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Thread: Over-escapement buzzword

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    Question Over-escapement buzzword

    Over-escapment of sockeye salmon on the Kenai is something I've seen mentioned in other posts over the last couple years. I would like to learn more about it.

    I hear often from people that if the commercial nets and sports anglers don't harvest enough sockeye that there will be an "over-escapement" problem. It seems that the river's sockeye did just fine for eons without our limiting the number of fish that make it to the spawning beds. Is this over-escapement idea valid?

    The population of returning adult sockeye is going to fluctuate. Over time, natural fluctuations caused by things like floods or a large population of fry as a result of an exceptional spawn are not unusual. If there fewer juveniles due to flood, they eat better. If there are more due to a large spawning, some starve (survival of the fittest, which is good) and some feed the lake trout, rainbows and dollies (also good).

    The river has always maintained itself, even though there were likely some incredible, unbelieveable numbers of sockeye on the spawning grounds some years. It isn't like we're supplementing mother nature by hatchery stocking additional sockeye into the river, thereby contributing to an unnaturally large return of fish or introducing weak genetics or new diseases. So why do some of us say we need to limit the number of sockeye salmon that spawn in the Kenai? I look forward to your comments.

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    Default

    It gives a job to someone who thinks that his/her policies can do better than mother nature. It also makes them believe that they are putting their BA or masters to good use and that it wasn't a waste of good party time.


    www.mikesbritishguns.us

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    Wink Buzzword biologists. . .

    Holy Moly. . . where's a good biologist when we need one? Or even a legislator?

    First, the notion of giving up resource management is incredibly silly. Most Alaska hunters believe we currently have an "overescapement" of wolves in the state that need to be managed. Does anyone actually believe we should give up wildlife resource management and just let 'er rip as it did for eons?

    Second, the state's constitution mandates that wildlife resources be managed for [maximum] sustained yield. Without management efforts on the part of trained professionals, wildlife resources would regress to the wildly fluctuating populations of more primitive times.

    Overescapement is a real concern. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that 1000 acres will support only so many cattle at sustained yield. Moreover, while overescapement is a consideration for fisheries biologists the world over and in terms of which all the state's fisheries are managed, only here on the Kenai/Kasilof Rivers are some furrowing their thoughtful brows and asking, "Is this over-escapement idea valid?"

    It's a fact that if overescapement could be done away with, somehow discredited, that would open the door to letting the entire runs of sockeye up the Kenai and Kasilof Rivers along with 100% of the accompanying kings. Hammer time. . .

    Now I have a couple questions in return:
    1) Why would we do such a thing? Give up management for sustained yield which would in turn decimate the gill-net industry, deny consumers harvestable fish resources, and threaten the area's economic base?
    2) What percentage of the second run of kings is a "fair" allotment for the sport fishery? How many is enough?

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    Cool Valid biology?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charholio
    I would like to learn more about it.

    Is this over-escapement idea valid?
    Is over-escapement a valid idea? I typed "over escapement fish" into Google and got 214,000 hits. That might be a good place to start for anyone wanting to learn more about over-escapement and learn whether the "idea" is valid.

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    Wink misinformation or fact?

    After the comment about biologists I thought I should defend them - I am operating under the assumption that ignorance is curable.

    The concept of overescapement is very simple in fisheries management - it has to do with the amount of yield one can take from a salmon stock and maintain that yield. It is not a biological issue of the stocks survival.

    Let me give an example. The Kenai River sockeye salmon maximus sustained yield goal is 500,000 to 800,000 sockeye salmon spawners to optimize the yield. Lets use 500,000 for this example. At 500,000 spawners the Kenai River should produce on average a return of 2.5 million. Subtract the 500,000 needed for spawning and you have a harvest of 2.0 million. Now lets raise the goal to 1.5 million. At this level the Kenai River sockeye will return 3.0 million fish - more than the 2.5 million from the 500,000. However, if you need 1.5 million spawners to do this then the harvest is only 1.5 million (3.0 -1.5 million spawners give 1.5 million harvest).

