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Thread: Tanana locals tossing summer chum bycatch (dead) into the Yukon :(

  1. #1

    Default Tanana locals tossing summer chum bycatch (dead) into the Yukon :(

    I was in the village of Tanana (Yukon River) last week and saw some locals putting out there gillnets one evening. About 24 hours later I saw the same boat cruise out to the middle of the Yukon River and start pitching dead summer chum salmon (bycatch) out of the boat. Another local who was targeting kings, caught 2 kings, but also caught a load of chum (bycatch) and he was like, crap, what am I going to do with all these chum. Witnessing wasted bycatch firsthand was fairly depressing and seemed like such a waste of a resource. I'm sure this is nothing new, it was just a real eye opener to see it in person.

  2. #2
    Member Hunt&FishAK's Avatar
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    sad indeed...fresh chums are very much as tasty as kings......report it to adfg...or the area troopers....theyll do what they can, i guess.....pretty worthless so far this year from what ive heard though.......



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    Member MARV1's Avatar
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    Should have taken pictures!
    The emphasis is on accuracy, not power!

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    MARV1 - I hear you, I was tied up on the beach unloading a rather large load in my boat and therefore was not in a position to follow them. I would have liked to get some pics and video of them tossing dead salmon back in the Yukon - sad.

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    Member akiceman25's Avatar
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    IMHO.....Leave the native Alaskans alone. The white man, and yes I am one of them, has ruined their king fishery with our commercial overharvest. These peaceful people live on that river. I've no doubt they are doing what they must to feed their families.

    I've hunted and fished with several Natives and they ALL give great respect to the land and its creatures, as is customary to their culture. After the taking of an animal or fish they give thanks to it for giving its life to sustain their own. The natives I have known do not waste any animal parts, enjoying even the belly fat and much of what the white man considers 'gut pile'.

    While I do not advocate wasting chum over the gunwale......I also do not fault natives that find it necessary to do so.

    Instead of calling the troopers or taking pictures for evidence, maybe next time offer to take or even purchase the chum they don't want.

    This was their land before it was ours.....

    I'm hoping their is a native Alaskan that will chime in with their opinion on this.


    -akiceman25

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    Member Hayduke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akiceman25 View Post
    IMHO.....Leave the native Alaskans alone. The white man, and yes I am one of them, has ruined their king fishery with our commercial overharvest. These peaceful people live on that river. I've no doubt they are doing what they must to feed their families.

    I've hunted and fished with several Natives and they ALL give great respect to the land and its creatures, as is customary to their culture. After the taking of an animal or fish they give thanks to it for giving its life to sustain their own. The natives I have known do not waste any animal parts, enjoying even the belly fat and much of what the white man considers 'gut pile'.

    While I do not advocate wasting chum over the gunwale......I also do not fault natives that find it necessary to do so.

    Instead of calling the troopers or taking pictures for evidence, maybe next time offer to take or even purchase the chum they don't want.

    This was their land before it was ours.....

    I'm hoping their is a native Alaskan that will chime in with their opinion on this.


    -akiceman25
    Lots of generalizations in your post. I am certain that people from ALL ethnic backgrounds are sometimes wasteful. Not too mention that I am sure there are non-natives there living a subsistence lifestyle and the OP did not specify ethnicity. No user group should get a free pass too pitch fish overboard.

  7. #7

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    Akiceman25:

    "Leave the native Alaskans alone" - I said nothing about native alaskans. The resources that swim in the Yukon River belong to Alaskan residents and I don't advocate turning a blind eye on waste no matter the ethnic background.

    "Instead of calling the troopers or taking pictures for evidence, maybe next time offer to take or even purchase the chum they don't want" - No thanks, don't point the finger at me for the local fishermans wasteful harvest techniques.

    It was my hope by sharing what I witnessed that maybe some Tanana locals or other Yukon fisherman might read this and possibly think twice before soaking there gillnets for hours on end resulting in wasted bycatch.

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    Member akiceman25's Avatar
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    I didn't count on many people agreeing with me. One thing nice about the forum is being able to speak our opinions.

    When you said 'Tanana locals' you inferred a native ethnicity considering 80% of the locals in Tanana are native.

