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Thread: Kenai sockeye run almost over… what a year!

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    Default Kenai sockeye run almost over… what a year!

    On the eve of what could be the final daily sockeye count reported (1 percent rule states counting stops after 3 consecutive days of < 1 percent of total passage), we can rest assured that the threat of over escapement is past us. Despite the fishing constraints presented by a dismal late run king salmon return, the OEG will be satisfied with plenty of overhead cushion.

    Mission accomplished!
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    Thanks FishDoc. However, at the risk of continuing to harp on an issue - Over-escapement is not a threat. It's an opportunity.

    If the number of spawners exceed the capacity of the spawning grounds, it is possible that the next year's production of sockeye may decrease (redd superimposition, density depended mortality, etc), but the excess fish carcasses provide extremely valuable "marine-derived nutrients" to the watershed. This will help future generations of salmon, far beyond the one-year decrease in sockeye productivity. As such, over-escapement will benefit ALL species of fish that live in the Kenai River watershed, including Chinook, coho, rainbow trout, sculpins, etc.

    I realize I've been beating on this issue for a long time, but recreational anglers, commercial fishing folks, and fishery biologists need to re-think their assumptions about over-escapement. We need to stop talking about it as a threat.

    I'm NOT saying ADF&G should manage the Kenai Rv fishery any differently. They should still try to stay within the escapement goals and they should still increase the bag limts (6/day) when the run-size is high to take advantage of the abundance. But if, per chance, the final run size is over the upper limit of the escapement goal, it's not a problem we need to be concerned about. The watershed, and all the fish that live there, will benefit substantially from the large numbers of returning adult sockeye.

    We should be thankful for that.....

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    Thumbs up Keep on beating away . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Cohoangler View Post
    Thanks FishDoc. However, at the risk of continuing to harp on an issue - Over-escapement is not a threat. It's an opportunity.

    If the number of spawners exceed the capacity of the spawning grounds, it is possible that the next year's production of sockeye may decrease (redd superimposition, density depended mortality, etc), but the excess fish carcasses provide extremely valuable "marine-derived nutrients" to the watershed. This will help future generations of salmon, far beyond the one-year decrease in sockeye productivity. As such, over-escapement will benefit ALL species of fish that live in the Kenai River watershed, including Chinook, coho, rainbow trout, sculpins, etc.

    I realize I've been beating on this issue for a long time, but recreational anglers, commercial fishing folks, and fishery biologists need to re-think their assumptions about over-escapement. We need to stop talking about it as a threat.

    I'm NOT saying ADF&G should manage the Kenai Rv fishery any differently. They should still try to stay within the escapement goals and they should still increase the bag limts (6/day) when the run-size is high to take advantage of the abundance. But if, per chance, the final run size is over the upper limit of the escapement goal, it's not a problem we need to be concerned about. The watershed, and all the fish that live there, will benefit substantially from the large numbers of returning adult sockeye.

    We should be thankful for that.....
    Well said, Cohoangler, issues such as overescapement and sustainable yield will only become more critical as we attempt to understand their long-term interdependence in the face of increased demand for animal protein to feed world hunger.

    Where's the balance point? At what point must we insist on optimum escapement levels in order to foster sustainable yield? At what point do we insist on sustainable harvest? It doesn't appear we currently understand all that we need to.

    Controversies between selfish user groups on a single river like the Kenai will, in the years to come, pale into insignificance in the face of an increasing demand for world food supplies. We're not there yet as we continue to indulge and promote our petty self-interests, but we're rapidly approaching a paradigm shift in how we must view and treat the ocean's harvestable biomass.

    Thanks for your perspectives . . we can't hear too much of such a broader understanding of the interdependent relationships between escapement levels, sustainable harvest, and assorted fisheries. Undue emphasis in one area too frequently results in negative consequences elsewhere in the food chain. Your views are a refreshing alternative to those still propagandizing for their myopic self-interests.

    Best . .

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    I totally agree - the issue of escapement / over escapement certainly needs more serious attention. Others areas like the Pacific Northwest seem to be doing the majority of the research while Alaska pretty much ignores the topic. IMO, Alaska is taking a short sighted approach to long term sustained harvest; we don't know how long some negative effects of overharvesting may take to appear. Some additional escapement may even be required to accomodate some short term issues like bank errosion for example. In the big picture of nature, nothing is ever wasted - everything has a vital place and that includes ALL of the fish that swim up the river. The real question boils down to how many fish can we remove with minimum effect - thre will always be a negative effect - on the very complex eco-system. I'd would much rather see us error on the side of nature than commercial profit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cohoangler View Post
    Thanks FishDoc. However, at the risk of continuing to harp on an issue - Over-escapement is not a threat. It's an opportunity.

