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Thread: Cook Inlet Chinook collapse.

  1. #61
    Member MRFISH's Avatar
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    Default bycatch info

    To address bycatch issues/questions and misperceptions brought up throughout this thread: there are big differences between the groundfish fisheries in the Bering Sea versus those of the Gulf of AK, differences in the levels of salmon bycatch, and differences in the stock composition of that bycatch between those management regions. Additionally, there is a considerable amount of information available on the stock of origin of Chinook salmon taken as bycatch in the Gulf and and the Bering Sea, though the dataset is longer (temporally) for the Bering Sea bycatch than it is for the Gulf.

    Almost all of the Chinook bycatch in the Bering Sea is comprised of stocks from western AK and the AK Peninsula. There are some fluctations from year to year but no wild swings in stock comp estimates. If the following graph regarding Bering Sea Chinook bycatch stock composition doesn't paste into here, you can find it at right on the home page fo the genetics program of the Auke Bay lab https://www.afsc.noaa.gov/ABL/Genetics/gsi_default.php




    In the groundfish fisheires of the Gulf of Alaska, most of the Chinook bycatch is stocks from SE AK and Pacific NW stocks. Once again, while there some differrences from year to year, but the overall compostions are similar. Here's a report on the genetic analysis of the Chinook bycatch in 2016 (look on page 10).
    https://www.afsc.noaa.gov/Publicatio...M-AFSC-370.pdf

    I'm not trying to say that bycatch shouldn't be held as low as possible, especially for halibut and king salmon. But, even if they aren't "my" fish, they would otherwise be going somewhere and kings are fully allocated (and hotly contested) in all the terrminal fisheries throughout their range.

    I spent years and years working pushing for lower Bering Sea bycatch levels at the North Pacific Council. But, based on all the available information I've seen, it's not a significant factor affecting king salmon returns to southcentral AK.

    There's a lot more information on the Council and NMFS' websites. Call the Council office in Anchorage and talk to the staff, they're very helpful.

    Lastly...this is my personal opinion, made on my personal time, and in no way related to my day job.
    "Fishing relaxes me. It's like yoga, except I still get to kill something." --Ron Swanson

  2. #62
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    Some more info for you guys to digest.

    I have been touring all over the B.C. coast into remoteareas exploring streams many years to catch my favorite fish the steelhead. OftenI was disappointed in that some urban streams far out produced remote untouchedstreams that structurally looked very good and had more available habitat. Somany of the streams that had robust returns in the early 1990ís had dropped downto hardly a fish to catch by 2000. Interestingly some of them did not loose theadult brood returns that others did. It turned out to be the few streams thathad not lost the green algae still held adult returns and decent resident troutpopulation. More recently I have learned these few streams have uniquebuffering abilities that kept their fish populations more consistent. Limestoneseems to be a huge benefit where present. Any stream down here with goodamounts of limestone are doing much better. One of my favorite streamsthat hasnít died off has both limestone and high amounts of dissolved organiccarbon. DOC is known to bind with heavy metal ions and make them less toxic toecology. It appears hot springs or dilution with high alkaline groundwateris also having magical buffering effects. Soil alkalinity and geologyare a major influencing factors.

    It was in 2015 when I first started to notice the blanket returnof green algae to creeks and weeps coming from the hills where it hadnít beenfor years. I then assumed that the invertebrates which I knew had died offwould start to return. Well the are!!!Yes, there is returning ecology to many of the streams that havenít had bugsfor over 20 years. I believe what I am seeing is the opposite effect that Iseen in the 1990ís when everything first died off. Back then it was the smallerstreams with shallow more porous soils that died off first where large streamswith big lakes still buffered the acidic rain. It just took a few more yearsfor the contaminated rain to replace the surface waters of the larger systems.It is now seems to be in reverse. It is the smaller streams with shallow soils that are showingsigns of recovery and the larger lake fed systems still are holding pourquality water and less ecology. I have been testing the rain pH consistentlysince 2015. Back then when it was averaging 5.3 and since has gradually risento average over 6 now. Considering back in the day, when acid rain was apopular topic, 5.6 was considered clean rain and anything bellow 5 was acidrain, things are looking good for now! pH6 would be considered cleaner thanclean. How long it will take for the chemistry of most waterways to stabilize isto be seen yet.

