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Thread: Large fish goal for Kenai River chinook

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    Default Large fish goal for Kenai River chinook

    Heard yesterday that the Department Escapement Goal Technical Committee is looking at the large chinook (larger than 750 mm). The thinking is they can count these better, this size range covers over 90% or more of the females, and thus the existing range will not change much. Will be interesting how they look at management if this goes through and how it would change management.

    I would suggest they take the last five or ten years and hindcast with the new goal range and see how it would have impacted management. That will give some idea if this is just a change in an index or a real impact on management decisions.

    Next I would suggest they look at all the management plans which are based on a 50/50 split in harvest between user groups. That split is not true for fish larger than 750mm. The sport fishery takes a higher percentage so conservation measures should be proportional to harvest which means less impact on the ESSN. May make management easier and less conflict if the sport fish community accepts they are the major harvester of female chinook.

    Should make for an interesting Board meeting.

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    Default Time to put some REAL kings on the gravel

    Large fish goal =

    Quality of the escapement is a MUCH bigger factor for production than a simple quantity of escapement... esp when hens are down to 20% or less of the run.

    This metric will mesh extremely well with the new abundance-based proposals for a 'rolling slot' retention.
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone."
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    But if a true index and just a way of getting out of trying to count small fish it should not impact management decisions on opening and closures - if it does it is a reallocation and needs a full discussion of why. It has nothing to do with the slot limit. It also makes making brood tables and production curves more difficult as fish smaller than 750 mm will not be in the production data if they stop trying to estimate them. Lots of questions on this one and we will see how Department handles them.

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    If the management objective is to maximize the return of mature spawners..... why not emphasize counting mature spawners? Aren't you supposed to manage what you measure, and measure what you manage? Basic question, are smaller fish critical to reproduction and future returns? If so, perhaps the 750mm standard needs to be looked at.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tee Jay View Post
    If the management objective is to maximize the return of mature spawners..... why not emphasize counting mature spawners? Aren't you supposed to manage what you measure, and measure what you manage? Basic question, are smaller fish critical to reproduction and future returns? If so, perhaps the 750mm standard needs to be looked at.
    Yes, small fish serve a purpose and we just do not know all the details. It will be assumed that counting just large fish will still have small fish spawning just not counted. We need to wait and see all the rationale for this change and the impact on management decisions.

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    How sure are you a large fishe goal will be on the agenda at the bof meeting? Is it in a proposal that is in the book? I haven't had a chance to look. If it isn't in there, what is the process for f&g to get it submitted at this point?

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    Quote Originally Posted by yukon View Post
    How sure are you a large fishe goal will be on the agenda at the bof meeting? Is it in a proposal that is in the book? I haven't had a chance to look. If it isn't in there, what is the process for f&g to get it submitted at this point?
    There is no proposal as ADFG sets BEG and SEG goals. They would just inform the Board of Fish. The Board could create an OEG if they disagree. So no proposal is necessary. The Board would have to modify the trigger points in various plans. Pretty sure this is going to happen as they have talked about it for over a year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    There is no proposal as ADFG sets BEG and SEG goals. They would just inform the Board of Fish. The Board could create an OEG if they disagree. So no proposal is necessary. The Board would have to modify the trigger points in various plans. Pretty sure this is going to happen as they have talked about it for over a year.
    Are there any complications with the Uchida lawsuit decision?
    My question would be with the data set. It seems really small to make a major change.

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    ADFG talked about this last winter, and then told everyone that they would not make the change at this board meeting because they couldn't get the data published in time for everyone to read and comment before the board meeting. Interesting that they have now decided to go for it without a proposal or public discussion. I hope there is a chance for review and input at some point.

    I think ADFG's position is that the larger fish are easier to count, and the real complications (and controversy) comes in their apportionment of small fish. I totally understand that, but wonder if ignoring small fish is the best solution. I also wonder what implications this might have when run composition changes like it has over the last several years (which could be a completely natural thing that we don't understand). Young fish still carry the same genes... I also wonder about what the goal of large spawners might be. Given the controversy surrounding the current EG, and the disbelief that the data suggest that only 12,000-28,000 total kings is the MSY range, I suspect the # of large fish needed for optimum yield will be lower than many might like. Like Yukon I am also worried about the data set used to make this change. We've changed so much over the last few years that it's tough to know what is what. I guess I'll just be happy that there was more kings this year than last, and hope that trend continues.

    I understand that 1.4 fish have been the backbone of Kenai King returns over the years and that there is biological significance there. I also think that since this is the WORLD RECORD Kenai river, it's easy to place a too much importance on size, and if this is reflected in ADFG's large fish goal, that could be an allocative shift given that one fishery is selective towards smaller fish and one is selective towards larger fish.

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    Quote Originally Posted by yukon View Post
    Are there any complications with the Uchida lawsuit decision?
    My question would be with the data set. It seems really small to make a major change.
    Do not think MS is an issue. It would still be BEG goal. They have years of data on large fish and fecundity. So I see no issue there

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    Do not think MS is an issue. It would still be BEG goal. They have years of data on large fish and fecundity. So I see no issue there
    How good is that data set?

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    Quote Originally Posted by yukon View Post
    How good is that data set?
    Depends on what you are looking at. To answer the question what 750 mm means for egg deposition they have decades of data. To figure out the actual total return in numbers that is suspect. They used statistical methods to recreate the return so error could be high. However just looking at habitat the present goals do not appear unreasonable. So adjusting them for large fish should be possible.

