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Thread: Kenai chinook stock assessment... evolving for the better.

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    Default Kenai chinook stock assessment... evolving for the better.

    First off, thanks to commfish for providing the links in the the other thread.

    Pay particular attention to this one....

    http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/FedAidPDFs/SP10-18.pdf

    ... specifically the Executive Summary on page one (page 7 of the PDF). Unfortunately the security features on the document do NOT allow copy/paste of the text, otherwise I would have just posted it here.

    This is a great summary of the challanges facing managers in keeping their fingers on the pulse of the health of Kenai kings. It acknowledges the pitfalls of managing the component populations on an arbitrary July 1 cut-off date between ER and LR, when in fact the true dichotomy is NOT run-timing, but rather spawning distribution.... trib vs mainstem. As our understanding of these population has evolved so too has ADFG, adapting its assessment metrics accordingly.

    Lots of challenges ahead, but it's nice to see the errors of the past acknowledged in print. Makes one wonder how much credibility so much of the old data holds. It's encouraging to see additional research in terms of population dynamics. Looking at these populations with fresh spectacles is gonna take some getting used to.
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  2. #2

    Default Kenai chinook stock assessment... evolving for the better.

    Good read. I noticed it's from 2010. Perhaps a Didson report would be helpful, so we know exactly how they've been counting the last two years of king runs that are being advertised by KRSA as the 'new normal'.

    Interestingly, with the new genetic data provided by ADFG commercial fisheries division, ESSN harvest data is the most accurate and historic LRK run strength indicator that we have. And since commercial division is so forthcoming and diligent in their data aquisition and reporting, we have management reports from many years past at just the click of a mouse. Heck, they even show the number of clams dug on the Cook Inlet shoreline every year. Now that's management!

    Counting LR Kings in a river full of sockeye is no easy task, I get that. But if we're going to make these the most important fish in the inlet, let's be a little more scientific and responsible with the data. I wonder sometimes why, if Kenai Kings are so much more important than sockeye like KRSA says, do we know so much less about these fish than we do sockeye?

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    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    . . if Kenai Kings are so much more important than sockeye like KRSA says . .
    They're not, simple as that.

    Sockeye are overwhelmingly the bread-and-butter fish, for both sport-anglers and for the gill-net industry.


    Kenai kings and their devotees are the primary cause of all the contention attendant to Cook Inlet fisheries.


    Shut it down.

    Give the Kings a break.

    Give the community a break.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    Interestingly, with the new genetic data provided by ADFG commercial fisheries division, ESSN harvest data is the most accurate and historic LRK run strength indicator that we have. And since commercial division is so forthcoming and diligent in their data aquisition and reporting, we have management reports from many years past at just the click of a mouse. Heck, they even show the number of clams dug on the Cook Inlet shoreline every year.
    When was the last comm fish sonar report for the sockeye counter?
    Please explain how the ESSN harvest data provides a run abundance estimate to the Kenai River? The ESSN harvest data can provide a gross indicator of abundance, but not a number that can be used to manage the fishery.
    The number of clams dug on the Kenai Peninsula is data collected by sport fish division, also reported in sport fish reports and the statewide harvest survey.

  5. #5

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    Commfish,

    Here it is, all you have to do is look for it.
    http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/FedAidPDFs/FDS10-93.pdf

    I believe that this report has the conversion factors from bendix to didson in it.

    I did not say run abundance estimate used to manage the fishery, I said run strength indicator if you want to be specific. As we have no Chinook Didson data yet, and ADFG released a memo this fall saying that they have 0 confidence in all past sonar enumeration procedures, and since the inriver netting programs have never been run consistently, and since we have ESSN data for like the last 100 years, I think that it's pretty fair to say that ESSN HARVEST DATA IS THE MOST ACCURATE AND HISTORIC LRK RUN STRENGTH INDICATOR THAT WE HAVE.

  6. #6

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    I think you meant to paste the link to the commercial fisheries sonar report for the 2010 season:http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/FedAidPDFs/FDS11-66.pdf

    What
    you posted was the 2009 genetic report. Nevertheless, it just shows that it takes time for both divisions to analyze data and write reports.

    100 years of ESSN data that can be used for king salmon run strength? Really? And that fishery hasn't undergone any changes which makes all that 100 years of data comparable to the present day fishery? I think you are over selling the usefulness of the data. It can't provide a number to base management on, it only provides a gross indicator of abundance like the inriver test fishery and sport cpue. And it comes at a cost of killings kings in order to obtain the information.

    You do have Didson data. Just look at the counts for the last few years that Didson has been run and is provided on the fish count page and compare it to those years. It's easy to see that when you add in the harvest, 2012 was a smaller run than 2011 and 2010. All of Cook Inlet has experienced low king salmon abundance since 2009. Why would the Kenai be any different. You don't need a report to tell you what is obivious to everyone. Did you not listen to any of the information presented at the Chinook salmon symposium?

