nonresidents for every resident fishing with a guide. When you get to the flyout streams they are extremely dominated by nonresident clients, generally well more than 10:1 from the 2006-2009 data.

    This guided harvest of kings seems to make up a fairly large percentage of the total SC in river harvest. SInce we can't trust the sportfish harvest estimates we don't have a hard number of total fish caught, but it sure is a large percentage of them.

    There sure could have been a lot more spawning kings in 2009, and a lot more resident angler opportunity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by andweav View Post
    SInce we can't trust the sportfish harvest estimates we don't have a hard number of total fish caught, but it sure is a large percentage of them.
    Why do you think the sportfish harvest estimates are not accurate? Evidently the estimates are good enough that NOAA has excluded Alaska from the National Saltwater registry program that would cost every nonguided angler $15 to fish in the salt. There have been plenty of creel surveys and logbook comparisons to the sportfish harvest estimates which show they are reliable estimates. The only exception is on streams with very little effort/responses.

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    Quote Originally Posted by commfish View Post
    There have been plenty of creel surveys and logbook comparisons to the sportfish harvest estimates which show they are reliable estimates. The only exception is on streams with very little effort/responses.
    I didn't mean to say that the estimates aren't good indicators of trends, but that they aren't actual counts of kings kept.

    From what I have read from the "evaluation of estimates of sportfish harvest" documents (such as Clark 2009) there is a big range between the on-site surveys and the statewide mail in surveys.

    What the two surveys of sportfish harvest show in 1992

    Little Su chinook "sport" harvest was somewhere between 1064 and 2162.
    Juneau chinook sport harvest was somewhere between 5,969 and 9,953.
    Lower Kenai coho sport harvest was somewhere between 23,485 and 34,330

    No one has a clue which end of the range it is. One certainly can't perform math with it, such as to subtract the nonresident harvest of chinook from the total harvest to produce a "resident sport chinook harvest" statistic. However, if one could, might they see that in lean years, if this large percentage of the chinook sport catch weren't being auctioned off to mostly nonresidents, there would be much healthier runs to sustain in-river resident harvest? I think that would be easy math if we had a sportfish division that were concerned with keeping track of such statistics.

    Unfortunately no one can provide exact numbers becase sportfish catch is estimated and not fully reported. The state sells all king anglers a king stamp, making a few good dollars in the process but then doesn't bother to directly collect data on the entire harvest. That's too bad. I know whether I have 5 or 0 kings on my sport license the last several years the department has no idea except for what I would communicate with mat-su area bio which was never formalized.




    Everyone should look at the two tables on page 49 of LINK HERE RA Clark 2009. nonguided and guided harvest on lower kenai early run chinook. I wish I could post them here.

    First thing to note is what a wide range the sport harvest of kings could have been based on these estimates. Example in 1996 guided harvest of early run was somewhere between 738 and 1,867. Very useful statistic eh?



    However, note the very last line on the guide harvest table. 2006. the first year of the logbook requirement. And suddenly the guide harvest goes through the roof based on the on-site survey. As though the guiding industry is suddenly recording the catches accurately perhaps???

    What do you think of this anomaly? Are we really to believe this is good data Pre logbook?
    Last edited by andweav; 06-29-2011 at 13:49. Reason: formatting

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    andweav-

    Just a point of clarification. the guides do not fill out the State Wide Harvest Survey, the clients do. The survey is mailed out randomly to those who have bought Alaska sport fishing licenses. So, if there is error in filling out the SWHS, it is done by the clients, not the guides. Just to be fair.

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    If you added up all the kings taken in fresh water its just a fraction of that is taken in the salt buy all user groups. Its not just comfish! Why not protect them in the salt as well? If fish dont make it to the river then closing the river will not help.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kgpcr View Post
    If you added up all the kings taken in fresh water its just a fraction of that is taken in the salt buy all user groups. Its not just comfish! Why not protect them in the salt as well? If fish dont make it to the river then closing the river will not help.
    kgpcr-

    The king salmon harvested in the salt water of Cook Inlet are a mix of stocks. There are feeder kings which primarily make up the bulk of the harvest from as far away as Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, SE Alaska, etc. There are also few south central kings harvested, as well as other western Alaska stocks. So, to say that the saltwater fishery is to blame is minimizing the effect the harvest of inriver fisheries has. In other words, the salt water fisheries of Cook Inlet has by FAR the lowest exploitation of Kenai king salmon than inriver Kenai River sport fisheries, and Cook Inlet east side set net commercial fisheries.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Papi View Post
    kgpcr-

    The king salmon harvested in the salt water of Cook Inlet are a mix of stocks. There are feeder kings which primarily make up the bulk of the harvest from as far away as Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, SE Alaska, etc. There are also few south central kings harvested, as well as other western Alaska stocks. So, to say that the saltwater fishery is to blame is minimizing the effect the harvest of inriver fisheries has. In other words, the salt water fisheries of Cook Inlet has by FAR the lowest exploitation of Kenai king salmon than inriver Kenai River sport fisheries, and Cook Inlet east side set net commercial fisheries.
    Big Papi, is there a study or some genetic analysis that estimated this stock composition? I heard the same points tossed around when the Board of Fish recently liberalized bag limits in the LCI saltwater fishery, but I've never seen any actual data.

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    The federal courts have ruled that non-residents can limited in some harvest situations when the State manages the resource and the resource is limited - big game is a good example. However, with salmon the fish are owned by the federal government and a Fishery Management Plan by the Federal Gov allows management by the State. So the State constitution really is not relevant in this discussion.


    Guided vs. non-guided is fine since the residency question is moot. So I do not think this discussion is going anywhere since it asked what the state can do - nothing in my opinion and they should not. A resident of Washington has just as much right to the Kenai River chinook salmon as a Soldotna resident. End of story.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Papi View Post
    kgpcr-

    The king salmon harvested in the salt water of Cook Inlet are a mix of stocks. There are feeder kings which primarily make up the bulk of the harvest from as far away as Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, SE Alaska, etc. There are also few south central kings harvested, as well as other western Alaska stocks. So, to say that the saltwater fishery is to blame is minimizing the effect the harvest of inriver fisheries has. In other words, the salt water fisheries of Cook Inlet has by FAR the lowest exploitation of Kenai king salmon than inriver Kenai River sport fisheries, and Cook Inlet east side set net commercial fisheries.
    You are right but what about the trawl fleet and all the other places kings are yanked out of the salt

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