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Thread: New UCI information?

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    Member MRFISH's Avatar
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    Default New UCI information?

    Here’s a question for everyone who’s reading the UCI reports that have been coming out. (The Department’s comments on the proposals have also come out recently).

    The reports can be found here: http://www.boards.adfg.state.ak.us/f...nfo/deprep.php

    What new information have you seen that is significant, and how should the Board of Fisheries be viewing/using that data?
    Depending on people’s perspectives and user group status, you may be latching onto different parts of each of the reports…parts that may help you make and/or reinforce your argument(s).

    While I haven’t read and re-read each of these reports in depth, here’s one of the tidbits I’ve gleaned from the reports:
    (from “Inriver Abundance and Spawner Distribution of Susitna River Sockeye”): Escapements into the Yentna River may be significantly higher than what the escapement project has been counting (perhaps 2 to 8 times more fish). This, obviously, raises more questions , many of which will need to be addressed by more mark/recapture study in the upcoming years. One question I have is “how does this relate to the SEG and harvestable surplus(es)?” The fact that the escapement monitoring project isn’t counting all the fish isn’t necessarily a problem, as long as the counted/uncounted proportion is understood and is consistent from year to year. For instance, many rivers elsewhere have counting towers that only count half or less of the fish actually swimming upriver. ADFG knows this and also knows the proportion of the fish that are being counted to those that go uncounted. Aerial surveys are also just “indexes” of total escapement, and this is taken into consideration. What this may or may not mean to the BOF is anyone’s guess. Nerka, help me out here… isn’t that SEG a spawner-recruit relationship?

    So, what else has everone seen as “new” information? Surely, the “Overescapement” report and the “Genetics” report have provided some fodder…

    Art.

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    Default significant issues

    Quote Originally Posted by MRFISH View Post
    Here’s a question for everyone who’s reading the UCI reports that have been coming out. (The Department’s comments on the proposals have also come out recently).

    The reports can be found here: http://www.boards.adfg.state.ak.us/f...nfo/deprep.php

    What new information have you seen that is significant, and how should the Board of Fisheries be viewing/using that data?
    Depending on people’s perspectives and user group status, you may be latching onto different parts of each of the reports…parts that may help you make and/or reinforce your argument(s).

    While I haven’t read and re-read each of these reports in depth, here’s one of the tidbits I’ve gleaned from the reports:
    (from “Inriver Abundance and Spawner Distribution of Susitna River Sockeye”): Escapements into the Yentna River may be significantly higher than what the escapement project has been counting (perhaps 2 to 8 times more fish). This, obviously, raises more questions , many of which will need to be addressed by more mark/recapture study in the upcoming years. One question I have is “how does this relate to the SEG and harvestable surplus(es)?” The fact that the escapement monitoring project isn’t counting all the fish isn’t necessarily a problem, as long as the counted/uncounted proportion is understood and is consistent from year to year. For instance, many rivers elsewhere have counting towers that only count half or less of the fish actually swimming upriver. ADFG knows this and also knows the proportion of the fish that are being counted to those that go uncounted. Aerial surveys are also just “indexes” of total escapement, and this is taken into consideration. What this may or may not mean to the BOF is anyone’s guess. Nerka, help me out here… isn’t that SEG a spawner-recruit relationship?

    So, what else has everone seen as “new” information? Surely, the “Overescapement” report and the “Genetics” report have provided some fodder…

    Art.
    The reports are a mismash of issues and unfortunately there are serious technical flaws in the genetic and susitna mark/recapture studies.

    However, before I get into those issues the goal for Yentna/Susitna is not an index. Those goals are in terms of real fish. So if the counter is counting low and more fish are going into the system then the goals are being met. In contrast, if the relationship between the true number of fish entering the lakes and sonar counter can be established over the next few years then the sonar could be used as an index.

    The SEG is a sustainable salmon goal and as such as a component that refers to return/spawner.

    Relative to the reports the mark/recapture study is a failure. The authors state this in technical terms in the discussion when they admit that both mark/recapture estimates fail key assumptions. The only good data in the report on escapement is the weir counts for the individual lakes and maybe the Ditson. Species apportionment issues still exist.

    Relative to the genetic report you can throw it out. The sampling issues have made it useless. For example, in 2007 the drift fleet is suppose to have caught 61,000 Yentna fish and 11000 Susitna mainstem fish. However, just 3 days latter the drift fleet caught 43,000 Yentna fish and 44 (that is correct 44) Susitna fish. That makes no sense since both fishing days were district wide and the fish had not moved. Also, the ratio of Yentna to Susitna fish in the escapement is about 2:1 not 44000:1 This type of inconsistent results is found through-out the document.

    Another example is the set net fishery in the Kenai Section in which shows about 42,000 Yentna fish and 700 Susitna fish (Table 12). In contrast, on Table 13 the fishery is broken down into finer units and when you add these results up you get a harvest estimate of 20000 Yentna fish and 600 Susitna fish. So when one samples in one way you get 40k and another way 20k. That is 100% difference. How can anyone use these data for decision making?

    I and others told ADF&G this would happen as we ran this program back in the early 90's and ran into these problems. They did not listen and now over 2 million dollars has been spent and really nothing is coming out of it.

    For the record, the Kenai mark/recapture studies indicate between 900,000 and 3 million sockeye salmon entered the Kenai in the study year. The sonar count was about 1.5 million. The reason again is that the mark/recapture assumptions were violated. KRSA wasted over 1 million dollars on this effort.

