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Thread: How many Kings die in Red nets?

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Default How many Kings die in Red nets?

    Quote Originally Posted by yukon View Post
    Set netters catch way more than drifters, drifters overall don't do much damaged to Kenai kings.
    I excerpted this quote from here:
    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...hinook-numbers
    Didn't want to take the original thread off on a tangent.

    It's a pretty common assertion in these fisheries forums that drift nets kill fewer Kings than set nets do.... There have also been some arguments made that gill nets sized for Reds don't have a significant impact on King mortality.... I've read assertions that Kings just bump into set nets and then find their way around them without harm, or tear holes in them and go on their merry way....etc, etc. These assertions and assumptions have always bothered me because I have observations and experience to the contrary.

    My questions are: Are any of these assertions at all grounded in scientific study? Are they perhaps based upon false assumptions? Are Red sized mesh net fishermen who perhaps spend most or all of their time fishing silty, opaque waters assuming they are not killing Kings because their experience is that they rarely find many caught in their nets? Has anyone ever actually put a camera in the water to observe salmon interacting with gillnet below the surface, or are all our assumptions based upon what we observe upon pulling our nets?

    I have never been a set net fishermen per se. My comm-salmon experience is all as a Bristol Bay drift net fisherman. Although, we would often employ the tactic of running onto the beach to dry anchor the net and back off to hold a "set" drift net. (We occasionally went to extent that one of the crazier members of our crew would jump overboard and drag the net onto the beach, then swim back out to the boat, when we couldn't run in shallow enough to fish that last six inches of water). That being said, lots of the fishing there takes place in very clear green water wherein you can observe your net below the surface for quite some distance as you pull it into the boat. In those conditions I have observed countless dead Kings rolling free of the net and disappearing into the depths. Occasionally we would manage to salvage them with a super long gaff pole, and a few would manage to stay hung up long enough to make it over the roller, but lots of them were lost and wasted. Those were the ones we saw. How many didn't we see?

    Whether we were fishing a "set" net grounded out on the beach on the North line at Egigik, or towing a freely drifting net in deep green water, we never seemed to incur any net damage attributable to Kings. The only times we ended up with any net damage to speak of was when we had seals working our net.

    Common sense tells me that what I have observed in the clear water has to be applicable to the opaque water. So, in my mind it begs the question; how many Kings are we unknowingly killing and not accounting for, in the Kenai, and and every other drift/set net fishery in the State?

    I alluded to this in anther Kenai thread some time ago and my comment was summarily ignored. Is this a hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil subject? Do we have our heads in the sand on this one?
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    Member Gerberman's Avatar
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    I was at a fish processer this last summer when a set netter brought in 7 kings, 283 lbs from one 10 hour opener, his set net was near the mouth of the Kenai River in the salt. He only had one net out. there are hundreds of nets in the salt before the Kasaliof, and Kenai, so my thought is there are a lot of Kings that are processed out of the sockeye nets.

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    I wonder how many are caught by sportfish winterking trollers as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gerberman View Post
    I was at a fish processer this last summer when a set netter brought in 7 kings, 283 lbs from one 10 hour opener, his set net was near the mouth of the Kenai River in the salt. He only had one net out. there are hundreds of nets in the salt before the Kasaliof, and Kenai, so my thought is there are a lot of Kings that are processed out of the sockeye nets.
    The harvest is reported on fish tickets and personal use fish are to be reported on the tickets also. So if one hears that a drifter is taking home a fish that does not mean it is not reported. Also, drift fisherman and I assume some set net fisherman tend to barter chinook as they are more valuable that way. As one drift fisherman told me - I can get 500 dollars of welding done for a 30 pound chinook - people will provide services for chinook and I assume sockeye also. As long as the fish are reported on the ticket it is perfectly legal.

    Relative to unreported catch ADF&G has looked at that issue and it is very difficult to get at. The one comprehensive study could not define under reporting but that study had wide confidence intervals.

