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Thread: New look for Magnuson-Stevens Act?

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    Interesting. Thanks for the link. Here's the bill:

    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/...mp/~c114Rlp2Is::

    It looks to me like the intent is to prevent fisheries from being shut down over concern for a stock/species for which there is no hope of recovery, and to differentiate between a stock which has been overfished, and one that is struggling due to other (natural?) issues, although I only read portions of it, and this is the first I've heard of it. There's certainly a lot there though...

    Another related to MSA:

    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/...mp/~c114Rlp2Is::

    I looks like both of these bill aim to increase quality and quantity of data collection in sport fisheries.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    a stock/species for which there is no hope of recovery
    Do you know any examples of such a situation?

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    Quote Originally Posted by HikerDan View Post
    Do you know any examples of such a situation?
    There's a pretty good chance that Slikok kings are gone for good from what I understand, although that would fall in the overfishing category. Other stocks in the ND have been lost completely likely due to issues unrelated to overfishing. While this bums me out bigtime, I'd hate to see the whole inlet shut down over a few hopeless stocks. KRSA had a proposal before the last BOF which would have done exactly that, so there is a push from some people to manage this way.

    I'm not defending the legislation or suggesting that it is good - I just don't know enough about it. I was just trying to link it and give people an idea of what I read.

    Species/stocks have been going extinct since the beginning. Not suggesting that we shouldn't care or do what we can to prevent it, but it's a fact and it will not change.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HikerDan View Post
    Do you know any examples of such a situation?
    It's not really "for which there is no hope of recovery" but I believe more for stocks whose recovery is independent of fishing mortality, either directed or as bycatch. Perhaps one example might be Pribilof Island blue king crab, where there directed fishery has been completely closed, as has essentially all incidental catch within its entire known habitat range. Yet the stock has not recovered will not until some more favorable recruitment occurs and nobody knows when that might be.
    "Fishing relaxes me. It's like yoga, except I still get to kill something." --Ron Swanson

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    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    There's a pretty good chance that Slikok kings are gone for good from what I understand, although that would fall in the overfishing category.
    Interesting. Certainly the Slikok has also experienced significant habitat destruction over the decades. I would think that as we fix the habitat (thanks KWF) the Slikok will recover or be recolonized. I do understand that we can't manage the entire salmon run for the benefit of one stream that will hold a couple hundred spawners at the most.

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    Everyone should read the book "COD" and then read Don Young's comments. His comment about uncertainty in the data led to the cod demise. Because decision makers put economic issues before the resource and used uncertainity in the data as the excuse. So now he wants to do the same thing and move away from the precautionary approach. That is a prescription for trouble for the resource. If Don Young is saying he wants Federal Management of resources that is also totally out of character relative to his other positions on the Federal government and resource management. I do not trust a word he says.

    Also, I am not sure he understands the Alaska model. It is simple - resources first users second. That model can be applied nationwide

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    Quote Originally Posted by HikerDan View Post
    Do you know any examples of such a situation?
    The classic example s Black Sea bass in the mid Atlantic. The surveys show that the stock is over fished but what happened is the water temps pushed the stock north and out of the mid Atlantic region

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    "To set the record straight, I have always applauded and supported the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council for creating an unparalleled system of fisheries management. Through foresight and willingness, our fisheries managers have developed and implemented a management system that is considered the envy of the world, dubbed the “Alaska Model.” This system has worked extremely well in Alaska due to annual stock assessments that provide up-to-date information to fishery managers, a necessary tool for implementing an adaptive management system that allows for the optimal conservation and use of our fishery resources." -Don Young

    Quoted from Don Young's rebuttal. Has this system really worked that well? Or was the resource so vast and rich that it couldn't be ruined by the "Alaska model" management?

    How bout asking Yukon subsistence fishers how the NPFMC's management of chinook bycatch is working for them. How bout those Kenai peninsula kings? Kodiak kings? Susitna River, Yentna River Kings? Copper River basin kings? How bout asking Southeast and Southcentral halibut charter, sport fisherment and commercial fishermen how well the halibut stocks they fish are doing under current NPFMC management?

    The model sounds great, the hyperbole surrounding it is great, but here's the facts: since changing gear methods to pull nets off the bottom and going to mid water fishing for pollock, 10's of thousands of chinook have been caught annually in this single fishery. There has been little significant data gathered as to the origins of those chinook. A one year study would provide a glimpse, but by no means be comprehensive, as ocean currents, temperatures and food source movements will all have an effect on distribution of chinook. Instead, we continually hear that the bycatch is ok, that rivers with problems are all due to inriver sources, there's no story here, move on.