    If the number of spawners exceed the capacity of the spawning grounds, it is possible that the next year's production of sockeye may decrease (redd superimposition, density depended mortality, etc), but the excess fish carcasses provide extremely valuable "marine-derived nutrients" to the watershed. This will help future generations of salmon, far beyond the one-year decrease in sockeye productivity. As such, over-escapement will benefit ALL species of fish that live in the Kenai River watershed, including Chinook, coho, rainbow trout, sculpins, etc.

    I realize I've been beating on this issue for a long time, but recreational anglers, commercial fishing folks, and fishery biologists need to re-think their assumptions about over-escapement. We need to stop talking about it as a threat.

    I'm NOT saying ADF&G should manage the Kenai Rv fishery any differently. They should still try to stay within the escapement goals and they should still increase the bag limts (6/day) when the run-size is high to take advantage of the abundance. But if, per chance, the final run size is over the upper limit of the escapement goal, it's not a problem we need to be concerned about. The watershed, and all the fish that live there, will benefit substantially from the large numbers of returning adult sockeye.

    We should be thankful for that.....
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
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    Thanks Marcus and TVF. Your concerns are spot on; however, I'm afraid the concept of "sustainable yield" will continue to be elusive.

    Look no farther than the Chinook stocks in Alaska. Alot of real smart folks thought the Chinook salmon in the Great Land were being managed on a sustained yield basis. That is, even though there would always be ups and downs, a complete collapse was unlikely, perhaps even to the point of being eliminated. They are correct in thinking that too many people are dependent on these stocks to risk a collapse. The Yukon River Chinook fishery comes to mind. However, I cannot find a better adjective to describe the Chinook run on the Yukon River this year than a complete collapse. Other Chinook stocks in Alaska are approaching that point too.

    Perhaps with better information we can better predict future returns. Or it could be that despite our best efforts, managing a wild population of animals on a sustained yield basis may not be as predictable as we thought. Managing for a sustained yield is still a good idea, and it might reduce the frequency of highs and lows, but it will always be a creature of our own making; and, as such, it may not always guarantee a continued supply of a critically important commodity to the folks who live in remote areas of the Great Land, such as the Yukon watershed. I'm not one of them, but I can only image what they must be thinking now that their previously dependable food supply is not nearly as dependable as they once thought........
    Last edited by Cohoangler; 08-10-2012 at 12:21. Reason: typo

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    Some reports on sockeye overescapement in the Kenai

    http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/fedaidpdfs/FRED.136.pdf


    http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/fedaidpdfs/RIR.5J.1995.15.pdf

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    Your bait stinks and your boat is ugly

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    Thanks for the links but 1993 and 1995 are interesting but ancient in the world of science. We've learned a lot in the last 2 decades about escapement and improved our methods of counting the escapement.

    i'm not in favor of knee-jerk reactions or just throwing money at a problem but I do think that an unbiased comprehensive study of the Kenai watershed and its fish is very justified. All the fish are too important to continue our status quo without more information on this very complex eco-system. Funding should be from all user groups and the research done by a mutally selected un-biased group so that we can all gag on any bitter pills that may result.

    Quote Originally Posted by FishGod View Post
    Some reports on sockeye overescapement in the Kenai

    http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/fedaidpdfs/FRED.136.pdf


    http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/fedaidpdfs/RIR.5J.1995.15.pdf

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    Question The future and "sustainable yield" . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Cohoangler View Post
    Thanks Marcus and TVF. Your concerns are spot on; however, I'm afraid the concept of "sustainable yield" will continue to be elusive.

    Look no farther than the Chinook stocks in Alaska. Alot of real smart folks thought the Chinook salmon in the Great Land were being managed on a sustained yield basis. That is, even though there would always be ups and downs, a complete collapse was unlikely, perhaps even to the point of being eliminated. They are correct in thinking that too many people are dependent on these stocks to risk a collapse. The Yukon River Chinook fishery comes to mind. However, I cannot find a better adjective to describe the Chinook run on the Yukon River this year than a complete collapse. Other Chinook stocks in Alaska are approaching that point too.

    Perhaps with better information we can better predict future returns. Or it could be that despite our best efforts, managing a wild population of animals on a sustained yield basis may not be as predictable as we thought. Managing for a sustained yield is still a good idea, and it might reduce the frequency of highs and lows, but it will always be a creature of our own making; and, as such, it may not always guarantee a continued supply of a critically important commodity to the folks who live in remote areas of the Great Land, such as the Yukon watershed. I'm not one of them, but I can only image what they must be thinking now that their previously dependable food supply is not nearly as dependable as they once thought........
    As always, Cohoangler, your posts are refreshing. Can we first agree that whatever is happening to Alaska's chinook runs is most likely something going on in the ocean, something we don't yet understand such as climate change or foreign-fishery interception? If so, your first post raises the issue of long-term interdependence, and I think that's where we as a state, nationally, and internationally are going to have to broaden our vision. The harvestable biomass of the world's oceans are simply becoming too critical a global resource for us to ignore the interrelatedness of various fisheries and our means and levels of harvest. The future of the world's fisheries will be decided by two factors: sustainability and economic efficiency. Recreational opportunity will continue to fade into insignificance in terms of more basic human needs.

