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Thread: Commercial dip netting?

  1. #1

    Default Commercial dip netting?

    I'm sure someone must have brought this up before but would it be possible to start a commercial dip net fishery for sockeye in the lower Kenai? As an alternative to set nets? Think I saw someone mention dipping for Yukon salmon on here so maybe the thing to do in Kenai and Kasilof as a way to keep those kings from getting killed? Maybe some bigger nets but in a fashion that prevents those kings from getting wrapped up. Just an idea, thinking outside the box.

  2. #2

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    The last thing our kings need is more chaos and commotion at the entrance to their bedroom/nursery. It's already out of control and is no doubt affecting fish behavior. Dipnets are still nets, and kings will still swim into them and die because of it. All this would do is create more conflict between and within user groups much as the Kasilof terminal fishery does. IMO.

  3. #3

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    Hmm. I don't know. Not sure if a dip net with regular mesh size would kill more kings than a set net? IMO there wouldn't be any comparison. Really small mesh maybe so no way to get tangled to the gills and all? One scoop, few seconds to flip the fish out, not like a set net. Don't see that many kings caught in dip nets in July at the mouth of Kenai. Very few actually. There just HAS to be a better way to get those kings into the river while catching more sockeye. These dip nets would replace the set net fishery the way I see it. Not wanting anyone to go out of business, just changing the way of doing it that's all.

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    Member AlaskaHippie's Avatar
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    No offense, but I'm thinking you don't have a good grasp of the commercial fishery.....
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    Why should anyone do what you are proposing? Late run fish made escapement and any commercial take is legal, and not a problem. Or are you another taker, who just wants more for yourself?

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    Member hoose35's Avatar
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    This is laughable

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  7. #7

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    No offense taken even if some think its laughable. Don't fish for Kenai kings but obviously those big fish are in trouble. Guess escapement of runts is better than nothing?! Any constructive thinking at all out there? Or status quo or bust? Not sure what is truly laughable at this point!

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by kimjn View Post
    Hmm. I don't know. Not sure if a dip net with regular mesh size would kill more kings than a set net? IMO there wouldn't be any comparison. Really small mesh maybe so no way to get tangled to the gills and all? One scoop, few seconds to flip the fish out, not like a set net. Don't see that many kings caught in dip nets in July at the mouth of Kenai. Very few actually. There just HAS to be a better way to get those kings into the river while catching more sockeye. These dip nets would replace the set net fishery the way I see it. Not wanting anyone to go out of business, just changing the way of doing it that's all.
    A dip net would still catch kings. While they may not get gilled (most kings don't unless they're jacks), scale loss, handling, and stress would all still be major factors - all elevated due to larger nets and more sockeye present when this fishery would be prosecuted (as would have to be the case or it would not be viable), and all at a pivotal time in these fish's life - when they transition from fresh to salt. Survival rates would be unknown, and squabbling about what they might be would be the next uphill battle for these fishermen. Not to mention not swamping their skiffs on the kenai bar, how to keep out of the mud, how to stay away from the dippers, etc.

    You see very few kings caught in dipnets in July - This may be true, and could be a result of several factors:

    1. July is the peak of the sockeye run. The red to king ratio is quite good during this time for dip-netting and setnetting alike.

    2. Kings are skittish and don't like all the commotion at the mouth of the river so they either haul a@@ steep and deep, or chill out in the inlet for things to die down. Or both.

    3. You - like many dipnetters - can't tell the difference between a red and a king.

    I think it's a terrible idea, and like 29 mesh, it won't matter if it cuts the estimated number of kings killed in half - that will still be too many at a time when, as our red-faced mouth-breathing master of ceremonies kept reminding us , "EVERY FISH COUNTS".

    Lets face it - we either need to tell the penny loafers to shut up and share, or quit beating around the bush and let them have their way by eliminating commercial fishing in UCI so they can finish the kings off and have only themselves to blame when that fishery implodes.

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    Member hoose35's Avatar
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    What's laughable to me is the thought that someone thinks dipping reds commercially is even close to efficient enough to matter, why bother? Do you know how many sockeye commercial fisherman catch? You think that you can dip that many? Do you know how crowded it would be to even catch a fraction of the commercial catch?

