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Thread: Question on escapement

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    Default Question on escapement

    OK here is my question. Too many Reds in the Kenai is not good so what about all the pinks flooding in? Why dont they create any problems when they come in by the thousands with over escapement but too many reds is a bad thing. Why do the pinks not cause any problems but too many reds do?

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    They spawn in different areas of the drainage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    They spawn in different areas of the drainage.
    They have limits also but they also do not rear in freshwater. They go out to sea immediately after emerging from the gravel so they have less competition in river. However, spawning over each other and all the other stuff still applies. There are also limits in the ocean. But overall the lack of freshwater rearing is a big difference.

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    It makes sense if the dont rear in fresh water. Hatch and out to the ocean for pinks so they dont spend time in the lakes competing for food. Now it makes sense. Thanks!! Rep to both of you!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    They have limits also but they also do not rear in freshwater. They go out to sea immediately after emerging from the gravel so they have less competition in river. However, spawning over each other and all the other stuff still applies. There are also limits in the ocean. But overall the lack of freshwater rearing is a big difference.
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    I don't necessarily want to provoke a fight but....

    As I have said in the past, lots of spawning sockeye aren't a problem. And neither are lots of spawning pinks. The short-term loss of productivity from density dependent mortality is more than offset by the long-term benefit to the Kenai River watershed from marine-derived nutrients. Lots of salmon is good for the ecosystem.

    Lots of salmon don't always show up, but when they do, it's a good thing, even if the total number exceeds the capacity of the watershed to sustain the resulting juveniles.

    I realize not many folks on this BB agree with me, but I couldn't resist the bait.......

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cohoangler View Post
    I don't necessarily want to provoke a fight but....

    As I have said in the past, lots of spawning sockeye aren't a problem. And neither are lots of spawning pinks. The short-term loss of productivity from density dependent mortality is more than offset by the long-term benefit to the Kenai River watershed from marine-derived nutrients. Lots of salmon is good for the ecosystem.

    Lots of salmon don't always show up, but when they do, it's a good thing, even if the total number exceeds the capacity of the watershed to sustain the resulting juveniles.

    I realize not many folks on this BB agree with me, but I couldn't resist the bait.......
    Well, cohoangler when you say are not a problem - define the problem. If it is yield then you statement is incorrect. If it is marine nutrients for rearing glacial sockeye salmon lakes then you are wrong. If you define the good as long term benefits to the ecosystem you must provide some data on that claim. With millions of fish going into the Kenai River system the good to fish ratio has to flatten at some point so saying unlimited amounts is not correct either. I have seen a 100,000 fish in a small stream that created hydrogen sulfide environment that was not good in my opinion. I think people should be careful of blanket claims without data. Also, millions of pink salmon in the Kenai lower section probably provide positive outcomes as the system developed with those numbers but again a threshold is probably somewhere along the density curve.

    One thing that always bugs me about the ecosystem debate is that it is a value judgement by humans. We are part of the ecosystem and have shown we can alter it by huge amounts. But the real question when someone says ecosystem impacts or positive or negative is that it assumes some condition that is wanted for humans. In the Columbia humans choose to have cheap power and water for crops and the resultant ecosystem impacts. Now we want to change or reverse that based on some other values. That is fine but lets be honest about it. We want to change because we now value salmon and want to have both. So ecosystem impacts need to be discussed and considered in management but they usually are always discussed in human impact terms which is just as valid as discussing yield or loss of it. The trick is just defining what one means when they say ecosystem impacts.

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    Nerka, it's a fact that the nitrogen fertilizer provided by dead salmon carcasses is a natural part of the ecosystem, including preventing bank erosion by promoting plant growth. I read a biological report years ago from a west coast stream that provided evidence of this. It's all about maximum sustained yield instead of letting natural selection take it's course. I believe the more spawners, the better. Except people would rather have the maximum fish available. It's become all about the best thing for humans, not the best thing for the species and the ecosystems.
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    I don't believe too many salmon is bad for the Eco system, but I do believe too many salmon is bad for the salmon. They are like a lot of other species on this earth. When there is too much competition for food and room to live, species are not as healthy as they are when they have more abundant food and room to grow
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    Somehow the salmon managed to get along fine before we ever started controlling their numbers. Like everything else left alone in nature, they went in cycles. But I bet there were much fewer small fish. And controlling their numbers isn't a natural progression of the species.
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    And I also bet there were a less people trying to harvest them also. That is the whole point of managing escapement, to provide decent to good, consistent runs year in and year out. This year is an above average run if reds and look at all the whining, just think what it would be like with bust cycle years
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    Like I said, it's become all about what's best for humans, not the species.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaximumPenetration View Post
    Nerka, it's a fact that the nitrogen fertilizer provided by dead salmon carcasses is a natural part of the ecosystem, including preventing bank erosion by promoting plant growth. I read a biological report years ago from a west coast stream that provided evidence of this. It's all about maximum sustained yield instead of letting natural selection take it's course. I believe the more spawners, the better. Except people would rather have the maximum fish available. It's become all about the best thing for humans, not the best thing for the species and the ecosystems.
    Nitrogen fertilizer is great for my lawn too, but only when applied in moderation. Put a dump truck load on it and that's all she wrote.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MaximumPenetration View Post
    Like I said, it's become all about what's best for humans, not the species.
    Isn't that what being the worlds dominating species is all about?
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    Quote Originally Posted by kgpcr View Post
    OK here is my question. Too many Reds in the Kenai is not good so what about all the pinks flooding in? Why dont they create any problems when they come in by the thousands with over escapement but too many reds is a bad thing. Why do the pinks not cause any problems but too many reds do?
    In a nutshell; Last year's Resurrection Bay sockeye $1.85/lb. Pinks: $.35/lb. Lost revenue is much higher for every extra sockeye that makes it into the river. Decomposing pinks are never the biological problem, even when numbered in the millions, that reds are, because they represent much less $$$$.

