View Poll Results: Fish grinders on the Russian River?

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  • I support the idea of fish grinders and would send a check.

    2 7.14%
  • I support the idea of fish grinders and would pay online.

    7 25.00%
  • I support the idea of fish grinders if somebody else pays for it.

    11 39.29%
  • I disagree with this idea.

    8 28.57%
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Thread: Kenai Peninsula Fish Waste Issue

  1. #1
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Kenai Peninsula Fish Waste Issue

    Hi folks,

    Just an FYI here, plus your comments.

    I just spoke with Ricky Gease of the Kenai Sportfishing Association concerning the salmon carcass issue that is becoming an increasing problem in attracting bears on the Russian River. As some of you know, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, together with the parks folks, is suggesting that we chop our salmon carcasses up into small pieces before we toss them back in the river. The intent of this is to reduce the attraction to bears that prowl the banks looking for these carcasses.

    Last year I suggested in this forum that we consider using hand-grinders to reduce these carcasses to pulp before we put them back into the river. These grinders could be installed at each fish cleaning station, and I think they would work well for their intended purpose. I even mentioned it to Craig Medred over the phone (he writes outdoor stuff for the Anchorage Daily News). But I was disappointed that some of the folks in this forum, and Mr. Medred as well, rejected the idea. Medred's position was more focused on controlling people than on dealing with the fish waste issue; he just didn't think the fish waste problem was much of a problem (or so he told me).

    Now I see that we're being asked to chop up our salmon carcasses; an idea I support. But it's not working. I was just there two days ago, and nearly nobody is chopping up the carcasses. Consequently we're seeing buildups of this material all over the place, and it's just business as usual. I'm still seeing them laying on the banks where folks filleted their fish, etc. We're training bears to come to the places we fillet our salmon. So, I'm looking at this issue again, and trying to find a way to help clean it up.

    So... it appears that others are thinking the same thing. The Kenai Sportfishing Association appears to be moving toward securing funding for grinding stations along the Russian, the Kasilof, both banks of the Kenai River, Ninilchik, Deep Creek, and other popular locations. I also spoke with some representatives with ADFG and was told that there is a process under way to move that direction, but it appears to be getting tangled up with bureaucratic red tape. The fish cleaning stations on the Russian this year were apparently provided by a hunting organization (I think he said it was Safari Club, but I could be mistaken).

    My question to you folks is this. What if we took donations to place a couple of grinders down there as an experiment, to see if it works? Let's cut through the red tape and just "git 'er done", shall we? I will post a poll on this to see what sort of interest there might be.

    Thanks!

    -Mike
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  2. #2
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    Red face Just thinking. . .

    The first question that pops into mind is what makes anyone think anglers who won't or don't chop their fish carcasses will bother to grind them?

    The second question is what makes anyone think it's the bears that are the problem? Isn't it equally possible that it's the people who are the problem?

    The third question is what makes anyone think that a sport-fishing association or ADF&G, both of whom have an economic interest in sport-fishing "opportunities," would contemplate any solution other than one that preserves the economics of the fishery?

    Restricting access by area, time, numbers, etc. are possible solutions that could be made the subject of polls that would include other segments of the public—conservationists, hikers, photographers, wildlife viewers.

  3. #3
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    To make it work, you'd really have to look at installing them every 100 yards or so. Take the fish cleaning tables, for example. They're spaced pretty well downstream, but there are none upstream from the white trail (just above the Red Salmon campground). That's ~3 miles of river with no tables, thus I would assume that there would also be no grinders up there. I always fish up about 300 yards below the upper line, and end up filleting my fish on the ground. Most others who fish upstream do the same, as carrying the whole fish downstream adds considerable weight. Now, I have no problem with dicing up my carcass, but if this really is a workable solution it would have to be along the whole length of river, not just down where the masses like to congregate. I will say, though, that Marcus makes a good point - I don't know that those who won't chop their carcass now would bother to grind it up, which seems like it would take even more effort. Sad, but likely true.

