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Thread: New Rules for Kenai Kings

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    Member willphish4food's Avatar
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    Default New Rules for Kenai Kings

    Fish and Game has done it again. Out of cycle, with no chance for the public to comment, they have made a major, game changing regulatory change in Cook Inlet fisheries. By lowering the chinook goals 20%, it allows more fishing time by the ESSN before emergency action is taken, and more fishing time by in-river users, as well as more fishing time with bait. In a time when all indicators, including the report itself, are that returns have been much smaller in recent years, the department has decided that making the low returns of recent years the norm, and the range that should be achieved by their management. Incredible! Why even have a Board of Fish process? Last year they write the regulations wrong to allow more drift net fishing, exactly opposite of the Board's intent, and now they decide they have to set new chinook goals from the new sonar information they have. Apparently it is way too important to wait one more year to allow the public process to fully play out. A full season's overfishing by the drift fleet because of a "clerical error" in the department wasn't addressed or corrected by the department; (a judge struck down an injunction by the board on the grounds that the department is always messing up regs, so a new messup in regs wasn't grounds for emergency action from the board)

    A couple years ago the Department changed the goals for the Susitna/Yentna sockeye out of cycle. For those that forgot, there used to be sonar near the Yentna's mouth that provided an inseason sockeye count and management tool. In a system where up to half the salmon spawn in streams and sloughs, the Dept decided to use three major lake systems to determine the health of the run. They took away any chance of limiting over fishing by the drift fleet in season, as they can only check the success of the return after the season is over when the fish are in their spawning grounds. It was a decision with enormous management implications, also enacted solely by the Department out of cycle, with no public input.

    What is the department thinking? The department is claiming the old sonar on the Kenai miscounted fish; so it could overcount kings by assuming reds were small kings. If this were true, and the current, "more accurate counter" is a better reflection of real counts, then staying within the current OEG would provide excellent sport fishing opportunity and plenty of fish for the ESSN and dipnetters as well. I don't understand ADF&G's point. It seems like they're trying to say there didn't used to be as many kings in-river as the sonar said. However, with the old sonar, when it said there were lots of kings, inriver fishing also supported that; lots of fish were rolling and being caught. Now with the Didson numbers, it seems like if it shows few kings, lack of sport fishing success correlates to that, and if it says lots of kings are coming through, fishing success also correlates with many fish being caught. So to say that because the new numbers are more accurate they can lower the goals is ludicrous! Look at the restrictions in the last couple years on sport fishing, dipnetting and setnetting that were necessary to achieve the escapements that were achieved!

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    Default quite clear..

    As a retired F&G fish biologist friend always reminds me: the fisheries are ran for the benefit of the commercial fishermen.

    Quote Originally Posted by willphish4food View Post
    Fish and Game has done it again. Out of cycle, with no chance for the public to comment, they have made a major, game changing regulatory change in Cook Inlet fisheries. By lowering the chinook goals 20%, it allows more fishing time by the ESSN before emergency action is taken, and more fishing time by in-river users, as well as more fishing time with bait. In a time when all indicators, including the report itself, are that returns have been much smaller in recent years, the department has decided that making the low returns of recent years the norm, and the range that should be achieved by their management. Incredible! Why even have a Board of Fish process? Last year they write the regulations wrong to allow more drift net fishing, exactly opposite of the Board's intent, and now they decide they have to set new chinook goals from the new sonar information they have. Apparently it is way too important to wait one more year to allow the public process to fully play out. A full season's overfishing by the drift fleet because of a "clerical error" in the department wasn't addressed or corrected by the department; (a judge struck down an injunction by the board on the grounds that the department is always messing up regs, so a new messup in regs wasn't grounds for emergency action from the board)

    A couple years ago the Department changed the goals for the Susitna/Yentna sockeye out of cycle. For those that forgot, there used to be sonar near the Yentna's mouth that provided an inseason sockeye count and management tool. In a system where up to half the salmon spawn in streams and sloughs, the Dept decided to use three major lake systems to determine the health of the run. They took away any chance of limiting over fishing by the drift fleet in season, as they can only check the success of the return after the season is over when the fish are in their spawning grounds. It was a decision with enormous management implications, also enacted solely by the Department out of cycle, with no public input.

