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Thread: Sockeye Forecast and tough choices

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    Default Sockeye Forecast and tough choices

    So the sockeye forecast for UCI is out and it is full of traps and pitfalls. First, the Susitna River sockeye is forecast at 267,000 fish which is about what the Susitna should get for escapement - does this mean really restricted drift fishing time in the district - it should. Next, the chinook forecast of 22,000 means restrictions on the ESSN and with Kasilof at over 1 million sockeye that means terminal fishing time at Kasilof - not a good thing for Kasilof chinook.

    So what does ADF&G do? Make Kenai chinook the priority again and write off Susitna sockeye and Kasilof chinook, do they just say we are going over the sockeye goals and let the public know that up front, or do they hope that the forecast is wrong and things will work out?

    I know with the Susitna sockeye situation fishing the expanded corridor to save Kenai chinook and harvest Kenai/Kasilof sockeye will not work. Susitna sockeye are found in good numbers in the expanded corridor. Maybe bringing it in to 5 miles or less may help.

    The ESSN will need to fish when fish hit the beach for Kenai but Kasilof is not that type of fishery. It may be better to fish the traditional set net fishery and take a few more Kenai chinook given the chinook forecast.

    Should be interesting to watch how the political and management decisions play out with a new Commissioner.

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    Uh, where do we find this document?

    Absent a reference, what are all the forecast numbers? Are the Wasilla dipneters going to go crazy wild?

    Also,is there a historical validation, as in the forecast was for something and the actual results were within some reasonable percentage some portion of the time?

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    It will be interesting to see if the new ADF&G leadership chooses to hammer the Kasilof terminal fishery from mid-July to August. I personally can't support sacrificing one run of chinook for the sake of another. Would massive overescapement in the Kasilof be unfortunate? Yeah, but those marine derived nutrients will eventually get used up by some kind of critter in the Tustumena system.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tee Jay View Post
    Uh, where do we find this document?

    Absent a reference, what are all the forecast numbers? Are the Wasilla dipneters going to go crazy wild?

    Also,is there a historical validation, as in the forecast was for something and the actual results were within some reasonable percentage some portion of the time?
    1. document location: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/ap.../505539253.pdf It is a document released by ADF&G every year. 2. numbers are in document listed in 1. 3. This is an annual publication, available to the public, and you are very welcome to compare the forecast year by year with actual reported harvests and escapements.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 33outdoorsman View Post
    It will be interesting to see if the new ADF&G leadership chooses to hammer the Kasilof terminal fishery from mid-July to August. I personally can't support sacrificing one run of chinook for the sake of another. Would massive overescapement in the Kasilof be unfortunate? Yeah, but those marine derived nutrients will eventually get used up by some kind of critter in the Tustumena system.
    Just to set the record straight - the Tustumena system is not limited by nutrients but light for sockeye production. Also, the volume of fish going in for the escapement goal is more than enough for the system

    Next, Kasilof sockeye are a major part of the PU fishery so if the system is driven to a one to one return ratio it hurts everyone.

    The question of trade-offs is one that should be debated and not left just to ADF&G leadership in this type of case. Unfortunately the ADF&G and BOF passed on this discussion at the last BOF meeting.

    Relative to the source ADF&G I assume put out a report but I read the forecast in today's Clarion with extensive quotes by the local staff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by willphish4food View Post
    1. document location: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/ap.../505539253.pdf It is a document released by ADF&G every year. 2. numbers are in document listed in 1. 3. This is an annual publication, available to the public, and you are very welcome to compare the forecast year by year with actual reported harvests and escapements.
    Thank you kindly. I may never have guessed it was a December press release.

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    YEP... posted here about 3 months ago....

    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...-2015-released

    You may have seen it then.
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    Just to set the record straight - the Tustumena system is not limited by nutrients but light for sockeye production. Also, the volume of fish going in for the escapement goal is more than enough for the system.
    Not trying to raise an old issue, but.... The point of 33's post was to indicate that an over-escapement of sockeye will benefit the entire Tustumena watershed via marine derived nutrients. I agree that it may not benefit sockeye, since sockeye production in that watershed may be limited by other factors (e.g., glacial turbidity).

    But an over-escapement of sockeye is not a crisis that must be avoided at the cost of over-exploiting another stock (Chinook). So I agree with 33. If we are going to make fish management decisions about which stocks are the highest priority, I say let the sockeye over-escape, but protect the Chinook salmon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    YEP... posted here about 3 months ago....

    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...-2015-released

    You may have seen it then.
    Thanks, FnP. I totally forgot about that. It may be indicative of something, the forgetting part.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cohoangler View Post
    Not trying to raise an old issue, but.... The point of 33's post was to indicate that an over-escapement of sockeye will benefit the entire Tustumena watershed via marine derived nutrients. I agree that it may not benefit sockeye, since sockeye production in that watershed may be limited by other factors (e.g., glacial turbidity).