    -Brian

  4. #4
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Default

    Marcus - Just thinking as well, in response to your third point there... While there are certainly those that have an economic interest in this fishery (and others), there is validity to the issue of "opportunity". You seem to deride that term sometimes as though it's just a pseudonym for economic activity. There are thousands of Alaskans who truly just want the chance to be on the river and to have a reasonable chance at catching a few fish. I don't know how else to put it...it's not just about the money when talking about opportunity.

    As for including other segments of the public, I just wanted to say that the above groups - conservationists, hikers, photographers, and wildlife viewers - are not mutually exclusive to hunters and fishermen. I consider myself to be all of the above. I don't think it was your intention, but it almost sounded like you were suggesting that fishermen are not conservationists, etc. Some aren't, perhaps, but some certainly are. Additionally, there are LOTS of opportunities for the above group in southcentral Alaska, including on the Russian. The vast majority of the Russian River watershed is closed to salmon angling, thus allowing those who want to observe this amazing drainage without the chaos of the confluence the opportunity to do so. I agree that multiple user groups should be involved in mangagement discussions, but I see two things - 1. The groups aren't as well defined as one might think, as many (most?) of us fit into multiple user group categories, and 2. Multiple uses and preferences are already well accounted for in the current management scheme of this watershed.

    -Brian

  5. #5
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Reply to Marcus

    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus
    The first question that pops into mind is what makes anyone think anglers who won't or don't chop their fish carcasses will bother to grind them?

    The second question is what makes anyone think it's the bears that are the problem? Isn't it equally possible that it's the people who are the problem?

    The third question is what makes anyone think that a sport-fishing association or ADF&G, both of whom have an economic interest in sport-fishing "opportunities," would contemplate any solution other than one that preserves the economics of the fishery?

    Restricting access by area, time, numbers, etc. are possible solutions that could be made the subject of polls that would include other segments of the public—conservationists, hikers, photographers, wildlife viewers.
    Marcus,

    You ask some good questions. I'll attempt to answer.

    1. "If they're not chopping the carcasses, why would they grind them?" Have you ever tried to chop up a salmon carcass with a fillet knife? I did, and it's not easy. You're as likely to stab yourself or cut off a finger. If the grinders are mounted on the cleaning tables, I believe people will use them. In fact, in the words of an ADFG Management Coordinator I spoke with this afternoon, "Every ten-year-old boy within a mile of those grinders will be grabbing carcasses to grind up". If you've ever had a ten-year-old, you know this is true! We will still have carcasses in the river from people not using the cleaning stations, but the grinders will help a lot.

    2. "People are the problem". I agree to an extent. So what's the solution? Limit the numbers of anglers? Let's be realistic and discuss something that has a chance of happening. The Russian River is arguably the most popular and productive fishery per-capita on the entire Kenai Peninsula. Limiting the opportunities anglers have of fishing there is extremely unlikely to occur. This leaves us with coming up with solutions that reduce bear-human encounters. I see two ways of doing that; eliminate some bears (probably not going to happen), or reduce the attraction bears have to this river. The method we're discussing here is reducing the attraction to salmon carcasses. The food goes away, the bears go somewhere else. I think this has a chance of reducing bear numbers in a non-lethal way.

    3. "Economic gain to ADFG and Kenai Sportfishing Association by increased fishing opportunities". Two problems with this. For starters, neither organization is a commercial enterprise. In fact, the Kenai Sportfishing Association is a nonprofit organization. While it's true that both organizations exist to maintain sportfishing opportunities... uh... what else do we expect them to do? I have to wonder what our alternatives are. Do we just quit fishing? Are you offering to do that? Again, this has to be realistic. People are down there to fish. We need regulatory oversight (ADFG), and advocacy through groups like the Kenai Sportfishing Association are ultimately a good thing for fishermen. Do I support increased fishing opportunities? You betcha I do. Am I upset that it takes money to make that happen? Nope.