    What is the department thinking? The department is claiming the old sonar on the Kenai miscounted fish; so it could overcount kings by assuming reds were small kings. If this were true, and the current, "more accurate counter" is a better reflection of real counts, then staying within the current OEG would provide excellent sport fishing opportunity and plenty of fish for the ESSN and dipnetters as well. I don't understand ADF&G's point. It seems like they're trying to say there didn't used to be as many kings in-river as the sonar said. However, with the old sonar, when it said there were lots of kings, inriver fishing also supported that; lots of fish were rolling and being caught. Now with the Didson numbers, it seems like if it shows few kings, lack of sport fishing success correlates to that, and if it says lots of kings are coming through, fishing success also correlates with many fish being caught. So to say that because the new numbers are more accurate they can lower the goals is ludicrous! Look at the restrictions in the last couple years on sport fishing, dipnetting and setnetting that were necessary to achieve the escapements that were achieved!
    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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  3. #3

    Default New Rules for Kenai Kings

    TV,

    The Kenai Kings are managed primarily for the sport fishery, which is the primary harvester. They are managed by ADFG Sportfish division, which is funded by sportfish license sales, and has historically been highly influenced by well-funded, politically connected sportfishing special interest groups (KRSA). ADFG Sportfish division produced this report (which is being peer-reviewed) at the behest of all user groups, and recommended the new escapement goal based on the scientific data, which is quite strong.

    Did your friend tell you that?

    If this data was bogus, why would the comm fish industry be happy about it, and the KRSA crowd be straight pissed? Why would a department division that has been historically aligned with and funded by the sportfish interests suddenly switch sides? TV, do you think the ESSN's paid them off with food stamps?

    Perhaps the mess of 2012 and the number of people paying attention to the issue helped the facts make it to the surface. No one likes out-of-cycle changes, but King enumeration on the Kenai was a hot sloppy mess. In my opinion, this was a very responsible thing to do. Thank you ADFG.

    Willphish, I am not the guy to answer your questions about the differences between the new and old counter. I could try, but someone with more technical expertise would do a better job. Commfish, you seem to have knowledge of these issues. Perhaps you could weigh in?

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    Member willphish4food's Avatar
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    I don't think you can throw out tv's comments; lowering the King goals allows more fishing time for ESSN- commercial. Its about the reds and lost opportunity. If fewer kings need to get into the river, both the setnetters, who had zero fishing time in 2012 thanks to new action points set by BOF, and sport and guided sport fishing who saw restrictions and closure, would be able to fish longer before restrictions take place. So while kings may be managed for sport fishing, sockeye are managed for commercial, and this change could greatly benefit commercial users by allowing them to fish harder for reds and the accompanying kings. But what will it do for the long term health of the king run in the Kenai River?

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    Smith - Setnetters harvest more Kings than Sport Fishers do. See the harvest numbers at the F&G webpage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ak_cowboy View Post
    Smith - Setnetters harvest more Kings than Sport Fishers do. See the harvest numbers at the F&G webpage.
    ******************


    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    Check the Peninsula Clarion later this morning when they post the article online.

    According to the article, the ESSNs, previously thought to harvest 17-19 percent of late-run Kenai kings actually harvest 25 percent fewer than that. Genetic sampling has shown that that percentage of the catch are actually Kasilof-bound kings.

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    Alright. You can figure out if F&G amended their numbers online to reflect that. I was going off of the given information

  8. #8

    Default New Rules for Kenai Kings

    The genetic sampling completed this year combined with the new data released by ADFG puts all user groups' total annual average harvest rate of late run Kenai Kings at 39%.

    The average annual harvest by ESSN's is 13%

    The average annual harvest by all other user groups, mainly inriver sport, is 26%.

    So ESSN's take around 1/3 of the harvest. Also, the comm fish management report shows that 40% of the ESSN king harvest is age 1.1 and 1.2 jacks, considered undesirable by many inriver fishermen. This balances quite well with the inriver selective harvest of the larger, older Kings. Diverse, balanced fisheries are a good thing!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    ******************According to the article, the ESSNs, previously thought to harvest 17-19 percent of late-run Kenai kings actually harvest 25 percent fewer than that. Genetic sampling has shown that that percentage of the catch are actually Kasilof-bound kings.
    That wouldn't be the same sampling that shows large numbers of Su/yentna sockeye and Northern District coho being caught by the ESSN, would it?

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    Back on topic, though. Is it right for the ADF&G to implement such a large change in goals in private without public testimony or input? Is the Department using new data as the Holy Grail of data, and throwing out data from years past as incomplete or inaccurate? It appears that there is little cross analysis of data sets; such as sport fishermen surveys and guide harvest logs checked against sonar data to see if there is a similar correlation between readings from the old sonar and the new method.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    The genetic sampling completed this year combined with the new data released by ADFG puts all user groups' total annual average harvest rate of late run Kenai Kings at 39%.

