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Thread: Late run red fish counts in Kenai is ~500k low

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    Member mudbuddy's Avatar
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    Default Late run red fish counts in Kenai is ~500k low

    Noticed the Kenai river is about 500,000 fish low to the last 3 year average , to date.

    50,000 fish per day need to enter the river for the next 10 days to reach the 1.2 million goal.
    Could happen but would be way out of the norm .

    Lots of commercial openings (almost everyday) thru the normal peak run days, July 14th thru the 23rd.

    Sure hope F&G were/are right to let the Drifters at them & the numbers improve.
    Drifters are out again today even with the numbers well below the norm.

    Could also be the sonar count is off.

    Chart shows 2014 daily, then 2014 total (about 500k low) then the totals from 2013, 2012 & 2011 on same day:

    KR 14-12 red cnt.jpg

    Charts shows 2010 was a lower return year too, & this year is well below 2010
    Different / New sonar since 2010 numbers may be the difference too. ?
    Kenai 14-10 reds.jpg

    If the numbers aren't reached soon, then what ?

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    "If the numbers aren't reached soon, then what ?"

    The folks who are waiting for ADFG to raise the daily limit to 6 per day are about to be disappointed.

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    1.2 Million is the UPPER end of the escapement goal. On a run of this projected size, the lower end is 1.0 million, however, if the actual run size is even lower than projected, then the lower end of the goal would be between 750K to 850K. They will get enough escapement. IF, and I mean IF, the sonar numbers are correct.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDipper View Post
    1.2 Million is the UPPER end of the escapement goal. On a run of this projected size, the lower end is 1.0 million, however, if the actual run size is even lower than projected, then the lower end of the goal would be between 750K to 850K. They will get enough escapement. IF, and I mean IF, the sonar numbers are correct.

    Well that's a good way to always have a reachable goal
    if the number is lower, then the goals is lowered Ha Ha

    Past numbers have all been at or just over 1.2 million,
    750 k means 4 years from now, 40% less return ? ?

    Not sure the sonar can tell the difference between reds, pinks & silvers, but
    maybe it can .

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    I believe the inriver goal is 1-1.2 million for a run this size, and ADFG is still fairly confident they will achieve that. That means plenty of fish for the inriver users, and hopefully a spawning escapement inside the MSY goalposts. We've had very healthy escapements the last few years - I wouldn't worry about a spawning escapement inside the SEG goal range from a future yield standpoint. In fact, it may be more productive when stacked up against the last few escapements at or over the top of the SEG goal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mudbuddy View Post
    Well that's a good way to always have a reachable goal
    if the number is lower, then the goals is lowered Ha Ha

    Past numbers have all been at or just over 1.2 million,
    750 k means 4 years from now, 40% less return ? ?

    Not sure the sonar can tell the difference between reds, pinks & silvers, but
    maybe it can .
    Nope it can't tell the difference. ADF&G, the commercial guys, and the setnetters will tell you it can but logic reveals the truth. What we should be worried about is how to increase the overall size of the pie instead of how to divide up the current sized pie. Eventually this fishery will be destroyed just like the Atlantic salmon fishery.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yellowstone View Post
    Nope it can't tell the difference. ADF&G, the commercial guys, and the setnetters will tell you it can but logic reveals the truth. What we should be worried about is how to increase the overall size of the pie instead of how to divide up the current sized pie. Eventually this fishery will be destroyed just like the Atlantic salmon fishery.

    Lots of misinformation here for some reason. The goals are in-river goals not spawning goals. They include harvest above the sonar. The last three years the goals have been exceeded and that actually can reduce further yields on average. You cannot say only half the goal was made so only half as many fish will come back. The production curves do not work that way. Look up Ricker curve on google to get any idea of this.

    Relative to species and counting reds, pinks, and coho. Lots of information on this on this forum in the past and from ADF&G. Fishwhees are used to apportion the counts. In some systems the fishwheel catches are adjusted to account for gear selectivity but in the Kenai that is not needed.

    Relative to the goals for this year ADF&G is probably shooting for 1 million in-river and it is not at of the norm to achieve that in August since the fishing power is so limited without the set nets. They are on track to meet the goals for Kenai but even at the present level of escapement the system can produce millions of fish for the future.

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    Although I agree this year was not a record breaker, if you compare it to the long term average, this year is about 20K behind the 30 year average. As of Monday the cumulative count was up to 73K. The 30 year average cumulative count for the 28th of July is right around 90K. And the 30 year average cumulative count for the whole month of the July is just over 100K. If the daily counts make it over 33K every day until the 31st, then it will be in line with the 30 year average. Not a great year on the Kenai for sure. But at least the silver lining is fish creek was awesome and produced lots of fish for those looking for a few more fish to fill the freezer. I personally am not alarmed by the low numbers of the Kenai just yet. Now, if the numbers look like this year after year for several years to come, then I think we need to be concerned. Just my two cents.