    Just look at the reports - you will see all the issues I have raised. I feel for the Board of Fish as people are picking numbers that have little meaning. I did the same when I referenced the genetic report until I started to get into the specifics of the table and realized ADF&G did not report the inconsistencies. One had to find them by looking in detail. I hope the public and Board takes a close look at these nubmers and sees the issues for themselves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MRFISH View Post
    For instance, many rivers elsewhere have counting towers that only count half or less of the fish actually swimming upriver. ADFG knows this and also knows the proportion of the fish that are being counted to those that go uncounted.

    Normally its a sixth of the fish (10 minutes on each bank per hour) ADF&G claims that this method is + or - 5% accurate
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Default public comments now online

    Recent postings to the BOF website now have the "timely" recieved public comments as well as other info...these are the ones that make it into the large black binders that Board members recieve.

    More reading...
    http://www.boards.adfg.state.ak.us/a.../bof/farch.php

    Art.

  5. #5

    Angry Nerka is at it again!

    He is putting OUT a lot of flase info. One of his fellow fish guessers is out trying to tell everyone that the old data is no good and the new data doesn't have enough years behind it to be use. He is planning on managing just like he has for years. The current 2008 preseason forecast is for more than a 140,000 less than last year. If he does live up to brag, that means we are going to miss our escapement goes again and the N.D. sports fisheriers will be shut out again this summer like hey have the last for years. The one thing for sure if you look at the harvest data everytime that commercial fishing interest have a record harvest the N.D. escapement are missed. The same biologist stated that ADFG are screwing personal use dip netters in Cook Inlet and that the pu dip neters are a bunch of whiners. If this is the attude of the department what chance do our salmon have in getting back home and do we stand a chance at anything closely realated to a normal season?

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    Default substance, please...

    Bigfisherman, I can understand and (generally) agree with your concerns about northern district sockeye, but your attack on Nerka’s entry lacks any substance at all…it’s generalization and emotion. Nerka specifically addressed parts of the mark/recapture and the genetics study and stated why he had problems with those findings. While you or anyone else are free to disagree with his interpretation(s), I think you should try to substantiate that with data…that was kind why I started this thread – to have a healthy debate on the actual “new” information.

    Also, your portrayal of an ADFG biologist stating that: “ADFG are screwing personal use dip netters (and that they are) a bunch of whiners” seems highly editorialized. I’d be happy to go for anyone’s throat if they actually said anything resembling that statement, but I cannot imagine that being the case.

    Art.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigfisherman View Post
    He is putting OUT a lot of flase info.
    Care to back up that claim with some facts or statistics? A specific reference??

    We do not allow personal attacks on this website. Claiming that someone is putting out false info may be allowed if one can substatiate their claim, but throwing out an accusation like this without some sort of information to back it up is treading awfully close to a personal attack.

    Please keep the discussion focused on ideas, not on people.

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bigfisherman View Post
    He is putting OUT a lot of flase info. One of his fellow fish guessers is out trying to tell everyone that the old data is no good and the new data doesn't have enough years behind it to be use. He is planning on managing just like he has for years. The current 2008 preseason forecast is for more than a 140,000 less than last year. If he does live up to brag, that means we are going to miss our escapement goes again and the N.D. sports fisheriers will be shut out again this summer like hey have the last for years. The one thing for sure if you look at the harvest data everytime that commercial fishing interest have a record harvest the N.D. escapement are missed. The same biologist stated that ADFG are screwing personal use dip netters in Cook Inlet and that the pu dip neters are a bunch of whiners. If this is the attude of the department what chance do our salmon have in getting back home and do we stand a chance at anything closely realated to a normal season?
    I talked to the biologist referenced here and he flat out says that he never said anything like this.

    Relative to the issue of meeting goals what he said was that with the new escapement numbers he is meeting the goals and therefore the need to restrict the commercial fleet as much as he has done in the past is not needed for those run sizes. He told me that of course he would limit commercial fishing if the run size cannot withstand the harvest. He is obligated by professional ethics and the law to try and meet the goals.

    Not sure what false information I am being accused of providing. I referenced all the reports and told where they are not correct. Also, I found out today ADF&G will be releasing a correction sheet for errors in the report.

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    Default Valley trash revisited?

    Just to support Bigfisherman a bit, I was at the Susitna Valley Advisory committee meeting where the statements bigfisherman attributed to ADF&G were made. He has good reason to be upset! We were teleconferenced to the Soldotna department's commercial biologist (no names here) and he called dipnetters who don't catch fish "whiners." Specifically, he was referencing the proposal to move the Thursday window to Friday, and he said doing that "should keep the whiners who come down here and don't keep fish happy." A member of the public present asked him to clarify that statement, and he did. Unfortunately there were no news crews at the meeting, but there were about 20 witnesses to the statement, including personnel from the Palmer Dept of F&G. Just don't ask them for an opinion or to back it up- puts them in a tough position!

    My take on Nerka's statement, and the 3 studies that fish and game put out. The department's stance before starting the studies was basically that these would be the most comprehensive to date and would provide definitive data to manage by. We in the Valley have heard that for years, and always the same result. After the newest study is completed, it is degraded as being inaccurate or incomplete and though unfortunate, does not provide data by which the department can manage the fishery. Hmmmmm.... did I just hear Nerka just replay that old record?

    "Relative to the reports the mark/recapture study is a failure."

    "Relative to the genetic report you can throw it out."

    "How can anyone use these data for decision making?"