    If meaningful data collection was truly important to the NPFMC, and putting the overall health of the entire resource the most important facet of the management system, then we would have annual catch assessments of the bycatch species to assure that the targeted fishery was not causing collateral fishery collapses. When sea lion populations collapsed, pollock fisheries were closed, and 10's of millions of dollars went into research to find the cause of the collapse, positively linking it to overfishing by the pollock fishery. When statewide chinook stocks collapsed, chinook bycatch was capped, but at a level that provides little to no incentive to quit catching chinooks. And there has been little money spent by the industry or government to ascertain that the acceptable catch levels of chinook are sustainable. "Uncertainty in data" concerning the effect of chinook bycatch by the pollock fishery has been no deterrent to its continuance. The NPFMC's idea of a precautionary approach? Be very careful to implement no studies that could cause interruptions to the pollock fishery. Be very cautious about doing anything that may implicate its management decisions in declines of fish stocks.

    If statewide chinook runs of today are the result of the "Alaska model" of management, then by all means, get rid of it!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    Everyone should read the book "COD" and then read Don Young's comments. His comment about uncertainty in the data led to the cod demise. Because decision makers put economic issues before the resource and used uncertainity in the data as the excuse. So now he wants to do the same thing and move away from the precautionary approach. That is a prescription for trouble for the resource. If Don Young is saying he wants Federal Management of resources that is also totally out of character relative to his other positions on the Federal government and resource management. I do not trust a word he says.

    Also, I am not sure he understands the Alaska model. It is simple - resources first users second. That model can be applied nationwide
    That model would be wonderful, Nerka, if it were that. But its not. Its propaganda. Point to the model, tell people "see, this is the model- we always put the resource first," and then put the users first. Those users with the deepest pockets. The pollock fishery is the elephant in the room; it is the single largest harvester of chinook salmon in Alaska waters, but cannot provide up to date stock of origin assessments of those chinook to prove that it is not harming the resource. When we demand an accounting, we are just told to look at the model. "See, resources first, users second. Now go look for other reasons stocks are failing."

    And, yes, this method of management can and is being applied nationwide.

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    Default talk about hyperbole!

    Quote Originally Posted by willphish4food View Post
    The model sounds great, the hyperbole surrounding it is great, but here's the facts: since changing gear methods to pull nets off the bottom and going to mid water fishing for pollock, 10's of thousands of chinook have been caught annually in this single fishery. There has been little significant data gathered as to the origins of those chinook. A one year study would provide a glimpse, but by no means be comprehensive, as ocean currents, temperatures and food source movements will all have an effect on distribution of chinook. Instead, we continually hear that the bycatch is ok, that rivers with problems are all due to inriver sources, there's no story here, move on.
    Wow! Willphish, while bemoaning hyperbole you, in the same breath, spin some real humdingers.

    There's a lot of genetic information about salmon bycatch. The most limiting factor is the abililty to identify unique stocks, instead of aggregations. But, that's not just NOAA's problem, it's ADFG, USFWS...

    The North Pacific Council meeting that ended last week had no less than FOUR reports on salmon bycatch genetics (and a powerpoint). Go look it up under agenda item C-2.
    http://legistar2.granicus.com/npfmc/...ing_Agenda.pdf

    I was at that meeting arguing for lower bycatch limits in the Bering Sea. We gained some measures that should be helpful. I wish they'd brought the limits down lower but there were still many good parts to the overall package.

    I'm not even gonna bother with your comments about steller sea lions, but you have most of it completely wrong. You really should be more careful when talking about things you're not that familiar with.
    "Fishing relaxes me. It's like yoga, except I still get to kill something." --Ron Swanson

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    willphish4food, NPFMC produces an annual biological report of Chinook bycatch that accounts for fish, includes coded wire tag recoveries, genetic studies, progress made in minimizing bycatch, and a host of other data used to authorize the fishery and evaluate the effects of bycatch. If you took the time to study some of that information you would quickly realize the numbers don't add up to the rash conclusions you make and the uninformed assumptions you spew. While they can't yet provide stock of origin data as accurate as you would like, they do allow us to put 2+2 together to get a good idea. And when I see radio tags from the Snake River stocks, genetics from PNW waters, and catch numbers that just don't equate to the magnitude of missing Kings we have in Alaska, I have a hard time jumping to your conclusions. There is much more going on here, and I could just as easily speculate it is caused by poor in-river production, where virtually no data exists on the effect of sportfishing Kings in their fresh water spawning waters (but you can't find it in yourself to criticize the lack of that data).

