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Thread: 2013 Kenai LRK Forecast

  1. #1

    Default 2013 Kenai LRK Forecast

    ADFG produced a run forecast for 2013 of 29,000 fish.

    http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/re...ai_outlook.pdf

    This is nearly the same size return as 2012. The report states that "If the 2013 forecast is realized, the 2013 run, without harvest, will be below the upper end of the recommended sustainable escapement goal (SEG) of 15,000 to 30,000 fish."

    Interesting wording.

    One thing that the report failed to mention is the good news... Which is that the average annual harvest rate of Kenai late run kings for all user groups combined is 39%. That means if all user groups had a full fishery on a return of 29,000, we would still achieve a spawning escapement of 17,000-18,000 fish, well inside the new SEG and very close to the MSY point of 20,000. Hooooray!

    Perhaps the report could have said, "If the 2013 forecast is realized, the 2013 run, with full harvest from all fisheries, will be above the lower end of the recommended sustainable escapement goal (SEG) of 15,000 to 30,000 fish."

  2. #2

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    Wow, sounds great. Let's lower the goals so all user groups will have a full fishery. I'm sure I'll be hearing similar accolades from the POTUS during his state of the union speech about how well the economy is doing

  3. #3
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    Yes, but..... The issue isn't run size. It's run timing. If the majority of the LKR Chinook don't enter the Kenai River until August, nobody is going to be fishing in July. That's exactly what happened last year. At the end of the year, the run size was well within the escapement goals, but nobody was fishing in July because the fish didn't show up until August. But ADF&G can barely predict run size accurately (although run-size forecasting is no better down here on the Columbia River), they certainly can't predict run timing. If the LKR Chinook continue to creep into August as their primary month to return as adults, this issue will continue to plague the Kenai River.

    However, the problem is easy to fix. Close the river in July and open it in August. By August, the run size should be fairly well known, and the fish should be there. The only remaining issue is to find some better gear (i.e., more selective) for the ESSNetters so they can get sockeye in July without affecting Chinook. Not easy, but it can be done.

    Who knows, perhaps closing the river in July will help the early run Chinook stocks too!

  4. #4

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    Penguin,

    Before past errors in enumeration and the implementation of new technology was taken into account, the old goal was 17,800-35000. So the 2013 forecast (and the 2012 run) of 29,000 fish - 39% total harvest = 17,690 fish. Perhaps that will make you feel more comfortable. Or perhaps you are reacting emotionally rather than using the data and common sense.

    Coho,

    Yes, the run was late last year. Problem is, we don't know how late because ADFG has never pulled the king counter consistently at the end of the season. Had they done this scientifically like has been done with the sockeye counter for many years, we would have a much better idea of run timing. Restricting the river in July would help protect the early run - we've known that for over a decade. But opening it in August would not offer much protection to the many kings that enter the river in July only to spawn in August. And what do the ESSN's have to do with this? They only catch 13% of the king run, while very efficiently harvesting sockeye. They do not harvest early run kings. Why must they endure restrictions just because the inriver fishery should have been restricted to protect the early run many years ago?

    And anyone who spent last year in Alaska knows that it wan't just the Kings that were late. It was a weird year all the way around.

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    The issue with the ESSNetters is parity. Hate to say it, but that's the issue. If the sport anglers get knocked off the river in July because the run is late, they ain't gonna be happy watching the ESSNetter's catch 13% of the Chinook run while they sit on the bank. If the sport guys are off the river due to conservation needs of the fish, they're gonna scream for equal treatment for the ESSNetters. That's not unique to sport anglers, it's just human nature.

    Clearly, ADF&G knows what the distribution of the run was across May, June, July, and August. So I disagree that opening in August would hurt the Chinook that are spawning in August. The problem with opening in July is that ADF&G does not yet know the run-size. By August they should have that information. As such, they can set the bag limits and seasons based on what is actually in the river, not on "paper" fish. If the run size is high enough for C&K, the open the river. If not, keep it closed. Plus, sport anglers should not be keeping Chinook that are in spawning colors (fire engine red). That might help the early run fish that are spawning in the mainstem.