    "Just look at the reports - you will see all the issues I have raised. I feel for the Board of Fish as people are picking numbers that have little meaning." -NERKA

    That is also comfish's position from Soldotna. We were told that the sonar is proved to be innaccurate because of the new weir data, and therefore management decisions can't be derived from it. We were also told that he does not manage based on the preseason forecast. That was a shocking statement from the comfish manager, as that is currently the only preseason management tool he has!

    Personally I already see exactly what I predicted taking place, when it comes to getting more fish into valley streams. The new studies show when and where valley fish are moving through the inlet, and could be used to direct commercial fishing effort to move more of our fish through. But already the commercial arm is saying that they are worthless, and that is Nerka's position. Not only that, but it looks like they are moving to throw out years of sonar data, and not use it to manage inseason for 2008. The department is claiming that now they have proof that the Ditman is inacurate, and only counted a fraction of the fish. This statement comes from weir counts in a couple of the lakes in the Yentna system. I did not here anything about what the mark/recapture studies showed for fish numbers from Jeff, only that the weir counts were higher than they should be had the sonar been accurate.

    Brian, you want this forum kept clean. I respect that. As to bigfishman's claim that Nerka is "making false claims," I can't say that exactly. I do want everyone to ask him, and ask themselves, this, though. He is claiming that you must throw out the genetic study, the mark/recapture, and the sonar, that you can only trust the weir count.

    "The only good data in the report on escapement is the weir counts for the individual lakes."

    Why would he tell us the genetic study is no good, the mark recapture is no good (though they were sold to the public as being essential to being able to make sound management decisions), but the weir counts ARE good?

    The reason this makes no sense to me, and comes across as political double speak, (if not actually a lie,) is that there are only a handful of weirs in the Yentna and Susitna, with most if not all being in Yentna systems, and he wants to use them as an index for the entire Yentna/Susitna system and by them throw out the sonar data!

    The Department of Fish and Game does acknowledge high interception of Northern District fish by Central District drift and setnet fisheries. (The genetic study was supposed to show where and when and what ratio this is taking place. It did just that. It is the best study we have to date.) The proof of this is that the low SEG for the Yentna is set at 90,000 sockeye salmon on years of low returns of reds to the Kenai/Kasilof, and set at 75,000 when over 4 million fish are predicted to return to the Kenai. This is because they know that with the increased commercial fishing to attempt to prevent "overescaping" the Kenai, a minimum 90,000 fish escapement to the Yentna is too difficult to attain. So to justify the extra interception of our fish, they lowered the goal on those years. The problems are, why does the Yentna need fewer fish one year to sustain its fisheries than it does the next, biologically speaking? (That sure doesnt' make sense to me!) Also, even with the lower goal, its not being met, and the other two systems STILL overescape! Furthermore, with years now of overescapement to the Kenai, the returns keep growing! Look at the bell curve of escapements and commercial harvest the last 10 years!

    Here in the valley, we've claimed that overescapement does not have a solid number, there is no proof in the Kenai system that it is bad, yet it is claimed to be just as bad as underescapement. We say that when the Kenai overescapes, commercial guys get more fishing time, dipnetters harvest more fish, and bag limits of sport fish are doubled, peninsula businesses reap huge rewards, and future returns of fish steadily increase. When the Yentna underescapes, valley sportfishermen get their season closed, fry counts in the lakes are far lower, trout have less to feed on in the winter, fry have less to feed on, and businesses throughout the valley suffer. We have made the claim that underescapement does hurt, and overescapement does not. ADF&G, specifically the commercial arm in Soldotna, continues to claim that overescapement is just as bad as under, and that they need to manage just as hard to keep one from happening as the other. I could almost swallow this, except that in trying to prevent the Kenai from overescaping, they are causing the Yentna to underescape, and NOT preventing overescapement to the Kenai!

    Is the ADF&G a sanctioned church? Because if it isn't it sure should be! It takes a lot of faith for this pilgrim to believe their claims, as the evidence sure doesn't support them!

    One last thing. Cook Inlet Acquaculture, and some within ADF&G, have been very quick to point out that there are serious habitat issues to deal with in the valley. Specifically pike and beaver dams (beavers I guess somehow just became a threat- did they just now figure out how to build a dam?) They are using this unquantified threat to justify not taking action to put more fish into the river by managing the mixed stock fisheries more conservatively. That would maybe work, IF they were actually working to reduce the pike threat and keep dammed up streams cleared. They are not though. Instead the funds they have go into studies that are then thrown out because they don't give the answers they were hoping for, (and would maybe make them look too red in the face?) I'm actually really surprised that commercial fishing interests are not lobbying the department to open up commercial seasons for pike in the valley! You know, that gives me a great idea- since pike are a problem, though how big a problem is unknown, and commercial fishing is also a problem to salmon abundance in the Yentna and Susitna, then a commercial pike fishery should not only be lobbied for, but required! Lets set a requirement that for every Susitna salmon caught, an equal number or weight of pike from the major rearing lakes in the valley must also be caught! Woohooooooo I got me a new proposal for the next board cycle!!!!

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    Member willphish4food's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    I talked to the biologist referenced here and he flat out says that he never said anything like this.

    Relative to the issue of meeting goals what he said was that with the new escapement numbers he is meeting the goals and therefore the need to restrict the commercial fleet as much as he has done in the past is not needed for those run sizes. He told me that of course he would limit commercial fishing if the run size cannot withstand the harvest. He is obligated by professional ethics and the law to try and meet the goals.

