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Thread: Some data that should concern all user groups.

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    Default Some data that should concern all user groups.

    I was in ADF&G today and talked with the local biologists. They had just finished the fall hydroacoustic survey of Skilak and Kenai Lakes for juvenile sockeye salmon. This has been ongoing since the mid 1980's. The number of sockeye fry in the lakes was estimated at around 13 million. That is very poor with around 70-80 percent being Age 0 and the rest Age 1. That means 8 or 9 million fall fry were produced by the 2012 escapement which was over 1.0 million spawners. Just for the lakes in the past can produce 40 million fall fry or more. In 2001 the sockeye fall fry was around 9 million and it brought back 1.6 million adults. The ocean environment was in the warm phase and not is in the cold phase which means survival may be poorer. As a final note the depth of light penetration in Skilak Lake was recently measured at 0.5 meters. Good fish production comes from around 8 meters. All this spells trouble for the future.

    Then to top it off Slikok Creek appears to have no spawners above the highway as some staff walked the stream and found fish on the bank and a large bear but no spawning fish in the creek. With just a handful of fish making it to the stream it is not unreasonable to assume bears hunting here will take the few fish making it back. Again another loss of a tributary stream.

    It is time to wake up folks. The Kenai River needs a full review of what management approaches are being used. Following that review there needs an action plan (similar to AYK) to start the solution process. I am not sure who will lead this effort as the present leadership appears incapable of doing it.

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    Thanks for the update Nerka. That sucks. Who woulda thought this could happen with all the Marine Derived Nutrients we have been pumping into the Kenai? Ha! Not funny, but Ha!

    Unfortunately, nobody cares. Fisheries politics are dominated by the "King Crisis" right now, and that is THE discussion. No one will realize how important Sockeye are until there aren't enough of them. By the time the abundance cycles shift, and Kings bounce back while Sockeye suffer, everyone will have forgotten this forewarning, and will instead blame those "curtains of death" for the low abundance of Sockeye. They will forget that we managed to the upper end of our Sockeye escapement goals in the Kenai and Kasilof in a panic to save every King possible. Instead, they will scream for us to "close the rivers for five years to allow the runs to come back", and our buddies Billy Stoltze and Ricky Gease will attempt fix the issue by using public money to fund some BS study that blames the commercial industry for the low abundance of Sockeye. Speaking of that, has anyone seen the results of the 7 GAZILLION DOLLAR hydroacousitcal study that was conducted this year?


    Sorry for the negativity, but I'm feeling pretty sour about the whole situation. Maybe I need a beer....

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    ..........

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    Smile Keep on the sunny side . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    . . No one will realize how important Sockeye are until there aren't enough of them. . .

    Take heart, smithtb, while nothing in life is a sure bet, some have been predicting hard times for sockeye for over a decade that I know of.


    The decimation of sockeye stocks due to overescapement has been played like a broken record during the recent past, yet we keep on "over-escaping," and the runs just keep getting better. It's pretty obvious that current models/plans aren't working nor can they be trusted.


    Anyway . . what happens is in the hands of Providence. Have that beer and relax . .






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    Anyone consider that it was just bad timing for the survey? The Snow River glacier dam released approx 10 days ago and dumped about a "Gazillion" gallons of murky water in the system.

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    Thumbs up Good one . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Sockeye Charlie View Post
    Anyone consider that it was just bad timing for the survey? The Snow River glacier dam released approx 10 days ago and dumped about a "Gazillion" gallons of murky water in the system.


    Excellent point . . +1


    It's this sort of thing that Dr. Montgomery means when he speaks of the "inherent uncertainties" of the natural sciences . . . Attachment 74699



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    I must respond to Marcus on this one even though I was trying to avoid him. The reason is that he has posted a serious claim and it is just false. He stated "The decimation of sockeye stocks due to overescapement has been played like a broken record during the recent past, yet we keep on "over-escaping," and the runs just keep getting better. It's pretty obvious that current models/plans aren't working nor can they be trusted."