    The real problem with this idea is that the ESSNetters must set their nets in July, when the sockeye are in the river. Setting their nets in August doesn't help since the run will have already passed (preaching to the choir here). So if the sport anglers are going to be shut down in July because the run size is still too tentative, ADF&G needs to find a way to keep the ESSNetters on the river without inciting a riot from the "hook and line" guys. Developing more selective gear would help considerably. Ideally that 13% mortality would be down to something less than 5%.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cohoangler View Post
    The issue with the ESSNetters is parity. Hate to say it, but that's the issue. If the sport anglers get knocked off the river in July because the run is late, they ain't gonna be happy watching the ESSNetter's catch 13% of the Chinook run while they sit on the bank. If the sport guys are off the river due to conservation needs of the fish, they're gonna scream for equal treatment for the ESSNetters. That's not unique to sport anglers, it's just human nature.

    Clearly, ADF&G knows what the distribution of the run was across May, June, July, and August. So I disagree that opening in August would hurt the Chinook that are spawning in August. The problem with opening in July is that ADF&G does not yet know the run-size. By August they should have that information. As such, they can set the bag limits and seasons based on what is actually in the river, not on "paper" fish. If the run size is high enough for C&K, the open the river. If not, keep it closed. Plus, sport anglers should not be keeping Chinook that are in spawning colors (fire engine red). That might help the early run fish that are spawning in the mainstem.

    The real problem with this idea is that the ESSNetters must set their nets in July, when the sockeye are in the river. Setting their nets in August doesn't help since the run will have already passed (preaching to the choir here). So if the sport anglers are going to be shut down in July because the run size is still too tentative, ADF&G needs to find a way to keep the ESSNetters on the river without inciting a riot from the "hook and line" guys. Developing more selective gear would help considerably. Ideally that 13% mortality would be down to something less than 5%.



    Gotta disagree, Coho, the issue is envy. The sport-fishing contingent, private and commercial, has ever and always lobbied, groused, whined, complained, and ranted in pursuit of 100 percent of LRKKs. It wouldn't matter one whit how many or how few LRKKs were taken by the ESSNs, the in-river crowd would complain they weren't getting their fair share.


    What it really boils down to, given your post above, is the old dog-in-the-manger fable . . "if I can't have any, neither can you."


    Ugly . . .



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    Good to hear, and for some reason I thought the KRLRK were in a little bit of trouble. Looks like all is well and there should be no restrictions to in-river or essn fishers.

    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    ADFG produced a run forecast for 2013 of 29,000 fish.

    http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/re...ai_outlook.pdf

    This is nearly the same size return as 2012. The report states that "If the 2013 forecast is realized, the 2013 run, without harvest, will be below the upper end of the recommended sustainable escapement goal (SEG) of 15,000 to 30,000 fish."

    Interesting wording.

    One thing that the report failed to mention is the good news... Which is that the average annual harvest rate of Kenai late run kings for all user groups combined is 39%. That means if all user groups had a full fishery on a return of 29,000, we would still achieve a spawning escapement of 17,000-18,000 fish, well inside the new SEG and very close to the MSY point of 20,000. Hooooray!

    Perhaps the report could have said, "If the 2013 forecast is realized, the 2013 run, with full harvest from all fisheries, will be above the lower end of the recommended sustainable escapement goal (SEG) of 15,000 to 30,000 fish."

  8. #8

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    The total exploitation rate during the recent low runs (09-11) has been 41%, 46%, and 44%. The exploitation rate for the ESSN fishery during those same years was 10%, 15%, and 15%. In 2009, run size was 38,000 and harvest was 15,800. In 2010, run size was 30,500 kings, and harvest was 14,000. In 2011, run size was 36,600, and harvest was 16,100.

    Escapement goals are expressed as a range and are to be managed to spread escapements throughout that range, not focus on the lower end of the goal. Not every single fish over 15,000 should be considered harvestable surplus. The new goal is based upon a model derived from a number of indices of abundance, not direct counts. Returns from escapements below 22,000 have yet to be seen, especially during current productivity conditions. Current production isnít producing average yields. Catch allocation is based upon only a few years of genetic samples. I can understand why F&G takes a cautionary position when discussing the escapement goal and forecast.

    I'm guessing that the ESSN fishery will be fishing this summer and the inriver folks will start with bait. It all depends on the fish and the inseason projection in the middle of July to determine what happens from there. Cohoangler is correct in saying that August has been the only thing lately saving king salmon and allowing the run to make the goal (notwithstanding F&G closing the fisheries last year).

