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Thread: ESSN's adapting to Kenai king crisis...

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    Default ESSN's adapting to Kenai king crisis...

    Details of conservation measures to be born by ESSN's here...

    http://www.alaskadispatch.com/articl...ng-kenai-kings
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    It's difficult to swallow that the Kenai Rv Chinook stocks have sunk so low, so fast. But it is what it is. Good to see the BoF taking decisive action, although some folks believe they haven't gone far enough, particularly on the recreational side.

    However, I struggle with the suggestion that deploying the shallower set nets will provide good information on their effectiveness in reducing the catch of Chinook. We already know they will catch alot fewer Chinook because they run size is really low. I would expect the ESSNetters to catch almost zero Chinook, regardless of which nets they use. They can't catch fish that aren't there. Plus, how will they know how many Chinook the setnetters would have caught with the deeper nets, for comparison purposes, since they're not using the deeper nets? I suppose ADF&G can develop a rough estimate, given the run-size forecast and the historic catch of Chinook from the deeper setnets when the run is this low. But the Chinook run is at historic lows, so the rough estimate becomes a wild guess. Maybe that's the best they can do.....

    But regardless of whether ADF&G can get any useful information, the change appears justified.

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    Wait and see what happens this morning...................

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cohoangler View Post
    It's difficult to swallow that the Kenai Rv Chinook stocks have sunk so low, so fast. But it is what it is. Good to see the BoF taking decisive action, although some folks believe they haven't gone far enough, particularly on the recreational side.

    However, I struggle with the suggestion that deploying the shallower set nets will provide good information on their effectiveness in reducing the catch of Chinook. We already know they will catch alot fewer Chinook because they run size is really low. I would expect the ESSNetters to catch almost zero Chinook, regardless of which nets they use. They can't catch fish that aren't there. Plus, how will they know how many Chinook the setnetters would have caught with the deeper nets, for comparison purposes, since they're not using the deeper nets? I suppose ADF&G can develop a rough estimate, given the run-size forecast and the historic catch of Chinook from the deeper setnets when the run is this low. But the Chinook run is at historic lows, so the rough estimate becomes a wild guess. Maybe that's the best they can do.....

    But regardless of whether ADF&G can get any useful information, the change appears justified.
    Cohoangler, no offense but your comments show exactly why people who do not know this fishery should not comment on justification. Let me explain. Not even sure where to start given the holes in the plan. So let me start on a positive - the ADF&G has time and area already - hour limitations in a regulation are not needed since the Board of Fish cannot restrict ADF&G emergency order authority. So putting in 36 hours is meaningless. The Board knows this as they went to great length to say ADF&G has full authority to change a plan. So why write a plan that the public thinks is firm when it is not. Judge Brown said this years ago when the emergency order authority was challenged by the Board. So time and area is already in the tool kit. However, when in the plan it makes for political hay for people to say that ADF&G should follow the plan or the budget will be impacted. Causes all types of problems for staff around the State.

    The addition of net reduction is fine but there is a problem and the Board never discussed it or tried to resolve it. When one reduces the number of nets the lease for that net site goes away. A net has to be fishing to cause the lease restriction of no other commercial fisherman using the site. So if they go to one net that leaves 2 empty spaces to fill. There are over a hundred non fishing permits in UCI. I suspect that the empty spaces will be filled in as some of them will be productive for sockeye. However, fisherman will get into all types of conflicts out there if strangers move in. There is no legal way to stop this right now. Also, a permit holder may buy a cheap permit for 15k just to have the ability to add nets if they are reduced. No one even talked about this because the Board and staff are up to their eyeballs in ignorance. Yes only one permit per person but they buy them for family members or crew members.

    Twenty nine inch mesh is a joke. First, one fisherman on North KBeach said it reduced his king catch. This individual has lied in the past and will do so in the future. He is not to be trusted and he is one of the most greedy people I know. But lets say everyone goes to 29 inch mesh which means some sites will not be able to fish. Currents and tides in UCI have already made people use gear that increases the sockeye harvest. But lets go with it. Kings not caught offshore will just be caught with the inshore gear. These kings have to come to the beach at some point and the nets will reach the bottom at some point along the beach. Further and more important. If the sockeye harvest is reduced significantly the Department has to fish more to meet the sockeye goals. So be careful what one asks for - it could actually increase the king harvest. Why? Because the nets soak up the kings on the beach and if you fish the next day you catch those recruiting to the beach. If the sockeye harvest is high on day on the Department may not need to fish on day 2. Much more complex and one reason the staff has not suggested shorter nets in the past.

