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Thread: Cook Inlet Chinook collapse.

  1. #21

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    Everything is changing - ranging all the way from watershed degradation, ocean/fisheries issues to global climate change and everything in-between.
    All potential causes need recognized and addressed, if even possible.
    "Punish the monkey - let the organ grinder go" - Mark Knopfler

  2. #22
    Member willphish4food's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MGH55 View Post
    During the late 90's and early 2000's the drift fleet fished area wide on openers, and the ESS nets fish hard, so what changed other then more in river pressure by lodges and guides?
    You have evidence that there was more in river pressure on ND streams, or you projecting the Kenai's problems on the Susitna? In actuality, there have been static and in season stepdown restrictions to inriver users every year since at least 2006, to the point we're at now, zero sport fishing in river, not even hook and release, in nearly all wild rivers of the Susitna and Knik drainages. Two full life cycles of stepdown restrictions inriver and also to the near river setnetters, and numbers still are not coming back. Its about time the state gets serious about finding out why, and quit taking Nerka's approach of constantly redirecting attention back to inriver problems only while ignoring most if not all potential salt water issues.

  3. #23

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    'Willfish',
    With all due respect , I'm really trying to understand your stance and criticisms.

    I see Nerka saying (Post 7) "I agree one should look at all harvesters and take action if escapement goals are not met. But also one should look at the in-river systems to see if in-river issues have impacted production."

    And as far Mat-Su watersheds, there is plenty of ample evidence of degradation - they do need attention. (USFWS studies on the Knik are but one example.) I just don't see anyone at all claiming that as the sole cause, and (perhaps too obliquely) have referenced a broader viewpoint in Post 21.

    Just not understanding why the constant friction exists, rather than giving consideration to all potentially additive causes to low returns. I would think it may be beneficial to work together on any cause diminishing runs at this juncture.
    Have I missed where someone has stated that salt water issues have nothing to do with current status?
    Thanks.
    "Punish the monkey - let the organ grinder go" - Mark Knopfler

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by willphish4food View Post
    You have evidence that there was more in river pressure on ND streams, or you projecting the Kenai's problems on the Susitna? In actuality, there have been static and in season stepdown restrictions to inriver users every year since at least 2006, to the point we're at now, zero sport fishing in river, not even hook and release, in nearly all wild rivers of the Susitna and Knik drainages. Two full life cycles of stepdown restrictions inriver and also to the near river setnetters, and numbers still are not coming back. Its about time the state gets serious about finding out why, and quit taking Nerka's approach of constantly redirecting attention back to inriver problems only while ignoring most if not all potential salt water issues.
    You know I tried to be nice but you are constantly lying about my position. I said to include in-river issues not exclude marine issues. Reread my posts. You have such a bias against commercial harvest that you refuse to even admit that pike and other in-river issues are at play. The ND drainages have had floods, invasive species, and other factors that could reduce chinook production.

  5. #25
    Member Arcticwildman's Avatar
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    I think Will's hostility is a result of the constant portrayal of the Valley fisheries as being pike infested, pollution contaminated, culvert crisscrossed, beaver dammed redneck lands.

    The area biologists in the Mat-Su have been saying for years that there is something going on out in the ocean causing low survival but nobody seems to want to listen to them.

    I don't think it is as simple as one specific thing causing issues with ND King returns but more of a perfect storm of several things all combined that are causing these issues. One thing that seems to be a growing concern among biologists that needs a lot more study is the influence of hatchery pink salmon on king salmon. I just find it hard to believe that we can keep dumping hundreds of millions of extra smolt into the ocean without it having some sort of impact on the food chain and survival of competing species. Unfortunately, I have very little faith that we will see any real effort to address this issue. There is too much money at stake and the path of least resistance is too easy to follow.

    Also, I just saw today where Kodiak is restricting King fishing due to anticipated low returns, so this isn't just a UCI/ND issue.

  6. #26

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    Area and federal biologists have also acknowledged and documented in-river issues, which have variances in individual watersheds - the "path of least resistance" having basically overcome there, too.