    Finally, the distribution of chinook along the beach has been looked at from the set net catch. In the mid-80's there was a study and what was found that where chinook are caught sockeye numbers are also caught in good numbers. Thus the ratio of sockeye to chinook was fairly even along the beach. So if one is looking for a spot to reduce chinook harvest they will also reduce sockeye harvest significantly. The river mouths as you might expect had higher catches of both species.

    Last year the set nets took a little over 6000 chinook off the beaches and not all of them are headed for the Kenai, but most are.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    I I alluded to this in anther Kenai thread some time ago and my comment was summarily ignored. Is this a hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil subject? Do we have our heads in the sand on this one?
    Just a quick reply. There are no UCI studies on this issue. However, there are studies on net selectivity for gilled and tangled chinook salmon. The net size in UCI tends to catch smaller chinook via gill netting. Larger fish tend to tangle in the net.

    One aspect of fisheries management is that there is always unreported harvest - either drop out, interception somewhere outside the management area, illegal harvest...... the real question is whether the fishery is sustaining itself and the cost/benefit of trying to run down all these other harvest. What happens is that other harvests not accounted for reduced the return per spawner ratios but if a goal is set and the Department manages to that goal and the run is sustaining itself it may not be worth the effort to track every fish. Just a function of priorities in a limited budget environment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    Just a quick reply. There are no UCI studies on this issue. However, there are studies on net selectivity for gilled and tangled chinook salmon. The net size in UCI tends to catch smaller chinook via gill netting. Larger fish tend to tangle in the net.

    One aspect of fisheries management is that there is always unreported harvest - either drop out, interception somewhere outside the management area, illegal harvest...... the real question is whether the fishery is sustaining itself and the cost/benefit of trying to run down all these other harvest. What happens is that other harvests not accounted for reduced the return per spawner ratios but if a goal is set and the Department manages to that goal and the run is sustaining itself it may not be worth the effort to track every fish. Just a function of priorities in a limited budget environment.
    Thanks Nerka. I want to be clear that I am not accusing net fishermen of unreported harvest. There is a lot of head scratching and musing going on these days about the causes, or potential causes, of reduced returns. Certainly, the answer is multifaceted and complicated. The point I was really wanting to make is that based on my observations, I have a personal suspicion that nets account for a much higher mortality rate due to unseen, undocumanted "drop out", than we are currently calculating for. And I was wondering how thoroughly this aspect has been studied, and if warrants a little more research. Are current King drop out rate calculations a total WAG?.....
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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    Thanks Nerka. I want to be clear that I am not accusing net fishermen of unreported harvest. There is a lot of head scratching and musing going on these days about the causes, or potential causes, of reduced returns. Certainly, the answer is multifaceted and complicated. The point I was really wanting to make is that based on my observations, I have a personal suspicion that nets account for a much higher mortality rate due to unseen, undocumanted "drop out", than we are currently calculating for. And I was wondering how thoroughly this aspect has been studied, and if warrants a little more research. Are current King drop out rate calculations a total WAG?.....
    Not even a WAG in UCI. It is not even talked about as far as I know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gerberman View Post
    I was at a fish processer this last summer when a set netter brought in 7 kings, 283 lbs from one 10 hour opener, his set net was near the mouth of the Kenai River in the salt. He only had one net out. there are hundreds of nets in the salt before the Kasaliof, and Kenai, so my thought is there are a lot of Kings that are processed out of the sockeye nets.
    What were you doing at the fish processing plant? How did you happen to glance at the weight? If you worked there you just committed a breach of confidentiality by publishing a guys catch. If you don't work there apparently you're just another seagull.