    4. "Restricting by area, time, numbers, etc." Let's talk about this. The notion that the problem will go away if we quit fishing at night is simply absurd. Nothing personal here; you didn't think of this idea, so I don't blame you for it. It's been around a while and it has always been absurd. Think about it; the food source is still there. The people who fish at night are just going to fish during the day, and less fish will be caught because there will be more human competition for the same fish. This ultimately results in MORE carcass material in the river after spawning die-off. Bears don't just come out to eat at night; I was just there and bears were out all hours of the day and night. Rumor has it that there are currently at least a dozen bears working that river right now. Restricting the nighttime fishery will not only not solve the problem, it will actually make it worse. Restricting the area? If by that you mean "human-free zones", that's not going to happen either. Really, how would you do that? Create a slot where only bears can fish? What about carcasses that drift into that area from fishing areas? Do you lock up the upper river? What about the rights people have to hike on public lands? This isn't going to happen. How about restricting the numbers of fish taken? We do that and spawning success goes up because there are more fish spawning. This creates more dead fish in the river, providing more food for bears, and on and on. Granted, you do reach a saturation point where you have too many fish, and then you end up with a die-off because there's just too much rotting fish flesh in the water (a biologist could say that more succinctly), but you get my drift. This is not the solution.

    I'm not saying that grinders are the only way, but I do believe they will help.

    -Mike
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  6. #6
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    Smile Reply to B_M. . .

    Quote Originally Posted by B_M
    Marcus - Just thinking as well, in response to your third point there... While there are certainly those that have an economic interest in this fishery (and others), there is validity to the issue of "opportunity". You seem to deride that term sometimes as though it's just a pseudonym for economic activity. There are thousands of Alaskans who truly just want the chance to be on the river and to have a reasonable chance at catching a few fish. I don't know how else to put it...it's not just about the money when talking about opportunity.

    As for including other segments of the public, I just wanted to say that the above groups - conservationists, hikers, photographers, and wildlife viewers - are not mutually exclusive to hunters and fishermen. I consider myself to be all of the above. I don't think it was your intention, but it almost sounded like you were suggesting that fishermen are not conservationists, etc. Some aren't, perhaps, but some certainly are. Additionally, there are LOTS of opportunities for the above group in southcentral Alaska, including on the Russian. The vast majority of the Russian River watershed is closed to salmon angling, thus allowing those who want to observe this amazing drainage without the chaos of the confluence the opportunity to do so. I agree that multiple user groups should be involved in mangagement discussions, but I see two things - 1. The groups aren't as well defined as one might think, as many (most?) of us fit into multiple user group categories, and 2. Multiple uses and preferences are already well accounted for in the current management scheme of this watershed.

    -Brian


    B_M: Strictly speaking, there is no validity to "opportunity" until we ask, "Opportunity to do what?" Opportunity is an abstraction until we attach a proposed action to it. Houses of ill-repute afford "opportunity." I do not object to angling "opportunities" unless those "opportunities" afford an opportunity to do something I'm opposed to. And you're correct — opportunity isn't always about money. However, when a particular group has an economic interest in a specific opportunity, follow the money. . .

    Second, while some, but not all, anglers are indeed conservationists, hikers, etc., it's equally true that all conservationists, hikers, etc. are not anglers, and there is indeed a lot of overlap between the various interest groups. That's precisely why we need polls that reflect a broad spectrum of social preference.

    Finally, just as user groups overlap, so does use itself overlap — one brownie killed by an angler is one less brownie for a photographer.


  7. #7

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    My question is who is liable when some idiot grinds off thier fingers? Deep pockets somewhere. If the grinders are provided then are they who provided them responsible?! If every kid within 100 yards is trying to grind fish most likely without any adult supervision my guess is one of them will be first to lose a digit.
    Not to be a pessimist, but thats how the world works now.

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    Smile Reply to Mike. . .

    Mike, if you want to pursue these points at more depth, email me. We're fundamentally poles apart. Thanks. . .

