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Thread: Kenai Sockeye Sonar Questions

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    Default Kenai Sockeye Sonar Questions

    Thought this was interesting. Lotta blame being pushed around for lack of fishing success inriver. Sockeye movements inriver this year have been focused and condensed. According to ADFG and others, they have moved upriver fast and spread throughout the river channel rather than along the banks as is typical – on a mission to get somewhere, which hasn't helped fishing success. The inriver goal is met for the Kenai, and the Kasilof escapement has been vastly exceeded. We need to get this info out there - much of what I'm reading elsewhere on this forum would lead one to believe that there are no Sockeye in our rivers, simply because they weren't present on the weekend everyone planned for. Oops.

    Below is a response from an ADFG sonar specialist to concerns of a certain Alaskan Outdoor Fishing Diary(a) site suggesting that there are "no fish" in the Kenai, and that the Sockeye sonar is counting double what his 'fishing experience' tells him has entered the river:

    "We do not use a complex autocounting system. The DIDSON produces video-like images of fish and staff count fish images from recorded files using a tally counter. The fish images are similar to live fish and the wide beam allows us to observe each fish as it swims past. At the start of the field season, new staff are trained and their counting skills are tested using files selected from prior years that contain a range of fish passage rates. Using sample files, we have compared their counts and found differences between them to be low.

    We have examined areas for potential error to occur when using DIDSON to assess sockeye salmon passage rates. For most sources of error, the potential is for the count to be biased low, not high; for example, if fish swim beyond or above the ensonified region, they will be missed by the sonar. We have examined these potential sources of error and found them to be negligible in the Kenai River. As far as your comment regarding potential ‘double’ echoes, observations have shown that multipathing in DIDSON images is rare because conditions have to be just right for the second image to be detected by the sonar. When it does occur, it is obvious. The ‘fish pair’ will be identical in their movement as they swim through the beam. During the high passage rates observed at the Kenai River sockeye site, the fish were well dispersed and although counting was intense, individual fish were distinguishable and no ‘pairing’ was observed.

    Using DIDSON to count sockeye salmon has been shown to be both accurate and precise, in fact, the counts were as accurate as counts from a tower in a clear river. The paper from this study is attached. Based on our DIDSON research, fish assessment sites all over the world have adopted DIDSON as a tool for fish management.

    A mark-recapture study from 2006-2008 performed on the Kenai River showed that there was no bias in the DIDSON sockeye salmon estimates.

    At the Kenai River site, DIDSON files are recorded for 10 minutes each hour and expanded to account for the full hour. This expansion is done by multiplying the count times 6. The hourly counts are then summed for each day. There is no complex software program that determines the count for the day. The uncertainty in using a 10-min sample rather than a full hour count has been examined. For more information, go to:

    http://www.fish4thefuture.com/pdfs/r...1-130_full.pdf

    Most years that you observed salmon were during the time when the older Bendix counter was used to assess sockeye salmon. When we switched to DIDSON, we ran a comparison study to determine the relationship between the 2 sonars. The report from this comparison study can be found at:

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

    We found that although the Bendix system was not completely ensonifying the region of sockeye salmon passage, estimates from the 2 sonars were highly correlated (R2 = 0.88 for the north bank and 0.97 for the south bank; see p. 23). The larger DIDSON beam covered more of the water column and a longer range. The count ratio (DIDSON/Bendix) from the comparison years was 1.25 on the south bank and 1.59 on the north bank (Table 3). We converted the historic data using methods and conversions described in the above report. In 2011, after the Kenai River escapement goals were updated to DIDSON equivalents, we began using the DIDSON counts for management."