    Not sure what false information I am being accused of providing. I referenced all the reports and told where they are not correct. Also, I found out today ADF&G will be releasing a correction sheet for errors in the report.
    Nerka, if he told you that (in bold) then he is lying to you. I know he is a colleague of yours, and I am just a name on a forum , but I was at the meeting where he called dipnetters whiners, and I was also at the MatSu Valley AC meeting where he spoke, and I wish you had been there too. As to bigfisherman saying that the biologist said he would screw the pu guys from their harvest, that was probably editorialized. What he said was that the proposal in question was too specific to do any good for dipnetters. The proposal defines a fishing period as a consecutive 12 hour fishing time, and he said it would be easy to get around that, he would just let the boats fish for 11 hours and it wouldnt' be a fishing period. So while not actually saying that he would "screw people out of fish", he described what his actions would be that would accomplish just that. He feels that a 36 hour com fishing moratorium has such deleterious effects on the Kenai that at the earliest possible he must use EO authority to insert an extra (EO) opening in to curtail overescapement into the river. With the current window placement, that just happens to be Saturday morning when all the dipnetters are trying for their winter fish supply (which by the way is a constitutional province of the people). Rather than trust the dipnetting curtain to keep escapement numbers down, he puts the drifters out in the mouth ahead of the PU fishermen. How many drift boats are in the fleet? And how many Kenai/Kasilof permits were issued? I believe it was around 30,000 of the dipnet permits- and maybe 200 boats? But the boats are given priority...

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    Default why the studies are flawed

    One problem I have with willphish4food is that he/she does not understand the scientific foundations needed to make good studies. So when I say they are not useful he/she reacts as if they are useful and the objection on my part is political or a lie. That is typical of people who cannot or will not read reports with an understanding of what is needed to make them valid. I will try to explain.

    The mark/recapture studies require that a number of criteria be met before estimates can be made. If those criteria are not met then the study results are biased or imprecise and not valid for use. At the upcoming Board of Fish meeting you are going to hear that the 2006 Yentna River mark/recapture studies are too uncertain to use. That is scientific speak for the assumptions or criteria needed to use these numbers have not been met. The report states this also but one has to read the report and understand the language.

    This is not about who gets to catch fish. This is about the how good the studies met the criteria. For 2007 ,as of today, they are still wondering if they can make an estimate because radio tagged fish behaved differently that untagged fish. This is a critical criteria for the results to be valid. At this point is looks like they are not valid for 2007. So the mark/recapture studies are not good for the Yentna. For the Sunshine side of the river the criteria are closer to being met and the results may be fine to use with qualification.

    The second reason one has to use caution in study results in the confidence intervals around a point estimate. As an estimate the confidence one has in that point estimate is important. For example if I said I am 95% certain that the fish entering the Susitna River was between 275000 and 325000 with a point estimate of 300000 one would probably feel pretty good about using the numbers. However, if I said the estimate, with 95% confidence was between 50,000 and 550,000 with a point estimate of 300000 one probably would wonder what to do with that range in making decisions. The latter example is closer to what the existing results are for the Susitna than the former. So the assumptions are not met and the estimates have wide ranges that the true number can fall into. Again, that is why I think these studies are not very useful.

    Relative to weirs - because the streams are small and easy to count the number of fish going into these systems is easy to estimate and the confidence in those counts is higher.

    On the genetic side of the equation the ability to classify a fish to river from which it spawned is dependent on the classification accuracy of the method. In the case of UCI the new techniques appear to do this very well with the exception of Yentna vs Susitna mainstem. So when a fish is classified to Yentna is may be a Susitna mainstem fish that misclassified. Second, the estimate of fish in the harvest depends on a representative sample of the fish harvested. This sampling issue is a major concern in studies like this and the results of the recent studies indicated that sampling issues are significant. I pointed out some of the issues in the previous post - one group of samples gives one result and another group of samples from the same time period gives a different answer. I might point out ADF&G is going to put out a correction sheet for some of the errors in the report.

    So Willphis4food - it is about science not allocation that I make my comments. Call them what you want but you and bigfisherman should read the reports not for what makes your case on allocation but how good are those study results. If you do not have the training to do that then listen carefully at the meeting for the words that qualify the results. I do not believe you will hear ADF&G say the Yentna mark/recapture studies are good to use in 2006.

    For the record, on Jan 6 2005 I met with ADF&G leadship in a meeting in Anchorage with other people from the public and voiced my concern that the mark/recapture studies would fail because in three previous attempts to do this in the drainage the studies failed. I was ignored along with some other biologist who said the same thing. Today we have spent over 1 million dollars on failed studies. To the valley people my comment is that you were not told the truth about the probability of failure of these studies and today you are paying the price. Sorry if Sport Fish Division did this to you but they failed to listen to those of us who had actually worked in the river.

    Also for the record, the studies done at Flathorn station in 2006 were total dropped in 2007 for the very reasons outlined by me in the 2005 meeting. I sensed an arrogance in the 2005 meeting so today I have no problem saying someone should be held accountable for the waste of this money.

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    Default beautiful answer

    Beautiful answer, Nerka, and thank you for helping me make my case. You will staunchly defame the newest studies, and prove to the Dept and Board of Fish that they are so flawed, they cannot be used to drive management decision. I do understand what makes the framework of good science, but thats not really why I'm upset. You've missed that point, by trying to prop your credentials and downgrade my education, as if that will prove that you're right. I am upset because in the 2005 meeting I sat before the board and listened to them claim empathy for our troubles on the Yentna, but refuse to take proactive steps to remedy the situation, saying that the studies would show them a course they could take in 2008. Now that the studies are complete, you will go before the board and repeat what you said here: the studies are a failure and cannot be used to manage by. Would you deny that? If that is indeed the writing on the wall, what is to keep the Board from repeating the actions of 2005? They said then they didn't have good enough science, now you are giving them perfect justification to say that again, and continue to do nothing.