  9. #9

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    I can't help thinking of the Ratapult, a rat "trap" friends used in the desert to deal with one year's overpopulation of pack rats. It was powered by a truck leaf spring, and when the rat tripped it, he was launched clean out of sight. Didn't do much to keep down the rats, but man, was it fun.

    As much sense as grinding (which would help spread the smell along the banks and potentially attract even more bears) would be something to launch the carcasses way out in the middle of the river. If it was pure fun to use, folks might be a whole lot more likely to use it.

    Crazy? Creative thinking, more likely. Why not think about solutions that would be fun rather than a chore? Heck, I'd stand in line waiting for a turn to launch other people's carcasses, just to watch them go.

  10. #10
    Member fishNphysician's Avatar
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    Part of the natural scheme of recycling salmon carcasess is that the flesh-derived nutrients are released slowly into the system thru the summer fall and even into winter for some of the later-arriving salmon species.

    A whole carcass drifts downriver in faster current, hangs up on a rootwad, and becomes a repository for the slow release of nutrients, keeping them in the system as long as possible so that the organisms dependent on them get maximum benefit from the carcass.

    Same thing happens when carcasses pile up in the slack water on the inside corner of a riverbend.

    By chopping them up or grinding them, the nutrients are more readily flushed downriver and out of the system in one big bolus.

    Just another consideration.
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone."
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  11. #11
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Good points-

    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician
    Part of the natural scheme of recycling salmon carcasess is that the flesh-derived nutrients are released slowly into the system ...
    Excellent point. I was discussing this with someone at ADFG today and there appears to be at least some disagreement over this matter. The Russian hosts salmon runs that start in early summer and last through into October. Without humans fishing the system, it's unlikely that there would be much biological material available for consumption by other fish until mid to late July. As of right now, June 30, the first salmon run has not even started spawning yet. Then you have some lag time between actual spawning and the death / decomposition of spawned out fish. The area of greatest impact, therefore, is the fact that these nutrients are deposited in mid JUNE, rather than a month later. This is certainly a question for discussion by biologists, but with all the material being consistently deposited in the river over the season by anglers, even with the grinding issue in place, I can't see a real problem with losing the time-release system that naturally occurs. In other words, it's not as if all of it hits the river at the same time. We would have continuous flow from mid-June into October, if you count natural decomposition and grinding by anglers.

    Still, I'd be interested in what an ADFG biologist would say about this. I know some of them write here, so perhaps one will chime in.

    -Mike
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  12. #12
    Member akpredator's Avatar
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    Talking

    Bears eat fish.......... Grinding up fish is not going to stop bears from coming to a stream to eat , its one of there main sources of food. thers no fish grinders at the Katmai but bears go there to fish every year when the salmon run.. Im not buying the whole fish grinder idea . The only real way to reduce the amount of bears in a area is to do exactly that( i dont toatly agree with that either).

    Hell , if you play with enough dogs sooner or later someones going to get bit

    just my 2 cents

  13. #13
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    I've gotta say, although akpredator's statement seems simple, I think he's right. I just don't see the bears leaving the Russian if all the human-dumped carcasses are gone. I'm sure there have always been bears along that river, and I'm sure there always will be. I agree that we should do what we can, but it's not likely that the bears will move.

    I suppose it's possible that more of them would move to the upper river, where the spawning fish might be easier to catch than those streaming by anglers. The problem with that, though, is that there are already a lot of bears up there that might be reluctant to share their territory with a bunch of black bears and gimpy-footed 3-year-old brownies. It's worth a shot, but I just don't know...