    At some point the stock will only replace itself. For the Kenai this is somewhere between 1.5 and 2.0 million spawners and of course there would be no harvest. For the Kasilof River the replacement point was reached in 1985 when 500,000 spawners returned only 500,000 fish 5 years latter.

    The mechanisms that limit production are complex in the Kenai River and involve the production of fry in one year impacting the survival of fry in the next year. In addition, the main rearing lake - Skilak has had reduced light penetration and therefore reduced food production which reduces overall production but does not change the concept of overescapement. It just means the replacement point may be lower than when the lake received more light.

    I hope this helps those who want to learn. There is a number of scientific papers on both the Kenai and Kasilof Rivers that documents these comments.

    While there are some who insist that over-escapement is not an issue for the Kenai or that large escapements are needed for all types of other issues - like genetics and nutrients they have not provide one bit of crediable evidence to support those claims. In contrast, genetic and nutrient issues have been met with the present escapement goals for both the Kenai and Kasilof Rivers and this has been supported with objective scientific data.

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    Default Article 8, and curing ignorance

    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus
    ...the state's constitution mandates that wildlife resources be managed for [maximum] sustained yield.


    Not sure why you put in the "maximum" there. Actually, the framers specifically did not use the term "maximum sustained yield" because they recognized that term as being vastly different than "sustained yield":
    Fish, forests, wildlife, grasslands, and all other replenishable resources belonging to the State shall be utilized, developed, and maintained on the sustained yield principle, subject to preferences among beneficial uses.

    However, many fisheries are managed on the MSY basis. Some good background info on all this as pertains to the Bristol Bay fisheries:
    http://www.cfec.state.ak.us/research...5_10_21_04.pdf

    And thanks to Nerka for coming to the defense of the bios and giving some examples. I will say that ignorance isn't always curable, however, so don't hope for too much <grin>.


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    Talking Colloquial biology. . .

    Not sure why you put in the "maximum" there.

    Well-noted, bushrat. I used "maximum" but bracketed it because it's usually inferred colloquially when discussing resource mangagement, and it's obvious that a lot of "colloquial" biology is being bandied about the forum these days. Thanks for the background material.

    And I too wonder whether ignorance is always curable. Consider:

    "Most ignorance is vincible ignorance. We don't know because we don't want to know." Aldous Huxley

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    Default Respectful rebuttal

    I can tell this generated some emotion. I enjoyed reading your responses, and I respect your opinions. I've commented below in parantheses. I am playing devil's advocate some; please don't be offended. I hope that you'll take the opportunity to expand on your point of view. If you've got time, please respond. Thanks Marcus.

    Holy Moly. . . where's a good biologist when we need one? Or even a legislator?

    First, the notion of giving up resource management is incredibly silly. Most Alaska hunters believe we currently have an "overescapement" of wolves in the state that need to be managed. Does anyone actually believe we should give up wildlife resource management and just let 'er rip as it did for eons?

    (I believe that managing something that doesn't need managing is silly, and that this might be such a case. The Kenai river is healthy. If it ain't broke, why does it need to be fixed? You haven't convinced me yet that over-escapement is a valid concept regarding the Kenai River. It seems over-harvest should be more of a concern, especially regarding Kings.)

    Second, the state's constitution mandates that wildlife resources be managed for [maximum] sustained yield. Without management efforts on the part of trained professionals, wildlife resources would regress to the wildly fluctuating populations of more primitive times.

    (Were the populations on the Kenai river wildly fluctuating? Do you have data from the Kenai that shows willdly fluctuating populations prior to the time when over-escapment became a buzzword? I wasn't aware that this was the case. Or are you generalizing? If so, the readers would probably appreciate it if you'd provide your data.)

    Overescapement is a real concern. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that 1000 acres will support only so many cattle at sustained yield. Moreover, while overescapement is a consideration for fisheries biologists the world over and in terms of which all the state's fisheries are managed, only here on the Kenai/Kasilof Rivers are some furrowing their thoughtful brows and asking, "Is this over-escapement idea valid?"