    When I was a boy, we used to hunt wild pheasants in Michigan. Area farmers, using agricultural technology out of the '40s, practiced "dirty" farming . . untrimmed hedgerows and fallow fields provided habitat, fields of grain and corn supplied diet, and wild pheasants abounded. But those agricultural practices changed in the face of economic efficiency . . hedgerows were cut back, every tillable acre was planted, and wild pheasants disappeared—and along with them disappeared most of recreational pheasant hunting by non-farmers. Today most of what passes for good-old-days pheasant hunting is put-and-take and managed-preserve pheasant hunting. The same picture could be drawn for much fresh water fishing east of the Mississippi. Economic efficiency in the face of global markets and global food needs dictates our use of the land and will increasingly dictate our use of the oceans.

    The future we face is a future wherein we will not be able to treat global fishery sustainability with the same xenophobic, cavalier attitude we've indulged in the past. Contrary to myopic wishful thinking by some, the world's commercial fisheries will only increase in importance, not decrease, and recreational opportunity will increasingly suck hind-tit to global food production.

    As you say, "sustainable yield is and will continue to be elusive," but that is the ultimate question today—not on the level of an individual river such as the Kenai and not even on a regional level such as Alaska but rather globally.

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    Default not that simple...

    I for one don't agree that whatever is happening to ur kings is most likely happening in the ocean. If we take that myoptic view we may miss some of the real causes. Let's look at the whole big picture!

    It is interesting that you refer to "wild" pheasants" since these birds aren't even native to America. A better example would be the native wild turkey. The wild turkey has staged a dramatic comeback in the US with liberalized bag limits and increased interest and harvest by hunters. When I grew up seeing a wild turkey was a real thrill; even a few decades ago they were scarce. When I visited some property I own in the southeast US earlier this year I unintentionally distrurbed a hen sitting on a nest with 10 eggs. When I bought that property some 35 years ago I would have never dreamed that I would have wild turkeys so close ot a major city. while not fowl, the deer and bear populations are also experiencing dramatic growths. In addition to the turkey, I jumped 4 or 5 deer in a short walk across my 40 acres - when I bought the place I never dreamed of even seeing a deer on that property let alone hunting them.

    Farming and wild life can and do exist - and some of the most noticeable native wildlife has learned to adapt and thrive. Likewise for fishing - fish farming my offer an alternative that favors the sport fishemen. Catfish and shrimp farming are excellent examples. Last statistics I saw had 96% of the shrimp consummed in the US as being farmed. I'd bet the catfish figures are similar. Since fish farms depend more on automation rather than traditional hand labor, they can offer with a cost advantage as well as year round harvest. Cost is king - consumers buy much much more feed lot beef than free range buffalo. Likewise, farmed salmon will eventually push Alaskan fish to a nitch rather than a general market and sport fishermen will have better opportunity.

    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    As always, Cohoangler, your posts are refreshing. Can we first agree that whatever is happening to Alaska's chinook runs is most likely something going on in the ocean, something we don't yet understand such as climate change or foreign-fishery interception? If so, your first post raises the issue of long-term interdependence, and I think that's where we as a state, nationally, and internationally are going to have to broaden our vision. The harvestable biomass of the world's oceans are simply becoming too critical a global resource for us to ignore the interrelatedness of various fisheries and our means and levels of harvest. The future of the world's fisheries will be decided by two factors: sustainability and economic efficiency. Recreational opportunity will continue to fade into insignificance in terms of more basic human needs.

    When I was a boy, we used to hunt wild pheasants in Michigan. Area farmers, using agricultural technology out of the '40s, practiced "dirty" farming . . untrimmed hedgerows and fallow fields provided habitat, fields of grain and corn supplied diet, and wild pheasants abounded. But those agricultural practices changed in the face of economic efficiency . . hedgerows were cut back, every tillable acre was planted, and wild pheasants disappeared—and along with them disappeared most of recreational pheasant hunting by non-farmers. Today most of what passes for good-old-days pheasant hunting is put-and-take and managed-preserve pheasant hunting. The same picture could be drawn for much fresh water fishing east of the Mississippi. Economic efficiency in the face of global markets and global food needs dictates our use of the land and will increasingly dictate our use of the oceans.

    The future we face is a future wherein we will not be able to treat global fishery sustainability with the same xenophobic, cavalier attitude we've indulged in the past. Contrary to myopic wishful thinking by some, the world's commercial fisheries will only increase in importance, not decrease, and recreational opportunity will increasingly suck hind-tit to global food production.

    As you say, "sustainable yield is and will continue to be elusive," but that is the ultimate question today—not on the level of an individual river such as the Kenai and not even on a regional level such as Alaska but rather globally
    .
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