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    I'm more interested in the admitted illegal fishing Fullbush. It's illegal to drag your net onto the beach to hold it. That would technically be anchoring your gear. Hope one of the troopers on the site sees that post.
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    Well not always twodux. The statewide regulation defines a drift gilling is a drifting gillnet that has not been intentionally staked, anchored, or otherwised fixed (5AAC 39.105) Therefore, it is not necessary illegal to be drifting and have the tide go out and have part of the net on the bottom or shore. This is done in UCI and the courts have found that this is not intentional in the meaning of the definition above. For example, when drift fisherman fish near the mouth of the Kenai River in closed waters to catch sockeye (this rarely happens when closed waters are opened) the volume of fish in the net makes running out impossible. So fisherman have let their boats go dry and then pick the net by walking along it. I have seen this numerous times in the 80's. Also, on the west side of Cook Inlet it is not uncommon to fish and drift near shore and again have the tide go out. So the operative word here is intentional and that is had to prove in any case.

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    It's very intentional and easy to prove when somebody gets out of the boat and drags the net onto dry sand. That is intentionally fixing your net. Very different from your net drying up when you have too many fish to pick. Enforcement has no trouble writing tickets tho if your net has too many fish to pick and you drift over a closed water marker, or if you have so many fish in your net you are still picking when the period closes. The difference between now and the 80's is now Troopers operate on "strict liability instead of having to prove intent. If you are breaking a regulation you are still guilty no matter what. This year in the Copper River gillnet fishery, I know of a couple guys who were written tickets for being 1 minute late getting their net in and another who was 3 minutes late because they had more fish in their last set than they expected. Troopers write a lot of tickets that they wouldn't have considered in the days when they had to prove intent.
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    Quote Originally Posted by twodux View Post
    It's very intentional and easy to prove when somebody gets out of the boat and drags the net onto dry sand. That is intentionally fixing your net. Very different from your net drying up when you have too many fish to pick. Enforcement has no trouble writing tickets tho if your net has too many fish to pick and you drift over a closed water marker, or if you have so many fish in your net you are still picking when the period closes. The difference between now and the 80's is now Troopers operate on "strict liability instead of having to prove intent. If you are breaking a regulation you are still guilty no matter what. This year in the Copper River gillnet fishery, I know of a couple guys who were written tickets for being 1 minute late getting their net in and another who was 3 minutes late because they had more fish in their last set than they expected. Troopers write a lot of tickets that they wouldn't have considered in the days when they had to prove intent.
    Twodux, they still have to prove intent for this regulation because it is stated in the regulation book. Also writing a ticket does not mean that a court will find you guilty. There is a huge difference and I have seen courts do a number of different things depending on the judge. Just saying it is not black and white here. For example, in UCI this year a number of fisherman were cited for fishing beyound the closed time - the set nets sunk because of a large number of fish hitting the nets as the period closed. I am not sure a judge is going to find them guilty on that one as it was unexpected and not intended. We will see.

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    Question Killing Kenai kings . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    . . how many Kings are we unknowingly killing and not accounting for, in the Kenai, and and every other drift/set net fishery in the State?

    I alluded to this in anther Kenai thread some time ago and my comment was summarily ignored. Is this a hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil subject? Do we have our heads in the sand on this one?
    How many of whatever we might be killing unknowingly seems like, well . . something of a goofy question. I mean, how would anyone answer a question that is, by definition, unanswerable?

    As to how many second-run Kenai kings are taken by the Cook Inlet, gill-net fishery, I'm under the impression that that is no great mystery and never has been. As I hear it, on average, 25 percent of second-run kings are taken by gill-nets—primarily by east-side set-nets, 25 percent of the run is taken by sport anglers, and about 50 percent spawns.