    -Brian

  14. #14

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    Mike,
    I think we need to think about the safety standpoint of fishing at night. I know that the bears are down on the river 24/7. The issue with fishing at night is your ability to see the bears from a distance. If we can reduce the chance of suprising a bear, we would be reducing the chance of a mauling. Just my opinion on that.

    akpredator,
    I also agree with you that the bears will not go away. But Brian is correct, if we can do the little things it might help control the encounters. But as far as Katmai, they have a more structured system there to help reduce the interactions. One of the things they do is they remove the fish from the bank as soon as they land one and take it to the camp, and I believe it has to be whole. But here is the link going thru their rules. It also has some good advice on bear encounters and what actions we should take.

    http://www.katmai.national-park.com/hike.htm#fish

  15. #15

    Red face fine point

    Are these bears eating only the dead carcasses or are they also fishing as bears are wont to do?
    If they are eating only the carcasses then work on that problem, I like the catapult idea. If you think 10 yr olds would like the grinder.
    If they are fishing, then we have a different problem. Every sow that brings her cubs is teaching them a great place to fish, and in years to come we will be seeing more and more bears including the large boars.
    I'm not one for more government or restrictions, but it seems to me that is where this is headed. People are not going to continue to allow these bears to be killed, wounded, and cubs abandoned. When we are able to read that
    Rambo with his 44 was warned that the sow and here cubs were in the area and couldn't walk a little farther to avoid a confrontation, then we can't exect public sympathy to go our way. If we don't wake up and realize that this is a fight for our hunting and fishing privilege then we are a lot closer to losing than anyone realizes.
    I think that Rambo with his 44 ought to have his butt kicked for ignoring the warning about the sow and cubs, it's people like this that draw unwanted attention so then when an accidental mauling takes place and a bear has to be killed the flames of outcry are even greater because the sparks that ignited this fire of descent were caused by an act of contemptous disregard.

  16. #16

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    Here's a practical question:

    Have you tried the grinders you contemplate? We dinked around with several trying to grind carcasses for our garden, and they are no picnic to use. You either need a really big one to take the whole carcasses including heads, or you have to do some serious hacking on the carcasses before you can feed them in. In either case, there's a lot of cranking per fish- more than I think most folks will bother with. They're going to keep on doing what they are currently doing with the carcasses, in spite of your best efforts.

    You will also find that the ground fish isn't going far downstream unless you pipe it well out into the current. Instead it will collect in the shallows in the immediate vicinity, potentially creating a bigger mess than you already have. Instead of moving in, grabbing a carcass and backing out, the bears are going to hang around to snarf the smaller bits, all the while moving closer and closer to the source in order to get better results for their efforts. If the bears camp out on your grinders, then what do you do?

    The point is to get the waste far away from people, and I agree. But I doubt you are going to accomplish that when the practical details of grinders come home to roost.

  17. #17
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default More info on grinders and plans for the Russian River

    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear
    ...Have you tried the grinders you contemplate? We dinked around with several trying to grind carcasses for our garden, and they are no picnic to use. You either need a really big one to take the whole carcasses including heads, or you have to do some serious hacking on the carcasses before you can feed them in....
    GRINDERS AND PLANS

    As I began to look into this issue in more detail, I discovered that there have been a whole bunch of folks working on exactly this same issue. It's a perfect example of several people thinking along the same lines at the same time. Turns out that there have been some pretty high level discussions happening within a group called the "Kenai Brown Bear Committee", comprised of members of ADFG, the US Forest Service, the refuge folks, the Kenai Sportfishing Association and others. They've been discussing the issue of grinders for at least a couple of years. Some of the discussion has become bogged down in bureaucratic red tape. As far as the type of grinders they're looking at, they have a LOT of ideas, including a company down on the Kenai Peninsula that has offered to build hand-grinders for this project. So the short answer is that if this goes forward, they will of course be using grinders that will work. It goes without saying that if it doesn't work, people won't use it. I haven't looked at grinders yet, but I wouldn't be interested in purchasing something that won't get the job done quickly. One solution being discussed involves power grinders, and an attendant (probably a campground host getting a good deal on RV parking), but I really question whether that's a practical solution (who's going to sit there in a lawn chair all day grinding up fish carcasses?)