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    The commercial fleet catches most of the millions of reds and that is why a lot of commies want to keep it going. Can't blame them for that but PU users deserve some of the escapement since that was subsistence until it was changed to a PU fishery. BTW, what the PU fishery catches are already past the Drift net fishery so the only problem for them is when the total catch exceeds a certain limit, by the BOF, to exceed the annual escapement, for each year. It's quite the balancing act but always works out for the most part. Been up for 24 hours and might not even have my facts correct but in the long run... The drifters make money hand over fist and dippers take a fair share too. 6 fish per family household, per person. 18 fish total for a family of 3.4 people. The census of data. As of 6 years ago. The sports fishery allows a lot more than that that if you have the time to do it. I don't know why the PU fishery is accused of cheating the commies when they were relegated to a PU fishery from a subsistence fishery through the courts. Seems to me and a lot of other folks is that a few drifters are pissed but a majority are not offended, nor are they threatened by Alaskan people trying to fill their freezers. There is enough resource of the reds to go around, to all users.
    If a dipnetter dips a fish and there is no one around to see/hear it, Did he really dip?

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by thewhop2000 View Post
    The commercial fleet catches most of the millions of reds and that is why a lot of commies want to keep it going. Can't blame them for that but PU users deserve some of the escapement since that was subsistence until it was changed to a PU fishery. BTW, what the PU fishery catches are already past the Drift net fishery so the only problem for them is when the total catch exceeds a certain limit, by the BOF, to exceed the annual escapement, for each year. It's quite the balancing act but always works out for the most part. Been up for 24 hours and might not even have my facts correct but in the long run... The drifters make money hand over fist and dippers take a fair share too. 6 fish per family household, per person. 18 fish total for a family of 3.4 people. The census of data. As of 6 years ago. The sports fishery allows a lot more than that that if you have the time to do it. I don't know why the PU fishery is accused of cheating the commies when they were relegated to a PU fishery from a subsistence fishery through the courts. Seems to me and a lot of other folks is that a few drifters are pissed but a majority are not offended, nor are they threatened by Alaskan people trying to fill their freezers. There is enough resource of the reds to go around, to all users.
    Ok, you lost me there...

    Commies - is that just setnetters or all gillnetters in UCI? Are you saying that you are ok with the drift fleet but want to see the 'commie' setnetters eliminated? Are you saying that PU fishers last year got screwed because the main run hit on a weekday? Do we need MORE PU access to these rivers? If you don't have the time to commit to this fishery - BUY YOUR FISH FROM A COMMERCIAL FISHERMAN!!! That's how it's supposed to work! If you like to fish, then suck it up Sally and realized that when you get skunked it's no one's fault but your own!

    A lot of 'commies' and many others would like to keep the commercial fishery going because it's an important part of our economy, community, and culture. Sorry Willphish, but you blowing into town on a Friday after being up for 24 hours with the attitude present in your post - the 'I don't care about anything or anyone else as long as I get my fish' gold rush style attitude that dominates the PU fishery is not really what peninsula residents want their community to represent. Ever wonder why our small school sports teams can still come whup up on your big schools? It's not cause our kids grew up holding dipnets in chesties whining that the drifters got their panties wet...

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    Whop you do have your facts kind of mixed up but not that bad for your point. The PU gill net fishery along the eastside beach was created in part as a result of a court decision. The BOF had eliminated subsistence to areas of UCI that were not productive and the subsistence law did not allow subsistence along the beach from near Kenai and points south. The court ruled that users could not be just displaced because the BOF wanted to eliminate them. So the PU gill net fishery was created. However, sport fishing interests did not want chinook harvested so the fishery was moved to the river mouths and gill net web was allowed in the dip net. It is really a gill net fishery using hoops. There was no priority and at first the PU fishery only took place if there was surplus fish above traditional commercial and sport harvest. That is the rub with the taking of fish discussion. The BOF changed this after the court case and now the PU fishery has no limit and has been allowed to grow. The users who made up the PU fishery were only taking 50,000 fish or less when created- today it is 10x that number.

    The drift fleet takes about 50-60% of the commercial sockeye harvest so the split between gear types is pretty even. That means lots of fish to harvest when they move to the river.

    I think the question while some want to laugh should be discussed as people need to understand the issue. So here are a few points.