    Our web site describes operations at the sockeye site. The link to the Kenai River site is:
    http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm...artools&site=3

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    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    In 2011, after the Kenai River escapement goals were updated to DIDSON equivalents, we began using the DIDSON counts for management."
    OK ... That's where the new (higher) goals come from. Not really an increase, just a conversion Bendix to DIDSON
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    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    OK ... That's where the new (higher) goals come from. Not really an increase, just a conversion Bendix to DIDSON
    You have it Doc. The goals were still reexamined in 2011 with the updated data so there were some changes due to a better data base but most of the change was going to Didson equivalents. Note the word equivalents. No one has a true picture of the actual return because you have two counters with error. However, the ability to see more of the water column is certainly an advantage of the Didson. Also, the comparsion in clear water in Bristol Bay showed better counting at higher densities relative to the tower counts. I have always maintained that if one says 1 million fish it could be 800,000 to 1.2 million (not that this is exact or science based but to give people an example of error and bias in counting).. The question is whether the bias is consistent and the precision tolerable for management or research.

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    Default cost, and why only one?

    What cost is estimated per DIDSON?

    Since on the Kenai returns literally millions of dollars hang in the balance, how is not cost effective to have as a minimum, two entirely separate counting locations?

    - it would provide the best possible verification of DIDSON itself and its accuracy
    - it would reassure the public somewhat
    - if spaced a ways apart on the River, and DIDSON is as accurate as that says, it would provide some insight into river mortality

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    How does the fish counter tell the difference between salmon species? Does a sockeye resemble a coho? Is it just a fish image on the screen?
    "Grin and Bear It"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tearbear View Post
    How does the fish counter tell the difference between salmon species? Does a sockeye resemble a coho? Is it just a fish image on the screen?
    It does not. The sonar part only sees a target that meet some threshold. So the sockeye counter at RM 19 uses the fishwheel to look at the species passing or in some counting situations just ignores the coho as they enter the system much latter than sockeye. For the chinook counter the large fish are measured on the screen and assumed to be chinook salmon based on length.

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    Thanks Nerka...
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    Quote Originally Posted by FamilyMan View Post
    What cost is estimated per DIDSON?

    Since on the Kenai returns literally millions of dollars hang in the balance, how is not cost effective to have as a minimum, two entirely separate counting locations?

    - it would provide the best possible verification of DIDSON itself and its accuracy
    - it would reassure the public somewhat
    - if spaced a ways apart on the River, and DIDSON is as accurate as that says, it would provide some insight into river mortality
    This is my biggest issue with the whole management system that F&G is currently employing. They are counting on that Didson to be really freakin' accurate fairly low in the river as their only tool for in-season sockeye management. Talk about putting all of your eggs in one basket. Why not put one, or a secondary data collection point of some sort, much higher in the system to both verify the lower Didson but also provide further information on transit times, river mortality, sport-fishing impact on the run, etc.

    I totally agree with Familyman...the cost, no matter what it is, would be justified.

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    Quote Originally Posted by coho slayer View Post
    This is my biggest issue with the whole management system that F&G is currently employing. They are counting on that Didson to be really freakin' accurate fairly low in the river as their only tool for in-season sockeye management. Talk about putting all of your eggs in one basket. Why not put one, or a secondary data collection point of some sort, much higher in the system to both verify the lower Didson but also provide further information on transit times, river mortality, sport-fishing impact on the run, etc.

    I totally agree with Familyman...the cost, no matter what it is, would be justified.
    Coho slayer, the sockeye sonar counter is at river mile 19 (one mile below the Soldotna Bridge). The lower river sonar is for chinook but sockeye management is based on the RM 19 counter. If you read reports over the last 40 years you will see how the sonar developed and that some of the questions you ask about transit times, river mortality, sport fishing impacts have been answered. I hope you do this so you can understand the management of UCI fisheries. Otherwise you will just have a misunderstanding of what is done and why.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    Coho slayer, the sockeye sonar counter is at river mile 19 (one mile below the Soldotna Bridge). The lower river sonar is for chinook but sockeye management is based on the RM 19 counter. If you read reports over the last 40 years you will see how the sonar developed and that some of the questions you ask about transit times, river mortality, sport fishing impacts have been answered. I hope you do this so you can understand the management of UCI fisheries. Otherwise you will just have a misunderstanding of what is done and why.
    I believe it was you, perhaps not, that said that the fish this year moved fast and spread out, which they don't normally do. Seems to me there's more for everyone to understand. Another data point in the river wouldn't hurt anything and would still provide a lot of data that I'm sure someone could find useful toward further understanding and managing the system. It's like you're fighting more science, which is boggling my mind.