    Perhaps improved/applied technology and science could be of more help at some point ....... preferably soon, and if afforded and accepted.
    Example:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-po...=.ab830793c28b
    "Punish the monkey - let the organ grinder go" - Mark Knopfler

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcticwildman View Post

    The area biologists in the Mat-Su have been saying for years that there is something going on out in the ocean causing low survival but nobody seems to want to listen to them.
    Personally, and we all know I'm no biologist for sure, but that's where I believe the problem lies. I mean all a guy has to do is look at the illegal fishing that we know is going on with only a handful of boats getting caught in the act....it's pretty da*n big ocean out there! As well as the massive amounts of "legal" bycatch that continually goes on, again, that we even know about. Then there's the ocean itself that they say is getting weaker and weaker due to a variety of reasons. Makes a guy wonder how long any of our fisheries can stay healthy at all with all the crap that's going on out there...???!!!
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

  8. #28

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    The propensity to blame it on narrow spectrums is something I firmly believe in avoiding.
    While some interferences will obviously carry more far more weight in the end, that does not mean it won't ultimately take action on uncounted others to be successful for sustainability. Ocean conditions, agreed, a huge concern.

    For heavens sake, I have witnessed returning fish floating dead by the hundreds in a creek because of exceedingly high water temperatures.
    Events like that tend to steer towards a broad view.
    "Punish the monkey - let the organ grinder go" - Mark Knopfler

  9. #29
    Member willphish4food's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcticwildman View Post
    I think Will's hostility is a result of the constant portrayal of the Valley fisheries as being pike infested, pollution contaminated, culvert crisscrossed, beaver dammed redneck lands.

    The area biologists in the Mat-Su have been saying for years that there is something going on out in the ocean causing low survival but nobody seems to want to listen to them.

    I don't think it is as simple as one specific thing causing issues with ND King returns but more of a perfect storm of several things all combined that are causing these issues. One thing that seems to be a growing concern among biologists that needs a lot more study is the influence of hatchery pink salmon on king salmon. I just find it hard to believe that we can keep dumping hundreds of millions of extra smolt into the ocean without it having some sort of impact on the food chain and survival of competing species. Unfortunately, I have very little faith that we will see any real effort to address this issue. There is too much money at stake and the path of least resistance is too easy to follow.

    Also, I just saw today where Kodiak is restricting King fishing due to anticipated low returns, so this isn't just a UCI/ND issue.
    This is exactly what spawned this thread. thank you. And instead of any input from Nerka regarding what can be done about salt water issues, all he can do is a) question whether there really is a problem, and b) insist that more work needs to be done inriver. While offering nothing for identifying and rectifying possible saltwater issues.

  10. #30
    Member willphish4food's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    You know I tried to be nice but you are constantly lying about my position. I said to include in-river issues not exclude marine issues. Reread my posts. You have such a bias against commercial harvest that you refuse to even admit that pike and other in-river issues are at play. The ND drainages have had floods, invasive species, and other factors that could reduce chinook production.
    Nerka, we know about inriver issues. And the position of Fish and Game on those issues. This thread is not about those issues. This thread is about looking at the bigger picture. Because what we are doing so far has been very ineffective.

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by 68 Bronco View Post
    The propensity to blame it on narrow spectrums is something I firmly believe in avoiding.
    While some interferences will obviously carry more far more weight in the end, that does not mean it won't ultimately take action on uncounted others to be successful for sustainability. Ocean conditions, agreed, a huge concern.

    For heavens sake, I have witnessed returning fish floating dead by the hundreds in a creek because of exceedingly high water temperatures.
    Events like that tend to steer towards a broad view.
    I listed one possible issue that could be causing the low numbers. There are many more that can be considered and probably have an impact (bycatch, illegal fishing, PDO, ocean acidity, the Blob, changes in ocean currents from warming, etc..). I only highlighted the Pink issue because there is a quickly growing agreement among fisheries experts that we cannot dump hundreds of millions of hatchery fish into the ocean without causing some kind of ripple effect. Out of all the possible ocean issues that could be causing a decline in King Salmon, it is the one issue that we can control right here in Alaska. Our own F&G department chose to ignore the possible concerns very recently by authorizing an increase in hatchery pink salmon smolt to be released.