    So maybe the pertinent question is this: what would you have the board do to direct management to achieve the three goals that they consistently miss? I'm afraid that all you'll have to say is that not enough studying has been done to show what can be done by the commercial fleet to pass more fish, that we really are getting enough salmon into the Yentna, because the sonar count is flawed, and because the valley's problem is only perceived and not real, no changes need be made in the central district commercial fisheries. Is that about the jist of it?

    I very highly doubt that you will ask the board of fisheries and ADF&G to get off their butts and get enough fish back into the valley to keep from closing sport and personal use fisheries. I don't think I'll hear you pointing out to them that we have had almost no sockeye fishery in the Yentna in this decade! Will you point out that the management of Fish Creek in the valley has NOT kept this run from a complete collapse?

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    Default I missed the point

    Quote Originally Posted by willphish4food View Post
    Beautiful answer, Nerka, and thank you for helping me make my case. You will staunchly defame the newest studies, and prove to the Dept and Board of Fish that they are so flawed, they cannot be used to drive management decision. I do understand what makes the framework of good science, but thats not really why I'm upset. You've missed that point, by trying to prop your credentials and downgrade my education, as if that will prove that you're right. I am upset because in the 2005 meeting I sat before the board and listened to them claim empathy for our troubles on the Yentna, but refuse to take proactive steps to remedy the situation, saying that the studies would show them a course they could take in 2008. Now that the studies are complete, you will go before the board and repeat what you said here: the studies are a failure and cannot be used to manage by. Would you deny that? If that is indeed the writing on the wall, what is to keep the Board from repeating the actions of 2005? They said then they didn't have good enough science, now you are giving them perfect justification to say that again, and continue to do nothing.

    So maybe the pertinent question is this: what would you have the board do to direct management to achieve the three goals that they consistently miss? I'm afraid that all you'll have to say is that not enough studying has been done to show what can be done by the commercial fleet to pass more fish, that we really are getting enough salmon into the Yentna, because the sonar count is flawed, and because the valley's problem is only perceived and not real, no changes need be made in the central district commercial fisheries. Is that about the jist of it?

    I very highly doubt that you will ask the board of fisheries and ADF&G to get off their butts and get enough fish back into the valley to keep from closing sport and personal use fisheries. I don't think I'll hear you pointing out to them that we have had almost no sockeye fishery in the Yentna in this decade! Will you point out that the management of Fish Creek in the valley has NOT kept this run from a complete collapse?
    Lets deal with the idea of background and understanding. I do not know you but from your comments you have indicated a lack of understanding of how mark/recapture studies work and the idea of confidence intervals. I am just trying to bring people up to date. If you understand those issues and refuse to recognize them then I do not know what to say.

    Relative to the studies they make the commercial fisherman's point if you believe them. They say that over 600,000 sockeye entered the Susitna River in 2006 (high estimate from the mark/recapture studies), the genetic studies say only about 40,000 fish were harvested (in 2006) and therefore if I was to say the studies are good and have a commercial fishing agenda I would say what is the problem. The exploitation rate is low and most of the run is going into the river. So willphis4food your comments about my bias are misplaced. If I was biased to the commercial fishery I would be using the study results. The fact is I do not believe them and believe that using them would put the resource at risk. I think you missed the point - not me.

    Relative to the fish populations to the valley here is my list of greatest threats

    1) northern pike - over half the sockeye lakes and a number of coho systems have pike and we have documented impacts on these stocks. A full out research program to reduce pike and rehabilate these systems is needed.

    2) beaver dams - if you look at the Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association web page and look at Shell Lake weir counts you will see that almost 30,000 fish moved pass the weir in a few days with nothing before that. Why - because CIAA went downstream and removed beaver dams. This needs to be done starting in 2008 for a number of systems - again a special funded program needs to be in place for the long term.

    3) research on lakes - weirs for adult and smolt counting need to be put on a number of systems to count fish and the production coming out of the lakes. The issue of production of sockeye by lake system is the only way to deal with differential production.

    4) escapement goals should be maintained to make sure any lake system that is on the verge of collaspe gets some escapement - even if this means larger escapements in some of the other systems like Shell Lake.

    5) ADF&G knows the situation and they do draw lines and restrict the fishery to get escapement into the system. As I have posted before the Susitna has less error in meeting the goals than any other system in UCI>

    6) Users in the valley need to take care of habitat issues - 50 foot buffers are a joke, there is little water quality testing in high density use area, and the list goes on. This needs to be dealt with - I am sure there are a number of streams with perched or improperly placed culverts -

    7) life history information on coho, chum, and pink salmon needs to be collected.

    These points are a good start to dealing with production issue in the valley. Interestingly I wrote these same recommendations up in 1988 for ADF&G (published report) and they were ignored by the headquarters staff. They were more interested in the allocation studies than in basic biology. Part of that is the responsibilty of the valley people since you tend to focus on allocation issues which is my number 8- people need to stop the allocation discussion and start talking about how to deal with the loss of production from numbers 1-7.

    So again willphis4food - your comment about me and wanting to trash studies from a commercial agenda does not stand up to the facts. If I wanted to make a commercial arguement I would love these studies.

  14. #14
    Mark
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    .....Relative to the fish populations to the valley here is my list of greatest threats

    1) northern pike - over half the sockeye lakes and a number of coho systems have pike and we have documented impacts on these stocks. A full out research program to reduce pike and rehabilate these systems is needed.....
    Research? What's to research? New ways to eradicate pike? Or new ways to politically deal with the death of sockeye populations in entire river systems?