    My take here is "on average." Nerka can correct me if I'm grossly mistaken and/or maybe add some further detail.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    Twodux, they still have to prove intent for this regulation because it is stated in the regulation book.
    What is more intentional than getting out of the boat and dragging net onto the beach?
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    I am just an Ugly SEAGULL, I saw the Kings while I was taking my sport caught Sockeye in for Vac Pack and Freeze. It is hard not to see the huge Kings hanging over the sides of the plastic totes. I was just in line to get mine weighed. I heard them call out the numbers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by twodux View Post
    I'm more interested in the admitted illegal fishing Fullbush. It's illegal to drag your net onto the beach to hold it. That would technically be anchoring your gear. Hope one of the troopers on the site sees that post.
    Not advocating that it is now, or was then, legal. Just saying that it was commonly done by every boat on the north line at Egigik, and many other places. (And at Egigik the Troopers are right there within a few feet of the action, keeping very close watch on everyone). Probably still is done that way for all I know. But the nuances of what was or was not legal 15+ years ago was not the point of my posting. I was pointing out the different manners in which we fished the net, to make the point that regardless of whether the net was grounded similar to a set net, or hanging free in deep water, we incurred little or no damage attributable to kings and yet by my observations we caught, killed, and lost lots of kings in our nets. I specifically described those two net placement methods because in some other previous threads it was asserted that set nets result in less King bycatch than drifting nets, the logic being alleged was that Kings are more likely to roll up and tangle in drifting nets than set nets. It was also alleged that if Kings had been interacting with a net it would be fairly obvious, due to damage (the specific implication being if we see no damage, we can assume we're not killing Kings). I don't think that any of those theories hold water, and my experience doesn't bear it out. What I was wondering was if anyone knew with any accuracy whatsoever how many kings tangle and die in Sockeye sized gill net, then detach from the net, and are never seen or recovered. From what Nerka says, it sounds like that phenomena has not been researched and the answer is unknown. Hopefully, at some point it will be studied. As I stated previously, my personal suspicion, based strictly on my own experience, is that we are losing far more Kings in this manner than anyone suspects or realizes.
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerberman View Post
    I am just an Ugly SEAGULL, I saw the Kings while I was taking my sport caught Sockeye in for Vac Pack and Freeze. It is hard not to see the huge Kings hanging over the sides of the plastic totes. I was just in line to get mine weighed. I heard them call out the numbers.
    Kings taken to the processor are able to be accounted for. My point was about Kings we do not account for, and apparently don't even have a WAG number to plug into the management decisions, beacuse no one has attempted to study it.
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
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    Question How and why?

    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    . . My point was about Kings we do not account for, and apparently don't even have a WAG number to plug into the management decisions, beacuse no one has attempted to study it.
    But how would or could such a thing be studied, Tiger? Wouldn't such mortality likely/maybe be balanced out by c&r kings left without enough vigor to spawn? In spite of mortality-by-whatever, current escapement levels seem to be working in terms of sustained yield.

    And what would be the hoped for result of such a study? Restrictions of some sort on the nets? More escapement than present?

    I agree that it would be beneficial to management to know more about mortality/inability to spawn from whatever causes. What would you hope such studies to accomplish?

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    Tiger?
    What's with the "Tiger" thing Marcus?
    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    But how would or could such a thing be studied, Tiger?
    I bet we could figure it out, Marcus.
    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    Wouldn't such mortality likely/maybe be balanced out by c&r kings left without enough vigor to spawn?
    Every fish counts. Stop always trying to play one user group against another, would you?
    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    In spite of mortality-by-whatever, current escapement levels seem to be working in terms of sustained yield.
    Glad you think so. Doesn't seem to be much agreement on that point.
    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    And what would be the hoped for result of such a study? Restrictions of some sort on the nets? More escapement than present?
    Better knowledge. Of the resource, and our interaction with it. Better, more efficient gear. Less waste. More efficient use of the resource. More food on the table.
    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    I agree that it would be beneficial to management to know more about mortality/inability to spawn from whatever causes. What would you hope such studies to accomplish?
    Asked and answered I think.
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
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    Unhappy Sorry . . .

    No disrespect intended, iofthetaiga, just an abbreviation of sorts of your forum name: "taiga" = "tiger." I'm inclined to read your name as "Eye-of-the-tiger." Sorry. I've been reading too much Kipling* maybe? My apologies for any offense . , none intended.

    And, no, am not at all trying to play whomever against whomever. Sorry again . .



    *
    Shere Khan is a fictional tiger of the Indian jungle. He is the chief antagonist in two of Kipling's Jungle Book stories featuring Mowgli.

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