    I know where the sockeye counter is. I said "fairly" low in the river. Perhaps I should have stipulated the river mile to better illustrate my understanding.

    F&G biologists have spent years R&D'ing all sorts of methods for counting fish. Not just F&G, but fisheries and environmental scientists as well. As SCIENTISTS, you should welcome...embrace....other proven data collection techniques. Instead, you're fighting them, relying on your Holy Didson. If you have one set of data, and another, and you combine them or compare and contrast them, you get better results overall and may find and be able to fix weaknesses in either.

    I'm not blaming the Didson or the counters, but I do think the escapement number is way high. Why doesn't matter all that much to me. Verify it's right with another station before making management decisions that could decimate the entire run. That's all I'm saying.

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    Quote Originally Posted by coho slayer View Post
    I believe it was you, perhaps not, that said that the fish this year moved fast and spread out, which they don't normally do. Seems to me there's more for everyone to understand. Another data point in the river wouldn't hurt anything and would still provide a lot of data that I'm sure someone could find useful toward further understanding and managing the system. It's like you're fighting more science, which is boggling my mind.

    I know where the sockeye counter is. I said "fairly" low in the river. Perhaps I should have stipulated the river mile to better illustrate my understanding.

    F&G biologists have spent years R&D'ing all sorts of methods for counting fish. Not just F&G, but fisheries and environmental scientists as well. As SCIENTISTS, you should welcome...embrace....other proven data collection techniques. Instead, you're fighting them, relying on your Holy Didson. If you have one set of data, and another, and you combine them or compare and contrast them, you get better results overall and may find and be able to fix weaknesses in either.

    I'm not blaming the Didson or the counters, but I do think the escapement number is way high. Why doesn't matter all that much to me. Verify it's right with another station before making management decisions that could decimate the entire run. That's all I'm saying.
    Coho slayer - what data do you have that says the Didson sockeye counts are high this year? All the data ADF&G has says the opposite. That it probably under counted. The counting has been looked at numerous times at the RM 19 site. We had two major court cases that examined the counting operation. Then when the Didson replaced the Bendix two to three years of comparable data were collected. Those data indicated the Bendix was under counting. Was the Didson wrong relative to the Bendix - could be but no one in ADF&G could find a rationale for that but they could see offshore distribution the Bendix was not picking up. Also at high densities the Bendix was under counting from the clear water testing in Bristol Bay...

    Next, having two counters is not cost effective or needed. The cost would take away from other research projects that are needed - ADF&G budget is very limited by the Legislature. It is not cheap to put a system in. Each counter I believe runs 50-80k and you need two per location at a minimum. It takes boats, people, post season analysis. It would require a new site up river of RM 19 which involves finding a good counting site. All for what purpose? Because some one standing on a river bank thinks there are less fish in 2013?

    Finally, the counting accuracy depends on the use of the data. So for management if the counter was off by 40% and was consistent in this error management would just be using it as an index and it would be fine for management. Research uses on production may require more precise estimates. Since 1966 the sockeye counters have performed well for management and research. With the latest Didson counter goals have been adjusted to the counter. Thus in a way it is a self correcting system even if it is off.

    There is no way the sockeye counter error is going to decimate the entire run. The goals have been increased to compensate for the Didson counts and to decimate sockeye would take something not seen since the federal days of management - the counter is not the only tool used to look at run strength. There is the commercial catch, the OTF indexes, the age composiiton of the return, genetic testing, and so forth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by coho slayer View Post
    . . As SCIENTISTS . .

    As I see it, the management of our fisheries is not a matter for science. The management of our fisheries is a question of social priorities and goals—what do we try to manage, for whom, and why. Once those questions are settled, then professional managers, biologists, and technicians can be hired and instructed to manage our fisheries to those ends. Only then does science enter the equation.


    People who work in science are just like people who work in mechanics or engineering or medicine . . they're just people with their own set of biases, prejudices, world-views, and priorities. There's no such thing as purely objective science because there's no such thing as a purely objective person/scientist.