    This statement is just a flat misstatement without any data on Marcus part to show it to be true. Why? Because like so many people he views a return in one year to be representative of production. That is not true and a typical flaw when lay people look at salmon fishery data.

    In a given year the return is made up of multiple year classes - or multiple brood years.. If one wants to look at the issue of density dependent impacts then one looks at what a given spawning level brings back (they will come back over those multiple years). In the case of Kenai the data and returns have still shown that large escapements bring back lower yields.

    So lets take Marcus statement above apart. First, no one has ever said that sockeye would be decimated - that is just flat wrong. What ADF&G biologists have been stating is that yields will be reduced. There are numerous reports that state this. So if one is going to make these types of statements they should do some fact checking and use words that biologists use to describe the situation. There is not one report or post on this forum by any biologist that has stated a warning of decimation. It is all about reduced yields.

    The next statement - the runs keep getting better. - not true at all. Recent brood year returns are showing that at greater than 1.0 million spawners yields are in the 2.0 to 2.5 million range while at 600,000 to 800,000 spawners the yields have been around 4.0 million or 1.5 to 2.0 million fish more. Recent full brood year data indicated that the 2003 brood year of 1.4 million spawners brought back a yield of 513,000 fish. For 2004 a total of 1.6 million spawners brought a yield of 1.4 million. For 2006 1.8 million spawners brought a yield of 2.6 million. The 2007 brood year is not complete since a brood year can return over a 6-8 year period. So making the statement runs are getting better is meaningless given this is about a yield discussion. If one understood the brood year table concept one would not make this statement on the issue of density dependent impacts of large escapements. The full brood table data are available from ADF&G if one asked a question and wanted to really know what is happening.

    Finally, It's pretty obvious that current models/plans aren't working nor can they be trusted." This statement really shows a lack of knowledge and understanding. Trusted by whom? A person who does not even know how to look at the data, one that reads and comments without fact checking their comments, one that does not ask a question but makes a false statement, one that sees black helicopters around every cloud>>> The data used to set the goals are still providing useful and meaningful information and the models are holding firm. While there will always be adjustments because of new data points there is no fundamental change in the models used by ADF&G and they are holding up well. Just for the record ADF&G looks at multiple models to set goals so saying they cannot be trusted is meaningless in this context.

    I want to continue to make the point about yields. We have a growing demand for sockeye from the Kenai River. The PU fishery is now around 500,000 fish and growing, the sport fishery is around 500,000 fish, and the commercial fishery needs 2.0 million fish or more to survive. That means a yield of 3.0 million is needed to meet the minimum demand. When a system only produces 500,000 fish for yield in one year so can see the issue clearly if two or three brood years produce this in a row. That would be a yield in a given year of 1.5 million or 1.5 million short of demand. Something has to give. So this is a serious issue relative to Kenai River sockeye salmon goals and future yields. The discussion should be based on sound thinking not a two sentence statement that shows a total lack of understanding of the issue.

    Relative to the Snow River glacier - good question not an excellent point- the Snow River dumps into the upper end of Kenai Lake. The resident time of water in that lake is long and the whole lake allows for settling of material. So measurements in Skilak Lake would not be this low because of just Snow River. They have been low all fall because of the amount of rain we have had and glacial melting. Also, there is a lack in the light penetration depth from the previous year rains (again because of the resident time of material in the lakes and water movement through the lake). Recent work by ADF&G has shown a correlation between the previous year rainfall and the following year turbidity levels. These systems are very complex and cause and effect takes some serious investigation. However, regardless of the cause the fact remains that without light productivity decreases and fish survival with it. Just look at Tustumena Lake - it is huge but light penetration is only a meter or two at most in contrast to Skilak Lake which can get to 8-12 meters. Skilak is much more productive because of this fact.

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    Unhappy For the record . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    I must respond to Marcus on this one even though I was trying to avoid him . . .