    Next, the restriction in the plan for August makes no sense at all. First, there is no sport fishery and therefore fish entering in August are not harvested at all. They should be. In the past the only harvest was by the ESSN. So now the Board has reduced that harvest if the in river return is 16,500 to 22,500. Why put more fish in during a time you already are not harvesting in proportion to abundance. Shifting the timing of the return because of selective harvest or lack thereof is the end result. The staff and Board should have looked at the fisheries and said how do we harvest over the total return. Also, putting 1500 more fish in August does nothing for the sport fishery but that was the justification given. Oh yea, reducing fishing time puts more coho in and that is the real reason the limitation on time. The sport fishery wants to reduce commercial time to get coho. The Board and staff did not bring this up at all.

    Status of the chinook return. Everyone has it in their mind that the chinook return for late run is in trouble biologically. No data to support that. The goals have been made every year. What is happening is reduced harvest and there is a plan in the sustainable salmon policy for that. It states harvest reductions should be in proportion to historical harvest percentages. So if they do that according to regulation the sport fish would be reduced by 2 fish for every 1 in the commercial fishery. The new plan does just the opposite. It puts the whole burden on the commercial fishery and allocated more fish to the sport fishery.

    Sockeye management. There is no way if this plan was implemented that sockeye goals can be reached on above average returns. People think the drift fleet can take the surplus. No way can that happen - last year was a perfect example. The fish came to the beach in a rush and 500,000 fish went up the river on one tide. The drift fleet has capacity limits because of the boat's hold. The beach set net fishery is the last hope of stopping a return. So the Board and staff in their wisdom restricts the set nets to no more than 36 hours and with a 36 hours closure. There is no way the sockeye fishery can be managed in this plan. So the Board has made chinook salmon the priority fish in UCI even though more Alaskans and non-residents use sockeye. Lower production in future returns means hard times for everyone - pu, sport, and commercial on sockeye. Also, on small sockeye returns the staff holds off the drift fishery and uses the set nets. The fishing power of the drift fleet is too great on small returns. If the beaches are not used or available then the potential for over harvest by the drift fleet increases as the staff has to use them more. Either way the risk to future sockeye production increases.

    More on the hour limitation. The 36 hours if used is not defined for the subdistricts of the ESSN. Does it mean that if south of the Blanchard line fishes 36 (Kasilof subdistrict) that the Kenai subdistrict does not fish? The plan says 36 hours for the ESSN. So in 2014 the Kenai subdistrict opens on July 10th. If the Kasilof subdistrict fishes 36 hours prior to that does it mean the Kenai district does not open?

    In summary, the staff failed the Board by not speaking up during the discussions. Frankly, looking at the Directors I do not think they know the fishery enough to speak up. The Board obviously does not know the fishery with what they passed and may have made things worse.

    There use to be a time staff would be able to raise these issues with the Board. No longer as the process is out of control and harm to a lot of people and the resource is being done. So no cohoangler this change is not justified at all.

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    From how I read it the word "may" is all over the regulation.

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    May or shall is meaningless. It just creates a false sense in the mind of the public. The Department should remove all the may and shall language from regulations on time and area. They have been found to be illegal. The Board is using may but they mean shall because of the court case. Then in-season and off the record Legislators and Board members call the Department at the request of groups like KRSA and the guides and say we meant shall and you know it and if you do not do this we will cut your budget (this happened last year and a number of years I was in the Department) or remove you from Commissioner or Director positions. So it is a shell game.

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    lol....victim....come on Nerka your better than that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by yukon View Post
    lol....victim....come on Nerka your better than that.
    I am not a victim as I do not fish commercially. I want to see a fair process and the above language is meaningless as written as it is not practiced that way. Let me give you an example. In 2012 the Commissioner said she could not reopen the commercial fishery because the plan said it was closed and she had no way to do that. Pure and simple lie or ignorance. She had emergency order authority to do it. Also, have heard Directors talk about the window closures as being absolute because of political issues. Not a victim at all Yukon just being honest which is more than I can say for some.

    So here is a summary of the Board process so far on chinook:

    Inriver allocated 7500 king salmon to the sport fishery
    - ESSN lose over half their season in July and almost 100% season in August
    - Yield of sockeye thrown out the window and chinook yield is maximized.
    - No spawning bed protection for main stream spawners
    - No slot limit into late run to protect the early run or late run female chinook that are targeted
    - Barbless hooks that takes 2 years to implement
    - ESSN gear restrictions- 29 meshes within 4 months
    - Probably no added drift boat only days
    - no concern for Beaver Creek or Slikok Creek or main stream spawners (Slikok Creek extended closure is too late)
    - status quo fishing which has resulted in this mess for the early run
    - no discussion or concern about Didson not counting - still using numbers to manage
    - no discussion of looking at river as tributary vs main stream stocks - still using July 1 when that has been shown to be wrong
    - habitat not discussed or any action taken - yet hyrdocarbons, turbidity, erosion are still going on with a growing fishery

    So question is what the heck is the inriver targeted fishery giving up? No bait??