  12. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcticwildman View Post
    I listed one possible issue that could be causing the low numbers. There are many more that can be considered and probably have an impact (bycatch, illegal fishing, PDO, ocean acidity, the Blob, changes in ocean currents from warming, etc..). I only highlighted the Pink issue because there is a quickly growing agreement among fisheries experts that we cannot dump hundreds of millions of hatchery fish into the ocean without causing some kind of ripple effect. Out of all the possible ocean issues that could be causing a decline in King Salmon, it is the one issue that we can control right here in Alaska. Our own F&G department chose to ignore the possible concerns very recently by authorizing an increase in hatchery pink salmon smolt to be released.
    I am in total agreement with you that there are multiple issues to consider and hope I did not come across contrarily.
    "Punish the monkey - let the organ grinder go" - Mark Knopfler

  13. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by willphish4food View Post
    ........... This thread is not about those issues. This thread is about looking at the bigger picture. Because what we are doing so far has been very ineffective.

    So, now the 'Big Picture' is Smaller by decree ? LOL !

    BTW- 'We' are doing practically nothing in some well documented instances - naturally that translates to 'ineffective'.

    I do agree with you that there is a "crisis" . And, I have stated my opinion that no known contributing 'causes' should be left unattended and 'unknown' ones need ferreted out/resolved as possible.

    "Punish the monkey - let the organ grinder go" - Mark Knopfler

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by willphish4food View Post
    This is exactly what spawned this thread. thank you. And instead of any input from Nerka regarding what can be done about salt water issues, all he can do is a) question whether there really is a problem, and b) insist that more work needs to be done inriver. While offering nothing for identifying and rectifying possible saltwater issues.
    I wish if you claim I said something you would at least get it right. The State has 30 million dollars to spend on marine issues. Nothing close to that for freshwater. So when one says nothing is being done in the marine environment they are wrong. Not sure what Palmer staff is saying but I know they have no data on freshwater production of chinook. No fry or smolt work that would provide data. So the claim by the State that is only marine would be wrong. The Yukon smolt for example are going out stressed and not good condition in some years. That results in lower marine survival but the cause is in freshwater. Nothing is being done in freshwater on the Kenai

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    I wish if you claim I said something you would at least get it right. The State has 30 million dollars to spend on marine issues. Nothing close to that for freshwater. So when one says nothing is being done in the marine environment they are wrong. Not sure what Palmer staff is saying but I know they have no data on freshwater production of chinook. No fry or smolt work that would provide data. So the claim by the State that is only marine would be wrong. The Yukon smolt for example are going out stressed and not good condition in some years. That results in lower marine survival but the cause is in freshwater. Nothing is being done in freshwater on the Kenai
    And what do you propose to do after you spend millions upon millions and learn that freshwater is getting to warm and marine has changed to not favor king salmon life cycle. Hmmm seems like this is already known. So what if you change the king fishing regulation in the Mat valley? Change the Kenai. Go right ahead change gill neting while you are at it these actions will not change what is happening to king smolt what are they doing on the Yukon probably nothing that will make there condition better and less stressed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kidfromgarcia View Post
    And what do you propose to do after you spend millions upon millions and learn that freshwater is getting to warm and marine has changed to not favor king salmon life cycle. Hmmm seems like this is already known. So what if you change the king fishing regulation in the Mat valley? Change the Kenai. Go right ahead change gill neting while you are at it these actions will not change what is happening to king smolt what are they doing on the Yukon probably nothing that will make there condition better and less stressed.
    Kid, depending on species there are a number of things one could do knowing what is limiting freshwater production. For example invasive pike can be eliminated like the State did in Alexander Creek. Beaver dams can be removed like at Shell Lake for sockeye salmon passage. Also controlling spawning levels can impact fry rearing numbers in lake systems like the Kenai River sockeye. Also habitat improvement projects can restore banks that rear chinook increasing the number of smolt and the quality of the smolt. So when you say it is already known you are mistaken.