    EDUCATING FISHERMEN

    Anyway, there are some new informational pieces to this that were launched this year; one is a DVD explaining the problem and encouraging folks to "Stop, Chop and Throw" the carcasses well out into moving water. This DVD is playing continuously at a station at Sportsman's Landing (the Ferry Crossing). They also have similar instructions playing on an AM repeater at the ferry crossing, that you can listen to on your car radio. The sense within this group is that one of the keys is education of the fishermen, and I agree with that. Many folks have developed bad habits down there, and it's going to take a concentrated effort to change those habits. An example of a successful attempt in that area was that years ago, salmon carcasses were mostly disposed of in dumpsters in the Russian River Campground and the ferry crossing area. After about five years of educational efforts, fishermen are now disposing of most of the carcasses in the river. The Kenai Brown Bear Committee feels that it will probably take about five years to re-educate fishermen to grind or chop carcasses before tossing them into the river.

    YOU CAN CARRY FISH, BUT NOT "CHIPS"

    As to the effect this practice will have on the bear situation, it remains to be seen. A bear can carry an entire salmon carcass off to eat, but he cannot carry a mouthful of goo very far. Unless we give them straws to suck this stuff up like a giant fish slurpee, it's gonna be really hard for them to feed on it at all. That's the point. The present situation is attracting bears to the river, and particularly to the places we clean our fish. Also, stringers of fish along the bank form an especially attractive lure. If we change our habits in these two areas, I think we'll see some progress. It's certainly worth a try.

    THE BEARS MOSTLY AREN'T FISHING

    Regarding the question of whether bears are fishing for their own fish, or just eating what we catch, I can say this: I've never seen a bear catch a salmon on the Russian River. They don't have to; we toss our fish waste right where they can get it, and we place stringers of whole salmon along the bank where all they have to do is walk down and grab them. Many of the bears there probably have never caught a fish in their lives, but instead subsist on our leavings, augmented with the carcasses of spawned-out fish later in the season. Dead spawners are mostly unavailable until later in the season, when most of the summer fishermen are gone. Some of the above is extrapolated from what I know (informed speculation, let's call it). But I have personally seen this in action. The sow with the three cubs last year; the sow was shot, as was one cub, and Gimpy was wounded? I saw that sow repeatedly bring her cubs to the river in the sanctuary area, where she would drop them off along the cut bank there and go back in the brush. The cubs would go down to the river's edge where everyone was fishing, the fishermen would back off and the bears would grab their fish laying there on the bank. They'd take the fish up into the brush where they'd eat them with mama. Those bears never did learn how to properly fish. After the shooting, I heard that the two remaining cubs were fishing together, but the uninjured one was fishing for herself and for her injured sibling (Gimpy). I don't know whether they were actually catching fish, or whether they were simply gathering carcasses and dead fish, as they had been trained to do by mama. The point is that we have trained these bears to feed on our more than adequate leavings. They no longer need to fish, and that's why we need to do something. I believe if the bears had to fish, they would move upriver where fishing is easier, and once they were there, they'd establish a pecking order as do all bears in such situations. The Gimpy's of the world, who cannot compete with other bears for the resource, would either die or go elsewhere. This is the natural order of things elsewere in Alaska, where bears and salmon are found.

    I think (I don't know, because I'm not there in the fall) that bears probably frequent the lower river in the fall, when there are more carcasses deposited there naturally. I don't see a problem with that, because by then most of the folks are gone. We still have an increasing number of local fishermen (Alaskans) who fish the Russian at that time, but nothing close to what's there in June and July; these are the target months this plan is designed to impact. I'm sure some bears do fish later in the year, but you generally don't see it during the June / July sockeye season.

    ELIMINATION OF THE BEARS?

    Yesterday I was told of a Management Plan that suggested that there are three different kinds of places in Alaska; places where people should stay out and let the bears have it to themselves, places where bears and people can realistically co-exist, and places where bears should be eliminated, so people can fish there in relative safety. The report indicated that the Russian River was an area where bears should be eliminated. I will attempt to obtain a copy of this report and post it here, if I can find it. I don't necessarily agree with this thinking, but I do think we need to take responsibility for the fact that we're providing food for these bears, and quit doing it somehow. The only way we'll know if that works is to try it.

