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Thread: Old-timer's Perspective

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    Default Old-timer's Perspective

    Thought this was an interesting read. I wonder how many long-time local fishermen and old-timers who have loved this resource would disagree. I doubt many would.

    http://peninsulaclarion.com/opinion/...salmon-decline

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    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    Thought this was an interesting read. I wonder how many long-time local fishermen and old-timers who have loved this resource would disagree. I doubt many would.

    http://peninsulaclarion.com/opinion/...salmon-decline
    No offense but this article is wrong on many accounts. First, the peak of the Kenai chinook run is still in July. Second, the second run has sustained a harvest for decades and only recently have returns declines. While the first run has sport fish impacts the sport fishery should not be blamed. ADF&G manages the resource and if over harvest took place due to poor counting then the responsibility does not lie with sport fisherman doing what they are allowed to do. The same goes for commercial fishing. If over harvest takes place the managers are responsible not the fisherman.

    Next, the reason for the August closure is because these fish are spawning. So what the author fails to understand is that what he wants is already being done. In fact, if one wants to do better management of chinook there should be some harvest on fish entering in August - maybe a fishery below Eagle Rock - but saying that run timing is shifting is just not a correct statement. If you look at the run timing there are early years and late years in the recent data set.

    Also, saying in the 1990's ADF&G just managed for sockeye salmon is a flat misstatement. The ADF&G has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to count chinook salmon and manage them. While I have called for a complete review of the program I would never say they have not tried to manage the resource. I know of too many good people who want to keep the resource healthy. They may have technical and political reasons to stop them but they are making the attempt. Review of technical data is good policy but the author statement is just not correct.

    This is a problem with articles not based on data. No offense to the author but some fact checking would have been a good idea before putting this out. It just creates problems for user groups, those trying to find solutions, and for those of us who feel that data should be used for decision making.

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    Nerka... I would agree with everything u say above. However, I doubt the authors intent was the focus of what you pointed out. Rather I'm guessing that his entire point was that the 'inriver' fishing was depleting the resource more so than ocean problems. And with that, I would agree. Wouldn't you?
    Would u not agree that guides on the kenai are awfully efficient at their trade? That the constant pounding by far too many fishermen in any given fishing hole in the river is decimating the fish numbers? The fact that the early run fish have no respite till August puts the early fish in the crosshairs for far too long resulting in little chance the early fish survive to spawn? That specifically targeting and keeping big fish reduces the genetic stock for more big fish to be able to return?
    That is what I would get from his article.
    There may very well be something ALSO going on in ocean circumstances, but the inriver fishery situation seems like a no brainer to me. Do we really need 'scientific' data to tell us what seems obvious on its face?
    Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine!

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    The author is clearly not a scientist, but then again, so what? Most folks aren't scientists. They form their opinions based on their limited observations and personal experience. It can be frustrating for some scientists to realize that opinions are often based on something other than solid scientific information. I get that. So I read the article, not so much for the basis for the arguments, but rather, the authors intent. If I have a concern, that's where it lies.

    The complex life history of Pacific salmon makes it easy to "point-fingers" at one source of mortality or another as being the source of the problem. I firmly believe that the decline of any stock of fish is associated with a multitude of factors, across the fish's life history. It is incorrect, and perhaps misleading, to suggest that sport fishing, commercial fishing, ocean conditions, habitat loss, or anything else is the single reason for the decline. So, my concern with the article is that the author seems to point his finger at one source of mortality, with the claim that recreational angling is the reason for the decline. It's rarley that simple. The debates on this BB about habitat ordinances, sport fishing, PU fishery, and ESSNetters are more examples of this. But worse, this approach isolates one user group (sport anglers) who could also be an important ally in restoring these fish. If the Chinook salmon stocks on the Kenai Rv are in trouble, and restoration is an important priority, it will take everyone working together to solve the problems.

    Nerka - You seem to suggest that if over-fishing occurs, we should blame the managers, and nobody should blame the user groups (sport, commercial, etc). That's a bit nave. As you know better than I, those user groups are often very well connected, politically. They know how to push the right buttons in Juneau, Olympia, Salem, or Washington DC. They also know how to take advantage of scientific uncertainty to achieve their objectives, and to insist on placing the "risk" on the backs of the fish, rather than on their consistuents. So, I agree with what you're saying, but both you and I and everyone else on this BB know how things actually happen.....