    1. The late run chinook issue is one of allocation. Taking 10-20 % more fish out of the commercial fishery will not significantly alter the in-river sport fishery. When runs are less than 20,000 a couple more thousand fish will not change catch rates from 30 hours per fish to 15 hours per fish which is when the in-river fishery is good. Going to 26 hours is still poor fishing.

    2. The set net numbers vary but lets assume 1000 nets fishing and they 10 feet deep and 200 feet in length (easy math here and effective fishing area). That is 2,000,000 sq feet of net. A dip net is 5 feet in diameter or about 14 sq feet. So to get just the net area one would need nearly 140,000 dip nets. Remember to release chinook the nets have to be small-

    3. The set net fishery is very efficient when they fish (70%) and the dip net fishery at present is not efficient (30%). Suffice to say the commercial dip net fishery would have to fish lots of days but the problem is that the fish concentrate and rush to the river in a few days. So it is unlikely that a dip net fishery could harvest the surplus.

    4. The next issue with in-river harvest is quality of fish and processing ability and the infrastructure to get fish to the processors. I think everyone would scream if thousands of commercial fisherman fished with the PU fishery on the banks and in the river. There is no infrastructure to handle an in-river commercial fishery. Processor would have a cost that would be prohibitive to this fishery. When the volume of fish is low which it would be for most days the costs of crews processing fish is very high. So processors want a volume to make the cost/profit ratio sustainable. Also the quality of the product goes down as fish mature and enter the river as opposed to being harvested in the inlet.

    I think one can see that in-river fisheries for Kenai and Kasilof results in user conflicts, habitat damage, processor issues, and a host of other issues. So the question is why would anyone want to do this when putting 10-20% more fish in the river does not change the in-river fishery to the point people think it would be good fishing. If the commercial fishery was taking 50% of the fish one may argue this point but at the present low levels the commercial fishery is very clean for a mixed stock fishery.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    Ever wonder why our small school sports teams can still come whup up on your big schools? It's not cause our kids grew up holding dipnets in chesties whining that the drifters got their panties wet...
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    Quote Originally Posted by thewhop2000 View Post
    PU users deserve some of the escapement since that was subsistence until it was changed to a PU fishery...they were relegated to a PU fishery from a subsistence fishery through the courts.
    The PU dip net fishery of today was never a subsistence fishery.

    Quote Originally Posted by thewhop2000 View Post
    I don't know why the PU fishery is accused of cheating the commies
    Probably because the "commies" lost allocation to the new fishery. Also probably because the "commies" sometimes sit it out while the PU fishery fishes, and more times than not sockeye escapements end up exceeding the top end of goals. "Commies" call that lost yield.

    In my opinion (not that I am suggesting it) the only way to allocate all the Kenai sockeye between users perfectly, and still refrain from harvesting Kings, is to weir the River, pass the Kings through, and physically divvy up the harvestable sockeye to the different users accordingly.

    Cheers.

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    Funtastic, You are wrong, this dipnet fishery is a result of a court ruling on subsistence, years ago and what the BOF decided. Thanks Nerka, for the clarification. If anyone of you think all Alaskans need to buy their fish through a fish broker, get a life. I have lived up here for 35 years and deserve a lousy 30 fish that I can dipnet, each year if they are available. due to over escapement. Sorry, If I had the time I could catch that with a pole but normally I don't have time. Thank you mother nature and the state of Alaska, All the commercial whiners, are just that, sorry to say. You bought a share of an Alaska commercial permit but was not guareenteed a certain amount of fish, fat fingers I know. That being said, there is enough of reds to go to all users but some see this as taking "their fare share" away from them. Short sighted and pretty selfish too. Call it like I see them. Going to the slope tomorrow so if you want to argue, won't see it till three weeks later. Alaskans should benefit from Alaskan resources, IMO
    Last edited by thewhop2000; 04-27-2014 at 03:48. Reason: bad english
    If a dipnetter dips a fish and there is no one around to see/hear it, Did he really dip?