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    Sorry, didn't mean to say that "you" are victim, but referring to the "comfishers". F&G will still use their EO authority as they have in the past. The net restriction is only in times of low king abundance and F&G "may" reduce their nets to one net of 45 mesh or 2 nets of 29 mesh, it is a step down for the set net fishermen, it is better than not fishing at all which is the only other option. Set netters testified that they were shut down the last few years and the run timing was late and well into august, they shot themselves in the foot and the board is very conservation minded this session and said they need to save the king when there is low abundance, the board has asked the department many times about times when "every King counts", which is one reason the extended the Slikok closure up stream, one tagged fish that was up there (the department failed to tell the board that that particular fish was genetically of a Kasilof origin).
    The department already as a ton of tools to slow down or stop the inriver fishery. There are a few things they could to but it would start to affect the non-guided fishermen more and more, days, hours restrictions is about all that is left.

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    Quote Originally Posted by yukon View Post
    Sorry, didn't mean to say that "you" are victim, but referring to the "comfishers". F&G will still use their EO authority as they have in the past. The net restriction is only in times of low king abundance and F&G "may" reduce their nets to one net of 45 mesh or 2 nets of 29 mesh, it is a step down for the set net fishermen, it is better than not fishing at all which is the only other option. Set netters testified that they were shut down the last few years and the run timing was late and well into august, they shot themselves in the foot and the board is very conservation minded this session and said they need to save the king when there is low abundance, the board has asked the department many times about times when "every King counts", which is one reason the extended the Slikok closure up stream, one tagged fish that was up there (the department failed to tell the board that that particular fish was genetically of a Kasilof origin).
    The department already as a ton of tools to slow down or stop the inriver fishery. There are a few things they could to but it would start to affect the non-guided fishermen more and more, days, hours restrictions is about all that is left.
    So Yukon, the early run fish stay in the main steam for the month of July and spawn in the main stream in August according to ADF&G. Just tell me how well ADF&G has done on protecting that component of the return. They allow a no bait fishery on them in July when by their standard only 2032 made it to the river, which is 60% below the goal. Want to tell me how well ADF&G uses it e.o authority in river again?

    Yukon, I want to see an in-river fishery be healthy but frankly I see nothing coming out of the Guide Association or KRSA to deal with the real issues. In fact, from what I can tell both groups have objected to every conservation measure proposed including the Slikok Creek extended closure. No concern at all for main stream spawners that come in early, no concern for turbidity issues, no concern for Beaver Creek which once had king salmon. I guess I want to see something that says the Guides Association and KRSA really do care about this river. So far nothing at this Board meeting. They fought the slot limit to 42 inches in the face of pretty solid data. So what exactly do you as a guide think should be done in river or is status q your position also.

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    Majority of the guides only care about conservation if all other user groups are the ones conserving. Basically, they want to commercial guys to take none, so those fish are allocated to them, plain and simple. I call bs if they say otherwise. I know some guides, and i know at least one that claims to care about conservation, and he is taking steps towards that, but even so, allocation seems just as important to him as conservation does.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hoose35 View Post
    Majority of the guides only care about conservation if all other user groups are the ones conserving. Basically, they want to commercial guys to take none, so those fish are allocated to them, plain and simple. I call bs if they say otherwise. I know some guides, and i know at least one that claims to care about conservation, and he is taking steps towards that, but even so, allocation seems just as important to him as conservation does.
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    The guides and KRSA should be held accountable for where the early run sits today. They were the ones fighting spawning closures, and were responsible for raising the slot limit to 46" twelve years ago. They were still fighting the extension of The Slikok sanctuary and lowering the slot to 42", despite our recent dismall returns and 2014 forecast. It is time to hold their feet to the fire. The set netters have taken a pretty big hit, how about we give the guides an eye for an eye?

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    I have read where over 100 guides have quit. Why don't they cap the number of guides now so if the kings do ever come back they wont get pummeled. I am not blaming everything on the guides but now would be a great time to deal with it. Also make the permits non transferable that they give out

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    Quote Originally Posted by kgpcr View Post
    I have read where over 100 guides have quit. Why don't they cap the number of guides now so if the kings do ever come back they wont get pummeled. I am not blaming everything on the guides but now would be a great time to deal with it. Also make the permits non transferable that they give out
    Good point. I made this same comment in an another thread. The time to cap guides (if they find a legal way to do it) is when there are less of them. If you do it then, there will be less displaced businesses. The guides I know would love to have a cap because if there are less seats available they can charge more.

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    I am disgusted at the BOF, the commissioner of ADF&G and Parnell. This is no way to run such a wonderful place as Alaska.

    What about the ER chinooks!!!! Late run is not a conservation concern, and this is just an allocation grab. It makes me sick.

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    Another version of the story...

    http://peninsulaclarion.com/news/2014-02-05
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