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Thread: Northern District Coho goals being met

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    Default Northern District Coho goals being met

    Just check the ADF&G web site and the coho escapements look good for the river systems listed. Here is an update:

    Fish Creek - goal 1200-4400 to date 2908 with good passage rates. Last year total for whole season - 1237

    Deshka - 10728 - just passed over 8000 fish in one day on Aug 12th. If you look at water temps they are coming down significantly and with flow increases fish are moving. Month of counting to go. Last year total for year was 5414

    Little Susitna- 7948 - goal is 10,000 to 17,700 - passage rate good. Total for last year was 6770

    So the good catches in the Central District drift and ADF&G model predicting goals would be met appears to be spot on.

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    May be, commercial fishing this year appears to be finally being limited enough to provide for escapement and the other critical uses of our silver salmon to the economy and ecology of those areas around the Deshka, Little Su, Fish Creek etc. It will be important to note how the rest of the streams fare in escapement and how closely that escapement meets the "biological escapement" goals.

    It will be very important to maintain the research that is currently taking place and has been legislatively funded to determine what our baseline fish escapement at this time actually is.

    There are more people living in Alaska than ever before. The demand for in-river salmon has and will continue to increase. It makes more sense that more silver salmon will need to find their way from the ocean to the river environment, and not fewer or the same number. Escapement must naturally increase to meet that demand AND provide for commercial fishing interests.

    The biology of these salmon stocks and their management has taken a back seat to commercial ocean fishing interests far too long. Decisions that were pro-opener and a lack emergency closure in the ocean when it was apparent that other commercial in-river interests would be nearly destroyed and that in-river biological escapement would be far short, is very short-sighted and wrong headed.

    Political decisions affecting these river systems have too often been made in favor of the ocean commercial fishing. These decisions were foisted politically from on high through the Department. In-river subsistence family fishing, sport fishing and an entire vibrant lodge industry has been left to die and is greatly reduced. People don't go to Wasilla for any other reason than what was formerly, good fishing. Those management decisions also negatively affected ecological considerations of the entire in-river watershed ecological system. As a result the entire fishery industry has also been affected.

    Those very real economic concerns of the other users and in-river commercial enterprises have been totally neglected. To say that biological decisions should be made separate from economic or political expediency is pure hogwash when that cannon is pointed at in-river concerns, especially in light of the fact that more than 90% of the fishery is utilized by the ocean commercial fishing industry.

    Ask any family run lodge along the Parks Highway, the Deshka, Alexander Creek, Lake Creek, any tackle store, road side camp ground, fishing guide or remote lodge from the Tal to the Indian River up the Susitna and you will see the effects of long-term in-river fish stock depletion. Limiting the take within the river system is too late. The value, in-river, is so much higher than in the ocean as to be incomparable to the value of that ocean fishery that affects those rivers. There is an economic study of this in-river fishery that proves that fact.

    There is much more chance of positively affecting the escapement of salmon in the river by further limiting the take and the percentage of take in the ocean.

    At the same time more effort needs to be made to enforce the in-river regulations with more wardens, higher fines for poaching, increase fishing license fees proportionately and reasonably as the fishery improves, increase ocean fisheries enforcement and continue to solve the by-catch of unintended fish stocks through fishing gear/timing restrictions or fines or quotas that adequately provide for the other uses and escapement by allowing salmon to return to the rivers.

    Trying to solve the problem of escapement when the fish are already in the river doesn't work. Many more peoples way of life is being affected now than will happen when commercial fishing is limited to fit the fishery. The change to take must come from the commercial side. Limiting fish at current percentages of take will be most effective when it begins again in the ocean.
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    If you believe ADF&G data the drift commercial fisheries in UCI harvest 10-15% of the northern bound coho salmon. Do you really believe Alaska Woodsman that reducing this number is going to be measured in the northern district? Sometimes the facts just get in the way. What is critical is for the Mat/Su to take care of habitat, which they are poor at doing. It is also critical to stop all the energy going against the commercial fisherman and start to put it into additional access and opportunity beside the eastside streams. Also, it is just not realistic to think that the commercial fishery restrictions did anything this year. They took more coho than last year - the good returns are due to increased production not fishery restrictions.

