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Thread: Jacking Sockeye

  1. #1

    Default Jacking Sockeye

    I wonder if some of you biologist types ever get tired of the Cook Inlet problems and look for distractions. If you do here is an interesting one that I would be real interested in hearing some comments on.
    Sockeye jacks, a natural phenomena or mismanagement.
    There is a small man made run of sockeye into Fraser Lake up the Dog Salmon River through Alitak and Olga Bays at the South end of Kodiak Is.. It’s an early run of sockeye that runs concurrent with other natural runs of sockeye into Olga Bay. At its inception there was great hope that this once barren system would produce over 3 million returning adult sockeye. Stocks from several other Kodiak Island systems were introduced into the lake in the 1950`s and 60`s. A fish pass over a barrier falls was built with a monitoring weir and another weir was built at the stream mouth.
    Cousteau visited the system in 1966 and made the movie “Tragedy of the Red Salmon” about this new run of sockeye.

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x13...mon_shortfilms

    By the 1980`s escapement was stabilized and a scheduled aggressive fishery (seine and setnet) was developed to capitalize on this new stock and many big seasons were made off of the run.
    The fishery was so aggressive that by the year 2000 to keep the fisherman happy 3 of 4 other natural runs of sockeye with good production history were completely written out of the management plan and the once dominate early run into the Olga Lakes system was reduced to an OEG escapement level so as to not impeded the harvest of the introduced run in traditional areas by seine and set net gear. Even though a terminal fishery plan exists for all systems in the area.
    The decimation of 4 natural runs for the benefit of an aggressive fishery on a man made run is in its self imho a shameful act by management. As escapement began to lag into the introduced system someone in management decided it would be OK to start including all jack sockeye as part of the viable escapement.
    From what I understand most natural sockeye runs of the US and Canada have a jack component of 2% to 5% and it has been a state wide policy of ADF&G to not included any daily counts of jacks in excess of 10% towards the viable escapement goal.
    Most fisherman were pretty mute towards the subject during the good years but the last 10 years have not been so good and we have slowly woken up. Maybe to late. In recent years up to 70% of the total escapement was counted as jacks and we now have 2 consecutive year classes dominated by jacks going back several seasons 2014 and 2015 being the most recent.
    http://juneauempire.com/state/2011-1...ht-jack-salmon
    We have brought this to the attention of the BOF and we were pretty much laughed out of the room for lack of credibility. The Depts. Position is that they have no research funding or extra staff time and maybe its just a passing thing because it’s a new system that has not yet found its balance. The standard answer seems to be we just don`t know how it happened or what the effect is.
    http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm...ting=anchorage

    http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/re.../indexlan.html

    They did however write a memorandum to begin a very feeble culling program by widening the pickets on a weir panel to allow some of the jacks to squeeze through into a trap. They totally disregarded suggestions and equipment shown to them that has been proven effective for size selection of salmonoids and they will not allow any fisherman participation in the culling process. In 2015 around 20% of the entire escapement was again counted as jacks if the tally can be believed.
    Today what was once a very viable fishery for up to 40 families with 90 SO4K permits is now a bankrupt fishery supported by selling assets, retirement accounts and cannery credit. Is this good management ?
    What say you retired biologists.

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    Well the issues of jacks is a complicated one and lots of scientific papers have been written. This example is more complicated by lack of data in the above post and of course hatchery/enhancement issues. Not sure what the brood tables show as opposed to escapement so harvest selectivity is hard to judge as is total production.

    But here are some things to consider. It may not be a jack problem but a female issue. Jacks are part of the evolutionary history of a population. They serve a function and some data indicates that dominant males may produce jacks when growth (lipid content, weight, growth rate) or other environmental factors trigger the response. So culling jacks could be culling the dominant males under other environmental factors. Next, jacks have a sneaker approach to spawning but they also have higher quality sperm in some populations - again suggesting that this evolutionary approach is something important to the population. In fact jacks tend to have higher success in spawning than their contribution to the population for some stocks.

    So I guess without more data, what the number of females is, what the biological factors are for growth rates of fry, juvenile, and adults I can see ADF&G caution in making changes.

    Just as a final note a fish that does not spend a lot of time in freshwater or the marine environment is evolutionary advanced for the present situation. Pink salmon have it figured out.

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    There was a study that showed jack Coho salmon produced 4.6 times as many jacks as older males (Iwamoto - 1984). I'm not a biologist, and I don't know if man-introduced sockeye in your example would do the same thing, but that could be what happened.

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    Thanks for that post. Love that old video... it's what originally "spawned" my lifelong interest in all things salmon-related.

    From the linked article....

    Fishermen are worried that if too many jacks are passing the fish ladder first, they’re the ones passing on their genes to future generations, possibly ensuring more jacks.

    Even if they don’t, having too many jacks — which are almost all male — ensures the balance of the sexes is knocked out of kilter. Too many males means fewer breeding pairs and fewer fish in the future.

    “When they go and potentially create more jacks for future years, that affects me in future years,” Diders said. “It’s a perpetual cycle that’s been affecting more people in our area. It’s really frustrating.”

    Sounds a whole lot like what's happening with ER kings.

    Sorry for the hi-jack.
    "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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    Just be careful here. In short time frames what appears to be bad may be good in the long run. If jacks come from dominant males and there genes are better the figure you cite above may be more of a reflection of environmental triggers than genetics. Remember that old saying from Jurassic Park " It is not nice to mess with Mother Nature" or something like that.

    Also, what if lower production for a period is built into salmon ecology for predator avoidance or prey recovery then messing with it would be more of an upset than assuming the female to male sex ratio is wrong. The real issue here is humans want to harvest fish and when things do not go that way then people want to do all types of crazy stuff. I think biologists have to keep reminding users of the past of what happens when this takes place. You get hatchery programs that complicate things, you get management programs that are short term in thinking, and you get some who think they really know what is going on and make all types of assumptions. The project above was based on making sockeye for commercial harvest. Maybe that was not a good idea in the first place. In Alaska there is no consistent policy so each area of the State takes off on its own and adverse impacts in other areas of the State are ignored. For example there is no comprehensive hatchery enhancement policy statewide. Each area does its own thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    For example there is no comprehensive hatchery enhancement policy statewide. Each area does its own thing.
    That really needs to be addressed.

    I remember when the FRED Division was going like gangbusters back in the day with no real appreciation or oversight as to the impacts on native wild populations. Things have gotten better since then, but a comprehensive statewide policy as a baseline should be a no-brainer.
    "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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    So can jacks fertilize more than one female? As in could one healthy female who beats the odds of survival in the ocean for 4-5 years could pass on both her and several males' genes? Maybe not as good as an even sex ratio, but better than less total fish spawning? Dunno just wondering.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    So can jacks fertilize more than one female?
    Emphatically, YES!

    Skewed sex ratios is only part of the problem. As the article stated, total fecundity of the return (total eggs in the gravel) will continue to suffer if there are FEW hens.
    "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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    Default Dang sport fishermen again..

    Must have been all those sport fishermen on the banks with their rods crewing the whole thing up again.

    Overfishing by the commercial guys is NEVER to blame for anything - ever!
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
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    Quote Originally Posted by tvfinak View Post
    Must have been all those sport fishermen on the banks with their rods crewing the whole thing up again.

    Overfishing by the commercial guys is NEVER to blame for anything - ever!
    ...Troll...

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