    The average annual harvest by ESSN's is 13%

    The average annual harvest by all other user groups, mainly inriver sport, is 26%.

    So ESSN's take around 1/3 of the harvest. Also, the comm fish management report shows that 40% of the ESSN king harvest is age 1.1 and 1.2 jacks, considered undesirable by many inriver fishermen. This balances quite well with the inriver selective harvest of the larger, older Kings. Diverse, balanced fisheries are a good thing!
    I like how you separate the setnets from everyone else, but group inriver sport together with subsistence, personal use, commericail drift, marine sport, and hook mortality...

    2010:
    Set-nets - 4567 Kings
    Inriver Sport - 7207

    2011:
    Set-nets - 5596
    Inriver Sport - 7352

  12. #12

    Default New Rules for Kenai Kings

    You forgot to add in hook and release mortality.

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    Default Re: New Rules for Kenai Kings

    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    You forgot to add in hook and release mortality.
    Wiseguy... :P

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  14. #14

    Default New Rules for Kenai Kings

    Quote Originally Posted by willphish4food View Post
    That wouldn't be the same sampling that shows large numbers of Su/yentna sockeye and Northern District coho being caught by the ESSN, would it?
    No, I was speaking of the genetic sampling of King salmon. The most recent sockeye genetic report I found stated that SusYen and JCL Sockeye contribute only 0-4% of ESSN harvest.

    Given that the average ESSN harvest of all Coho from 2001-2010 was only 21,000 (the lowest of any CI gillnet group) , I don't think their catch of northern bound Coho could be any more significant than their catch of northern bound Sockeye or Kings.
    If you've found data to the contrary, I'd love to see it.

    http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/FedAidPDFs/FMS10-01.pdf

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    Quote Originally Posted by willphish4food View Post
    That wouldn't be the same sampling that shows large numbers of Su/yentna sockeye and Northern District coho being caught by the ESSN, would it?
    No because no sampling has ever shown that, and will not show that because it has not happend! That dog will not hunt fine sir

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    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    You forgot to add in hook and release mortality.
    Only if you add in drop out mortality

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    Quote Originally Posted by MGH55 View Post
    No because no sampling has ever shown that, and will not show that because it has not happend! That dog will not hunt fine sir
    I'm referring to the genetic testing that Marcus is so quick to ridicule when it shows ESSN may be part of the problem with low returns of sockeye in the Susitna/Yentna. Page 16 in this document: http://www.sf.adfg.state.ak.us/FedAidPDFs/fms07-07.pdf "The percent of harvest for Yentna River sockeye salmon in the ESSN gillnet harvests were as follows: 1) Kenai Section on July 16-19, 2005 (3%) and July 21-28, (13%), and 2) Kasilof section on June 25-July 5, 2007 (7%), and July 16-21 (4%)." Bow wow... he treed something.

  18. #18

    Default New Rules for Kenai Kings

    As I said the most recent report stated SusYen and JCL sockeye typically made up 0-4% of the ESSN harvest, with a few days of higher reporting. From what I could read, they agreed with previous estimates that these fish comprise anywhere from 1-6% of ESSN harvest. Not a huge impact.

    Also, I believe they specifically listed errors made in the report you posted with respect to specifically this data, and acknowledged that more contributions to the baseline genetic data from western streams lowered the actual harvest % of SusYen sockeye.

    You can cherry pick numbers to place blame, but it won't make more fish com eback.

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    What will make the fish come back? For Kenai chinook, will lowering the goals, so that more fishing pressure can be applied? Please explain how that strategy works, smith, as that is the strategy it seems the department is employing.

  20. #20

    Default New Rules for Kenai Kings

    Quote Originally Posted by willphish4food View Post
    What will make the fish come back? For Kenai chinook, will lowering the goals, so that more fishing pressure can be applied? Please explain how that strategy works, smith, as that is the strategy it seems the department is employing.
    Sound science. Responsible management. For Kenai, the data shows that if we had allowed less Kings to spawn several years ago, we would likely have more abundant returns now. If you accept and understand the implications of a scientifically proven concept called overescapement, this would make sense to you...

    I shouldn't get into this because I too don't fully understand it yet, but I'm not sure how accurate it is to say that the goal was 'lowered' so much as past errors in enumeration and new methods of counting were taken into consideration. That is, I'm not sure if the actual amount of Kings determined to produce the healthiest stocks really changed, just the way the blips on the sonar and other indices of abundance are converted into #'s. Maybe I'm off base...

    I would love for someone to break it down for us, however. I'm no biologist.

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