    The netting program has made some refinements in the operations over the years. That doesn't mean they haven't accounted for those changes and the information isn't comparable and useful for management. Late reports, no timely information, only ESSN information is useful to manage the king fishery, etc. These are all just excuses to not advance discussions on how to change the commercial and sport fisheries when runs are poor and historic harvest levels can't be maintained during this period of poor productivity.

  7. #7

    Default Kenai chinook stock assessment... evolving for the better.

    Oops, wrong link. Here's the sonar report.

    http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/FedAidPDFs/FMS11-02.pdf

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    Oops, wrong link. Here's the sonar report.

    http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/FedAidPDFs/FMS11-02.pdf
    This proves my point. The data used in this report was though 2009 and the report wasn't written until February 2011, just before the Cook Inlet board meeting. It's the same for both divisions. It just takes time to analyze the data, draft a report, have the report reviewed, and then publish the report. That also doesn't mean that the data isn't available for managers to use just because the report isn't finalized. I certainly can understand the departments reluctance to provide preliminary data that hasn't been reviewed or described because then people just take it out of context, and misuse the data to further their own agendas.

  9. #9

    Default Kenai chinook stock assessment... evolving for the better.

    Well I'm glad we both agree that there are 100 years of ESSN catch data, and that it is a broad indicator of abundance, and that we probably shouldn't use it alone to make management decisions. But it's there, and it's more consistent than any inriver data coming from ADFG. Moving on.

    I completely understand that it takes time for the department to produce reports. I also understand the danger in releasing unreviewed data. I hope you can understand my frustration that in a season such as last, when there was a very low confidence (by both the department and the public) in the way Kings were enumerated, the department refused to release even daily creel reports as far back as 2007. Maybe they were still being reviewed I guess. They must have reviewed them fast, cause as soon people with a little more stroke started asking, they got released.

    I take issue with the statement that we have Didson data - I don't quite get it. I was told that all these numbers are being reviewed and changed as we speak. I also remember that since the department only ran the new king sonar side by side with the old for a very short time before pulling the old counter due to funding issues, and since the old counter was biased by sockeye, conversions would be difficult, and a number of indices would be used to come up with a King escapement. Then when the user groups were shut down a number of those indicies were not available, so we just used Didson. And I'm supposed to trust those numbers and accept a "new normal". And then a bunch of ADFG people in Anchorage got 5 figure salary raises.

    We didn't make radical changes to our sockeye fisheries during the sockeye sonar transition (wich was much better managed than the King sonar transition) and especially not before we even knew the procedures and conversions used for enumeration. Basic common sense would dictate that it's unwise to change too many variables at once, and irresponsible to discuss changes before we even know the real numbers. Who knows, maybe accurate numbers will show that we've had TOO MANY Kings spawning in the Kenai in the not too distant past. Do you think that might change the discussion a little?

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    Well I'm glad we both agree that there are 100 years of ESSN catch data, and that it is a broad indicator of abundance, and that we probably shouldn't use it alone to make management decisions. But it's there, and it's more consistent than any inriver data coming from ADFG. Moving on.
    No, we donít agree. See page two of the commercial fishery report: ďDetailed commercial salmon harvest statistics for UCI specific to gear type and area are available only back to 1966 (Appendix B6).Ē
    http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/FedAidPDFs/FMR12-25.pdf


    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    I completely understand that it takes time for the department to produce reports. I also understand the danger in releasing unreviewed data. I hope you can understand my frustration that in a season such as last, when there was a very low confidence (by both the department and the public) in the way Kings were enumerated, the department refused to release even daily creel reports as far back as 2007. Maybe they were still being reviewed I guess. They must have reviewed them fast, cause as soon people with a little more stroke started asking, they got released.
    Confidence in the new Didson counts is very high within the department. Why else would they be spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in purchasing new equipment? Refusing to release reports? All of their reports are placed on their web site as soon as they are published. Releasing reports only because someone with a little more stroke starting asking? Iím not sure who you are implying here but I can guess. I imagine that with the formation of a task force, that probably moved up the priority of all associated reports and put others on the back burner.


    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    I take issue with the statement that we have Didson data - I don't quite get it. I was told that all these numbers are being reviewed and changed as we speak. I also remember that since the department only ran the new king sonar side by side with the old for a very short time before pulling the old counter due to funding issues, and since the old counter was biased by sockeye, conversions would be difficult, and a number of indices would be used to come up with a King escapement. Then when the user groups were shut down a number of those indicies were not available, so we just used Didson. And I'm supposed to trust those numbers and accept a "new normal".