    (I think people furrow their brows because these two rivers are healthy. Again, if it ain't broke, don't fix it again comes to mind. I haven't been convinced yet that the over-escapement idea is valid for the healthy, wild fish runs of the Kenai River.)

    It's a fact that if overescapement could be done away with, somehow discredited, that would open the door to letting the entire runs of sockeye up the Kenai and Kasilof Rivers along with 100% of the accompanying kings. Hammer time. . .

    (From an economic standpoint, many will say that will be a boon to the area's, in fact the State's, economy.)

    Now I have a couple questions in return:
    1) Why would we do such a thing? Give up management for sustained yield which would in turn decimate the gill-net industry, deny consumers harvestable fish resources, and threaten the area's economic base?

    (Why would we stop trying to fix something that isn't broken? I would think the increase runs would boost the State's economic base as sport-caught fish are typically worth much more than gill-net caught fish (I can provide data if necessary to support this statement). The area's economic base is not commercial fishing anymore. It's tourism, and fishing tourists in particular. From what I can tell, very, very few Alaskans are making their primary living as gillnetters targeting the Kenai. As for denying consumers harvestable fish resources, do you mean the Japanese or people Outside? No offense on this one, but I'm not sure what you mean. Are you referring to commercially-caught or sport-caught consumer harvestable fish resources?)


    2) What percentage of the second run of kings is a "fair" allotment for the sport fishery? How many is enough?

    (Your question is something that could become a great poll here on the forum. A fair allotment? Tough question. Maybe divide it percentage wise to commercial and sport users according to percentage of the population each group represents. If commercial fisherman are 50% of the population, they can have 50% of the Kings. Maybe we should pose this to the rest of the readers as it's own separate thread?)


    Is over-escapement a valid idea? I typed "over escapement fish" into Google and got 214,000 hits. That might be a good place to start for anyone wanting to learn more about over-escapement and learn whether the "idea" is valid.

    (Being on the Internet doesn't validate anything. There is a lot of false information as well as truthful info on the Internet. But more importantly and specifically, it's the supposed Kenai over-escapement I mean to ask about. Thanks for the tip, Marcus.)

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    Smile "Broken" biology?

    1) Who said anything's broken? The state's constitution mandates that our resources be managed for sustained yield to the benefit of all Alaskans, not just one small user group. Where did you come up with the "broken" thingy?

    2) I was generalizing. Read some Alaska history that describes how the native peoples had to move from time to time because of the sometimes scarcity of salmon returns.

    3) And just who are the folks opining that giving up managing Kenai River sockeye will be a boon to the area's and state's economy? Cite some instances please, and in the meantime, seach the Clarion's file for their story on the overwhelming economic importance of the sockeye fishery to the area's and state's economy. And by the way, do you have any economic interest in the state's sport fishing industry?

    4) That sport-caught fish are worth more than net-caught fish the state's economy is a fairy tale perpetrated by commercial sport-fishing interests. Such folks like to cite how much a tourist spends to catch a king and use that figure against how much a gill-netter gets for the same fish, forgetting the net-fisheries support and related industries, trucking jobs, marketing, etc., etc., etc. But maybe most importantly, commercial-sport-fish-driven economics ignores — doesn't even take into account — the huge impact of commercially netted salmon to not only the area's and state's but the to the entire nation's economy and dietary needs.

    5) As for your proposed poll, how about dividing the salmon on the basis of what percentage of the nation's population would like to eat wild Alaska salmon — sport anglers, many of whom kill most of their salmon by c&r, or American citizens who can't get to Alaska to catch their own?

    6) All the Google reference was meant to do what to illustrate how silly it is to wonder whether overescapement is a valid idea. 214,000 hits speak to overescapement's "validity."

    As I see it, Charholio, the drive on the part of some to regress to prehistoric times where sockeye management is concerned is but a transparent effort to do away with managing for sustained yield so that all the kings —100% of them — can be put in the river for the benefit of commercial sport-fishing interests. Why would we do that? Why would we deprive the American consumer of a share of the fish, decimate the Cook Inlet gill-net and its support industry, and threaten the area's economic base?