    But an over-escapement of sockeye is not a crisis that must be avoided at the cost of over-exploiting another stock (Chinook). So I agree with 33. If we are going to make fish management decisions about which stocks are the highest priority, I say let the sockeye over-escape, but protect the Chinook salmon.
    But cohoangler what does protect chinook salmon mean. I keep hearing this but late run Kenai chinook goals are msy goals so they are not threatened by going a little under or over just like sockeye.

    Next, Kasilof does not have any goals and no estimate of run size, like a number of other systems in UCI. So how does one measure risk in this situation? I think ADF&G commercial fisheries biologists try to do this and if you look at the sockeye goals they are exceeded by a far amount. In fact for Kasilof they approach the replacement point. That is not good fishery management if constantly done which is what is happening.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    But cohoangler what does protect chinook salmon mean?
    Im a bit surprised you asked that question, given your background. However, I presume you already have an answer, but youre asking me to see if my definition is different than yours. Which it probably is..

    To me, protecting a particular fish stock means placing the risk somewhere else. That could be on another stock of fish; or, more often, it could be on the backs of the folks who normally harvest that stock (i.e., reducing harvest). Regardless, if a stock of fish is thought to be trending downward, or is at risk of doing so, reducing the risk from sources of mortality that we can control is prudent fisheries management. That does not mean all risks will disappear. It means we are managing the risks we can control.

    I realize that placing the risk on the backs of folks who rely heavily on those fish stock is rarely easy and never popular. Indeed, fishery management can be contact sport. No more so than on the KP. And, I might add, on the Columbia River.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cohoangler View Post
    Regardless, if a stock of fish is thought to be trending downward, or is at risk of doing so, reducing the risk from sources of mortality that we can control is prudent fisheries management. That does not mean all risks will disappear. It means we are managing the risks we can control.
    You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to Cohoangler again.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cohoangler View Post
    To me, protecting a particular fish stock means placing the risk somewhere else. That could be on another stock of fish; or, more often, it could be on the backs of the folks who normally harvest that stock (i.e., reducing harvest). Regardless, if a stock of fish is thought to be trending downward, or is at risk of doing so, reducing the risk from sources of mortality that we can control is prudent fisheries management. That does not mean all risks will disappear. It means we are managing the risks we can control.

    I realize that placing the risk on the backs of folks who rely heavily on those fish stock is rarely easy and never popular. Indeed, fishery management can be contact sport. No more so than on the KP. And, I might add, on the Columbia River.
    Great insight in this comment, cohoangler. I have been frustrated to see ADFG utilize risk assessment to justify lowering escapement goals on stocks that already appeared to be having trouble. Both were in the Norton Sound region, if I'm not mistaken. Both times, these new goals were proposed to be listed as "SEG/risk assessment", in their own words.

    It could certainly be argued that the risk to the stock is small -- and perhaps it was -- but I've always felt the risk, when considering where to move it, should be put elsewhere than on the fish themselves.
    "Fishing relaxes me. It's like yoga, except I still get to kill something." --Ron Swanson

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    This may look like I was baiting with my question which I was not. I just wanted to take the discussion a step further to see how people view things without my bias stated first. In my opinion if a stock is trending downward one needs to know the reason before reasonable actions can be taken or at least figure out a good hypothesis. For example, Susitna sockeye have been trending downward with harvest for years but harvest management decisions will not correct this situation. it is due to losing production to pike in at least 4 lakes where sockeye have been eliminated.

    Therefore, putting lots of sockeye in Kenai and Kasilof to meet a goal that is no longer valid for the Susitna makes little sense.

    However, for early run chinook to the Kenai it makes perfect sense to restrict fisheries because some of the cause of the downward trend is probably due to in-river harvest factors.

    Relative to sockeye over escapement one can create a downward trend in yield if one over escapes on a consistent bases.

    So the issue is having the full discussion of trade-offs as there is no single correct answer.

    On the issue of Kasilof chinook and the terminal area for sockeye management ADF&G has not managed to the sockeye goals. What is questionable is they are using the terminal area for Kenai chinook management. I just think that is stupid since late run chinook could take a few less fish to make sure Kasilof gets a few more chinook.

