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Thread: Wednesday's Fishery meeting at Willow Creek Resort

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    Member willphish4food's Avatar
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    Default Wednesday's Fishery meeting at Willow Creek Resort

    I had to miss this meeting, as I was showing some visitors around our local waters. This is a summary by a person who did attend. Here we are, in the aftermath of another dismal sport fishing season, looking around us at a near absence of coho, on top of an abbreviated king season that saw many rivers restricted preseason, and closed completely mid season, and spawning goals still missed.

    Alaska Department of FIsh and Game (ADF&G) Fishery Answers -- Lacking




    At a Wednesday August 29, 3 p.m. public meeting in Willow with ADF&G Commissioner Cora Campbell, ADF&G Director of Commercial Fisheries Jeff Regnart, and ADF&G Director of Sport Fisheries Charles Swanton many of the public’s questions went largely unanswered or were answered in a way that showed little or no concern with declining Matanuska - Susitna Valley salmon runs from the Department’s highest level Governor appointed staff members.


    For those attending dependent upon salmon fishing in the Mat-Su Valley, the biggest issue was clearly, why does the Department of Fish and Game prioritizes management and harvesting Kenai River sockeye salmon over even achieving minimum escapement goals for salmon bound to Mat-Su Valley destinations? Commercial Fisheries Director, Jeff Regnart attempted to pass responsibility off onto the Alaska Board of FIsheries, but people in the crowd had been played for fools by ADF&G officials before, and would have none of it.


    A commercial drift fisherman stated that the Drift Fishery Management Plan listed several drift fishing restrictions during the July fishery to provide escapement of salmon bound for Mat-Su valley streams, and asked Director Regnart to speak to that issue. Regnart replied that indeed there were several provisions in that management plan providing for escapements of Mat-Su valley bound salmon through the entire month of July.


    When asked by a Mat-Su fishing guide, Why the Department went outside the same management plan and opened commercial fishing in the area the plan listed as closed to provide for Mat-Su salmon escapement and reasonable fishing opportunities? The Director of Commercial Fisheries’ reply was, “Opening commercial fishing in that area during that period, provided one of the largest commercial harvests of salmon of the entire 2012 season.” Exactly the point people wanted to make --ADF&G’s emergency action targeted a maximum number of the fish (Regnart claimed were protected by the plan) for harvest, without limit, by the most efficient harvesters of salmon in Cook Inlet.


    In further rebuttal to Regnart’s statement that the plan provided for Mat-Su bound salmon escapements during the entire month of July, a question was asked, “When the Department projects a Kenai River sockeye salmon run exceeding 4.6 million fish, does the plan remove all mandatory restrictions to the regular drift fishing periods during July?”


    5AA 21.353 states: (iii) at run strengths greater than 4,600,0000 sockeye salmon to the Kenai River there will be no mandatory restrictions during regular fishing periods, and Regnart acknowledged this fact, but then went on to state that the Department retains emergency order authority to manage the drift fishery to achieve spawning escapement goals.


    Unfortunately, for most people attending this meeting, the Commercial Fish Division with this authority, for the most part, chose to avoid using it -- even when it meant failure to reach even minimum escapement levels for several Mat-Su Valley salmon stocks. Instead Commercial Fish Division exacerbated the problem, by focusing near maximum drift fishery effort on vulnerable salmon stocks transecting the middle portion of Upper Cook Inlet from mid-July into August.


    Several Mat-Su and some Kenai Peninsula business owners expressed the economic hardship ADF&G salmon management had placed on their financial situations during 2012. Business loans may be available for some of these individuals through the Division of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development once they have been turned down for a bank loan. One attending business owners lamented a thought I sure was on most meeting attenders’ minds, “What good is a loan if there are no fish, for my business to be able to repay the loan?”