    To lay blame on the NPFMC for what's happening with the Kenai Kings, Yukon, Susitna, Yentna, Copper, etc is to completely ignore the freshwater side of the equation - the most critical aspect of the King's survival - reproduction. Talk about, "there's no story here, move on." Each one of those systems has it's own unique in-river problems. Forget the Kenai's obvious in-river over-fishing problems, and just take your Susitna for example...studies show that King numbers are recovering after Pike irradiation was taken seriously. Go figure. As for halibut, like any stock they fluctuate, and spawner recruitment cycles move up and down. Thanks to the NPFMC, commercial and charter catches have been reduced and increased accordingly, and the stock remains healthy.

    Criticizing the Alaska model and NPFMC for any lack of data is misdirected ignorance. Those things are not limited in their evaluation and authorization of the fishery. They are limited by money and politics. The information is the best we have available, and all your finger-pointing, blame, speculation, and scapegoating won't change that.

    My only criticism of the "Alaska model" is that we need to get back to more of it, giving the corrupt political process currently driving it an enema.

    Willphish4food, I find your posts extremely hypocritical. No one here spews more "propaganda" about our fisheries, engages in divisive allocation wars, and turns cheek to putting the resource first in their area, more than you. In fact you are well-known here for trying to get your area more allocation by rejecting your own in-river productivity problems in lieu of closing commercial fishing south of you. Putting the resource first doesn't mean just where it benefits you.

    But hey, since you want to get rid of the "Alaska model", why dont' you tell us what better model you would replace it with?

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    I have a question that those of you with a lot more scientific knowledge can hopefully answer....

    First off, let me clarify that I am not pointing fingers at anybody or trying to blame any group or gov't agency. With that being said, what is the possibility that the Pollack bycatch of Kings as studied by the NPFMC is incomplete and/or missing data? The NPFMC seems to have a pretty good handle on bycatch numbers by the American fleet. What about foreign boats? Are they as tightly monitored for bycatch? What about illegal fishing? I know policing in the North Pacific has improved but you still hear about interception of illegal boats with huge catches.

    Is it possible that the data the NPFMC uses is statistically inaccurate thanks to bycatch by others?

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    The NPFMC only accounts for bycatch in the fisheries under its jurisdiction (within the US EEZ). Salmon bycatch accounting in the US-managed pollock fishery of the Bering Sea is very accurate. In the Gulf of Alaska, it is not as accurate but nonetheless still pretty good.

    We don't know what's taken in the Russian Pollock fishery on the other side of the Bering Sea. I think efforts through the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission (www.npafc.org) may get us there at some point.

    Illegal fishing in international waters? I don't think it's much of an issue anymore (at least in the North Pacific/Bering Sea). But, I could be wrong. Perhaps the Coast Guard may have more information on that.
    "Fishing relaxes me. It's like yoga, except I still get to kill something." --Ron Swanson

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    The numbers for the Russian side would be interesting to see. A lot of people are pointing at in-river survival as the cause for the low runs but that doesn't explain why L48 King runs are booming. L48 rivers have exponentially more pollutants, degradation of habitat, fishing pressure, and predatory fish than any river Alaska has.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MRFISH View Post
    The NPFMC only accounts for bycatch in the fisheries under its jurisdiction (within the US EEZ). Salmon bycatch accounting in the US-managed pollock fishery of the Bering Sea is very accurate. In the Gulf of Alaska, it is not as accurate but nonetheless still pretty good.

    We don't know what's taken in the Russian Pollock fishery on the other side of the Bering Sea. I think efforts through the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission (www.npafc.org) may get us there at some point.

    Illegal fishing in international waters? I don't think it's much of an issue anymore (at least in the North Pacific/Bering Sea). But, I could be wrong. Perhaps the Coast Guard may have more information on that.
    Does NPFMC account for any migratory species bycatch in areas inside US territory but not in the EEZ? Areas like Cook Inlet and the Sound where they reserve management authority but do not have a plan?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcticwildman View Post
    The numbers for the Russian side would be interesting to see. A lot of people are pointing at in-river survival as the cause for the low runs but that doesn't explain why L48 King runs are booming. L48 rivers have exponentially more pollutants, degradation of habitat, fishing pressure, and predatory fish than any river Alaska has.
    I just want to help explain why the lack of data can lead to false conclusions. Right now everyone is pointing to the marine environment as the primary cause of the decline. So maybe this can help people back off a little and examine a combination of factors.

    Say 200,000 smolt go out to sea. They survive at 30% and so 60,000 come back. We have documented this level of marine survival for sockeye. At this level a fishery is very successful and one is seeing all types of growth and near record returns. Both fresh and salt water are doing great.

    Now say only 100,000 smolt go out due to a freshwater issue. Return at 30% means 30,000 fish and still a good fishery. Biologist say it is natural variation and have no data to say what the marine or freshwater survival rate is only that the fisheries are still doing fine.