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    Quote Originally Posted by thewhop2000 View Post
    Funtastic, You are wrong, this dipnet fishery is a result of a court ruling on subsistence, years ago and what the BOF decided. Thanks Nerka, for the clarification. If anyone of you think all Alaskans need to buy their fish through a fish broker, get a life. I have lived up here for 35 years and deserve a lousy 30 fish that I can dipnet, each year if they are available. due to over escapement. Sorry, If I had the time I could catch that with a pole but normally I don't have time. Thank you mother nature and the state of Alaska, All the commercial whiners, are just that, sorry to say. You bought a share of an Alaska commercial permit but was not guareenteed a certain amount of fish, fat fingers I know. That being said, there is enough of reds to go to all users but some see this as taking "their fare share" away from them. Short sighted and pretty selfish too. Call it like I see them. Going to the slope tomorrow so if you want to argue, won't see it till three weeks later. Alaskans should benefit from Alaskan resources, IMO
    And being able to buy fresh, bled salmon for under $3.00 a pound isn't a benefit? Having well paying, demanding jobs that help turn our kids into tough adults isn't a benefit? That $1G a week I spend at Costco just on food in the summer doesn't benefit someone?

    You deserve those fish - exactly the mentality that we here on the Kenai love our visitors to have. It makes them so polite, flexible, and easy to deal with. Say for instance the fish hit on a weekday instead of a weekend - someone with that attitude would just blame their lack of weekend success on their own poor timing rather than someone else, right? I suppose your Winnebago 'deserves' two feet of my lane as well?

    So, you you are a busy working person who doesn't have time to rod and reel fish. You refuse to buy your fish from a commercial vendor despite the fact that you could more predictably buy them at comparable expense to driving here and catching them yourself.

    You think that the tens of thousands of people already dipping this way, and the 600,000 fish they already harvest is not enough, and you campaign for more access and priority in a fully allocated fishery - at a cost to our existing sport and commercial fisheries and the communities they support. For goodness sake, you don't even stop to correct the bumbling idiots who blame ADFG or the 'commies' because they picked a poor day to dip, or when they look at us cross-eyed and say "I don't believe in overescapement because my buddy Ricky-bobbie told me that it's not true". No, instead you side with the organizations looking to end commercial fishing in UCI altogether.

    A LOUSY 30 FISH? Really. Glad to know you have so much respect for our valuable resource. That's like $450.00 worth of wholesale salmon - much more on the retail market. Had I referred to or treated our fish this way growing up my grandpa'da slapped me silly.

    Have fun at the slope. I hope you're going there to earn your money rather than to show up thinking you deserve it...

    Willphish, sorry I referred to you in my last post. I meant Whop.

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    tbsmith calm down friend. It was actually commercial fisherman and sport fisherman that helped create this problem in the first place. Back in the 70's before you knew what a salmon was the BOF controlled by commercial fisherman and the one sport fish representative started to systematically reduce subsistence areas in Cook Inlet and other areas to less productive fishing zones. Kind of like what is happening to the commercial fishery today. Small area and less productive fishing areas.

    Natives saw this and realized that only the federal government and courts could help them out. The State was bent on limiting subsistence. I will not go into all the court cases but there is a history of this in a document ADF&G prepared for UCI. The final straw was when the BOF limited subsistence to the area north of Boulder Point in the rock patch. It is called starvation beach up there for a reason.

    So when the court ruled that the State could not do this then the BOF needed to create opportunity for this displaced group and created the PU fishery and a gill net fishery at the mouth of the Kasilof. This was then expanded to the whole beach. Commercial fisherman instead of working with PU fisherman joined forces with Bob Penney (yes I know that sounds weird) to remove the gill net fishery from the beach to the river mouth - commercial fisherman who were short sighted did not want to share the beach and Penney wanted chinook released. End result a group that had been displaced over decades now had a fishery at the mouth of the river that commercial and sport fisherman thought could not grow much -they limited it to only when escapements exceeded the upper goal and give it a low priority.

    So what happens when people get upset with being treated unfairly. They organized and became a force. You are seeing the result of poor decision making by the commercial industry and the backlash from a group of PU fisherman that know that commercial and sport are not their friends. They have joined with sport now as they have first shot at the fish if the commercial is gone.