    .....2) beaver dams - if you look at the Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association web page and look at Shell Lake weir counts you will see that almost 30,000 fish moved pass the weir in a few days with nothing before that. Why - because CIAA went downstream and removed beaver dams. This needs to be done starting in 2008 for a number of systems - again a special funded program needs to be in place for the long term.
    For once I find myself agreeing with you. This is occasion for rejoice.

    Yet, "removing beaver dams" ain't gonna' cut it. I've fought wars with beavers utilizing less-than-lethal methods.

    It doesn't work. The beaver must be thinned out.

    ...3) research on lakes - weirs for adult and smolt counting need to be put on a number of systems to count fish and the production coming out of the lakes. The issue of production of sockeye by lake system is the only way to deal with differential production........
    I agree, as long as there are no "determinations" as to why different lakes produce differently blurted out until they're established scientifically.

    4) escapement goals should be maintained to make sure any lake system that is on the verge of collaspe gets some escapement - even if this means larger escapements in some of the other systems like Shell Lake....
    Again, I agree.

    Of course, this means intensive management.

    5) ADF&G knows the situation and they do draw lines and restrict the fishery to get escapement into the system. As I have posted before the Susitna has less error in meeting the goals than any other system in UCI....
    If ADFG knows the situation, draws lines, and restricts the fishery to get escapement into the system, why is there a problem?

    6) Users in the valley need to take care of habitat issues - 50 foot buffers are a joke, there is little water quality testing in high density use area, and the list goes on. This needs to be dealt with - I am sure there are a number of streams with perched or improperly placed culverts -
    You have to be kidding, right? Culverts?

    Where?

    Look, Nerka, if the Kenai River can't be managed properly after all the effort put into it since statehood, the rest of the state is simply dust.

    There isn't a river system in Alaska that has the human pressure on it that the Kenai has. People cut marinas into the Kenai River system. That's the equivalent of new drainages.

    I don't want the Susitna to be what the Kenai is. And setting a whole new system of riverfront development standards is okay by me.

    But, after debating Kenai River issues with you over the past couple of years, and with you repeatedly telling me and everybody else that I'm unknowledgable, it's rather fascinating that you're telling me to not do what has already been done in your own beloved back yard.

    If you don't want us to develop along rivers (which are our highways), build us some other highways to develop along.

    7) life history information on coho, chum, and pink salmon needs to be collected.
    As a step 7 of a sockeye recovery program, I'd say "Okay" only because further research can't hurt.

    ......Interestingly I wrote these same recommendations up in 1988 for ADF&G (published report) and they were ignored by the headquarters staff....
    Do you think that may have been so because the Kenai River ate up all the UCI money/focus?

    ....They were more interested in the allocation studies than in basic biology.....
    Do you think that's because allocation is where the pull-politics is?

    ......Part of that is the responsibilty of the valley people since you tend to focus on allocation issues which is my number 8- people need to stop the allocation discussion and start talking about how to deal with the loss of production from numbers 1-7.......
    I think "allocation" has been an issue of UCI for a long, long, long time.

    Longer than statehood.

    I think too much UCI focus is consumed on the Kenai River.

    And that certainly isn't the fault of us "valley people".

  15. #15
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    Default two wrongs do not make a right

    Mark, the focus on the Kenai has been on allocation also - therefore the same problems come up. More money has been spent on allocation studies than on basic biology. The king salmon issue in the Kenai is a good example.

    Not being knowledgeable is not a sin - I only point out the myths that keep coming up in UCI allocation fights. Not trying to insult anyone but when people start using facts and figures that are incorrect or misleading I will speak out.

    The Kenai is no different than the valley - local interest are related to development and not fish protection. Local road ordiances do not take into account issues of fish passage and small tributary streams are the first to suffer. I am sure there are salmon streams in the valley that have perched culverts - however I used those only as an example. Again the political will to protect salmon habitat is not there in the valley or on the Kenai. The valley folks need to step up just like the Kenai folks. In fairness some organizations like the Kenai Watershed Forum is replacing and fixing culverts - local concern means some action.

    The comment about drawing lines was a reference to commercial fisheries management taking actions to reduce exploitation. ADF&G has been pretty good at it and as I said the Susitna issues are in-river and not over-harvest.

    Relative to Pike the comment was to develop control techniques. This is a new area of research. I have some ideas that may work if given a chance but again no one wants to listen. The Department and public is locked in a box and cannot think outside it. However, there are ways to control fish populations that involves thinking outside the box.

    At this point it really is up to the valley folks to get behind good research programs along the lines I suggested. Going to the Board of Fish and fighting over fish when production is on the way down will not produce one more fish. Your choice.

  16. #16

    Default Wou unto you that haven't watch the changes!!!!!!!!