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    It would be nice to see some return numbers for 'all' salmon species in the 'upper' escapement goals, not just the 'lower' barely making sustainable escapement goals...this would benefit all user groups IMO. Sarcastically speaking...God forbid if the valley rivers ever 'over escaped'...Uh oh, the coho 'have' overescaped at Fish Creek!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    Also, it is just not realistic to think that the commercial fishery restrictions did anything this year. They took more coho than last year - the good returns are due to increased production not fishery restrictions.
    Exactly, you took the words right out of my mouth.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tearbear View Post
    Uh oh, the coho 'have' overescaped at Fish Creek!!!
    Better dial 911 and ask for Fish and Game before Wally Hickel wakes from the dead and reminds us that we can't just let nature run wild.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskan Woodsman View Post
    May be, commercial fishing this year appears to be finally being limited enough to provide for escapement and the other critical uses of our silver salmon to the economy and ecology of those areas around the Deshka, Little Su, Fish Creek etc. It will be important to note how the rest of the streams fare in escapement and how closely that escapement meets the "biological escapement" goals.

    It will be very important to maintain the research that is currently taking place and has been legislatively funded to determine what our baseline fish escapement at this time actually is.

    There are more people living in Alaska than ever before. The demand for in-river salmon has and will continue to increase. It makes more sense that more silver salmon will need to find their way from the ocean to the river environment, and not fewer or the same number. Escapement must naturally increase to meet that demand AND provide for commercial fishing interests.

    The biology of these salmon stocks and their management has taken a back seat to commercial ocean fishing interests far too long. Decisions that were pro-opener and a lack emergency closure in the ocean when it was apparent that other commercial in-river interests would be nearly destroyed and that in-river biological escapement would be far short, is very short-sighted and wrong headed.

    Political decisions affecting these river systems have too often been made in favor of the ocean commercial fishing. These decisions were foisted politically from on high through the Department. In-river subsistence family fishing, sport fishing and an entire vibrant lodge industry has been left to die and is greatly reduced. People don't go to Wasilla for any other reason than what was formerly, good fishing. Those management decisions also negatively affected ecological considerations of the entire in-river watershed ecological system. As a result the entire fishery industry has also been affected.

    Those very real economic concerns of the other users and in-river commercial enterprises have been totally neglected. To say that biological decisions should be made separate from economic or political expediency is pure hogwash when that cannon is pointed at in-river concerns, especially in light of the fact that more than 90% of the fishery is utilized by the ocean commercial fishing industry.

    Ask any family run lodge along the Parks Highway, the Deshka, Alexander Creek, Lake Creek, any tackle store, road side camp ground, fishing guide or remote lodge from the Tal to the Indian River up the Susitna and you will see the effects of long-term in-river fish stock depletion. Limiting the take within the river system is too late. The value, in-river, is so much higher than in the ocean as to be incomparable to the value of that ocean fishery that affects those rivers. There is an economic study of this in-river fishery that proves that fact.

    There is much more chance of positively affecting the escapement of salmon in the river by further limiting the take and the percentage of take in the ocean.

    At the same time more effort needs to be made to enforce the in-river regulations with more wardens, higher fines for poaching, increase fishing license fees proportionately and reasonably as the fishery improves, increase ocean fisheries enforcement and continue to solve the by-catch of unintended fish stocks through fishing gear/timing restrictions or fines or quotas that adequately provide for the other uses and escapement by allowing salmon to return to the rivers.

    Trying to solve the problem of escapement when the fish are already in the river doesn't work. Many more peoples way of life is being affected now than will happen when commercial fishing is limited to fit the fishery. The change to take must come from the commercial side. Limiting fish at current percentages of take will be most effective when it begins again in the ocean.
    Woodsman,

    You contradicted yourself in your statement. You say that inriver demand is continuing to grow, and then say that pro-commercial decisions have left inriver interests to die... I think not.