    I was not "pointing a finger" at you.... I merely offered a possibility of a way a person could handle that situation in the future.

    You don't "advocate turning a blind eye"?.........Isn't that what you did?

    I agree with you guys, this shouldn't happen and there are laws against it. But just stop for a minute and put yourself in their shoes.


    -akiceman25

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    akiceman25 - have a nice day

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    Member nitroshrew's Avatar
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    Throw the book at 'em!

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akiceman25 View Post

    While I do not advocate wasting chum over the gunwale......I also do not fault natives that find it necessary to do so.

    -akiceman25
    Can you give an example of why it would ever be "necessary" to do so? Honest question - not trying to be combative. I appreciate your point of considering the lifestyles and traditions of other people, but even given that, why would it ever be necessary to toss dead fish back into the river? How would that help them "do what they must to feed their family", as you put it? I'm not getting how tossing back dead fish would help to accomplish that goal.

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    Might this have something to do with the bigger picture:

    Anchorage Daily News

    Yukon River salmon processor blames state for plant closure
    The Associated Press

    FAIRBANKS --
    A fish processing plant in Kaltag that employs about 70 people from nearby villages shut down for the summer even though Yukon River chum salmon are plentiful, the operator said.Doug Karlberg, the operator of the plant, blamed a fishing time limit imposed by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. He said he believes a limit is unnecessary because his business does not target the Yukon's depleted king salmon.

    However, a Fish and Game manager said the department had to impose the limit to protect king salmon and treat fishermen along the river equitably.

    Karlberg, owner of Yukon River Gold, told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner the agency left him too little time this summer to make money. He leases the plant from the city of Kaltag.

    In order for the plant to make enough, Karlberg said he needs more fishing and processing time -- "about 35 days of processing time," he added. But the plant only had about 20 days to work on the chum run, he said.
    Kings begin swimming up the river before the summer chums, but the two runs usually overlap for a few weeks. Regulators only allowed the fish wheels that supply the Yukon River Gold plant to begin operating once the kings had passed the Kaltag area.

    "I was forced to close it down," Karlberg said. "And now we have a record chum run in the Yukon River, and the people are having to sit there with no jobs."

    The seasonal plant employs about 70 workers from villages in the area.

    Karlberg buys only chum salmon from local fish wheels. The wheels are monitored so any other types of fish, including king salmon, are immediately thrown back in the Yukon River alive and unharmed, Karlberg said.
    The low bycatch prompted Fisheries International magazine, in its January edition, to name the Kaltag plant one of the best fisheries in the world.

    Steve Hayes, Fish and Game's area manager, said some bycatch has been taken.

    Hayes said he can't tell Yukon River subsistence fishermen that "every king counts, and they can't catch them" if he doesn't tell the same thing to commercial fishermen that supply Yukon Gold.

    During four of the past five years, the Yukon River did not meet the king salmon escapement goals established by a treaty with Canada. Hayes said about half the Yukon's king salmon spawn in Canada's waters.

    "We've had to be very conservative trying to protect these kings," he said. "Unfortunately, because of that, we've had to let a surplus of chum up the river."


    Read more: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2011/07/13/v-lite/1743654_yukon-river-salmon-processor-blames.html#ixzz1SJ24jM6G



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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    Can you give an example of why it would ever be "necessary" to do so? Honest question - not trying to be combative. I appreciate your point of considering the lifestyles and traditions of other people, but even given that, why would it ever be necessary to toss dead fish back into the river? How would that help them "do what they must to feed their family", as you put it? I'm not getting how tossing back dead fish would help to accomplish that goal.
    Mark if it is a commercial fishery there may not be a buyer of chums in the local area. This is an issue on the Yukon in past years. In this case fisherman are allowed to dump the catch - not sure if throwing them in the river is the proper way but it may not be illegal or unethical.

    I cannot imagine anyone throwing chums back if they are commercial fishing and there is a buyer in the area. That would be throwing money into the river. I have not read the regulations but if chums could not withstand a harvest i would assume ADF&G would close the fishery.

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    Member akiceman25's Avatar
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    I meant necessary for them, not you or I.

    Some of the chum caught by subsistence nets is used for dog food. Some used for garden fertilization. But this fish isn't palatable for human consumption once it travels upriver. I've tried it.