    As Alaskan residents, numerous people living in the Mat-Su Valley and Anchorage dependent upon the salmon resource for economic well-being, providing food, and recreation asked why the Department was not providing reasonable harvestable surplus numbers of salmon to reach the Mat-Su Valley? One individual acknowledged there seemed to be a whole staff of people in the Department of Fish and Game looking out for Kenai River salmon and the people who harvested them, but who in the Department looked out for Mat-Su Valley bound salmon stocks?


    From the Commissioner, the Director of Commercial Fisheries, and the Director of Sport Fisheries -- silence -- was the only answer.


    Commercial set netters from the Eastside beaches of the Kenai Peninsula had also suffered through extensive closures of their harvest opportunities during 2012, and attended the meeting. A question asked by set netter Paul Shadura, was shared at least in thought, by nearly everyone attending the meeting, “Given the same circumstances next year, will the Department manage Cook Inlet differently?”


    Commissioner Cora Campbell’s answer, “Circumstances are always different.”


    Shadura persisted, “If circumstances were only slightly different, would the Department manage differently?”


    From the Commissioner there was not even a hint, that the Department would make achieving Mat-Su Valley spawning escapement goals a higher priority. There was also no hint that the Department would even attempt to allow more equitable harvest of Upper Cook Inlet’s salmon bounty.


    There were many more thought provoking and interesting points raised in this meeting, than can be covered in a single newspaper column. I would like to thank all who attended, and brought management issues to the attention of the highest level of ADF&G staff. I would like to thank Representative Mark Neuman for hosting this event. While the process is slow -- together we can make a difference for Mat-Su Valley salmon -- and the process has been started.


    Failure to achieve minimum salmon spawning escapement goals -- is unacceptable.


    Failure to provide reasonable salmon harvest opportunities in the Mat-Su Valley and the Northern portion of Upper Cook Inlet must be addressed.


    If ADF&G refuses to consider the whole public, when doling out both conservation burdens and salmon harvest opportunities -- the public should hold Commissioner Campbell, Director Regnart, Director Swanton, and the Parnel Administration responsible.

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    Why do people talk about important issues, but then tell half truths, and worse to make a point? Would you mind sharing who wrote that Willfish? I'd be interested in knowing to a point.

    1). It IS the BoF's fault. ADF&G simply does what plans tell it to. They have to, and are obligated to by law. If you don't understand that simple fact then there is no hope in talking about this issue really.

    2) In my opinion it wasn't sockeye managment that allowed the drift fleet to fish so hard as much as it was Chinook issues. The chinook tools and burdens were put in the management plans by certain groups via political pressure on the BoF during the last couple decades. So the department had to do what the plans called for, and they did.

    to be clear......I am not a fan of the currentl UCI management plans. However, I blame it on an inept board process, political pressure overcoming sound science, and overall ignorance and apathy. Not on the department.

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    F&G goes outside the managment plan all the time with their EO authority.

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    Quote Originally Posted by yukon View Post
    F&G goes outside the managment plan all the time with their EO authority.
    Not really. EO authority is part of the management plan.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Funstastic View Post
    Not really. EO authority is part of the management plan.
    Can't argue too much with that. From what I have seen over the past 15 years or so of following this pretty close, the managers use the management plan as more of a "guideline" then EO as they see fit. There are parts of the BOF plans that call for EO's within the management plan, but F&G will EO outside of those EO's in the management plan. F&G usually uses this power for conservation issues. The EO's that are outside of the management plan EO's are the ones that, IMO,usually cause the most turmoil for the public as F&G is expected to follow the management plans, and when then EO outside of that the problems start.

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    ......................

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    Marcus, are you bored or just sending back to the top?
    If a dipnetter dips a fish and there is no one around to see/hear it, Did he really dip?

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    Quote Originally Posted by thewhop2000 View Post
    Marcus, are you bored or just sending back to the top?
    Its hardly a btt since it was already at the top when he illuminated the conversation with his enlightening "............." post - again. It just never gets old. On the other hand, if his period key is just stuck down, maybe he should read is own sig lines?