    Another aspect of environmental chemistry change notconsidered here is that during past high acidic events there was heavy loads ofdissolved heavy metals carried to the ocean where they would precipitate as thewaters mix and pH rises to ocean pH averages. Down here people studying salmonfeel the ocean conditions start at the fish counting fences near estuaries. Theydo not take into consideration that freshwater issues can carry on far out intothe ocean.
    I am confident that if any of you look into your streams atthe invertebrate assemblages you will see the same match in stream productivityto the supporting ecology that I see here. Hopefully the contamination is flushing out there too. The bugs will tell you if the water is good or not.





  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by fishmyster View Post
    Some more info for you guys to digest.

    I have been touring all over the B.C. coast into remoteareas exploring streams many years to catch my favorite fish the steelhead. OftenI was disappointed in that some urban streams far out produced remote untouchedstreams that structurally looked very good and had more available habitat. Somany of the streams that had robust returns in the early 1990ís had dropped downto hardly a fish to catch by 2000. Interestingly some of them did not loose theadult brood returns that others did. It turned out to be the few streams thathad not lost the green algae still held adult returns and decent resident troutpopulation. More recently I have learned these few streams have uniquebuffering abilities that kept their fish populations more consistent. Limestoneseems to be a huge benefit where present. Any stream down here with goodamounts of limestone are doing much better. One of my favorite streamsthat hasnít died off has both limestone and high amounts of dissolved organiccarbon. DOC is known to bind with heavy metal ions and make them less toxic toecology. It appears hot springs or dilution with high alkaline groundwateris also having magical buffering effects. Soil alkalinity and geologyare a major influencing factors.

    It was in 2015 when I first started to notice the blanket returnof green algae to creeks and weeps coming from the hills where it hadnít beenfor years. I then assumed that the invertebrates which I knew had died offwould start to return. Well the are!!!Yes, there is returning ecology to many of the streams that havenít had bugsfor over 20 years. I believe what I am seeing is the opposite effect that Iseen in the 1990ís when everything first died off. Back then it was the smallerstreams with shallow more porous soils that died off first where large streamswith big lakes still buffered the acidic rain. It just took a few more yearsfor the contaminated rain to replace the surface waters of the larger systems.It is now seems to be in reverse. It is the smaller streams with shallow soils that are showingsigns of recovery and the larger lake fed systems still are holding pourquality water and less ecology. I have been testing the rain pH consistentlysince 2015. Back then when it was averaging 5.3 and since has gradually risento average over 6 now. Considering back in the day, when acid rain was apopular topic, 5.6 was considered clean rain and anything bellow 5 was acidrain, things are looking good for now! pH6 would be considered cleaner thanclean. How long it will take for the chemistry of most waterways to stabilize isto be seen yet.

    Another aspect of environmental chemistry change notconsidered here is that during past high acidic events there was heavy loads ofdissolved heavy metals carried to the ocean where they would precipitate as thewaters mix and pH rises to ocean pH averages. Down here people studying salmonfeel the ocean conditions start at the fish counting fences near estuaries. Theydo not take into consideration that freshwater issues can carry on far out intothe ocean.
    I am confident that if any of you look into your streams atthe invertebrate assemblages you will see the same match in stream productivityto the supporting ecology that I see here. Hopefully the contamination is flushing out there too. The bugs will tell you if the water is good or not.
    I have been told big changes have been happening in Cook Inlet rivers because of increased water temperatures during summer and fall. Also there are some rivers that are more changed than others and places where they predict will not be able to support salmon in a few decades if the temperatures of the rivers continue rising at the pace they have been rising over the last several years. Will try to find out where they got the information and will post it.