    With Tanana being remote, residents are limited in resources to preserve fish. We are afforded the luxury of cheap(arguably) electricity to run our refridgerators/freezers. Per their culture and remote location, they smoke, dry, and more recently can their fish. Their smokehouses are to be filled with king. Any other use of their smokehouse during the short fishing season is a waste of very valuable time with thier primary source of preservation.

    Lets make a comparison...

    You or I have two freezers both full of a mixed bag of bison, moose, caribou, bear, store bought beef, store bought pork. One of these freezers stops working and there is no possible way to repair/replace it before the meat spoils. What do we do?

    After checking with friends/neighbors to make sure they're freezers are full and a whole multitude of other ways to get rid of this meat in a useful fashion. We are forced to make the decision on what meat to keep and what we must waste......

    The less palatable or lesser nutritional meat would need to thrown away. Leaving my family with Bison, moose, caribou and bear......

    I'm sure that comparison can be(and probably will be lol) nit-picked detail for detail but I hope it helped clarify my point.

    -akiceman25

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    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Those chums must have been 'sick'...
    As hunters and fishers, our first responsibility is to the longterm health of the resource

    Pray for our President--Psalms 109:8

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    Member tccak71's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erik in AK View Post
    Those chums must have been 'sick'...
    lmao!

    Good one, Erik!

    Tim

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    I get your point, but I simply can't believe that nothing useful could be done with those fish. Using them as dog food would be fine (if allowed by law, which I think it is.) Using them for burbot bait if possible. Using them for fertilizer. Sharing them with other villagers. I understand your point about usable space in the smokehouse and on drying racks, but king fishing on the Yukon has been basically shut down this year, so that's not a viable point this year. That there may not be a buyer for the fish this year is certainly a sticking point, but again, I have to believe that with a lack of kings this year that these isn't any use at all for the chums.

    On a side note, while I share your admiration for Native culture and values, the reality is that there are wasteful people in every culture. This situation does not in any way reflect on all members of that community, but neither does the fact that it was probably an Alaskan Native mean that there was no way that they were being overtly wasteful. Every group of people has variations within it, and every person makes poor choices at times.

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jpost View Post
    I was in the village of Tanana (Yukon River) last week and saw some locals putting out there gillnets one evening. About 24 hours later I saw the same boat cruise out to the middle of the Yukon River and start pitching dead summer chum salmon (bycatch) out of the boat. Another local who was targeting kings, caught 2 kings, but also caught a load of chum (bycatch) and he was like, crap, what am I going to do with all these chum. Witnessing wasted bycatch firsthand was fairly depressing and seemed like such a waste of a resource. I'm sure this is nothing new, it was just a real eye opener to see it in person.
    Some 15-20 years ago I crewed aboard a small independent commercial boat. It was common to catch in a single 24 hour Halibut opener, half to three quarter ton of big beautiful Yellow Eye above and beyond the very small allowable by-catch. The fish come up dead. The rules state that you can't keep them. So, they get forked overboard. Wasteful? Yes. Sickening? Yes. Living by the rules, however imperfect? Yes.

    What are the rules for Yukon Chum in Unit-5 at Tanana this year? If I lived and fished there I can assure you I would know, and follow the rules. But, I don't live there, I don't know the rules, and I'm not about to speculate here, as that would simply be ridiculous. Just say'n.
    He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors. ~Thomas Jefferson

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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    . . What are the rules for Yukon Chum in Unit-5 at Tanana this year? If I lived and fished there I can assure you I would know, and follow the rules. But, I don't live there, I don't know the rules, and I'm not about to speculate here, as that would simply be ridiculous. Just say'n.
    And well said at that.

    Yes, most assuredly something useful, given the right circumstances, could have been done with those chum. That said, we don't know the circumstances, and it's thus folly to judgmentally speculate. While something "useful" could likely be done with the refuse all of us discard in one fashion or another [think "going to the dump"], economics is the deciding factor. If there's no economic incentive to reuse or otherwise conserve, it gets thrown away.

    People simply don't act contrary to their perceived, economic self-interest. Let's be careful here.



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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    While reading this thread I couldn't help but think about the 'bycatch' kings in the polluck fishery......

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