    I have made every BOF meeting since the early 90's, there has been several different hypotheses since then and they have all tried to make the central district commercial fishing interest the most important salmon harvesting tool in the inlet. Between them and the dept. had established the escapement goal for the Kenai River at the mid 200,000 range for sockeye salmon. Anything above that would lead to total collapse of the returns! Since then the escapement goal has been raised by the Board of Fisheries the escapement goal least twice in the last 10 years and the upper end is now more than a million sockeye salmon. Board of Fisheries has lowered the Yentna River twice and Fish Creek once. The only thing that has happen is that commercial fishing interest have had four or five record or near record harvest with some of the lowest price in decades. This has lead directly to the Northern District sockeye salmon, missed its escapement goals on the Yentna River and Fish Creek. Check the emergency orders closing sport fishing for sockeye salmon in the Northern District. The Board of Fisheries went as far as lowering the Yentna River escape goal from 90,000 sockeye salmon to 75,000 when the preseason forecast is 4,000,000 or more sockeye salmon for the Kenai River. This allows the department to allegedly harvest enough sockeye salmon to prevent over escapement in the Kenai River.
    Now the department is picking and choosing what part of the sockeye genetics that they want and throwing out what they don’t to use. The Soldotna staff has already said that his old data is no good and the weir counts shows that the sonar that he has counted on for years is no good. He will have to figure out what he can do this subsistence summer. But he did say that he was going to have commercial opening on Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon. In _Palmer at the Mat Valley Advisory Committee, he said he new he would have to listen to the whining of the personal use dip netters. He also stated that Alaska Department of Fish and Game had been was screwing over the dip netters. He said the same thing a few days later at the Susitna Valley Advisory Committee meeting. His supervisor was seating next to him in Palmer and did not correct him. He stated at Susitna Valley Advisory Committee meeting if the Board of Fisheries change the definition of an “commercial opening or commercial fishing period” to twelve hours he will open commercial fishing for 11.5 hours and it can’t be classified as an opening. So much for following the plans laid out by the Board of Fisheries. I can go on put the truth is commercial fishing interest have controlled the fisheries in Cook Inlet for decades and they know that they are loosing control. They are putting up their last stand. The truth is within 10-15 years the people of Alaska will control the fisheries. We are trying work within current procedures. If we find that we can’t we will take to the voters of Alaska.

  17. #17
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    Default where are you coming from?

    Bigfisherman - your facts are just wrong.

    First, the Kenai escapement goals was set at 150,000 back in the late 60's and changed in the 70's to 300-5000 and then changed again to 400000 to 700000 in the 80's and then to 500000 to 800000 in the 90's as new information became available. These are spawning fish, not the inriver goal. The one million you cite is an OEG that tries to balance the harvest of Kenai fish with other stock concerns in UCI. That 1 million was established in 1999. Not sure what Board of Fish meetings you attended but your history is wrong. Also ADF&G never used the word collaspe in the discussions. It was about yield and lost yield as spawning escapements get higher.

    The goal for Susitna was 200000 in the 80's and 90's. The Yentna goal was made to assure that at least 200000 fish made it into the drainage and was set at 100000 to 150000. The goal was revised to 90000 to 160000 when the data set for Yentna became large enough to do so.

    Relative to comments about the sonar being not useful that is not correct. With time one can establish a relationship between the sonar and the weir counts and go forth. However, what the area biologist was saying was that the goal is to put 90000 to 160000 fish into the Yentna system and that has been happening with the new data - so when the sonar says 90000 there is probably fish in the system near the upper end or over it (based on the weir counts). That means he has made the goal and how that impacts his future management decisions is unreolved. He may have his opinion on how to do it but the management decisions in UCI are made with lots of input from others.

    Relative to the plans what he is saying is that the emergency order authority gives him total flexibility to change plans. The courts ruled on this as I have posted before. So trying to rewrite plans and limit him is a waste of time when he has escapement goal management. That is just a fact and if one wants to set better goals or different ones they must not be in conflict with escapement goal management.

    I also talked to him again about the pu comment. He said that he referenced in answer to a question " That is what the person in Palmer is whinning about" not all pu fisherman and specific to an individual proposal or comment. He did not say that ADF&G has been screwing the PU fisherman and bigfisherman I would be careful or making this types of statements. You could find yourselve in a court room.

  18. #18
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    Default very brief

    Nerka: Just out of curiousity; how much commercial fishing time was allowed in 2006 vs 2007? Wasn't the fishery throttled back greatly by Commissioner Campbell due to a very low preseason forecast in 2006? And in 2007, due to a higher preseason forecast, and inseason Kenai sonar counts, wasn't the commercial fishery open many more hours? You mention the mark recapture study shows many more fish returning to the Su than the sonar indicated in 2006. But Fox is also saying the sonar is flawed. Which is it? Is the sonar flawed, or is the mark recapture flawed? If the sonar is flawed, how can you say that the sonar proves that mark/recapture is flawed. You also mentioned an exploitation of 40,000 fish relative to the 600,000 the mark/recapture counted. Relative to the sonar, though, which extrapolates to around 200,000 fish to the Su/Yentna (I haven't looked again to be sure of that number), thats a much higher ratio than the 40,000 to 600,000 you point out. So you mention the exploitation rate in 2006 to show the flaws in the studies. Please help a dummy like my understand how a low exploitation rate in a year that was fished less differ from a high exploitation rate in a year that was fished to its max? Are you saying the rate was different, or the exploitation?

    Broken down to layman's terms: If I fish 10 hours in 2006 and catch 2 fish, I've caught one fish in 5 hours. If I fish 100 hours in 2007 and catch 20 fish, the rate is exactly the same, but in 2007 I caught 10 times as many fish. So while you can say the exploitation was lower in 2006, the numbers given also tell you the exploitation RATE was exactly the same.

    One more question: did you redefine "catch" between the two years, in my dummy example? If I have always defined it as fish landed and retained, up until the first year in my example, then change it to mean all fish hooked for my second year, then all the numbers previous are meaningless in relation to the new definition. If it were redefined or enumerated differently, I may have only caught 2 fish the second year, but hooked another 18, so under the new definition of "catch" I'd come up with 20 fish caught.

    If you claim that the sonar data is irrelevant, and go to the M/R or weir data solely, then the relationships between years cannot be determined. So management would have to go back to square one. Is that what you want?