    PS: For anyone wondering who gets what of the second run of Kenai kings as it is now, roughly 25% of the fish are taken in salt water by gill-nets, about 75% of the run enters the Kenai River of which the sport fishery takes about 25%. The commericial gill net industry and the commercial sport industry/private sport fishery each take roughly equal portions of the run, about 25% each.

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    Cool helpful hints

    A little historical perspective may help here. Prior to a commercial fishery, the Kenai supported a native fishery for a few thousand years. However, the harvest was probably so small that it did not alter the normal cycles of the river. I suspect based on the current data, that the river sockeye runs fluctuated widely from 0.5 million fish to probably over 9 million in some years. This is based on modeling done by ADF&G without any fishery.

    However, when a major commercial fishery came into play 100 years ago the Kenai River sockeye runs started a long slow decline as effort increased. This was because there was no escapement monitoring and the federal government biologist could not react to poor returns. In the 1960s the State took control of management and the first escapement goal was set at 150,000 sockeye for the Kenai. However, with time this has risen to an optimum of 500,000 to 800,000 fish as known returns have come back from known escapements.

    Now relative to over escapement there are no biologist who would say there is no such thing as over escapement relative to yield management. There are just too many examples of sockeye populations that exhibit this pattern of production. Low escapements can be caused by over-harvest but they can also be caused by low production from large escapements, even with no fishery. Again, the stock is not threatened but the yield one can take could be.

    Every stock of salmon on the Kenai, where the escapement can be measured, has a goal. The lower end is very easy to define for these stocks because ADF&G has a history of low escapements. However, defining when production declines at the upper end is more difficult because as a society we harvest surplus fish. Therefore, the discussion is not whether over escapement takes place but at what level the reduced yield becomes a significant impact on society.

    In the case of late run Kenai River sockeye salmon that point has been estimated at 1.0 million spawners.

    There are some who would like to push the upper limit to 1.5 to 2.0 million. However, that has not taken place because modeling done by ADF&G indicates that a significant drop in yield will take place at those escapement levels. In addition, the number of years when no fishery would take place increases significantly at these escapement levels. Just think of the years when the total production of the Kenai was below 2.0 million fish the forecast for this year is one of them.

    The Kenai late run sockeye salmon are not broken because they are managed to a goal that represents both the lower end and upper end of production limits. To imply that the system is doing great right now in the absence of management is not correct. This system is managed very intensely to maintain high sustainable returns. To not manage for goals at both ends would be a mistake for all users.

    For those who need more data call the local Soldotna office of ADF&G commercial fisheries division and ask for the EVOS reports on escapment, the report to the Board of Fisheries in 2002 and 2005, and an update on Skilak Lake production as a result of increased glacial melt. I believe that if one does this they will have to be convinced that upper limits on escapement are real.

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    Default Response to Marcus' "Broken Biology"

    Thanks for numbering the items, Marcus. I've spent a lot of time today thinking about our discussion. Too much, from a self-employed person's standpoint. But I've really enjoyed this topic and your response in particular. I've still got my devil's advocate hat on. Please see below.

    The topic seems to be developing some spin. Perhaps your response to my number 3 below will explain it :-)

    1. No one said anything is broken, Marcus, except you in your previous subject line.

    2. I thought that might be the case. I guess we can eliminate this point, with your concurrence.

    3. No one said giving up managing the Kenai Sockeye will be an economic boon. However, more fish in the river will be an economic boon.

    No Marcus, I don't have an economic interest in the state's sportfishing industry--yet. I'm a real estate broker.

    But I am an avid sports fisherman. I've been a registered guide in AK for several years and I have a 25GT Master's license, but I haven't worked for anyone or used either of these licenses for employment. I've thought about guiding as a means to be of service to others, maybe after I retire, and I keep my credentials and requirements current just in case. I've written a couple of magazine articles on ice fishing, but that's about the extent of my economic interest or involvement with anything close to what we've been talking about. I'd call myself a non-commercial sports fisherman. Some day I might have what you call a commercial sports interest, but I don't right now.