    Some years back an ADF&G official sent me a professional paper—Institutional Differences among Marine Fisheries Scientists' Views of their Working Conditions, Discipline, and Fisheries Management.


    I'll send anyone a copy but will need a personal email to do so as the paper is a PDF file. Here's the Abstract:


    We surveyed 349 U.S. marine fisheries scientists to ask them about their working con- ditions, their opinions about the state of the discipline of fisheries science, and their views about fisheries management. Fisheries scientists were largely engaged in applied work, with only a fifth of them significantly engaged in pure research. Among scien- tists working in management agencies, state scientists were more directly and immediately involved in a wide range of management tasks than were scientists work- ing for the National Marine Fisheries Service. Although their views of both disciplinary issues and fisheries management reflected the problems they confront in their day-to- day work, the degree of consensus found among fisheries scientists on many issues was quite high. For example, there was both strong and broad support for the precaution- ary approach to management. Some areas of systematic disagreement were found, however. Scientists working in management agencies were somewhat more positive about working with the fishing industry and more negative about using predefined management standards than were scientists working in conservation groups and uni- versities. State scientists were found to be at the edge of the spectrum of several variables related both to working conditions and fisheries management.

    Science is a means to an end, not the end itself.



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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    As I see it, the management of our fisheries is not a matter for science. The management of our fisheries is a question of social priorities and goals—what do we try to manage, for whom, and why. Once those questions are settled, then professional managers, biologists, and technicians can be hired and instructed to manage our fisheries to those ends. Only then does science enter the equation.


    People who work in science are just like people who work in mechanics or engineering or medicine . . they're just people with their own set of biases, prejudices, world-views, and priorities. There's no such thing as purely objective science because there's no such thing as a purely objective person/scientist.


    Some years back an ADF&G official sent me a professional paper—Institutional Differences among Marine Fisheries Scientists' Views of their Working Conditions, Discipline, and Fisheries Management.


    I'll send anyone a copy but will need a personal email to do so as the paper is a PDF file. Here's the Abstract:





    Science is a means to an end, not the end itself.


    Thank you Marcus, that was a an insightful post and said a lot.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    Coho slayer - what data do you have that says the Didson sockeye counts are high this year?
    I have anecdotal evidence from thousands of sources who can't seem to find a fish, and who, according to you, are all clueless idiots who have no idea what they are doing or talking about on the Kenai.

    All I'm suggesting is a verifying station to back the Didson up. It doesn't have to be complex or expensive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    Next, having two counters is not cost effective or needed. The cost would take away from other research projects that are needed - ADF&G budget is very limited by the Legislature. It is not cheap to put a system in. Each counter I believe runs 50-80k and you need two per location at a minimum. It takes boats, people, post season analysis. It would require a new site up river of RM 19 which involves finding a good counting site. All for what purpose? Because some one standing on a river bank thinks there are less fish in 2013?
    Nerka,

    Greatly appreciate your posts; they contain so much info that others don't know or won't discuss; thanks. But I do have a question about your stance on this issue.

    You answer your own "why" question pretty quickly ("Because someone standing on shore thinks..."). Fact is, many are questioning the DIDSON , and fact is, there are many many millions of dollars in the balance, based on DIDSON being accurate enough to use for management purposes.

    So you're saying 160K; add in another half again for other costs and you'd have a cool quarter mil. Now, how is it not worth a quarter mil to verify DIDSON accuracy in a way that puts it above any doubt?

    On the other hand, if the upstream DIDSON recorded half again more fish that the lower DIDSON, they we'd have a choice it would seem:

    1) We could artificially change the end result number that DIDSON came up with my merely adjusting that hidden multiplying value, thereby MAKING (albeit artificially) "accurate". Note that taking this step would reduce or eliminate public confidence.

    2) Chuck the DIDSON, and re-assess how to count fish in this river.

    3) Or, what?

    I'm not saying that I know for a fact this would be a quarter million dollars well spent. I am saying that I would not reject that argument without some real investigation.