    Now say only 100,000 smolt go out and marine survival drops to 15% - still good - but the return is 15,000 fish and that is the bottom end of the goal and fisheries are closed. Some biologist claim it is only a marine survival issue because the return dropped from 30,000 to 15,000. Not really, because if 200,000 smolt had gone out then 30,000 fish would have returned at 15%. This is the trap research biologists must avoid. Pre-judging the outcome and I am afraid ADF&G has done that in the case of Kenai River chinook.

    So when populations drop one needs to look in both freshwater and salt to parse out the dominating variable.

    Now to confuse it even more lower 48 streams are doing good so is it the PDO in the marine environment which is the pattern seen in the past or not?

    One error State agencies and more importantly State Legislators make is to stop long term monitoring programs. Alaska is doing it right now and as a result biologists and the public are reduced to guess work and not science.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcticwildman View Post
    A lot of people are pointing at in-river survival as the cause for the low runs but that doesn't explain why L48 King runs are booming. L48 rivers have exponentially more pollutants, degradation of habitat, fishing pressure, and predatory fish than any river Alaska has.
    I would not say L48 Kings are booming, at least not relative to the analogy you are trying to make with Alaska. The L48 runs that you think are booming, like those of the Columbia and Sacramento, are actually mostly hatchery or enhanced Chinook. Chinook continue to be listed as endangered or threatened in several waters of WA, OR, CA, and ID, and some have been completely lost. The rest of the L48 is strictly hatchery Chinook now, and of course we all know about the demise of the Atlantic Salmon on the East Coast. It was the very pollutants, degradation of habitat, fishing pressure, and predation you speak of that caused this L48 recovery situation to exist.

    But hey, if L48 Kings truly are "booming" like you say, then it would appear the in-river efforts have been effective (hatcheries, enhancement, habitat restoration, dam removals, etc.), perhaps highlighting where the cause of the declines originated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MRFISH View Post
    Wow! Willphish, while bemoaning hyperbole you, in the same breath, spin some real humdingers.

    There's a lot of genetic information about salmon bycatch. The most limiting factor is the abililty to identify unique stocks, instead of aggregations. But, that's not just NOAA's problem, it's ADFG, USFWS...

    The North Pacific Council meeting that ended last week had no less than FOUR reports on salmon bycatch genetics (and a powerpoint). Go look it up under agenda item C-2.
    http://legistar2.granicus.com/npfmc/...ing_Agenda.pdf

    I was at that meeting arguing for lower bycatch limits in the Bering Sea. We gained some measures that should be helpful. I wish they'd brought the limits down lower but there were still many good parts to the overall package.

    I'm not even gonna bother with your comments about steller sea lions, but you have most of it completely wrong. You really should be more careful when talking about things you're not that familiar with.
    thank you for those links, mrfish. its good to see that significant data has been captured now... and as has been conjectured, a huge percentage of the catch, nearly 80% in A season and 70 percent in B, was Alaskan stocks. There is no way that this cannot be considered a large contributing factor in the problems with the King run in the Yukon. Few stocks from Southcentral were identified, but that doesn't mean that historically they are caught at a low percentage. As the total escapement numbers are so much lower now than they were 15 years ago from Southcentral streams, it is not surprising that few southcentral fish were identified in the sampling.

    What is amazing to me, and supports the point I am trying to make about money leading the management in NPFMC rather than data, is that even with this data, and the fact that we are failing to provide enough escapement for traditional subsistence fisheries on the Yukon, much less commercial fishing and international treaty obligations, the council failed to take strong measures to limit bycatch. Why is there a cap that is higher than total bycatch when overall king abundance was multiples higher than it is today? Should the cap not reflect today's king abundance, based upon the king indices that we have, not the abundance of 1995? If statewide, the king abundance is a third of what it was then, should the cap not be a third of the catch then, or about 13,000 fish? Or even lower, as most systems are now at their escapement thresholds or below, with no excess kings? Every king that does not return to spawn is magnified by 3 or 4 times, given a 3 to 1 or 4 to 1 return to spawner ratio. In times of low abundance every fish is more important than in times of high abundance.

    I think the data Mr fish linked illustrates the point I poorly attempted to make. Money drives the machine, not data. Even when the data is there, it does not lead to significant changes that would hurt the big money player. Oh, we've seen big changes. Half South Central's halibut charter fleet was eliminated. Half the sport fish limit on charters was taken away. Size limits imposed. State agencies closing and restricting sport and commercial fish operations left and right to try to improve survival rates... but what big changes were imposed on the pollock fleet?

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