I'm posting this for my Father he is also the author.
I'm posting this for my Father he is also the author.
Good points for sure. One huge consideration when I retired in Alaska after military service was to enjoy the bounty of Alaska's salmon. We managed to put very few salmon in our freezer this season as we normally have for many years. Our King trip was cancelled due to closures and our Silvers in Res Bay did not produce. A quick search of ADFG shows last economic impact statement [2007 ~ revised 2009] for non-resident licenses at $652.5M.
This is a great first step. Unfortunately the emotional (not my livelihood) and political (not my constituents.... VOTE FOR ME!) aspects/players would do their darnedest to prevent this or anything close to it from becoming law.
Few quick thoughts...
The biggest difference between the Game we hunt and the Fish we are trying to protect is that there are outside commercial interests in the fish you wish to protect by State Law. If it were deemed legal to commercially harvest caribou, the WACH population would be in trouble like the 40 Mile heard was in recent history and every village off the grid would be 100% federally subsidized regarding food.
And as AKluvr95 stated, the non-resident income of $650M+ added to the coffers of the management of the resources would be hard to replace if we slammed the door on the non-residents.
Again I applaud you both for your effort in drawing this up.
When all else fails...ask your old-man.
The BOF has already taken some steps to try and address the pike issue in Alexander, but I'm not trying to say that it's enough.
I like some of the ideas, and think they're definitely worth a deeper look but I think it's quite a stretch to assert something like this: "Under the BOF, with an Intensive Management law, problems like Pike and Beaver dams in 16b would also be quickly solved." Really? Quickly solved? The document doesn't even try to back that one up.
Great piece of work which I wholeheartedly support. There are some specifics that need to be further clarified and ironed out but the overall premise of managing for maximum abundance for consumptive use by Alaska residents should be a rallying cry for all of us.
Perhaps it's inappropriate for an outsider like me to have an opinion on this issue, but the issues being addressed are strikingly familiar to what has happened elsewhere. So here goes.
An interesting essay. However, it really doesn't address the issue of how to get more fish into Alaska's rivers. It makes the presumption that all sources of salmon mortality are known, measureable, and can be controlled with better/different management. Further, it equates wildlife management with fisheries management. Niether of these assumptions are realistic.
Chinook salmon stocks across Alaska took a real dive in 2012. Why did this happen? Nobody knows. The author seems to suggest that commercial fishing, or some form of human-caused morality is the culprit. However, that's highly unlikely given the scope of the declines. So reallocating the fisheries to Alaska residents who rely on these stocks for subsistence and personal use won't help answer the question of why the stocks collapsed this year, or what can be done in the future. Reallocating a limited resource doesn't make it any more abundant. It might help one user group fill their freezer faster than another group, which might be okay if you're the group that benefits; but if you're not, the proposal is simply a "Me First Because I'm More Important" strategy. Everyone can make that claim. Everybody in Alaska is important, and has a legitimate claim to Alaska's salmon resource. Even commercial fisherman, since many of them are also Alaska residents. Nonresident's don't have a real claim here, but their take of the salmon resource is so small (comparitively) that I'm not sure it really matters. But I'm ignoring the nonresident commercial fishermen, from places like Seattle.....
Further, fish management ain't wildlife management. For the most part wildlife biologists have a much better grasp of the productivity of their stocks than fish managers ever will. The fact is that nobody knows how many salmon are going to return to any river in any given year. We can guess, but we are wrong more often than we are right. Wildlife managers can almost count (and name) the number of harvestable adults they have in a given population. That's an exaggeration, but not my much. So targeting the harvest (i.e., hunting) to specific populations of caribou or moose, or whatever, is both feasible and necessary to provide rural Alaskans their subsistence priority. This doesn't happen with salmon. Fish managers have a general idea of when the salmon will show up, but they never really know how many. And when they're gone, they're gone. They are only available for harvest for a limited amount of time. And the highest priority must continue to be the fish. That is, the number of adults must meet or exceed the biological escapement goals to ensure an adequate number of spawners. Further, our grasp of ocean mortality is rudimentary, at best. As such, the largest source of mortality for Pacific salmon is almost completely unknown. That further complicates fishery management. My point is that taking a statue that was established for wildlife and applying it to fish is biologically unsupportable. And it's really poor management.
I'm not saying all the ideas presented are unrealistic. Some have merit. But I see the essay as an attempt to reallocate a limited resource towards a specific user group favored by the author rather than a legitimate method of increasing the stocks or addressing the recent declines in Chinook salmon abundance. But I realize that others may see it differently, especially if your next meal depends on having access to that resource.
Skwentna Man, appreciate you posting this and kudos to your dad, Tom, for writing it up. I don't agree with it, but nice to see others thinking about it and trying to come up with solutions.
Not sure if your dad is a member here...there are some historical aspects missing from his essay, the main one being that we already in effect intensively manage salmon based on MSY and OEY methods and goals. Really what this piece asks for is a priority and reallocation of salmon to Alaskan residents, and I don't see that such a new law would equate to actually putting more fish in the river on a sustainable basis.
And regarding IM law, whenever we mandate high levels of game, that doesn't always end up being good for the game, the habitat, or us. The main problem with IM law imo is that it is in effect a mandate, driven too often by politics over science. But hey, again, we already intensively manage our salmon and we can see the politics in all that <grin>.
Right now the most important thing we can all do for the Chinook stocks is to work with F&G, become more educated on the issue, abide by closures when they are ordered, conserve and protect now so we still have runs in the future. We can't peg one single thing that has caused diminished returns, there are known unknowns and also unknown unknowns. No one likes closures, no one likes not being able to fill freezers and larders as they are accustomed to doing. Pushing for a reallocation and priority for AK residents as a temp solution just doesn't get us anywhere really long term.
I'm not speaking on behalf of my dad but I think the just of the essay is we need to manage from the rivers down and not the ocean up, and also it IS an allocation issue, MORE SALMON NEED TO BE ALLOWED INTO THE RIVERS AND THAT WILL ONLY HAPPEN WITH REALLOCATION.
Also this will get the BOFs attention, the essay has already been in the Valley Fontiersman and passed around to all the local legislators.
A little history on Tom Payton - Came to the Alaska in early 70s Homesteaded in the Skwentna area. Has been involved in F&G issues ever since. I would say he knows more about F&G law and history then most. He beat the State in a law suit and single handed got the Upper Yentna River Subsistance Fishery implemented. See Payton vs State of Alaska
I dont think my dad is a member of the forum, he said it wouldnt let him sign up.
Thanks for all the response