    The entirety of this post is making the assumption that Alaskan's faith in DIDSON accuracy is not present yet, and that its important the Alaskan's believe that F&G can count fish fairly accurately and very consistently.

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    Looks like it's all winding down to a close. Today could very well mark the third day in a row of < 1% daily passage for the Kenai run.

    Cumulative count is up around 1.32 million, so another day of < 13.2K passage typically closes the counting for the year.

    Pretty dang unusual to have a BIG run peter off like that in the last week of July and then just fizzle down to nothing.

    I see Kasilof has fizzled too. Already four daily counts of < 1% of the 484K cumulative count.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FamilyMan View Post
    Nerka,

    Greatly appreciate your posts; they contain so much info that others don't know or won't discuss; thanks. But I do have a question about your stance on this issue.

    You answer your own "why" question pretty quickly ("Because someone standing on shore thinks..."). Fact is, many are questioning the DIDSON , and fact is, there are many many millions of dollars in the balance, based on DIDSON being accurate enough to use for management purposes.

    So you're saying 160K; add in another half again for other costs and you'd have a cool quarter mil. Now, how is it not worth a quarter mil to verify DIDSON accuracy in a way that puts it above any doubt?

    On the other hand, if the upstream DIDSON recorded half again more fish that the lower DIDSON, they we'd have a choice it would seem:

    1) We could artificially change the end result number that DIDSON came up with my merely adjusting that hidden multiplying value, thereby MAKING (albeit artificially) "accurate". Note that taking this step would reduce or eliminate public confidence.

    2) Chuck the DIDSON, and re-assess how to count fish in this river.

    3) Or, what?

    I'm not saying that I know for a fact this would be a quarter million dollars well spent. I am saying that I would not reject that argument without some real investigation.

    The entirety of this post is making the assumption that Alaskan's faith in DIDSON accuracy is not present yet, and that its important the Alaskan's believe that F&G can count fish fairly accurately and very consistently.
    FamilyMan - the lower river (mile 8 sonar site) which counts chinook has known issues and needs a review and new counting site. The RM 19 sockeye counter has a long history of being a good site and this year a perfectly good explanation of why people think there is less fish is available. Let me address the cost of projects = for 250k per year for xxx years we could help define important or critical aspects of chinook life history, sockeye life history, and other species like coho. We do not even have an estimate of the coho escapement for the Kenai and we should. Reason there is no counting of coho - some technical issues but mostly budget. So there is absolutely no reason to think the sockeye counts are off by any degree that would have impacted a management decision in 2013.

    Coho slayer - please do not put words in my mouth - I never said anyone was an idiot. What I said is that fisherman tend to put a reason to low catch rates (which we are not sure even happened yet until the survey data comes in) that is based on emotion not fact. The ADF&G sockeye counters were reviewed this year in-season to make sure they were counting within management and research precision. They were according to the people who actually run the system. If someone wants to suggest that the tapes be reviewed by an outside independent counters that is fine. Putting in two counting systems is a waste of money.

    When I was involved with the Bendix reviews we looked at the option of a second counting site. The conclusion was that the counts would have to be off by a very high percentage before we could detect the difference. Remember, between counting sites is harvest which has to be estimated for the area between the counters. Also, any mortality between the counters not recorded in the harvest - catch and release mortality. It becomes a very complex question and technically not very likely to be successful.

    It is a bad idea to waste money when more important research questions on the Kenai River go unanswered. Heck, ADF&G does not have enough funds to run a video weir on Slikok Creek.

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    Default So there is no logic whatsoever to attempting "better counting" of escapements?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    Let me address the cost of projects = for 250k per year for xxx years we could help define important or critical aspects of chinook life history, sockeye life history, and other species like coho. We do not even have an estimate of the coho escapement for the Kenai and we should. Reason there is no counting of coho - some technical issues but mostly budget.
    Of course you are right; their budget will not allow it, but my point has nothing to do with how F&G can get the job done within their existing budget.