    For the record, the last part of August Mike asked both Nerka and me to put each other on "Ignore," and while I do read some of his posts, I have not and will not respond.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    Take heart, smithtb, while nothing in life is a sure bet, some have been predicting hard times for sockeye for over a decade that I know of.


    The decimation of sockeye stocks due to overescapement has been played like a broken record during the recent past, yet we keep on "over-escaping," and the runs just keep getting better. It's pretty obvious that current models/plans aren't working nor can they be trusted.


    Anyway . . what happens is in the hands of Providence. Have that beer and relax . .





    Thanks Marcus. The Beer helped. One correction though - might seem small, but it is an important point that the other side of the argument often misstates. No one is suggesting that overescapement will "decimate" Sockeye stocks, only that we are sacrificing yield by letting those extra fish die on the spawning grounds, and that the overescapement will lead to reduced yield in future years. Yes - conditions in the lakes have likely been favorable for salmon fry for some time now. But, as it always does, that will change (sounds like it may have already), and we will experience a period of lower productivity due to lack of feed in the lakes - made worse by increased competition for that feed due to large back-to-back escapements.

    Nerka - I read an ADFG publication about how Turbidity levels in Crescent lake affect Sockeye productivity due to the levels of light penetration affecting plankton growth. It basically said this pattern is cyclical, and that the upper end escapement goals are only effective at increasing yield when productivity is high. It was a pretty cool report. Would this be along the same lines as what happens in Kenai / Skilak / Tustamena lakes? Is there a similar report for the Kenai or Kasilof system?

    http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/FedAidPDF...2A.2002.08.pdf

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    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    Thanks Marcus. The Beer helped. One correction though - might seem small, but it is an important point that the other side of the argument often misstates. No one is suggesting that overescapement will "decimate" Sockeye stocks, only that we are sacrificing yield by letting those extra fish die on the spawning grounds, and that the overescapement will lead to reduced yield in future years. . .

    I agree, smithtb, my remark was hyperbole . . kinda tongue-in-cheek . .


    Best wishes . .


    . . just put two loaves of bread on to rise in the oven . . chilling out in the kitchen today . . keeps me sane.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    Thanks Marcus. The Beer helped. One correction though - might seem small, but it is an important point that the other side of the argument often misstates. No one is suggesting that overescapement will "decimate" Sockeye stocks, only that we are sacrificing yield by letting those extra fish die on the spawning grounds, and that the overescapement will lead to reduced yield in future years. Yes - conditions in the lakes have likely been favorable for salmon fry for some time now. But, as it always does, that will change (sounds like it may have already), and we will experience a period of lower productivity due to lack of feed in the lakes - made worse by increased competition for that feed due to large back-to-back escapements.

    Nerka - I read an ADFG publication about how Turbidity levels in Crescent lake affect Sockeye productivity due to the levels of light penetration affecting plankton growth. It basically said this pattern is cyclical, and that the upper end escapement goals are only effective at increasing yield when productivity is high. It was a pretty cool report. Would this be along the same lines as what happens in Kenai / Skilak / Tustamena lakes? Is there a similar report for the Kenai or Kasilof system?

    http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/FedAidPDF...2A.2002.08.pdf
    Not sure if Mark has put out a formal report but the concept is the same. When Skilak Lake light penetration depth is 8 meters fry survival increases as food production is higher. This translates to fatter fish and better over-winter survival.

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    Thanks Nerka. FYI, you must have posted #7 while I was writing #9. Agreed, NO ONE is saying that overescapement will kill our runs, although the anti-commercial fishing crowd constantly asserts that as our argument. It's really frustrating. I don't think that was Marcus' intent, but it just shows how common the notion is. Your point about brood years is spot-on. The KRSA crew constantly confuses this issue - intentionally. Many people don't realize how this works, or how dependent we ALL are on Sockeye yield.

    Hope everyone has a great weekend.