    Do you have an economic interest in the state's commercial fishing industry? What is your role? Quid pro quo? It almost sounds as though you are a lobbyist for the commercial fishing industry. Are you? What do you do?

    4. It just occurred to me that we've left the health of the river and it's fish runs behind, and the focus of the argument is now on economics. So is over-escapement an economically driven or derived term? I've read studies (particularly in a sportfishing magazine called Salmon Trout and Steelheader) that show sport caught fish benefitting the LOCAL economy to a much larger degree than a commercially caught fish (perhaps caught by a gillnetter who lives in Washington). Let's stick with LOCAL (with the boundaries being the Kenai Penninsula and AK-based businesses) economics. If you have other studies, I'd be interested in seeing a different perspective; I just haven't seen any that state a commercially caught fish is more valuable to a local economy and to as many people as a sport caught fish is.

    Something else I believe is that Wild Alaska Salmon is not a national dietary need. It's a luxury. This isn't the breadbasket of America we're talking about here. The nation's economy certainly isn't going to blink whether the concept of over-escapement is used or not either.

    You mentioned that commercially NETTED fish as having a huge impact on the area's, state's and nations economy. Don't you think you're overstating or exaggerating the impact of Kenai area commercial gillnetters? By the way, gillnet caught fish are not the only option to getting salmon on the market.

    5. I didn't know that many sports anglers kill most of their salmon by c&r. I'm surprised you'd write that in a forum with so many sports on it, but I admire your courage. Let's be realistic. We were talking about second run Kenai Kings in this particular number. It's an Alaska resource. Do you really want Outside interests messing with us more than they already do? I doubt the average Alaskan does. I do think it would be an interesting poll on this forum (What percentage of the second run of kings is a "fair" allotment for the sport fishery? How many is enough?) Would you like to submit that poll, or would you prefer I do it? We could post it on some other forum boards too.

    6. Those 214,000 hits--were they specific to Kenai River over-escapement? If so, then Kenai River over-escapement is certainly popular. But it does not necessarily mean that the concept of over-escapement as a management concept is VALID (in the scientific sense) for the Kenai River.

    The discussion has sort of gotten off track, but there are obviously many related issues and interested parties. What I asked for was information on the validity of the concept of over-escapement, and why some people think we need to limit the number of fish that are naturally returning to a healthy, wild, self-sustaining river (the Kenai). I didn't expect to get predictions on economic doom, the nation longing for salmon, and other emotional appeals intended to defend the concept of over-escapement. But it is quite interesting hearing your point of view and the level of passion you have for your position.

    Your "As I see it" paragraph is interesting and deserves comment. Your idea of regressing to prehistoric times is a little over the top. The managers still need to manage the resource. It just seems that the concept of over-escapement, at least on the healthy Kenai watershed, is sort of weakly supported or bogus. As far as the average American consumer, he or she won't even bat an eye whether resource managers use the over-escapement concept or not. The gill net industry may suffer, same as loggers have suffered in recent years. There truly are dark clouds on the horizon for them. I'd be looking to change industries if I was a gillnetter (no offense to any who gillnet for a living; it just seems scary to me from an financial standpoint) As for the econmic base of the area, I don't know that use or non-use of the over-escapement concept will make a difference either way. Dollars lost from the commercial salmon might well be made up in sportfish/tourisim dollars. It seems to me there would be an economic shift, not an economic loss.

    PS: So. . .

    50% of Kings get to spawn,

    25% of them goes to less than one percent of the state's population (commercial fishermen, many of whom reside outside AK; the "less than one percent" is a guess on my part--if you have accurate figures it would good for everyone reading)

    25% go to the other 99% of the state's residents (and nations, if you want to bring them into this; I'd prefer to leave them out) , what you called commercial sportfish interests (which includes guides and your average Alaskan, many of whom moved up here to have opportunities to do things like catch Kenai Kings). Is this right?

    I'm out of time for now. Shall we continue on the forum, go to personal e-mail, or meet to finish our discussion? Thanks Marcus.