    Commercial fishing, in the inlet at least, has hardly if ever been more restricted than of late. The Northern District openers are but a shadow of what they once were. ESSN's fished only a handful of openers this season and last. Drifters barely remember what an inlet-wide opener is - I believe they only had 1 or 2 of them the entire month of July. These restrictions are not because the commercial fishery has grown - they are because returns of certain stocks of fish have shrank, and because of the very attitude that you hold. The UCI commercial fishery has been limited in size for DECADES, and even in times when there were EO's aplenty, it allowed for huge and ever-expanding inriver fisheries that have never seen a limit on commercial activity or total participation. Now, were are experiencing a production problem in many of these rivers...

    Your post presents a perfect example of why. You suggest that we should focus even more of our total harvest of these resources to the inriver zones - the most sensitive ecosystem that these fish spend the most vulnerable parts of their lives in. Never at any time did you consider the environmental toll that this fishing pressure takes on our rivers.

    We need a healthy balance to our fisheries. We cannot achieve that if we continue to have a more-is-better approach when it comes to inriver use while blaming all shortcomings on the commercial fisheries. The ecosystems will not support this. Unfortunately, no one has the political cojones to insist that the state pay more attention to what is happening in our rivers. It seems easier to blame commercial fishermen for what is ultimately a production problem. Our local UCI commercial fisheries have a long track record of sustainability. Our inriver fisheries, at their current level of harvest pressure, most certainly do not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tearbear View Post
    ...Uh oh, the coho 'have' overescaped at Fish Creek!!!
    Quote Originally Posted by FamilyMan View Post
    Better dial 911 and ask for Fish and Game before Wally Hickel wakes from the dead and reminds us that we can't just let nature run wild.
    I agree! Better call Fish Stoppers immediately!!!
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    Thumbs up Worth reading . . .

    . . We need a healthy balance to our fisheries. We cannot achieve that if we continue to have a more-is-better approach when it comes to inriver use while blaming all shortcomings on the commercial fisheries. The ecosystems will not support this. Unfortunately, no one has the political cojones to insist that the state pay more attention to what is happening in our rivers. It seems easier to blame commercial fishermen for what is ultimately a production problem. Our local UCI commercial fisheries have a long track record of sustainability. Our inriver fisheries, at their current level of harvest pressure, most certainly do not.



    For a detailed, written perspective on Mat-Su salmon issues, contact United Cook Inlet Drift Association ( info@ucida.org ) and request the free report "A Watershed Perspective on Salmon Production in the Mat-Su Basin."


    The production and allocation of Mat-Su salmon are fundamentally socio/economic questions that are resolved politically, and the report does a credible job of explaining the various issues affecting the whole.

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    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...51156542,d.cGE

    Mat Su Salmon Partnership...has some good info on the 'Mat Su Valley' salmon runs. Just Google 'Mat Su Salmon Partnership' and there's all kinds of info on what is being done to help improve our salmon runs. I believe that a 'perspective' is just someones point of view or opinion on a certain matter, and coming from a drift fishing associations view, it may be biased.

    Attachment 73258
    "Grin and Bear It"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskan Woodsman View Post
    1) . . very important to maintain the research that is currently taking place and has been legislatively funded to determine what our baseline fish escapement at this time actually is. . .

    2) The biology of these salmon stocks and their management has taken a back seat to commercial ocean fishing interests far too long. . .

    3) Political decisions affecting these river systems have too often been made in favor of the ocean commercial fishing. . .

    4) . . To say that biological decisions should be made separate from economic or political expediency is pure hogwash . .

    Woodsman,


    Thanks for your post. Allow me, without taking sides vis-a-vis sport vs. commercial, some comments. On point #1, I agree.


    On points 2,3, & 4, we need to keep in mind that biology/science/research is totally material, totally objective, has no value system, no morals, no priorities . . fisheries biology/science is nothing more than objective facts assembled for the purpose of understanding and prediction.


    All research is aimed at increased understanding for the purpose of making informed, socio/economic decisions. All management decisions are those socio/economic priorities worked out in the realm of politics.