  4. #64

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    Quote Originally Posted by kidfromgarcia View Post
    I have been told big changes have been happening in Cook Inlet rivers because of increased water temperatures during summer and fall. Also there are some rivers that are more changed than others and places where they predict will not be able to support salmon in a few decades if the temperatures of the rivers continue rising at the pace they have been rising over the last several years. Will try to find out where they got the information and will post it.
    Cook Inletkeeper (as you have mentioned) and Matsusalmon.org are good sources of information on this front - example
    http://matsusalmon.org/wp-content/up...hka-Nov-15.pdf
    Explore both sites for applicable studies/info, to include contributions from USFWS.


    Dead salmon news article -
    https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/arti...ge/2015/08/14/

    Immediately prior to this news story, my wife and I had paddled our kayaks the full length of Jim Creek, witnessing this event first hand.
    Contrary to " Some dead salmon have been found near the river's weir... " as stated in the article, we saw literally hundreds of returning salmon throughout the system - dead, floating short of their destination. F&G's weir was close to the confluence of Jim Cr. and Knik R. accessible by road, one possible explanation for the downplayed tone of the article.
    Unfortunately the "..weather pattern.." has not changed for the better since 2015 and Mike Bethe (now retired) is correct about one thing - we are likely to see more similar events. It was appalling.

    Now we face potential budget cuts and management changes to further neuter F&G.
    "Punish the monkey - let the organ grinder go" - Mark Knopfler

  5. #65
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  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by 68 Bronco View Post
    Cook Inletkeeper (as you have mentioned) and Matsusalmon.org are good sources of information on this front - example
    http://matsusalmon.org/wp-content/up...hka-Nov-15.pdf
    Explore both sites for applicable studies/info, to include contributions from USFWS.


    Dead salmon news article -
    https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/arti...ge/2015/08/14/

    Immediately prior to this news story, my wife and I had paddled our kayaks the full length of Jim Creek, witnessing this event first hand.
    Contrary to " Some dead salmon have been found near the river's weir... " as stated in the article, we saw literally hundreds of returning salmon throughout the system - dead, floating short of their destination. F&G's weir was close to the confluence of Jim Cr. and Knik R. accessible by road, one possible explanation for the downplayed tone of the article.
    Unfortunately the "..weather pattern.." has not changed for the better since 2015 and Mike Bethe (now retired) is correct about one thing - we are likely to see more similar events. It was appalling.

    Now we face potential budget cuts and management changes to further neuter F&G.
    Sounds awful but Why downplay a fish die-off? I asked about the report on cook inlet rivers and he told me a fish and game person in Soldotna gave it to him so he didn't know if he still had it but it has a list of cook inlet rivers that have are warming and will continue to have even warmer temperatures.

  7. #67

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    Quote Originally Posted by kidfromgarcia View Post
    Sounds awful but Why downplay a fish die-off? I asked about the report on cook inlet rivers and he told me a fish and game person in Soldotna gave it to him so he didn't know if he still had it but it has a list of cook inlet rivers that have are warming and will continue to have even warmer temperatures.
    Regarding 'downplaying' - Could be several reasons: Not realizing the magnitude of the die-off ? Perhaps not viewing the system in its entirety, but only the easily accessible weir/mouth vicinity ? Not wanting to acknowledge climate trends ? Wishful thinking ?
    I really don't know why, but do know it was far more extensive than portrayed in the news article and statements therein.

    Not sure who "he" refers to in your post.

    A Cook Inlet rivers report of 2008-2012 -
    Stream Temperature Monitoring Network for Cook Inlet Salmon Streams

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

  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    Not sure what the point of posting that was, but it exemplifies my frustration with blaming the marine environment, particularly by showcasing the inability to address in-river issues.