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    Default Thanks for the historical perspective

    Super information, Nerka. Thanks very much. I understand modeling is based on some assumptions and you've pointed some of those out, and they seem reasonable and they make sense. I'd say I understand the concept of Kenai River over-escapement a little better, and it's validity isn't quite as big a question mark for me now. I still think the river is not only self-sustaining, but pretty much self-regulating to a certain extent too. I'd like to view the computer modeling simulation. I'll call ADF&G.

    I'm especially interested in the Skilak production/glacial melt issue. I'll check that out, too.

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    Cool Manipulated biology. . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Charholio
    PS: So. . .

    50% of Kings get to spawn,

    25% of them goes to less than one percent of the state's population (commercial fishermen, many of whom reside outside AK; the "less than one percent" is a guess on my part--if you have accurate figures it would good for everyone reading)

    25% go to the other 99% of the state's residents (and nations, if you want to bring them into this; I'd prefer to leave them out) , what you called commercial sportfish interests (which includes guides and your average Alaskan, many of whom moved up here to have opportunities to do things like catch Kenai Kings). Is this right?

    I'm out of time for now. Shall we continue on the forum, go to personal e-mail, or meet to finish our discussion? Thanks Marcus.


    Me too out of time, that is. . . we've got company. . . more later.

    Real quick: I have 0% economic interest in any fishery, anywhere, any time. I'm self-employed as a manufacturer of decorative accessories.

    Your "25% go to less than one percent of the state's population" and "25% go to the other 99% of the state's residents, etc." is an outstanding example of the nonsensical, manipulated economics and biology I've been talking about!

    And what do you imagine that "less than one percent of the state's population" do with their 25% of the salmon? Sit on it? Hoard it? What? No, it goes into the marketplace and made available to the other 99% of the state's and nation's population which is much, much, much more than can be said for the 25% caught/killed by the relatively miniscule number of sport anglers/commercial sports ventures.

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    Wink from over-escapement to allocation

    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus



    Me too out of time, that is. . . we've got company. . . more later.

    Real quick: I have 0% economic interest in any fishery, anywhere, any time. I'm self-employed as a manufacturer of decorative accessories.

    Your "25% go to less than one percent of the state's population" and "25% go to the other 99% of the state's residents, etc." is an outstanding example of the nonsensical, manipulated economics and biology I've been talking about!

    And what do you imagine that "less than one percent of the state's population" do with their 25% of the salmon? Sit on it? Hoard it? What? No, it goes into the marketplace and made available to the other 99% of the state's and nation's population which is much, much, much more than can be said for the 25% caught/killed by the relatively miniscule number of sport anglers/commercial sports ventures.

    For a decorative accessories manufacturer (does that mean commercial fishing bouys and the like? hahaha), you have a very strong (maybe valid?) interest in things that might change commercial/sport fishing allocation. Why is that? I don't know what a decorative accessories manufacturer makes or sells. Can you be a little more specific? It is difficult to try to put myself in your shoes when I don't know where you're coming from. Something doesn't seem quite right.

    You provided the percentages regarding allocation. I agree with you--it is non-sensical, manipulated economics and biology, backed by extremely powerful and effective lobbying (politics). No way is it fair allocation for it to be set up so that such a small user group gets such a disproportionately large percentage of the resource. What's more, I have seen the commercial gillnetters use the over-escapement concept as a tool to be allocated even more of the resource. That's not necessarily bad; it just is. But when the additional allocation results in king bycatch, that negatively impacts the other 99%s interests.

    As for what they do with it, the less than one percent group sells it, and the revenue and the majority of product generally leaves the state at that point, destined for Outside or Japan. Who in the state really benefitted? The commercial fisherman. He benefitted a certain number of cents per pound, and to continue his lifestyle. Perhaps New Sagaya and Carrs benefitted by selling a very few of the total catch. How did the rest of us benefit? I know very few people in Alaska who buy salmon. Granted that's just what I see around me in my own personal experience. I don't see the Kenai commercial gillnet fisherman doing me and other citizens of AK any special favors. I don't need them to provide me with salmon, and most, no ALL of the Alaskans I know are the same. You make the Kenai commercial gillnet fishing industry out to be ambassadors of good will or something, and that the sport fishing industry that targets the same fishery contributes almost nothing to the state or nation. You mentioned the 'relatively miniscule number of sport anglers/commercial sports ventures.' Are you serious? Shall we look at the number of registered commercial fishery businesses compared to the number of commercial sport business combined with the sportfishing license sales?

