So we have beat the bush for ideas on how to handle the Kenai River chinook fishery. So here is my proposal just off the top of my head.
1. We redefine the chinook return to tributary and mainstem spawners and set goals accordingly and fund weirs on tributary streams.
2. We have an independent review of the counting and age composition programs to make sure they are scientifically sound.
3. We create a sport fishery for chinook only below the sonar counter and the season is extended to August 15th
4. We reduce sport fish selectivity for both stocks by allowing only the first fish caught to be retained
5. We create a buffer zone around Beaver Creek
6 We decouple the fisheries relative to management and give ADF&G a goal of reducing ESSN exploitation rate by 30% from historical averages. How they do it is up to them. We give them gear options, reduction of set net separations, increase drift fleet exploitation on sockeye in the corridor fishery (reduce the corridor back to closer to the beach), allow smaller areas to be closed or opened relative to segments of the beach, and we look for documentation of success or failure of the different approaches.
7. We maintain that ADF&G should manage to all goals but realize that in some years sockeye will go over the goal and in other years chinook may be slightly under the goal in the trade off of mixed stock fishery management. In no case should a trend develop that indicates a bias in these trade offs.
So if you want to recover the fish it will take something like the above to reach this goal. We may also need to rehab some of the smaller systems either with habitat restoration or jump starting recovery with a temporary stocking program.