    Instead I look at the overall picture. What is the overall revenue stream affected? You'd know for more accurately than I Nerka, but a quick check indicates this source a 6 billion dollar yearly revenue on Alaskan commercial fishing - yes, probably inflated, and also a bit spot-off, since it counts many commercial fishing activities that have nothing to do with salmon swimming upstream.

    So again I again will play fast and loose with the numbers, to be corrected shortly probably, but still my point is the same. Last time I multiplied your cost number times 50%; now I'll take it times 4 (so I've multiplied your cost figure by 8 times now) and say that way better counting can be done for a cool million/yr. Next lets say that 6 billion dollar figure is overstated by 400%.

    With those huge financial allowances I've just made, the idea to better verify the fish counts would amount to F&G spending 1 mil/yr to help ensure that they are making the smartest decisions in allowing commercial nets to take the maximum harvest without impacting the future adversely - - - at at cost of 7% of the total comm fishing revenue stream.

    While its easy to say that this 7% would be thrown away since we know it all now, look at it another way. What if this 7% (of the take) expenditure allows F&G to safely allow the catch of 20% more this year or that year.... And if it works the other way around, that over the long run the comm fish revenue would decline if we could count more assuredly.... well then, it kinda says we're (meaning, including commercial fishermen are) giving away the farm now.

    Of course its a financial decision with many facets, including constitutionality & ethics of doing this, and cost/benefit analysis and such, but I ask: What is the possible costs if we are today "giving away the farm"? Would you "insure this farm" better by taxing it 7%? Would you drive commercial fishermen out of business? (No, they'd pass on their costs.) I do think it important to study what happens if Alaskan seafood took a retail jump worldwide of even 10% . And also to assess what, if any, Americans would value more about an industry that would result in them being ok to pay more for product that does not take chances with the future of "the farm".

    Lastly, though I've dallied with the numbers, remember that in my figuring I've done way more than a worst case budgeting since I multiplied your cost figures times 8 and the gross revenue numbers decreased by fully 3/4. In other words, I've twisted the numbers against my own argument a total of 32x more severe. Backing out my huge twist would lower the 7% to below 1%, but I'm not saying I can figure that assuredly for this one forum post; I am saying it deserves a further looksee.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post

    Coho slayer - please do not put words in my mouth - I never said anyone was an idiot. What I said is that fisherman tend to put a reason to low catch rates (which we are not sure even happened yet until the survey data comes in) that is based on emotion not fact.
    My apologies.

    You have arrogantly implied that people are clueless idiots who have no idea what they are talking about.

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    Let's not put it all on the commercial. To offset the cost impose a user fee on the river of $5.00 per angler, $50.00 per guide boat per day, and let's on leave out the dippers $5.00 each plus $50.00 per boat. No free rides!

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    Quote Originally Posted by coho slayer View Post
    My apologies.

    You have arrogantly implied that people are clueless idiots who have no idea what they are talking about.
    Coho slayer - not true. Saying that people are mistaken based on data and the response from ADF&G is not arrogant at all and I did not imply that people are clueless idiots - again your words not mine. What I am saying to you is that you are not providing any data that is verifiable on your point of under counting. When in a scientific field you must play by the rules of science. Claims such as the counter is under counting by 50% require the person making the claim to show a reasonable set of data to support that claim. Some people have indicated fishing is poorer this year. That has not been verified. However, ADF&G looked at reasons it could happen and smithtb posted their response which is a logical explanation. They also have checked the counters in season. So they have come to a defensible conclusion that counting operation is within design specifications

    coho slayer if you want to pursue this point you need more than fishing was poor so there must have been less fish.. too many other variables to just make that a fact.

    FamilyMan, I understand your point about reinvestment of monies from a huge industry called fishing back into the basic research and management agencies. So I if read your response correctly it may be worthwhile to pay for a counting weir or better techniques as they become available. That happens to a degree as the Bendix system was replaced with the Didson.

    Just for the record a weir on the Kenai was looked at and the cost was high and impact on fish behavior felt to be harmful. So it was put on the shelf.

    I guess if we made a list of priorities for research in UCI how would a second counter fall out in the list. A second counter I suspect would be low on the list. But I could be wrong and if the money you suggest were available it might get funding.

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