    REGULATORY CONSTRAINTS

    One thing I am hearing is a great reluctance on the part of ADFG to impose regulations forcing folks to chop or grind the fish carcasses. Enforcement is already spread thinly, and it would create other problems. I was told that the Department is sending a couple of people down there this weekend to pitchfork some of the accumulated carcasses out into the main current, and probably to chop some of it up manually. They're very concerned about it. It's possible that once the education process has run its course, we may see regulations requiring further action on our part. I hope we don't have to go there, but I do know that the current "Stop, Chop and Throw" program is not being followed by most fishermen down there, despite the money and effort that has been spent so far. I know, we're just getting started, and I need to be patient. It will take time. I'm just encouraging folks to do it.

    COMMENTS FROM INEXPERIENCED FOLKS

    One final thing; I don't mind comments from folks who haven't been there, but you have to realize that unless you've seen this situation first-hand, it's pretty difficult to intelligently discuss it. Not impossible, but difficult. Some of the comments I'm reading here appear to be from folks who have never been there. This is a serious issue, and I hope we can come up with meaningful input. Some of the people involved in crafting solutions to this are reading this thread, and I hope we can give them something useful to work with. Our opinions matter!

    -Mike
    Last edited by Michael Strahan; 07-01-2006 at 09:51.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by bydingtime
    If we don't wake up and realize that this is a fight for our hunting and fishing privilege then we are a lot closer to losing than anyone realizes.
    Right on! The non-angling public has no quarrel with fishing when it's done respectfully and graciously with an intent to put a meal on the table.

    What the non-angling public doesn't understand or accept is contempuous disregard: a free-for-all feeding frenzy, score-card fishing, "Yee haw, it's hammer time. Let's get them hawgs and she-pigs while it's hot," and .44 totin' Rambos leaving bear cubs to perish from hunger.

    Such nonsense leaves the general public agreeing with Tolstoy: "After the doctor's departure Koznyshev felt inclined to go to the the river with his fishing rod. He was fond of angling, and seemed proud of being able to like such a stupid occupation." —Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, Book 1, Part 3, Chapter 2.

    We are the problem, not the bears.

  19. #19
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    Sadly, the state of affairs at the Russian FFO/Sanctuary makes it very unlikely that it will be a place where bears and humans can have a safe and peaceful co-existence. The meat-market atmosphere of that fishery is equivalent to a bear-baiting station, only on a much grander scale. It is far too accessible to the masses, most of which are naive and uneducated about the ways of these wild creatures. Until the masses of ignorant and careless people can be eliminated, the only other practical choice is to eliminate the bears. That's the harsh reality of it.

    Some beach....
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone."
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  20. #20

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    Hmmmmmm.....

    If you have access to power for the grinders, methinks you would also have sufficient access to install and retrieve dumpsters to collect the waste, then haul it to one central grinder.

    You still don't address the question of what happens to the ground waste. Almost every coastal town with a cannery in Alaska struggles with waste disposal, and the biggest culprit is failure to distribute ground waste sufficiently. It can result in all sorts of problems in harbors and backwaters, with notable intervention by the EPA. Exceptions are Dutch Harbor, Kodiak, Seward and Petersberg which finally had to install fish meal plants to deal with ground waste that accumulated rather than spread. If you don't make provisions for the ground fish to be very well distributed, you got a real mess on your hands.

    Don't know about all this or the specifics of geography, but the thinking seems really narrow and fuzzy.

    It's clear you need a solution, but there are lots more to look at.

    How about floating dumpsters which can be towed across the river periodically like the ferry? You could also design a system so that the ferry hauled carcasses partway across the river and dumped them in the strong current on each round trip.

    How about a requirement that folks simply bag and haul their carcasses back to the parking lot and a central holding dumpster, citations issued to nonconformists? That wouldn't be any more hassle than the proud load of fillets going back to the parking lot. Anyone that showed up with fillets and no carcasses would be cited.

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