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    I was told by several from ADF&G earlier this summer that a large fish goal was not going to be on the table for the the upcoming UCI BOF meeting. Yes, it has been talked about for quite some time but like smith mentioned there was concern over timing of data being presented to the public. I would be very surprised to see a large fish goal for the Kenai River kings at this time given the dialogue that we had and the fact that no one from the department has reached out us to let us know of a change in plans regarding this topic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iceblue View Post
    I was told by several from ADF&G earlier this summer that a large fish goal was not going to be on the table for the the upcoming UCI BOF meeting. Yes, it has been talked about for quite some time but like smith mentioned there was concern over timing of data being presented to the public. I would be very surprised to see a large fish goal for the Kenai River kings at this time given the dialogue that we had and the fact that no one from the department has reached out us to let us know of a change in plans regarding this topic.
    The Dept Will be overwhelmed if the Council decides to try for an FMP before the UCI meeting. There will be enough challenges without having to take on the large fish issue right now. Especially since most escapement goals were achieved and in some of the waters that are of concern the escapements are rising. And whose to say whether the fishery will be managed on the basis of escapement. There are many unknowns. The Dept and the BOF need to be patient. There is no pressing need to address which fish to count.

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    Default Large fish goal for Kenai River chinook

    Quote Originally Posted by onthego View Post
    The Dept Will be overwhelmed if the Council decides to try for an FMP before the UCI meeting.
    Is this speculation, or has this been discussed as a possibility? My take was that an FMP would likely takes a years to develop - that is if there is no appeal, which you seemed to think was a distinct possibility.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iceblue View Post
    I was told by several from ADF&G earlier this summer that a large fish goal was not going to be on the table for the the upcoming UCI BOF meeting. Yes, it has been talked about for quite some time but like smith mentioned there was concern over timing of data being presented to the public. I would be very surprised to see a large fish goal for the Kenai River kings at this time given the dialogue that we had and the fact that no one from the department has reached out us to let us know of a change in plans regarding this topic.
    I was told they were not doing for 2016 but would have it for bof. The escapement goal technical group is meeting and sport fish has prepared a recommendation with new range and justification. That would not happen if they were not moving forward. Whether it is implemented will depand factors beyound staff pay grade.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    Is this speculation, or has this been discussed as a possibility? My take was that an FMP would likely takes a years to develop - that is if there is no appeal, which you seemed to think was a distinct possibility.
    just my opinion based on all the formation generated and what I have been told by friends who are more knowledgable than I. how long it takes an FMP to be developed depends somewhat on what the trial ct judge says. It is now in his control. A least if there is no appeal,accepted by the full 9 th circuit or the S.C. And that remains a possibility IMO. Not sure what a "distinct possibility" is.

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    Setting a goal is the easy part. Almost anyone can do that with a minimum of information. The difficult part is understanding what the goal means, and then managing to that goal.

    For example, what does it mean if you donít reach the goal? Who has to give up what to achieve it next time? And, likewise, what does it mean if you do reach it? If ADF&G reaches the goal for the next 10+ years, will it mean we will have more and larger females in the future? If so, will it be easier to hit the goal in future years, since there will be more older/larger spawners? From a scientific standpoint, that's still an open question.

    Also, how should ADF&G manage the many competing interests to achieve the goal? Is reaching the goal for large fish more or less important than reaching the many other goals that have been established (e.g., BEG, SEG, OEG)? If they canít reach all the goals, which ones should they try to hit?

    Iím not throwing cold water on this idea, since I think itís a good one. Iím only suggesting that establishing a large fish goal is the easy part. Everything that comes after that is much more difficult.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cohoangler View Post
    Setting a goal is the easy part. Almost anyone can do that with a minimum of information. The difficult part is understanding what the goal means, and then managing to that goal.

    For example, what does it mean if you donít reach the goal? Who has to give up what to achieve it next time? And, likewise, what does it mean if you do reach it? If ADF&G reaches the goal for the next 10+ years, will it mean we will have more and larger females in the future? If so, will it be easier to hit the goal in future years, since there will be more older/larger spawners? From a scientific standpoint, that's still an open question.

    Also, how should ADF&G manage the many competing interests to achieve the goal? Is reaching the goal for large fish more or less important than reaching the many other goals that have been established (e.g., BEG, SEG, OEG)? If they canít reach all the goals, which ones should they try to hit?

    Iím not throwing cold water on this idea, since I think itís a good one. Iím only suggesting that establishing a large fish goal is the easy part. Everything that comes after that is much more difficult.
    Agree cohoangler and that is why I would like to see some hindcasting to see how it would impact management decisions and existing regulations. Lets say the new lower end of the goal is 12,500 (just made this up from knowing size and age averages over time) and that the ESSN fishery catches only 30% large fish (greater than 750mm). So in a poor year where they catch 3000 fish only 1000 are large for the entire season. If you are short of 12,500 can you really make up a shortage at the end of the season by closing the sockeye fishery to save maybe 100 large fish? Or is the exploitation rate per period so low that the ESSN should not be in paired restrictions or any restrictions late in the season? Fair questions and thus a hindcast approach may help to answer them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    But if a true index and just a way of getting out of trying to count small fish it should not impact management decisions on opening and closures - if it does it is a reallocation and needs a full discussion of why. It has nothing to do with the slot limit.
    Agreed... nothing to do with the current slot limit regs. I'm using "slot" rather loosely here, since it's really about an abundance-based sliding scale on what sizes of chinook would be harvestable. I've previously referred to it as a "rolling slot".

    Make no mistake, the large fish goal would certainly mesh very well with this proposal....

    7) Rolling slot limit enacted by emergency order based on IN-SEASON abundance estimates. 1) Closure if OEG can't be met; 2) 20" max retention at escapement projections at or near the lower OEG (basically C&R of all adult chinook) if it will help to achieve the lower OEG, 3) 30" max retention at escapement projections within the OEG; 4) slot lifts at escapement projections greater than the upper OEG
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone."
    http://www.piscatorialpursuits.com/uploads/UP12710.jpg
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