    While I don't see commercial fishing as a bad thing, and I even thought about getting into it at one time, I believe your portrayal is a spin, a mis-direction of the facts and of reality. I mean no disrespect when I say that; it just seems that you have some emotional tie to the allocation issue, and that seems really out of place considering your occupation. Perhaps we'll just disagree until the time comes that one or both of us gets serious enough about these things to become lobbyists. . .

    I enjoyed the dialogue, Marcus. If you want a last word, go for it, sir. If you want to talk more about these things please send me an e-mail. I'm going sport fishing tommorrow though, as an unguided Alaskan, so it might take me a while to get back to you!

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus

    As I see it, Charholio, the drive on the part of some to regress to prehistoric times where sockeye management is concerned is but a transparent effort to do away with managing for sustained yield so that all the kings 100% of them can be put in the river for the benefit of commercial sport-fishing interests. Why would we do that? Why would we deprive the American consumer of a share of the fish, decimate the Cook Inlet gill-net and its support industry, and threaten the area's economic base?
    Well, since we know that any self-respecting Alaskan can either catch their own or knows somebody who can catch it for them by proxy, or just has plenty of generous friends who gladly share their sport-caught or P.U.-caught bounty, it stands to reason that very few salmon are actually purchased by Alaskans. Before I moved away from Alaska to pursue my medical career, no one in my family had ever actually bought a salmon for as far back as my boyhood days on the Kenai. Come to think of it, nobody we knew would EVER admit to buying a salmon... the very thought of it was downright un-Alaskan!

    So for the sake of example, let's just exclude Alaska's half-million population from the fish-buying pool of red-blooded, omega-3 consuming masses.... nearly 300 million strong as of the last U.S. census. The good Lord with 2 fish and 5 loaves may have fed the multitudes.... but even if you allocated all of the Kenai's kings to the entire non-fishing American public, how many flakes of king salmon fillet do you really think each of the 300 million should be entitled?

    Would the hungry masses even notice the difference whether those fish hit the marketplace? Do you really believe any of them would feel deprived? Or would they just as soon super-size it at the neighborhood fast food joint.... gee just pass the Lipitor and fish oil capsules, please.

    The fact of the matter is that this genetically unique strain of king salmon, the largest and most-prized chinook race on the planet, should be regarded as the treasure that it truly is, and not just squandered as by-catch in a fishery that already supplies more than enough high quality protein "to feed a hungry world." Besides, the last I heard, buyers are keeping prices paid to fishermen low yet again this year due to a worldwide glut of salmon on the open market.
    "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
    The KeenEye MD

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician
    ...any self-respecting Alaskan can either catch their own or knows somebody who can catch it for them by proxy, or just has plenty of generous friends who gladly share their sport-caught or P.U.-caught bounty, it stands to reason that very few salmon are actually purchased by Alaskans.
    The fact of the matter is that this genetically unique strain of king salmon, the largest and most-prized chinook race on the planet, should be regarded as the treasure that it truly is, and not just squandered as by-catch...


    Now, doc, stop for a minute and consider who is buying all the canned, frozen, and fresh salmon sold by Alaska's Safeway, Fred Meyer, WalMart, Sam's, Costco, Three Bears, seafood markets, and more. That anyone would say very few salmon are "actually purchased by Alaskans" is, well, kinda goofy.

    No, the kings caught in the gill-net fishery are not "squandered as by-catch." To accuse such is slanderously incorrect. Those kings become marketable and consumable seafood.

    Kenai kings are genetically unique in that they are the biggest. Yes, catching a big fish can be fun, but need we, should we, make a fetish of size? What's the "prize" here, what's the "treasure"? The rush, the sense of power, thrills, excitement ?