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    Just (or is it joust) some random thoughts. A low abundance of chinook does not cause a large abundance of sockeye, unless there is evidence from the Great Rearing Pond to the contrary. The obverse is also true, sockeye abundance does not decrease chinook abundance. The Fraser River study of sockeye warned to be careful of the state of the ocean, a factor totally ignored in virtually every thread and comment. Salt commercial fisheries are far more efficient at catching fish than in-river anglers, so if you reduce the season and catch in the salt and you want to control escapement, in-river limits should be increased significantly. Species abundance is not a single river issue, see chinook Yukon, Kuskokwim, Kenai et al. Fisheries management is not about feel good, it is about results. If stocks are low or marginal in-river, reduce or eliminate fishing. If it is socially acceptable to constructively eliminate any take in the upper Kenai, what is the issue with similar regs in the middle Kenai?

    I look at a lot of tourist sites and have yet to see a comment about cancelling a tour of Alaska due to King restrictions. Sockeye are a significant economic contributor in Alaska. Those guided fishing trips in salt and fresh in the Cook Inlet Region are mostly tourist/visitor and did not decline with changed regulations based on the recent report.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    This may look like I was baiting with my question which I was not. I just wanted to take the discussion a step further to see how people view things without my bias stated first. In my opinion if a stock is trending downward one needs to know the reason before reasonable actions can be taken or at least figure out a good hypothesis. For example, Susitna sockeye have been trending downward with harvest for years but harvest management decisions will not correct this situation. it is due to losing production to pike in at least 4 lakes where sockeye have been eliminated.

    Therefore, putting lots of sockeye in Kenai and Kasilof to meet a goal that is no longer valid for the Susitna makes little sense.

    However, for early run chinook to the Kenai it makes perfect sense to restrict fisheries because some of the cause of the downward trend is probably due to in-river harvest factors.

    Relative to sockeye over escapement one can create a downward trend in yield if one over escapes on a consistent bases.

    So the issue is having the full discussion of trade-offs as there is no single correct answer.

    On the issue of Kasilof chinook and the terminal area for sockeye management ADF&G has not managed to the sockeye goals. What is questionable is they are using the terminal area for Kenai chinook management. I just think that is stupid since late run chinook could take a few less fish to make sure Kasilof gets a few more chinook.
    The statement I bolded has merit, but does not address the entire Susitna/Yentna system. If it were only pike affecting production and adult returns, then escapements to drainages in the system that contain no pike would remain at historic averages. Instead, they are also seeing below average returns. There has been an endemic, system wide low return of sockeye for many of the past 20 years. As there are no weirs on many of these drainages, no sonars, nor even foot counts, the only evidence to the truth of my statement is from anecdotal reports from myself and other people with boots on the ground. Those in the scientific community often scoff at the observations of people who utilize a resource year after year, and have flesh in the game. "Anecdotal evidence" is seen as poor at best, scurrilous and libelous at worst. That attitude toward anecdotal reports does not change the following fact though: people who have fished, hiked and hunted around many of the small drainages that are part of the Yentna/Susitna drainage have seen a large decline in sockeye numbers that trends along with the sonar and weir counts in other areas of the Susitna/Yentna. And it is not limited to areas with pike, beavers, or human exploitation, as Nerka would imply.

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    Quote Originally Posted by willphish4food View Post
    The statement I bolded has merit, but does not address the entire Susitna/Yentna system. If it were only pike affecting production and adult returns, then escapements to drainages in the system that contain no pike would remain at historic averages. Instead, they are also seeing below average returns. There has been an endemic, system wide low return of sockeye for many of the past 20 years. As there are no weirs on many of these drainages, no sonars, nor even foot counts, the only evidence to the truth of my statement is from anecdotal reports from myself and other people with boots on the ground. Those in the scientific community often scoff at the observations of people who utilize a resource year after year, and have flesh in the game. "Anecdotal evidence" is seen as poor at best, scurrilous and libelous at worst. That attitude toward anecdotal reports does not change the following fact though: people who have fished, hiked and hunted around many of the small drainages that are part of the Yentna/Susitna drainage have seen a large decline in sockeye numbers that trends along with the sonar and weir counts in other areas of the Susitna/Yentna. And it is not limited to areas with pike, beavers, or human exploitation, as Nerka would imply.
    This comment is totally false by all counts and measures. One just has to look at the sockeye lake weir data to disprove this report. This is why anecdotal information is dismissed for those who have a bias and are willing to misrepresent the data we do have.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    This comment is totally false by all counts and measures. One just has to look at the sockeye lake weir data to disprove this report. This is why anecdotal information is dismissed for those who have a bias and are willing to misrepresent the data we do have.
    Yup, statements from people with boots on the ground are totally dismissed by academics at desks 200 miles away. But we all knew that already.

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    Quote Originally Posted by willphish4food View Post
    Yup, statements from people with boots on the ground are totally dismissed by academics at desks 200 miles away. But we all knew that already.
    Nice try willphish4food but I have been all over the Susitna drainage in hip boots and trying to be anti-science with the academic comment says more about your insecurities than anything else.

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