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    Quote Originally Posted by thewhop2000 View Post
    Marcus, are you bored or just sending back to the top?
    Just a "placeholder," whop . . kinda keepin' tabs on what's going on without the, ummm . . "need" to comment in return.

    Carry on . . .

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    There is an advertisement for a Kenai guide service after the first post of this thread. I don't believe I have seen advertisements inserted between posts on threads before. Am I mistaken? Not really complaining, just wondering if there is any significance to this and where it may lead. And please forgive me forthe sidetrack, I do not want toget offtopic on this very important subject.

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    It has been reported to me that this "summary" as willfish calls it, was written by a Mat-Su guide and member of the blue ribbon b.s committee or whatever they call themselves.

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    Default ...........

    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    Just a "placeholder," whop . . kinda keepin' tabs on what's going on without the, ummm . . "need" to comment in return.

    Carry on . . .
    ..........................

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    At the risk of stating the obvious, here is the best line of the article:

    "Failure to achieve minimum salmon spawning escapement goals -- is unacceptable."

    All else is irrelevant. The escapement goals for the Mat-Su are as important as the KP. And it is far more important than someone's economic interests.

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    right on dude
    If a dipnetter dips a fish and there is no one around to see/hear it, Did he really dip?

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    What does it matter who replied on the outcome? Were you there? Did you make any comments? I thought so.....
    I talked to my representitives and the commish, director of sports fish and countless others. I hear you complaining but don't see you showing up. Sorry dude but put up or shut up. Gunner, if you are going to *****, show up and do so. Need I say more? If not, just sit back and take snipe shots at us that do put our first foot forward, Thanks to all that attended, Gunner had better things to do as I am sure he will explain, when it suits him.
    man I wonder why I am still on here? Glad you all attended that could.
    If a dipnetter dips a fish and there is no one around to see/hear it, Did he really dip?

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    Quote Originally Posted by gunner View Post
    There is an advertisement for a Kenai guide service after the first post of this thread. I don't believe I have seen advertisements inserted between posts on threads before. Am I mistaken? Not really complaining, just wondering if there is any significance to this and where it may lead. And please forgive me forthe sidetrack, I do not want toget offtopic on this very important subject.
    The advertisements placed immediately after the first post are found on all threads. At times they are simply links with a short text description, and at other times they are banner ads. Those particular ads are placed there by Google and their algorithms decide which ads are most appropriate. Sometimes we get fishing ads in threads dealing with fishing, while other times the ads are completely irrelevant. Right now I see a La-Z-Boy ad up there, and if I refreshed the page I'd get something different. Ads on the forum homepage are different, as most of those are placed there directly by us for companies that advertise through AOD, but the Google-placed ads are also a part of what keeps the lights on around here. In short, the Kenai guide ad was put there somewhat by coincidence, not because we chose to place it there.

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    Thanks for the reply Brian, I honestly hadn't noticed them before. I was in no way trying to imply anything regarding that particular advertiser. From what I hear, he is a credit to his industry. Thanks for straightening me out.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by thewhop2000 View Post
    What does it matter who replied on the outcome? Were you there? Did you make any comments? I thought so.....
    I talked to my representitives and the commish, director of sports fish and countless others. I hear you complaining but don't see you showing up. Sorry dude but put up or shut up. Gunner, if you are going to *****, show up and do so. Need I say more? If not, just sit back and take snipe shots at us that do put our first foot forward, Thanks to all that attended, Gunner had better things to do as I am sure he will explain, when it suits him.
    man I wonder why I am still on here? Glad you all attended that could.
    It doesn't matter who" REPLIES" on the outcome. But it does matter ( to me anyway) who" REPORTS" on the outcome. I do wish I could have attended the meeting. However, I had to work a 12 hour day on the 29th. Even if my workday had been shorter, the location was over 200 driving miles from my home. Sorry my post got you so riled up, I just felt this "report" might have been a bit slanted.

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