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    Cohoangler, I agree political pressure from user groups makes a huge impact on decisions. What I am trying to get at is that managers should also be accountable for not saying no to political pressure.

    Relative to fishing pressure in river cod I would agree a new approach is needed. I have for years wondered about differential exploitation rates on the various segments of the chinook return. The Kenai Area Fisherman's Coalition at one point was suggesting a moving season for parts of the river. I think they have a proposal in this year along those lines but not to the degree I would suggest. In this concept some segments of the river would close earlier while others would be open longer. It is a complex approach but one that should be discussed in my opinion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cohoangler View Post
    The author is clearly not a scientist, but then again, so what? Most folks aren't scientists. They form their opinions based on their limited observations and personal experience. It can be frustrating for some scientists to realize that opinions are often based on something other than solid scientific information. I get that. So I read the article, not so much for the basis for the arguments, but rather, the authors intent. If I have a concern, that's where it lies.

    The complex life history of Pacific salmon makes it easy to "point-fingers" at one source of mortality or another as being the source of the problem. I firmly believe that the decline of any stock of fish is associated with a multitude of factors, across the fish's life history. It is incorrect, and perhaps misleading, to suggest that sport fishing, commercial fishing, ocean conditions, habitat loss, or anything else is the single reason for the decline. So, my concern with the article is that the author seems to point his finger at one source of mortality, with the claim that recreational angling is the reason for the decline. It's rarley that simple. The debates on this BB about habitat ordinances, sport fishing, PU fishery, and ESSNetters are more examples of this. But worse, this approach isolates one user group (sport anglers) who could also be an important ally in restoring these fish. If the Chinook salmon stocks on the Kenai Rv are in trouble, and restoration is an important priority, it will take everyone working together to solve the problems.

    Nerka - You seem to suggest that if over-fishing occurs, we should blame the managers, and nobody should blame the user groups (sport, commercial, etc). That's a bit nave. As you know better than I, those user groups are often very well connected, politically. They know how to push the right buttons in Juneau, Olympia, Salem, or Washington DC. They also know how to take advantage of scientific uncertainty to achieve their objectives, and to insist on placing the "risk" on the backs of the fish, rather than on their consistuents. So, I agree with what you're saying, but both you and I and everyone else on this BB know how things actually happen.....



    Excellent points . . very well said. Especially do I agree that user group/political pressure is the overwhelming, if not the sole, determining factor governing management decisions right down the level of defining what we need to manage/preserve and why. Never, never should we forget Dr. Montgomery's warning about the uncertainty of the natural sciences and the "certainty demanded by policy makers when balancing natural resource protection against economic opportunities." Anyone who thinks fishery/resource management is fundamentally a scientific endeavor is naive indeed.


    Too, I'd add that at some level we are all, including those working directly in science, "scientists" in that we all make our decisions based on "limited observations and personal experience." Fisheries scientists themselves are influenced by socio/economic priorities, their working environment, their employer, and more. One problem with science comes from the inability of some working in scientific fields to recognize the social factors that drive scientific exploration. But perhaps the greatest difficulty with applied science is the lack of differentiation between Science as a tool and Materialism disguised as Science. Science is not a world-view or a religion, Science is nothing more than a tool we use to understand the material world.


    Some while back, this was posted on another forum I frequent:


    The dispute is irresolvable. To an outsider, the scientific materialist looks like a closed-minded fundamentalist dogmatically (even angrily) asserting the sole primacy and validity of his worldview and on a holy mission to destroy anyone who disagrees. To a scientific materialist, all others seem like the dogmatists that have clung to old beliefs and inhibited the progress of mankind since time immemorial. Furthermore, scientists are something like psychopathic serial killers in their single-minded and obsessive need to seek out problems and solve them (and thank God for that). When you are a hammer, everything looks like a nail, ya know? And they don't take kindly to people telling them that some problems are immutable, unsolvable, non-rational mysteries. It is not only a personal insult but, since most scientists are staunch humanists, it is an insult and challenge issued to mankind from the depths of the universe itself; another defense thrown up as nature attempts to elude its master.