  19. #19
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    Default try to answer

    First, the Bendix sonar counter and Didson sonar counter were used in the Yentna. The Didson recorded higher counts than the Bendix but that does not mean it is correct - just that one counting method is higher than the other. However, the weir counts in only a few lakes was closer to the Didson sonar counter which leads one to believe that the Didson counter may be less bias than the Bendix counter.

    The mark/recapture study results are 3-6 times higher than the weir counts so if they are correct one would have to ask where are those fish or is there a problem in meeting the assumptions of mark/recapture methods. The ADF&G has already said that they did not meet the assumptions and that for over half the season they could not even try to make an estimate. They call these number flawed.

    The methods used for mark/recapture in 2006 were different than in 2007 (radio tags used) and in 2007 the assumptions were again not met. There is also wide confidence intervals for the estimates meaning one really does not know the true escapement.

    The fishery closures and opening do impact how many fish are taken that are headed for the northern district but my point is that there are serious questions about sampling and error associated with that sampling. This is obvious if you look at the genetics report. In the rush to get it out they did not run all the samples or ask all the right questions. Therefore I would not use it for critical management decisions until those questions are asked. It needs to stay a research program for a few more years.

    However, to answer your question about 2006 and 2007 the fisheries were conducted differently and more fishing did take place in 2007 which could explain the lower exploitation rate. However, if you use the numbers for the weir and expand for systems not monitored (using the radio tagged fish) the overall exploitation rate is within acceptable levels in both years.

    At this point what I am saying to the ADF&G and the valley people is to refocus your efforts to supporting weir programs and the other points I have outlined earlier.

    Relative to using the Bendix or Didson sonar for inseason management that quesiton has not been answered. The sonar systems can be used as an index if thery are consistent from year to year - however it will take another 5-10 years to establish that relationship. That is why it is critical to have money to put weirs on as many systems as possible so that comparsion can be made. Repeating a mark/recapture study in the Yentna when this approach has failed not only in the last two years but numerous years before that is insane.

    If you read my post closely I am making a case for you at the BOF to be cautious with these stocks but not to focus on harvest and think that is going to solve your issues. It will not.

    In 1988 I wrote the following in a published document by ADF&G --Therefore it is recommended that a subsystem evaluation program consisting of counting of adult salmon and estimating freshwater juvenile salmon production be developed. The form of this program is envisioned to consist of weir, tower, hydroacoustic counting of adults, hydroacoustic enumeration of juveniles within the rearing lakes, and collection of associated limnological data.


    Further in the document I stated Preliminary evaluation of collected data has indicated technical difficulties with meeting assumptions associated with the mark/recapture population estimate technique. Therefore, it is recommended that a full evaluation of historical data be completed relative to the usefulness of fish whell mark/recapture techniques.

    I started pushing the above in 1985 and lost the debate. Money was tight as oil prices had crashed and some in the Department wanted to pursue mark/recapture studies. These same people won out in 2005 when again a number of us pointed out that mark/recapture studies would fail.

    I am only presenting this to show some of you in the valley that the local Soldotna staff had major concerns about the data coming from the Susitna and that we were willing and wanting to jump into those systems. We lost the debate. Also, the reason the Kenai studies on Skilak Lake went forward is that we live here and we could do the studies on our own time. I started the studies in Skilak Lake in 1985 with equipment purchased for another study in the inlet. The oil spills brought more money into the mix and the studies have gone on since. So when you look at the Kenai data and Susitna data the main reason for the difference is in large part due to the oil spill but more importantly the Soldotna staff went out and did the work on their own because th3y lived here and could do it without a budget.

    Hope this helps put things in perspective. I hear lots of negative comments about the Soldotna staff ignoring the Susitna or caring only about the Kenai - that is not true. Most of the discussion during a season is how to get Susitna fish through and the lack of data and stupidity of headquarters staff in not pushing the above program. Of course they do not live here or have any accountability for their actions. This latest go around the two major players pushing the mark/recapture studies have retired and one left the state.

  20. #20
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    Default thank you

    Thanks, Nerka, I appreciate this response. No name calling, questioning a guy's credentials, etc. I disagree on many of the points, but that's ok. You helped to clarify the issues, in a very well layed out manner. Thank you.

    With one year's weir data throwing a question to the validity of the sonar count, I hope that won't be used as impetus to throw out all of the accumulated sonar data from the Yentna, and not take management actions to help the problem. What it shows me is that more weirs would definitely help, which would cost the state money. Where should it come from? Sport fish division, responsible for up to 12,000 fish harvested in the two systems, Comfish, responsible for 159,000+ Susitna fish harvested in 2007, DNR, DEC, state budget surplus of 3 billion dollars in 2007, who should pay?

    Some of my questions in other posts would have been answered much better had the studies you requested in 1988 been implemented. We can speculate all we want about production in lakes, but we have little or no baseline data, and very poor current data to index current production in the major rearing areas to historic production. Yah, that is a huge problem! I agree completely with you on that.

    Our only major disagreement comes with the idea of limiting the use of the commercial fleet as the primary management tool to prevent overescaping the Kenai, because when that is done it takes more of the fish that actually are returning to the Susitna. I don't argue at all that the Soldotna office discusses the Susitna in great detail: when I have a sliver in my foot that I can't remove I discuss it quite a bit too. I even try to pull it out... however I first remove my sock and shoe, then press on it, and if that doesn't work, I get a needle and cut it out. In other words, I don't stop working at it until I get it out, and I take whatever means necessary to remove it.

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