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    Wink Crying "wolf" . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    . . NO ONE is saying that overescapement will kill our runs, although the anti-commercial fishing crowd constantly asserts that as our argument. It's really frustrating. I don't think that was Marcus' intent, but it just shows how common the notion is . . .

    It is indeed a common notion to common folk, smithtb, and rightly so. Cannot tell you how many times I've heard doom-and-gloom/the-sky-will-fall and all sorts of other such apocalyptic nonsense every time KRSA or someone else wants more reds up the river.


    Cry "wolf" too many times, and it gets to where no one believes it . . and no one believes the other side even knows what they're talking about.


    Too funny . . . scientific consensus . . you bet . .
    Attachment 74706

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    It is indeed a common notion to common folk, smithtb, and rightly so. Cannot tell you how many times I've heard doom-and-gloom/the-sky-will-fall and all sorts of other such apocalyptic nonsense every time KRSA or someone else wants more reds up the river.


    Cry "wolf" too many times, and it gets to where no one believes it . . and no one believes the other side even knows what they're talking about.


    Too funny . . . scientific consensus . . you bet . .
    Attachment 74706
    Have you ever had a fish tank Marcus? If you double the number of fish recommended for your tank size, then feed them the same amount of food and give them the same amount of oxygen what happens? Dead fish.

    It's called carrying capacity. Every ecosystem has it. There need be no scientific consensus, because it's common freaking sense.

    For the 45th time, no one is crying wolf or saying the sky is going to fall. They are saying what common sense, leading biologists, and decades of data illustrate to be true - if you exceed carrying capacity in these systems year after year, you will reduce yield. The only reason KRSA lies to people about this is because they don't care about yield - they want a sport fishing paradise, even if it has to be C&R. This "no escapement is too high" CRAP is bad for any Alaskan who depends on yield, which is everyone with fish in the freezer. Yeah, all of us.

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    Question Selling doom-and-gloom . . to whom . . ?

    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    Have you ever had a fish tank Marcus? If you double the number of fish recommended for your tank size, then feed them the same amount of food and give them the same amount of oxygen what happens? Dead fish.

    It's called carrying capacity. Every ecosystem has it. There need be no scientific consensus, because it's common freaking sense.

    For the 45th time, no one is crying wolf or saying the sky is going to fall. They are saying what common sense, leading biologists, and decades of data illustrate to be true - if you exceed carrying capacity in these systems year after year, you will reduce yield. The only reason KRSA lies to people about this is because they don't care about yield - they want a sport fishing paradise, even if it has to be C&R. This "no escapement is too high" CRAP is bad for any Alaskan who depends on yield, which is everyone with fish in the freezer. Yeah, all of us.



    I understand all that, smithtb, and have posted to that effect dozens if not hundreds of times.


    I'm talking about public perception, and, trust me, perception is reality to the perceiver.


    Fisheries' management is something of a circus or like the floor of the New York Stock Exchange . . the so-called "science" is plagued by uncertainty and misinformation, biologists can't agree on the data and even less on what the data mean. Cry "wolf" too many times, and you end up looking foolish. Cry "overescapement," doom-and-gloom, exceed-carrying-capacity over and over again, and when it doesn't happen . . well, you know the answer to that.


    Yes, we're talking about lost yield, but lost yield to whom? One man's loss is another man's gain. Every sockeye entering the river is fair game and gain to sports anglers and dip-netters and loss to the commercial nets. Every sockeye left in the inlet means potential gain for the nets and loss to sports and dip-netters.


    This ain't science*, it's politics, and everyone's playing. Some sell fear, some sell hope, but everyone's selling something.



    *Nor is this to imply that we don't need science. We do.

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    Just dump more into hidden lake and keep messing with mother nature.

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    TbSmith - give up - we are back to anti-science and no scientist can agree. In science there is lots of agreement, including the discussion of over-escapement. The issue has been where the line is on the various curves. KRSA scientists and ADF&G scientists agree on the concept of density dependent impacts. Only those who do not understand the issue want to make it something else and try to negative label it to meet a religious objective. We all know what the game is here so stop playing. This thread is over at this point.