    Scientists are but a community of inquirers bound together by the common faith that objective truth exists and can be found. No one makes that simple fact more plain than does Michael Polanyi in Science, Faith & Society.

  7. #7

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    Nerka, good points although I think you're splitting hairs on a few things. It actually sounds like you and the author agree on the harvest pressure thing - hence your wanting to move the season back - maybe a good idea. I appreciated this article much more in the general sense that Cod described - however I don't even know if inriver pressure is the main reason for the decline, I just know for a fact that we aren't paying enough attention to what happens in our river.

    Coho, you speak of the inriver recreational fishery. It's important to differentiate this from the unlimited inriver commercial fishery on our river. There is no limit on the number of guides, boats, or trips per day on the Kenai river. These operations are efficient, run multiple boats with multiple trips daily, and have for years selectively harvested the large kings from our river. I know that "finger pointing" will solve nothing, however, it is completely appropriate to point out facts that warrant concern. I am all for all user groups harvesting these fish at the maximum sustainable level. Speaking as a setnetter, there has been much finger pointing towards my group that is based on false, misleading information, and even straight out lies from people who know better. I will not point out names, we all know who propagates this crap. It is in no way the same thing to point out that we need to take a better look at what is happening inriver.

    The State of Alaska just spent $700,000, at the behest of our favorite sportfishing association, on a failed tagging study which attempted to determine how Late Run Kings migrate up the inlet in order to cut the ESSN's relatively low 13% exploitation rate of these fish even lower. Meanwhile, they didn't even allocate the necessary funds to conduct BOF REQUIRED habitat assessment studies along prime King habitat in the Kenai River, studies that haven't been conducted for a DECADE!!!

    If you don't believe me, call ADFG and ask for the most recent Kenai River habitat assessment report. You'll get one newer than a decade old, but it's not ADFG's name on the title!!! It's a fluff piece on recent federally-funded habitat restoration projects written by our favorite sportfishing association. UUUUGH!!!

    There is simply a lack of information - ESPECIALLY public information, on what's happening in our river. Inriver data (harvest, guide logbook) isn't available for over 12 months. Annual sportfish management reports haven't been produced for many years. Turbidity studies are "languishing" at the state level, just like many habitat studies have in the past. Catch and release mortality estimates are based on 20 year old studies, despite the need for update studies on C&R mortality, especially effects of multiple hookups, and overall effects of C&R on fecundity.

    How far would that $700,000 have gone towards an independent review of both our King and Sockeye sonar projects on the Kenai? Wouldn't that have been much more beneficial and productive?

    So far, none of the $30 Million dollars included in the Chinook Salmon Research Initiative are focused on habitat assessment, according to ADFG. I wonder if ANY is allocated towards freshwater research?

    Ok, I'm done for now. That's my rant for the week. Carry on.

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    Furthermore, scientists are something like psychopathic serial killers

    Really??? but I must admit that sometimes I could become a psychopath given some of the posts on this forum -


    Joke alert.


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    Ha! Sometimes I almost take his bait Nerka. Then I ignore it. The overall distrust in people at large is disenheartening though. As if we won't or wouldn't do good work or be good people because we're scientists. That we are contrained by laws, and mandates, and funding and have jobs to do and almost always do them to the best of our abilities?

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    Wink Science . . . gotta love it . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Akbrownsfan View Post
    Ha! Sometimes I almost take his bait Nerka. Then I ignore it. The overall distrust in people at large is disenheartening though. As if we won't or wouldn't do good work or be good people because we're scientists. That we are contrained by laws, and mandates, and funding and have jobs to do and almost always do them to the best of our abilities?

    Oh, wow, brownsfan . . sure hope you're not referring to any of my comments . . Attachment 73157


    Let me assure you that I absolutely love Science. Some of the best stuff I've ever read was written by scientists: Michael Polanyi, Stanley Jaki, Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, Francis Collins, Andrew Weil, Sherwin Nuland, and many more.


    Honestly, I really do like Science. Heck, I thank providence for science every time I turn my computer on.


    It's Scientism that turns my stomach . . .

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