    Thus it has always been, and thus it will always be. The best we can hope for is adequate, timely, and accurate data. See my post above . . the recommended report is well worth the trouble.

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    "Grin and Bear It"

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    That exact map is the inside, 7-1/2" X 9-3/4", full-color, front cover of A Watershed Perspective on Salmon Production in the Mat-Su Basin, June 2013, available free from UCIDA—see post #9 above.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    That exact map is the inside, 7-1/2" X 9-3/4", full-color, front cover of A Watershed Perspective on Salmon Production in the Mat-Su Basin, June 2013, available free from UCIDA—see post #9 above.
    Cool...I got it for free too, but not from UCIDA...it was in the Strategic Action Plan pdf I downloaded from the Mat Su Salmon Partnership guys. I noticed that the ASA ( Alaska Salmon Alliance ) down in Kenai has joined the Mat Su Salmon Partnership also.
    "Grin and Bear It"

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    Thumbs up Good news indeed . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Tearbear View Post
    Cool...I got it for free too, but not from UCIDA...it was in the Strategic Action Plan pdf I downloaded from the Mat Su Salmon Partnership guys. I noticed that the ASA ( Alaska Salmon Alliance ) down in Kenai has joined the Mat Su Salmon Partnership also.

    Now that is very good news . . . . thanks for posting . .


    Attachment 73266


    Here's the Alaska Salmon Alliance's Web site: http://www.aksalmonalliance.org/


    Here's their brochure: http://www.aksalmonalliance.org/2013.../#.Uh43vY59m5Q


    Finally . . we may get some of the various interest groups talking to each other and working together.


    Hope springs eternal . . .

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    ...Finally . . we may get some of the various interest groups talking to each other and working together...
    Which is better than pointing fingers or fighting over something that isn't there.
    "Grin and Bear It"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    If you believe ADF&G data the drift commercial fisheries in UCI harvest 10-15% of the northern bound coho salmon. Do you really believe Alaska Woodsman that reducing this number is going to be measured in the northern district? Sometimes the facts just get in the way. What is critical is for the Mat/Su to take care of habitat, which they are poor at doing. It is also critical to stop all the energy going against the commercial fisherman and start to put it into additional access and opportunity beside the eastside streams. Also, it is just not realistic to think that the commercial fishery restrictions did anything this year. They took more coho than last year - the good returns are due to increased production not fishery restrictions.
    Does that mean you don't believe the F&G, or some readers on this forum may not? I personally wonder how they can come up with any credible percentage of valley bound fish being caught in the commercial fishery. With a weir on Fish Creek, one on the Deshka, and one on the Little Su, it leaves hundreds of other waterways with no accurate means of counting returns. Without continued genetic testing of the commercial fleet over a multitude of seasons, how do they extrapolate the percentage of overall take of Mat/Su fish by the commercial fleet on a per year basis? In a nutshell; they don't know what the historical coho run strength is in the Valley. They don't know what the current run strength is. They don't know, as a percentage of catch, how many of the drift fleet's coho are part of the Valley returns. The data just isn't there. I don't think the department, with the data available, can state with any degree of accuracy how many valley bound coho the fleet took. It could just as easily be 50-55% as 10-15%. If its on the high end, then taking steps to reduce that number is very important. If its on the low end, is it low enough to be sustainable? I think it is pretty bleeping vital that the Department gets the data necessary to determine run composition in the commercial fleet instead of just pulling some number out of their rear and insisting that because of that number they're doing a fine job of management.
    So lets go with the habitat issues. There is a lot of support among private groups for taking care of habitat problems. pinpoint them.
    What habitat issues pertaining to coho salmon are the Mat-Su not taking care of?
    And are these issues the responsibility of city, borough, state or federal governing bodies? And which bodies in these entities have jurisdiction? If state, is it DNR, Fish and Game, or commercial licensing, or another agency altogether?
    What as fishermen and representatives of different groups in the fisheries can we do to address them?