    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    Why must they endure restrictions just because the inriver fishery should have been restricted to protect the early run many years ago?
    Hmmm, letís see; single hook, start with no bait, slot-limit, sanctuary areas established and then extended through July, annual limit of 2, no guides on Sunday and Monday, drift boat only on Mondays, guides only from 6am-6pm, stop fishing after harvesting a king. Yeah, your right, I canít believe how liberal that fishery is. People who fish the Nushagak must be crazy.

  9. #9

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    Forecast the lowest late-run kenai king run ever documented - check
    Reduce escapement goals - check
    Fishery business as usual - check

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bfish View Post
    Forecast the lowest late-run kenai king run ever documented - check
    Reduce escapement goals - check
    Fishery business as usual - check
    "You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to Bfish again."
    "Fishing relaxes me. It's like yoga, except I still get to kill something." --Ron Swanson

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cohoangler View Post
    The issue with the ESSNetters is parity. Hate to say it, but that's the issue. If the sport anglers get knocked off the river in July because the run is late, they ain't gonna be happy watching the ESSNetter's catch 13% of the Chinook run while they sit on the bank. If the sport guys are off the river due to conservation needs of the fish, they're gonna scream for equal treatment for the ESSNetters. That's not unique to sport anglers, it's just human nature....

    ... Ideally that 13% mortality would be down to something less than 5%.
    The entire ESSN fishery was "knocked off" the early run kings many, many years ago. Their season was shortened, and they do not fish during the early run. The Kenai section of ESSN was "knocked off" the first part of the late run. They are closed every year for the first 13 days of the saltwater late run season, for the express purpose of protecting late run Kenai kings. So if the river is restriced in July to protect the early run kings, the ESSN's are out of the equation. Considering the cuts this industry has suffered in the past, it's interesting that you feel they need more restrictions to keep things fair.

    You feel ESSN should reduce King mortality less, from 13% down to 5%? Why? To allow for an even larger in river fishery? To make sure we make the bottom end of the escapement goal that we've never missed? I don't get it.

    Quote Originally Posted by commfish View Post
    The total exploitation rate during the recent low runs (09-11) has been 41%, 46%, and 44%. The exploitation rate for the ESSN fishery during those same years was 10%, 15%, and 15%. In 2009, run size was 38,000 and harvest was 15,800. In 2010, run size was 30,500 kings, and harvest was 14,000. In 2011, run size was 36,600, and harvest was 16,100.

    Escapement goals are expressed as a range and are to be managed to spread escapements throughout that range, not focus on the lower end of the goal. Not every single fish over 15,000 should be considered harvestable surplus. The new goal is based upon a model derived from a number of indices of abundance, not direct counts. Returns from escapements below 22,000 have yet to be seen, especially during current productivity conditions. Current production isnít producing average yields. Catch allocation is based upon only a few years of genetic samples. I can understand why F&G takes a cautionary position when discussing the escapement goal and forecast.
    39% is the long term average, and while there are a few data points outside this, it is fairly consistent. In the years listed, (09-11), the ESSN harvest of 3,895, 4,567, & 5,596 fish respectively was an average of 13.3%.

    You are very right. Escapement goals are a range and SHOULD BE managed to spread escapements throughout that range. Unfortunately, we have not done that. Nearly all of our past escapements have been at the top of or over that range, and all but one have been over the MSY point. ADFG publically stated that they put more emphasis on achieving the bottom end of one goal over exceeding the top end of another. Another important factor is that ADFG did something new with this escapement goal. They built a "safety margin" of 25% into the goal. That's right. The real MSY - based escapement, going off the data, would actually be 12,000-28,000 kings, not 15,000-30,000. So technically speaking, ADFG RAISED the escapement goal from what the data supports. Given all this info, why would it be so terrible if harvest opportunity caused a spawning escapement near the lower end of the already buffered SEG in 2013?

  12. #12

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    Where's Nerka when we need him.....

    sigh

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sockeye Charlie View Post
    Where's Nerka when we need him.....

    sigh

    Attachment 68187 .....................

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    39% is the long term average, and while there are a few data points outside this, it is fairly consistent.
    14 out of 27 years (51.8%) the exploitation rate exceeded 39%.