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    Quote Originally Posted by willphish4food View Post
    In a nutshell; Last year's Resurrection Bay sockeye $1.85/lb. Pinks: $.35/lb. Lost revenue is much higher for every extra sockeye that makes it into the river. Decomposing pinks are never the biological problem, even when numbered in the millions, that reds are, because they represent much less $$$$.
    Yep, because biologists establish yield curves and replacement points based on the price of fish, and fishermen only care about decreased yield of salmon over exactly $.35/lb, and nobody makes a dime off of pinks. You nailed it. Bravo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MaximumPenetration View Post
    Nerka, it's a fact that the nitrogen fertilizer provided by dead salmon carcasses is a natural part of the ecosystem, including preventing bank erosion by promoting plant growth. I read a biological report years ago from a west coast stream that provided evidence of this. It's all about maximum sustained yield instead of letting natural selection take it's course. I believe the more spawners, the better. Except people would rather have the maximum fish available. It's become all about the best thing for humans, not the best thing for the species and the ecosystems.
    MP is dead-on correct. Nicely done. These fish have existed on the KP, throughout the Great Land, BC, the PNW, and even in California loooooong before we arrived. And long before we invented nets and hooks and things to catch them. And they certainly don't need our help to survive. And they will do just fine without us. In fact, they will do better without us.

    So if there happens to be more adults returning to a watershed than the watershed can support, all is not lost. The salmon will not cease to exist if we aren't there to "save them" with our commercial, recreational, PU, subsistence, and educational fisheries. Yes, their numbers may go down temporarily as density-dependent mortality takes it's toll. But the resulting input from marine derived nutrients (MDN) is exactly what the watershed needs to support future generations of salmon. That is how salmon and the watersheds have been interacting on the Pacific coast for millions of years.

    I'm okay if we want to justify our fisheries (of whatever type) based on the importance to humans. That's fine. But just don't tell me that all these fisheries are actually good for the fish. Fishing is NEVER good for the fish. It's only good for humans. So let's be honest with ourselves. We catch fish because we want to benefit the human species.

    So, for the skeptical fish biologists amoungst us, can anyone provide a better explanation for the right-side of the Ricker curve? How can it be evolutionarily advantageous for a species of fish to produce so many adults that future generations are put at a higher biological risk? There is no advantage to doing that, unless all those adults somehow contribute to the survival of those future generations (beyond eggs in the gravel). That is why the right side of the Ricker curve makes sense, from an evolutionary standpoint. Until the groundbreaking research into the importance of MDN on the biology of Pacific salmon (starting with Ringler and Johnson, 1979), the right side of the curve was an unexplainable fact. I don't doubt the importance of density dependent mortality. I just did not understand how this could be a long-term strategy for survival. But once you understand the importance of MDN, the missing piece of the puzzle falls into place.

    This topic never ceases to provide an enlightening conversation.......

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    Quote Originally Posted by hoose35 View Post
    Isn't that what being the worlds dominating species is all about?
    Yes I agree hoose. But argue your point on that logic, not that it's somehow better for the fish.
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    Well said Coho, but you seem awful confident that more is ALWAYS better. If true, it is one of those rare exceptions in life. I think at some point there would be saturation, and more fish would only be a net negative after that. Of course the size and specific nature of the watershed would be a major factor. MAJOR differences between the thousands of miles of rivers/lakes in say the Columbia drainage and that of the relatively small Kenai/Kasilof.

    Yes, taking the overescapement argument to the extreme and arguing that exceeding goals is going to result in extinction is silly, but no one is suggesting that.

    Likewise, taking it to the other extreme, and suggesting that more is always better is silly also, IMO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MaximumPenetration View Post
    Yes I agree hoose. But argue your point on that logic, not that it's somehow better for the fish.
    I never said it's better for the fish. Obviously, letting nature run its course is what's best for all species, but the fact remains, humans have interfered, and will continue to do so. To get the maximum yield year in and year out, escapement must be managed to achieve that
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