    All inseason information is preliminary until it gets analyzed and reviewed. As an example, the commercial fisheries manager presented new commercial harvest numbers at the November task force meeting and explained that they go through all the fish ticket data once the season is over. Inseason, the numbers are just called in by processors. The old split beam equipment wasnít used because it provided useless information and would have been a waste of money. This was the same reason they stopped counting sockeye on the Yentna River. Looking at the fish count web page, they still had the net apportioned CPUE and net apportioned estimates in addition to the Didson counts. They didnít need the setnets to tell them the run was low.

    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    And then a bunch of ADFG people in Anchorage got 5 figure salary raises.
    What exactly are you trying to say here?

    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    We didn't make radical changes to our sockeye fisheries during the sockeye sonar transition (wich was much better managed than the King sonar transition) and especially not before we even knew the procedures and conversions used for enumeration. Basic common sense would dictate that it's unwise to change too many variables at once, and irresponsible to discuss changes before we even know the real numbers. Who knows, maybe accurate numbers will show that we've had TOO MANY Kings spawning in the Kenai in the not too distant past. Do you think that might change the discussion a little?
    When they transitioned the sockeye sonar they held a meeting at the beginning of July (after the fishery had started) to tell everyone what they were going to do. This occurred out of the board cycle and basically let everyone know that they had converted the numbers the year before and never told anyone about it. Not sure that was handled any better than the king transition which was discussed at the 2011 board meeting, a public meeting in Kenai before the season started, and numerous meetings with the various user groups on the Kenai peninsula Ė both sport and commercial.

    Here is an article on the sockeye sonar transition meeting:
    http://peninsulaclarion.com/stories/...17470223.shtml

    It certainly is possible that large king escapements that occurred from 03-06 in all of the Cook Inlet streams may be contributing to lower production but that canít account for all of it. Poor marine survival is driving production issues right now for kings and coho. Itís time for everyone to tighten their belts and get used to harvesting less kings for a while. You can point fingers, bash the assessment, and play the blame game, but it doesnít change that fact.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by commfish View Post
    Confidence in the new Didson counts is very high within the department.
    ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME??? I don't know what department you've been hanging out in, but I've read the memos that came out regarding the sonar. Memo RC7 stated that the old sonar sucked wind, and that the department would be using a number of indices in 2012 to estimate abundance since Didson had not yet been fully reviewed and converted. ESSN and inriver harvest were among these five indices, and we got precious little data from them in 2012. So they went with just the Didson and some netting, and compared that number to an escapement number that was developed for a technology that the department now says was completely useless. Yeah, confidence is high.

    What methods does ADFG follow to ensure that the king counter is pulled consistently at the same time every year? I believe that the sockeye counters are pulled each year after 3 consecutive days of less that 1% total run. Sounds like a good plan. That means that the comm fish manager can't just say, "hey, we've got too many Sockeye in the river (and that's bad), so let's pull the counter a little early so it looks like we haven't blown our escapement goal all to hell"

    How big of a factor is tidal influence in this new didson king counter? How many fish were swimming behind the new counter? How many hours each day did ADFG actually spend counting fish? What did they do when there was a flood of sockeye in front of the counter and they just had to shut it off? Why the heck have the netting programs not been run more consistently?

    Yes, ADFG comm fish produces inseason harvest estimates for the industry, which are available hours after an opener, and are used to help manage the fishery. These numbers are updated post season with actual numbers, and the estimates are usually pretty close. How exactly does sportfish track the inriver industry? Are the harvest estimates for the inriver commercial guide industry available daily? Wouldn't it help managers asses inriver abundance if they were? There's more gillnetters than there is inriver guides, so you can't use the "it's too hard" excuse.

    Quote Originally Posted by commfish View Post
    It certainly is possible that large king escapements that occurred from 03-06 in all of the Cook Inlet streams may be contributing to lower production but that canít account for all of it. Poor marine survival is driving production issues right now for kings and coho. Itís time for everyone to tighten their belts and get used to harvesting less kings for a while. You can point fingers, bash the assessment, and play the blame game, but it doesnít change that fact.
    Whoooa, what was that? Did you say past overescapement could be contributing to lower production? That's possible? So from 03-06 the commercial and sport fisheries didn't catch enough kings? Could you be sure to mention that at the next TF meeting?

    I've never for a second doubted that poor marine survival is at play here. It is a completely natural cycle and should be treated as such. Maybe next time KRSA starts talking about the "new normal" you can remind them that this is and always has been normal. Marine survival fluctuates. I can get used to harvesting less kings for a while. I can't get used to harvesting NO fish because our department is more worried about politics and money than science and proper management.

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    The most basic, fundamental, critical piece of information in all of fishery management is....... What is the size of the spawning stock of adults?