    Ignorance is bliss as they say.

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    Smile It's politics . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    Have you ever had a fish tank Marcus? If you double the number of fish recommended for your tank size, then feed them the same amount of food and give them the same amount of oxygen what happens? Dead fish.

    It's called carrying capacity. Every ecosystem has it. There need be no scientific consensus, because it's common freaking sense.

    For the 45th time, no one is crying wolf or saying the sky is going to fall. They are saying what common sense, leading biologists, and decades of data illustrate to be true - if you exceed carrying capacity in these systems year after year, you will reduce yield. The only reason KRSA lies to people about this is because they don't care about yield - they want a sport fishing paradise, even if it has to be C&R. This "no escapement is too high" CRAP is bad for any Alaskan who depends on yield, which is everyone with fish in the freezer. Yeah, all of us.



    smithtb, please allow me to restate my position: "Carrying capacity" and "overescapement" are not rocket science, and in the field of economic theory, it's called The Law Of Diminishing Returns. One needn't be a scientist to understand, as you rightly say, common sense.


    No one, myself included, is arguing that the carrying capacity of any ecosystem does not have economic implications.


    What exactly constitutes the carrying capacity of any given ecosystem—whether Nelchina caribou or Koyukuk moose or Cook Inlet sockeye salmon—is the business of science.


    The economic implications of carrying capacity of any given ecosystem are the business of politics.

  19. #19

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    Sounds like this thread has made good progress. Marcus, glad to see you agree that carrying capacity is a fact. Nerka, thank you for pointing out the brood year information that some lay people like Marcus do not understand and others like the KRSA crew purposefully distort. Glad to see that there is at least some consensus that this information does indeed exist for the Kenai, and that we have a fairly good understanding of what that carrying capacity is. Unfortunate that we have exceeded it multiple years in a row - not a stretch to assume this may be a factor in reduced fry productivity in our lakes.

    Sounds like we can put the carrying capacity debate to rest. Now, on to explaining why good Sockeye yields are in the best interest of all Alaskans...

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    Thumbs up Good summary . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    Sounds like this thread has made good progress. Marcus, glad to see you agree that carrying capacity is a fact. Nerka, thank you for pointing out the brood year information that some lay people like Marcus do not understand and others like the KRSA crew purposefully distort. Glad to see that there is at least some consensus that this information does indeed exist for the Kenai, and that we have a fairly good understanding of what that carrying capacity is. Unfortunate that we have exceeded it multiple years in a row - not a stretch to assume this may be a factor in reduced fry productivity in our lakes.

    Sounds like we can put the carrying capacity debate to rest. Now, on to explaining why good Sockeye yields are in the best interest of all Alaskans...

    smithtb,


    You bet, nice summation . . the next step in the discussion might indeed be an explanation why—and by what means—good sockeye [harvestable] yields are in the best interests of all Alaskans however defined. Consider starting a new thread to that end.


    Second, I do understand brood-year interaction and much more . . trust me . . but that's not my point. For my purposes, such uncertain data are what I term "BBB," (Baffling Biological Baloney) that serves no other purpose than to further private agendas and thus obfuscate the underlying, core issues. Certainly such efforts/data/guesses have their place in the pursuit of scientific knowledge . . but not for my purposes which are more generalized, more ideological, and more socio/political. I relegate the BBB to the Intelligentsia . . we lay people can't be expected to manipulate such exotica to further our personal preferences.


    Third, we really have no concrete idea of what "carrying capacity" is . . too many variables to ever come up with a specific figure applicable to all circumstances and regime changes whether oceanic or specific to the ecosystem.


    All we really know for sure is that at some extremely imprecise point we will run headlong into the Law of Diminishing Returns. We've been warned and warned to that effect for years now, but it hasn't happened yet. That's not to say it might not happen . . only to say that in spite of apocalyptic predictions, it hasn't happened to date.


    Carry on . . looking forward to whatever you come up with.

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