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    Kid, depending on species there are a number of things one could do knowing what is limiting freshwater production. For example invasive pike can be eliminated like the State did in Alexander Creek. Beaver dams can be removed like at Shell Lake for sockeye salmon passage. Also controlling spawning levels can impact fry rearing numbers in lake systems like the Kenai River sockeye. Also habitat improvement projects can restore banks that rear chinook increasing the number of smolt and the quality of the smolt. So when you say it is already known you are mistaken.
    I respectfully disagree. I could go to a has been town in anywhere USA and build a modern textile mill, or a wonderful hotel but both would remain vacant. I believe with the pressure and changes on the ecology of the northern hemisphere it will be different. some changes benefit some things while others will not benefit will be damage. I have talked to so many people about this and found so much to read about it that I beleive people need to start thinking differrently I do not buy the appraoch of pike, dams,temps habitat can solve the problem. There are too many examples where groups, or populations of plants animals insects fish in an area in wilderness settings have declined to small fragment of population size or have gone extinct. The one population you may start hearing more about in worldwide literature is Kodiak island king salmon as those declines are now being viewed as presumed to be permanent by people who watch this on the international level. plus It is known that many streams now exceed what do they call them lethal temperature limits to sustain salmon in some parts of their life cycle in many areas of the state of alaska. pike are not the only invasive. I would urge to be get involved in efforts by groups such as cook inlet keeper and others at both the local and the national level is where most help is needed. killing the pike yeah is great at the local level but pike are really not the whole story that's all they at the state can do plus they keep doing the same thing as you describe above which is understandable because it is what you know but their is more to know and much to do way over what you describe which is really not very cost effective as a whole.

  18. #38

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    Nerka has offered up some things that can be done. All ideas for action are appreciated, local and global.
    There are ample clues to a litany of things that can be tried/done from the first post and throughout this thread - and many others in this forum. Sadly, listing them all is usually an invitation to derision in this political climate.

    Getting a consensus and the gumption/means to act is the hard part.
    "Punish the monkey - let the organ grinder go" - Mark Knopfler

  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by kidfromgarcia View Post
    I respectfully disagree. I could go to a has been town in anywhere USA and build a modern textile mill, or a wonderful hotel but both would remain vacant. I believe with the pressure and changes on the ecology of the northern hemisphere it will be different. some changes benefit some things while others will not benefit will be damage. I have talked to so many people about this and found so much to read about it that I beleive people need to start thinking differrently I do not buy the appraoch of pike, dams,temps habitat can solve the problem. There are too many examples where groups, or populations of plants animals insects fish in an area in wilderness settings have declined to small fragment of population size or have gone extinct. The one population you may start hearing more about in worldwide literature is Kodiak island king salmon as those declines are now being viewed as presumed to be permanent by people who watch this on the international level. plus It is known that many streams now exceed what do they call them lethal temperature limits to sustain salmon in some parts of their life cycle in many areas of the state of alaska. pike are not the only invasive. I would urge to be get involved in efforts by groups such as cook inlet keeper and others at both the local and the national level is where most help is needed. killing the pike yeah is great at the local level but pike are really not the whole story that's all they at the state can do plus they keep doing the same thing as you describe above which is understandable because it is what you know but their is more to know and much to do way over what you describe which is really not very cost effective as a whole.
    There are lots of examples of success with animal populations at low levels recovering with habitat changes done through restoration efforts. I believe you need to be more optimistic in UCI. We have had success in what I proposed. Factual examination supports my position

  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    I wish if you claim I said something you would at least get it right. The State has 30 million dollars to spend on marine issues. Nothing close to that for freshwater. So when one says nothing is being done in the marine environment they are wrong. Not sure what Palmer staff is saying but I know they have no data on freshwater production of chinook. No fry or smolt work that would provide data. So the claim by the State that is only marine would be wrong. The Yukon smolt for example are going out stressed and not good condition in some years. That results in lower marine survival but the cause is in freshwater. Nothing is being done in freshwater on the Kenai
    What do you think the state could do with 30 million dollars in salt water to help Cook Inlet chinook, Nerka?

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