    Once you have that number, you can make informed management decisions. Without it, you're sunk. Or flying blind.

    This discussion demonstrates how difficult it can be to get that critical piece of information.

  13. #13

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    Smithb,

    All of your questions have either already been answered or can be answered by yourself if you read the reports that have been provided. The report link provided at the beginning of this thread is a great one to start with. You can mention whatever you want at the TF meeting yourself, and remind KRSA whatever you want yourself.

    Merry Christmas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cohoangler View Post
    . . how difficult it can be to get that critical piece of information.

    Not "difficult" but rather "impossible." As David Montgomery put it:

    . . the inherent uncertainty of the natural sciences . .
    Thus it has ever been, is now, and ever shall be. World without end.

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    Marcus - Ya missed the "Amen" at the end.....

    Getting an accurate count of the # of adults can be difficult in many circumstances, but not all. Even in remote Alaska rivers, they have wiers and counting fences that can be quite accurate. But in large, navigable rivers like the Kenai, that's not practical. But often times that's where the estimate of the #'s of adults is most important. The Columbia River is the same. We can't get an accurate count until the fish hit Bonneville Dam, which is 150 miles upstream of the mouth. And upstream of 50% of the recreational fishing and 100% of the commercial fishing. That makes management a difficult task, at best. At worst, it's an educated gamble on how many fish to allocate to each user group. Nobody is ever happy, but that's fishery management.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cohoangler View Post
    Marcus - Ya missed the "Amen" at the end.....

    Getting an accurate count of the # of adults can be difficult in many circumstances, but not all. Even in remote Alaska rivers, they have wiers and counting fences that can be quite accurate. But in large, navigable rivers like the Kenai, that's not practical. But often times that's where the estimate of the #'s of adults is most important. The Columbia River is the same. We can't get an accurate count until the fish hit Bonneville Dam, which is 150 miles upstream of the mouth. And upstream of 50% of the recreational fishing and 100% of the commercial fishing. That makes management a difficult task, at best. At worst, it's an educated gamble on how many fish to allocate to each user group. Nobody is ever happy, but that's fishery management.

    Yeah, I know, Coho, but we're not supposed to "git relig'n" here.


    Keep in mind that while it might be possible, in a given, restricted set of circumstances and as a one-time event, to get a fairly accurate count of spawning adults, there's far, far more to science, which proposes to predict, than such a restricted data-set.


    You pays your money and you takes your chances.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    Yeah, I know, Coho, but we're not supposed to "git relig'n" here.


    Keep in mind that while it might be possible, in a given, restricted set of circumstances and as a one-time event, to get a fairly accurate count of spawning adults, there's far, far more to science, which proposes to predict, than such a restricted data-set.


    You pays your money and you takes your chances.
    Amen to that.......

  18. #18

    Default Kenai chinook stock assessment... evolving for the better.

    Commfish,

    Thanks for the debate. I know I let my frustration get the best of me at times. It's important to remember that Alaska's fisheries management is second to none. We've managed to sustain some of the most productive and healthy fisheries in the world, thanks in no small part to ADFG. I will be sure to mention a few of my concerns at the next task force meeting. As you seem to have a vested interest in both our economy and our fisheries, I hope you will help me with KRSA. Their goals are not consistent with the best interest of most Alaskans. While most of us would like to see a healthy balance of all user groups, both for our economy and our way of life, KRSA makes no secret of their desire to eliminate the commercial fisheries from Cook Inlet - by way of setnetters first. Their support for the drifters right now is simply a means to an end. It's unfortunate that their views have garnered the kind of money and influence that they have, but I'm confident that we as Alaskans can come together. Our differences are nothing a couple of beers couldn't fix!


    Merry Christmas to you as well, and everyone else who had the fate of stumbling across this thread!

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    Default From 2011....

    Thank you for taking the time and effort to return tag number 151384-5 to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G). This letter will provide you with some basic information about the tagged Chinook salmon you reported.


    An ADF&G netting crew tagged your fish in the Kenai River (8.4 miles upstream from Cook Inlet) on 6/27/2011. You caught the tagged fish on 7/17/2011 approximately 2.8 miles further upstream. Your fish was 1125 millimeters from the middle-of-the-eye to the fork-of-the-tail. Of the 584 chinook salmon sampled for length by the ADF&G netting crews in 2011, 576 were 1125 millimeters or shorter. Your fish was age-1.5 (conceived in fall of 2004, emerged from gravel in the spring of 2005, migrated to sea in the spring of 2006, and returned in the summer of 2011), meaning it spent 1 year in fresh water and 5 years in salt water. Of the 473 chinook salmon that were aged by the Department, only 8 were age-1.5.

    Fish were tagged in 2012 were part of an ongoing study to determine migratory patterns of Kenai River Chinook salmon.
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
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