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    Quote Originally Posted by willphish4food View Post
    So lets go with the habitat issues. There is a lot of support among private groups for taking care of habitat problems. pinpoint them.
    What habitat issues pertaining to coho salmon are the Mat-Su not taking care of?
    And are these issues the responsibility of city, borough, state or federal governing bodies? And which bodies in these entities have jurisdiction? If state, is it DNR, Fish and Game, or commercial licensing, or another agency altogether?
    What as fishermen and representatives of different groups in the fisheries can we do to address them?
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    Quote Originally Posted by willphish4food View Post
    Does that mean you don't believe the F&G, or some readers on this forum may not? I personally wonder how they can come up with any credible percentage of valley bound fish being caught in the commercial fishery. With a weir on Fish Creek, one on the Deshka, and one on the Little Su, it leaves hundreds of other waterways with no accurate means of counting returns. Without continued genetic testing of the commercial fleet over a multitude of seasons, how do they extrapolate the percentage of overall take of Mat/Su fish by the commercial fleet on a per year basis? In a nutshell; they don't know what the historical coho run strength is in the Valley. They don't know what the current run strength is. They don't know, as a percentage of catch, how many of the drift fleet's coho are part of the Valley returns. The data just isn't there. I don't think the department, with the data available, can state with any degree of accuracy how many valley bound coho the fleet took. It could just as easily be 50-55% as 10-15%. If its on the high end, then taking steps to reduce that number is very important. If its on the low end, is it low enough to be sustainable? I think it is pretty bleeping vital that the Department gets the data necessary to determine run composition in the commercial fleet instead of just pulling some number out of their rear and insisting that because of that number they're doing a fine job of management.So lets go with the habitat issues. There is a lot of support among private groups for taking care of habitat problems. pinpoint them.What habitat issues pertaining to coho salmon are the Mat-Su not taking care of? And are these issues the responsibility of city, borough, state or federal governing bodies? And which bodies in these entities have jurisdiction? If state, is it DNR, Fish and Game, or commercial licensing, or another agency altogether?What as fishermen and representatives of different groups in the fisheries can we do to address them?
    I think you know the answer to your own questions willphis4food. ADF&G did a tagging study to look at exploitation rates. They also followed the tag fish to their stream of origin and had recovery sites. They also are tagging and making estimates on the Susitna River. So the data are there for you to examine. I know you have looked at these reports because you testified at numerous BOF meetings and have had them available to you at the meetings.Next, you really cannot be asking what habitat issues in the valley. The Mat/Su partnership has done a good job of defining some of them. First and foremost is there is not an effective buffer along Mat/Su streams. Next, development and zoning laws are very weak relative to salmon production. Hundreds of culverts are perched in the valley with road standards to protect fish lacking in content. Development around lakes has already impacted a number of lakes. I do not think I need to go on. The responsibility for these is for all government agencies and private concerns to deal with. So far the Mat/Su partnership is getting about 300,000 a year from the USFWS. That is not even keeping up with the habitat loss that is associated with the rapid development in the valley. ADF&G is fighting listing the Little Susitna River for turbidity and hydrocarbons caused by users. Invasive species, like pike, are in over 100 lakes yet the Mat/Su delegation is out getting millions of dollars for chinook studies and coho allocation studies when ADF&G own reports say the coho populations could be halved by pike infested lakes. So lets get real here.

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    Yes, Nerka, Fish and Game does have some data. But as you said, there is a lot of estimating going on. Estimation on top of estimation. The pike problem is mainly with sockeye, as many of the coho streams have no pike, and the coho are spawning in the streams instead of the lakes. You mentioned the Mat/Su partnership. They are an organization here in the Valley that is working hard on the habitat issues surrounding coho. Our advisory committees are working on habitat. The problems with culverts are a permitting issue with state agencies, and cannot be solved on the local level. When state permits are issued, and state departments are overseeing the road building, that is a state issue, and is an issue that is being fought on the state level.

    Its very unfair to claim that "nothing is being done" about habitat, so therefore nothing needs be changed in the way fisheries are managed. When fisheries are suffering, all causes of mortality need to be addressed. I wonder why Mat-Su streams are getting such a great late push of fish? Its a very odd coincidence that its happening after the central district sockeye season is over. Just saying

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