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    I think the Kenai fish were there, they just got gobbled up in Cook Inlet before they could reach the river.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AaronP View Post
    I think the Kenai fish were there, they just got gobbled up in Cook Inlet before they could reach the river.
    Not sure what you mean...The in-river escapement goals have already been met, and then some. Most dipnetters who put in the effort already got all their fish. That's the way it's supposed to happen...all the different users get fish and the River meets escapement. No question the run wasn't banner and estimates were off, but that's fishing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Funstastic View Post
    Not sure what you mean...The in-river escapement goals have already been met, and then some. Most dipnetters who put in the effort already got all their fish. That's the way it's supposed to happen...all the different users get fish and the River meets escapement. No question the run wasn't banner and estimates were off, but that's fishing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AaronP View Post
    I think the Kenai fish were there, they just got gobbled up in Cook Inlet before they could reach the river.
    There were and are plenty being caught on the river by anyone who actually tries and enjoys fishing enough to put forth the effort to be successful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    There were and are plenty being caught on the river by anyone who actually tries and enjoys fishing enough to put forth the effort to be successful.
    Oh I got plenty for myself. What about the low numbers returning to the Russian?

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    Quote Originally Posted by AaronP View Post
    Oh I got plenty for myself. What about the low numbers returning to the Russian?
    Well, sounds like some of them are in your freezer, but the season isn't over yet...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushwhack Jack View Post
    Although I agree this year was not a record breaker, if you compare it to the long term average, this year is about 20K behind the 30 year average. As of Monday the cumulative count was up to 73K. The 30 year average cumulative count for the 28th of July is right around 90K. And the 30 year average cumulative count for the whole month of the July is just over 100K. If the daily counts make it over 33K every day until the 31st, then it will be in line with the 30 year average. Not a great year on the Kenai for sure. But at least the silver lining is fish creek was awesome and produced lots of fish for those looking for a few more fish to fill the freezer. I personally am not alarmed by the low numbers of the Kenai just yet. Now, if the numbers look like this year after year for several years to come, then I think we need to be concerned. Just my two cents.
    You cannot look at averages since in most years the Kenai goal is exceeded. Also, the goals vary by run strength. If you want to see how production is measured look at the brood tables for Kenai which are available from ADF&G on request.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AaronP View Post
    Oh I got plenty for myself. What about the low numbers returning to the Russian?
    Look at the history of the Russian...you'll be hard-pressed to find the late-run not meeting goals (although you will find it exceeding goals, which is also considered not making goals). Plus historically there weren't as many commercial fishing restrictions as this year. Add to that the Kenai has easily met it's sockeye goals. Put it all together and your idea that the Russian late run was "gobbled up in Cook Inlet" by the commercial guys, just doesn't add up. It just makes for the typical uninformed, scapegoat blame game. Considering everything has been late, and a steady trickle, lets wait for the final count rather than jump to conclusions against the commercial fishery. If the late-run Russian escapement isn't made, it will certainly be an outlier, and not the trend.

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    Yesterday's escapement was the second highest of the summer at 58K+.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Funstastic View Post
    Look at the history of the Russian...you'll be hard-pressed to find the late-run not meeting goals (although you will find it exceeding goals, which is also considered not making goals). Plus historically there weren't as many commercial fishing restrictions as this year. Add to that the Kenai has easily met it's sockeye goals. Put it all together and your idea that the Russian late run was "gobbled up in Cook Inlet" by the commercial guys, just doesn't add up. It just makes for the typical uninformed, scapegoat blame game. Considering everything has been late, and a steady trickle, lets wait for the final count rather than jump to conclusions against the commercial fishery. If the late-run Russian escapement isn't made, it will certainly be an outlier, and not the trend.
    I hope you are right. I have nothing against the Com fleet at all. My gripe is with ADFG and the goal of getting the minimum amount of fish to the spawning beds and killing the rest. So what if we have a few more fish then the magical escapement numbers???

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    You cannot look at averages since in most years the Kenai goal is exceeded. Also, the goals vary by run strength. If you want to see how production is measured look at the brood tables for Kenai which are available from ADF&G on request.
    I confess I'm not an expert fisheries biologist, but from my limited understanding, brood tables are merely an index used for preseason forecasting. And in season forecasting (escapement numbers) are considered by some to be a better indicator than preseason forecasting anyway. But if my logic is not making sense, please feel free to elaborate and educate us. It makes logical common sense to me that if the average escapement trend continues to decline over a long period of time, that would indicate there is a problem with the sockeye population.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AaronP View Post
    My gripe is with ADFG and the goal of getting the minimum amount of fish to the spawning beds and killing the rest. So what if we have a few more fish then the magical escapement numbers???
    You must not realize the large majority of sockeye escapements to the Kenai over the last 20 years have exceeded the top end of the escapement goal. You must also not be familiar with the Alaska Constitution Article VIII; which dictates that these fish be managed under the Sustained Yield Principle, and for maximum use. Escapement numbers are not "magical." They mean something, and are supported and justified by biological data. If the top end of the goal is exceeded, we have not met the goal, and yield is lost.

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