    Does size really matter that much?

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    Default Unanswered questions

    Marcus, I was hoping you'd respond to at least the questions in my last post. Especially, I think the other readers would like you to elaborate on your occupation. Some might deduce you're a bouy manufacturer if you pass up this opportunity! If you pass, some might think you're hiding something, and then whatever you say in these posts becomes suspect. I wouldn't have asked you about it, but you asked me what I do and I think it's fair that your respond.

    Doc, thanks for your input. I was beginning to think I was having thoughts that were unique, and not representative of the bulk of Alaskans! And thanks for clearly pointing out the uniqueness of Kenai kings, and the drop in the bucket economics regarding putting them into a can.

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    Wink Big fishin' addiction?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charholio
    I enjoyed the dialogue, Marcus. If you want a last word, go for it, sir. If you want to talk more about these things please send me an e-mail.

    Dad-gum, Charholio, you went and spoiled it — I didn't reply 'cause I was wanting you to have the last word, sir. Anyway, I did send you a private message via this forum, suggesting how we might "talk more about these things," to which you have not yet responded.

    But on to your continued probes into my occupation: No, I don't make buoys or any other thing vaguely or remotely related to fishing in any way, shape, or form. I make decorative accessories used in interior decoration.

    A final thought for both you and the doc: It isn't a subsistence fishery or the gill-nets that pose a threat to the "uniqueness" of the big Kenai kings. The subsistence fishery has been harvesting a portion of the run since time immemorial, and the gill-nets for over 50 years.

    The threat to the "hawgs" and "she-pigs" comes from the catch-and-release, size-selective, trophy-huntin,' commercially-driven "sport" fishery, which has literally exploded in only the last 10 years, in-river habitat destruction, pollution, and development.

    It's good to get this discussion out in the sunlight.

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    Exclamation more facts

    Just some facts and comments about harvesting fish. If the whole return of chinook salmon to the Kenai is allowed to enter the river - no commercial fishery the number of fish would be about 15,000. Sport fisherman would take about 5,000 of these. However, the average sockeye harvest in the inlet is about 3.0 million fish and over half of those come from the eastside set net fishery - 1.5 million fish or about 9 million pounds of fish. I believe Marcus is referring to this lost when he speaks of losing fish on the market.

    Second, I did not know I was not an Alaskan. After 30 years here and having back problems I buy my fish every year from commercial fisherman. I guess that makes me unfit for living here according to some. It is not absurb to tie being an Alaskan to catching a fish. In contrast, I believe most Alaskan want all fisheries to function at a high level - again only few want it all under the name of trophy fish or unique stock. There is nothing unique about the Kenai per se. It is a great salmon producing system and we should maintain it for all.

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    Default To Marcus, I accept, to Nerka, your an exception

    Hi Guys,

    Marcus, I look forward to talking to you more. Offline is probably best. Maybe we'll be able to find some common ground that can then find it's way onto the forum. I haven't received any messages from you on my personal e-mail, but I haven't checked it since 10 a.m. this morning. Maybe you can explain to me your passion for this subject.

    Nerka, I didn't say your were unfit to be here or anything like that, and I don't imply that either. You are simply the only person I've talked to who buys salmon. Granted, that's just my experience, but I do believe the majority of us up here who enjoy salmon regularly get ours some other way than relying on kenai area commercial gillnet caught fish. Marcus's point was to the effect that Kenai area gillnet caught fish were vital to the area's, and nation's dietary needs. You are not reliant on that particular fishery for your fish either.

    The Kenai is truly a magnificent watershed, even though it is not large by west coast standards. The world record king, sockeye and pink salmon are all from the Kenai. Despite heavy pressure, it puts out enormous runs of 4 species of pacific salmon. It's NOT just another productive stream. It is very special to the hundreds of thousands of people who fish for salmon. That's why people come from all over the world to fish it, repeatedly. You mentioned the Kenai would only get a return of 15,000 Kings if left alone? The late run alone is usually twice that. Perhaps you have access to some sort of model that leads you to that conclusion? Can you share it with us? Thanks Nerka.

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