    Rather than fight the PU fisherman which is a losing battle the discussion should be around how to allocate the resource fairly and have the various groups be sustainable at some level for various run strengths. Bob Penney does not want that as he is trying to eliminate the commercial fishery and using the PU as a reason for less harvest. The Whop is still reacting to the history of the past 40 years and with some justification. And commercial fisherman who had control of the BOF at one point and refused to modify it when others said it was unfair are now calling foul when it is happening to them. So this complex mess of human greed expresses itself in a variety of ways. You are too young to have experienced this history but you are seeing the results when a system turns on a user group - you just happen to be the user group under fire right now from the prejudice of the majority.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thewhop2000 View Post
    Funtastic, You are wrong, this dipnet fishery is a result of a court ruling on subsistence, years ago and what the BOF decided.
    No, I am not wrong. The court ruling created the fishery - a new PU fishery. So let me repeat: "The PU fishery of today was never a subsistence fishery"...different area, different gear, different users, different regulations, different management, different impact, different allocation/harvest, etc. etc.

    As a side note, I might also remind you that unlike the subsistence fishery, the new PU fishery exterminated the rod and reel fishery that used to take place on the north and south beaches. Gone.

    As for what you think you "deserve"...if you've lived up here 35 years, then you know this PU fishery was never part of your Alaskan life to begin with. Perhaps you should remind yourself how you managed without it. It is a shame that, as President of the Dipnetter's Association, you view the fishery merely as an easier and quicker way to get "30 lousy fish", since you don't have time.

    Your comment about "commercial whiners" is also disappointing, and it shows complete ignorance with commercial fishing. It also exposes yet another wedge that leaders of user groups like yourself insist on driving against the commercial fishery. Not what anyone needs.

    Whop, the commercial guys lost allocation to the PU fishery, plain and simple. To expect them not to complain, or not to fight to keep what they already had, is ridiculous - especially if you put yourself in their shoes and imagine how you would "whine" if your PU fishery had to surrender allocation to a new fishery. I agree the commercial guys were never guaranteed an allocation. However, the viability of their fishery, their capital investments, and their way of life, etc. all depend on keeping their allocation. That is exactly why very few newcomers enter into this commercial fishery, and most are long-time family operations. Also remember that the commercial guys don't easily forget being shut down as thousands of sockeye swim past their site, all while dipnetters were scooping them up. Or being shut down in the name of an over-exploited in-River King fishery gone wild. Or seeing years and years of sockeye escapements over the upper goal - lost yield. So I think it would be ignorant not to understand their "whining."

    Nope, you don't have to buy your fish through a fish broker...anymore than you need to dipnet them from the Kenai River.


    We can rehash the history of the ordeal, but the real problem was implementing a new fishery with shortsightedness. Neither the commercial guys, subsistence users, sporties, or even Bob Penney imagined the magnitude of impacts the new fishery would impose - giving virtually 750,000 Alaskan residents a green light to fish one run, in one river, in one small area, for one short time, all amongst a complex mixed stock mixed user fishery. A perfect example of creating a new fishery and then throwing it in everyone's lap without evaluating the impacts. Now in the aftermath, we continue to be in a state of reactionary measures, which includes suffering.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thewhop2000 View Post
    I have lived up here for 35 years and deserve a lousy 30 fish that I can dipnet, each year if they are available. due to over escapement.
    As a long time Cook Inlet drifter myself ..... I certainly don't look down on you or other Alaskan's that want to catch their own fish. Most people around the world will never have this opportunity ..... and must buy fish. As Nerka said ..... the PU/dip-net fishery that we now have ... has created as many problems as it was trying to solve. Still ..... this fishery isn't going away. It was actually pretty fun in the early days and I sure didn't mind seeing families getting their fish, while I was returning to the river at the end of fish periods.

    There were fellow drifters that would not power down their boats coming back into the river ...... so as to intentionally wake people already up to their chest while dip-netting. Too bad, there are jerks among all of our groups. Truth is, commercial fishermen of all types should have been more accommodating to personal use fisheries ..... after all, we share a common fundamental principle ...... that fish are food more than toys.

    The lack of a way to control the growth of the PU fishery has rendered it ....... not as friendly as it used to be. It continues to grow from one year to the next and attempts to manage this fishery ..... are not really working very well.

  20. #20

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    Thanks for the history Nerka. It helps put things in perspective, but in no way justifies the sense of unconditional entitlement present in both the whop's post and his fishery that I loathe. If I represented the bad apples in my bunch I would expect you or him to call me on it, but I've never said you or he should not have an opportunity to get what fish you need through a variety of methods.


    Seriously - he calls me a commie...

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