    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    You are very right. Escapement goals are a range and SHOULD BE managed to spread escapements throughout that range. Unfortunately, we have not done that. Nearly all of our past escapements have been at the top of or over that range, and all but one have been over the MSY point.
    Itís disingenuous to take past escapements managed under a different goal and apply it to success or failure of management relative to the new goal.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    The real MSY - based escapement, going off the data, would actually be 12,000-28,000 kings, not 15,000-30,000. So technically speaking, ADFG RAISED the escapement goal from what the data supports. Given all this info, why would it be so terrible if harvest opportunity caused a spawning escapement near the lower end of the already buffered SEG in 2013?
    You weren't at one time a bridge salesman were you?

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    I've been told that a number of comm fishermen sell bridges, used cars, insurance, and snake oil during the off-season (Sorry - just couldn't resist the temptation)

    Quote Originally Posted by Bfish View Post
    You weren't at one time a bridge salesman were you?
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
    ".. ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" JFK

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    TB - Just to be clear, I'm not advocating for anything. Nor am I in a position to advocate for a specific outcome. I'm only suggesting ideas for managing the Kenai Rv fishery to reduce the conflicts between user groups and the biological needs of the fish. My intent is to promote additional discussion on the issues to help Alaskans find common ground on how they should manage THEIR fishery. Some folks might find my ideas to be completely worthless (I'm used to that), while others might find a bit of light in there someplace.

    On the specific issue - I was only discussing the late run Chinook. I've been duly informed on several occasions that the ESSNetters don't hit the early run, and haven't for decades. My only point was that parity among user groups is a huge issue regardless of where the conflict arises. It happens on the Columbia River as it does on the Kenai. That is, if one user group gets shut down for conservation reasons, they will scream bloody murder if other user groups are allowed to do what they can't. It happens annually in fishery management. If the sport anglers are shut down because the late run Chinook are late, or the run-size is smaller than expected, they will run riot (figuratively) if other user groups are allowed to fish. That's just human nature. Or as Marcus might say - envy. I could also throw in greed, gluttony, sloth, wrath, pride, and lust.

    Well, maybe not lust.......

    My reference to 13% or 5% was ill-advised. I should have said 0%. That is, if the ESSNetters get their mortality rate on late run Chinook down to zero, the sport anglers MIGHT not scream about being shut down while the ESSNetters continue to catch sockeye.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    Penguin,

    Before past errors in enumeration and the implementation of new technology was taken into account, the old goal was 17,800-35000. So the 2013 forecast (and the 2012 run) of 29,000 fish - 39% total harvest = 17,690 fish. Perhaps that will make you feel more comfortable. Or perhaps you are reacting emotionally rather than using the data and common sense.
    Okay, I guess I'll use facts intstead of emotion. The projection of 29,000 LRK for 2013 would rank 27th WEAKEST out of the last 28 years.

    I guess it could be worse. It could be dead last. Am I too emotional for you?

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by commfish View Post
    14 out of 27 years (51.8%) the exploitation rate exceeded 39%.
    Itís disingenuous to take past escapements managed under a different goal and apply it to success or failure of management relative to the new goal.
    Thank you commfish, you proved my point. When one takes a series of numbers and finds their average, roughly half of the entries will be above the average, and roughly half below. Another figure one can use is the median, or the middle of the entries. If we drop out 2012 as it was a low run with very atypical management and harvest, the average exploitation rate raises to 39.8%, so lets call it 40%. Interestingly, the median exploitation rate for these 26 years is... 40%, and it's the same with 2012 factored in.

    I was not arguing the success or complete failure of management in recent years. I was arguing escapement numbers, returns, and exploitation rates. It is in no way disingenuous to use the most recent ADFG data of past years escapements and productivity relative to the new goal when discussing current or future escapements, returns, or exploitation. It is in fact quite important that we do so.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bfish View Post
    You weren't at one time a bridge salesman were you?
    From the 2013 draft EG report:

    "The recommended goal of 15,000 to 30,000 provides a small safety factor to reduce risk to the Chinook salmon stock. That is, the goal range is not centered with respect to maximum yield probabilities"

    You can do the math. They upped it about 25%.

    We can agree or disagree to whether ADFG should have done this, or whether they should stick to the data and state policy which instructs them to construct their goals aroung MSY and leave the "adjustments" to the BOF, but please don't suggest that I'm being dishonest by acknowledging that it happened.

  20. #20

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    Upped the goal relative to their model. Reduced it relative to the historical range. Up still looks down to me, mathematically speaking that is.

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