    The poor returns of the Kenai Early Run are a direct result of not addressing in-river problems. A once mighty and abundant run, home of the world record, was allowed to be sport fished to oblivion. Commercial interception of this Early Run was nil, and still remains nil. Yet sport fishermen, including unlimited commercial guides numbering near 400, were allowed to fish on spawning grounds, and what are now sanctuaries. Economic and social greediness took priority over conservation. The forces of commercial enterprise and the politics of special interests they brought were unsurmountable. And yet here we are today, affected by the same things, unable to learn from the past and do the right thing to rebuild. Marine the cause?

    Starting off the Kenai Early Run with C&R is not a serious attempt to rebuild or protect that run. It is merely a continued attempt to pacify the social-economic pressure. C&R does not work here. Proof? Well, we've been doing these types of half-hearted C&R EO's for decades under the moniker of rebuilding that run. Yet here we are, generations of Chinook later, still doing them. Who are we kidding? C&R still puts hundreds of commercial and non-commercial anglers on the water. It still kills these precious Kings - in numbers that, in my life-long experience here on the Kenai, are grossly underestimated. When really, every King counts and this run should be closed. Those folks who are giddy with infatuation to play with these Kings to oblivion, should be sent packing right back home. Come back when the run has rebuilt itself, and continual EO's like this are a thing of the past. Because until then, blaming the marine environment won't change anything.

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by MRFISH View Post
    To address bycatch issues/questions and misperceptions brought up throughout this thread: there are big differences between the groundfish fisheries in the Bering Sea versus those of the Gulf of AK, differences in the levels of salmon bycatch, and differences in the stock composition of that bycatch between those management regions. Additionally, there is a considerable amount of information available on the stock of origin of Chinook salmon taken as bycatch in the Gulf and and the Bering Sea, though the dataset is longer (temporally) for the Bering Sea bycatch than it is for the Gulf.

    Almost all of the Chinook bycatch in the Bering Sea is comprised of stocks from western AK and the AK Peninsula. There are some fluctations from year to year but no wild swings in stock comp estimates. If the following graph regarding Bering Sea Chinook bycatch stock composition doesn't paste into here, you can find it at right on the home page fo the genetics program of the Auke Bay lab https://www.afsc.noaa.gov/ABL/Genetics/gsi_default.php




    In the groundfish fisheires of the Gulf of Alaska, most of the Chinook bycatch is stocks from SE AK and Pacific NW stocks. Once again, while there some differrences from year to year, but the overall compostions are similar. Here's a report on the genetic analysis of the Chinook bycatch in 2016 (look on page 10).
    https://www.afsc.noaa.gov/Publicatio...M-AFSC-370.pdf

    I'm not trying to say that bycatch shouldn't be held as low as possible, especially for halibut and king salmon. But, even if they aren't "my" fish, they would otherwise be going somewhere and kings are fully allocated (and hotly contested) in all the terrminal fisheries throughout their range.

    I spent years and years working pushing for lower Bering Sea bycatch levels at the North Pacific Council. But, based on all the available information I've seen, it's not a significant factor affecting king salmon returns to southcentral AK.

    There's a lot more information on the Council and NMFS' websites. Call the Council office in Anchorage and talk to the staff, they're very helpful.

    Lastly...this is my personal opinion, made on my personal time, and in no way related to my day job.
    Thank you for this link and your insight. So the 2011 study says that GOA analysis was too spotty to give anything other than an analysis of the samples collected, rather than a good picture of the overall fishery. So that's a good number of fish with very poor stock id. Of the other subset, Bering Sea, I still have a couple big questions about the genetic analysis that has been done. First, there is no subset listed for SouthCentral Alaska. I seem to recall a 5% Cook Inlet component in one of the earlier studies, but which one escapes me. So were there zero Cook Inlet salmon in the samples, or too few to list? Second, if 1 in 10 or 1 in 20 of the salmon caught are Cook Inlet fish, and 1 in 10 of all fish caught are sampled, doesn't that create a higher error factor for small discreet stocks? If a certain group comprises less than 5% of the total run, that's within the confidence range of many studies, so could feasibly measure as 0% of the run.

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