More proposals that passed...
BOF tackles surplus sockeye
Board of Fish meetings continue in Anchorage
Proposal 83 remained the hot issue at Sunday's meeting of the Alaska Board of Fisheries in Anchorage.
Board members passed the proposal by a 5-1 vote with one board member, Larry Edfelt, excused due to illness.
The goal of proposal 83 is to address the surplus of sockeye salmon seen in recent years by
extending the commercial season from Aug. 10 to Aug. 15.
Runs are expected to be one or two days late, but in 2006, the sockeye run was nine days late.
"It is a pattern that's developed," said board member Mel Morris. "We're getting later runs and a big percentage of the fish are coming through late."
Drift netters currently have four periods during that week to fish for pink salmon, a fish with less economic value than other salmon types, in a designated area of the Central District. The proposal replaced these four periods with two periods of fishing throughout the entire district in 2008 and one period in 2009 and 2010.
"My overarching concern is trying to get the over escapements down and this would give the (Department of Fish and Game) a couple more tools ... to try to keep the over escapement in check," said board member John Jensen.
Sport fishers tend to disagree with the board ruling, believing that the additional days that commercial fishers are allowed to spend in the entire inlet will effect coho salmon populations in the northern district, which includes the Susitna River, as well on the west side of the central district, which includes the Kasilof and Kenai rivers.
The west side has a major economic draw due to sport fishermen who fly to that side of the inlet to catch coho salmon in those streams.
"We should be very careful about what we do to impact the coho populations," said Howard Delo, the only board member to vote 'no' on the proposal.
In addition to 83, the board passed eight proposals on Sunday, including:
* Proposal 98, restricts drift gillnet use in the Cook Inlet's upper subdistrict;
* Proposal 102, allowing the use of single-strand gillnet gear in place of multi-strand gear;
* Proposal 107, allowing up to 200 fathoms of drift gillnet gear and allowing joint ventures;
* Proposal 331, closing Alexander Creek to king salmon fishing;
* Proposal 348, extending the waters open to king fishing near Eklutna Tailrace with some substitute language;
* Proposal 350, establishing a spawning closure and decreasing the bag limit for burbot in Big Lake from five to two per day;
* Proposal 354, allowing up to five lines when ice fishing for northern pike in Northern Cook Inlet; and
* Proposal 358, opening a personal use salmon fishery in the Beluga area.
The board is expected to complete decisions on proposals dealing with Kenai and Kasilof salmon sport fisheries as well as those that concern Northern District salmon management plans.
Hannahlee Allers can be reached at email@example.com.
"Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone."
The KeenEye MD
ready to quit
I'm so sick of this I can't even puke. I'm ready to quit. Where to start?
-How bout Northern District Salmon Management plan- when asked about it, Soldotna biologist responds that its sort of there. No regard to the stipulation there that the Northern District be managed primarily for sport use of coho. No mention of the fact that commercial fisheries that catch a majority of coho cannot be opened in the Northern District.
-Stock of yield concern issued for Susitna/Yentna sockeye, and then expand Northern District sockeye by a week longer in August.
-Area biologist testifies that of the documented king fisheries in the valley, over half either failed or barely met minimum escapement objectives. In addition, the Theodore sport fishery for kings has been reduced by over 50% to try to save failing runs. So the board INCREASES by 25-40%, depending on the year, fishing time in a concentrated set net fishery that targets Susitna and Theodore, Alexander, and other west side kings. Oh, and king returns in the Deshka have fallen from over 50k past the weir to under 18k, sport fish will be reduced this year, and we are taking all efforts in the sport fishery to keep from underescaping. But lets add 15 days to the front end of the salt watery fishery.
-CLOSED all sport fishing for kings in Alexander Creek, citing pike predation. The Valley delegation worked very hard with the department to develop a plan that would allow limited sport fishing. But that was shot down, and complete closure instituted. However, see last bullet point.
-Departments action plan to address yield concern- limit northern district setnets instead of closing them, and continue closing sport fisheries and reducing limits. Do nothing to the Central District to pass fish through the inlet.
-Hear testimony from Soldotna's biologist regarding coho and chinook populations in the Valley, while the Palmer biologist sits in the audience. Then override the Palmer office's concerns in favor of the Soldotna offices favorable outlook.
-On the Mat Valley AC's proposal to roll back the BOF's actions in 2005, so that more fish can pass through the entire area... "This is allocative, as it would take fish away from sport fishermen in the valley and give them back to commercial." This board member was so lost, that they had the allocation implications 180* wrong, and no other board member questioned it! Is it total apathy, or just toward residents of the Mat VAlley?
sick, sick, sick
WFFF - not as bad as you make it out
The Board is not doing what WFFF implies. Lets take the main points.
1. Susitna/Yentna sockeye salmon - the stock of concern for yield, not biological, was made to get over 5 million dollars in funding to continue studies in the drainage. Also, with a yield concern the Board indicated that the goals were being met given the sonar was not counting correctly. The Department still retains E.O authority to close the northern district if escapements are not being met.
2. Northern District chinook - contrary to the area biologist claims the chinook populations are healthy in the valley. This biologist from Palmer contradicted himself so many times the Board lost confidence in what he was saying. He did indicate the total return of chinook to Susitna was probably between 150-200k fish and that an additional period in the northern district would catch maybe 1-2k. Hardly a conservation concern. Also, he claimed conservation reasons and then presented data showing aerial surveys were 6 fish short of one goal he claimed a conservatiton concern on. No wonder no one listen to him
3. Coho - the coho harvest in the valley has been increasing every year and the Board saw that there was no reason to limit people when all the fisheries were growing. The valley folks who called wolf too often lost any chance when data did not support their view.
However, even with the above the Board has not made any major changes to the management of UCI - yet - two more days will tell the real story.
WFFF - if your expectations are based on perception rather than data then you will lose the debate. No reason to get sick - more of a wake up call to read more and pay attention to those Soldotna biologist who know the data rather than the one in the valley who does not.
Thank you for supporting my points. To anyone reading this... this is a replay of what I've listened to the last week and a half. Point #1. No action to pass more fish to valley streams, but we do get more studies. WOOOHHOOOO!!! I'm figuring out how best to fish for weirs and/or college interns.
Originally Posted by Nerka
Point #2 (and five, my "expectations based on perception rather than data": Data: Weir counts for chinook on the Deshka, see 5 year curve. 2006 flood: Zero spawning recruitment for the entire Susitna drainage. The populations that are so "healthy" are trending downward, and we have zero 1 ocean fish returning this year. No 2 ocean fish in 09. No 3 ocean fish in '10. No board action on chinook till spring of '11. So why should I be concerned about Valley chinook and use a precautionary management approach?
Point #3: Coho. Biological concern causes Department Fish and Game to oppose raising bag limits on coho in the Valley streams. Its in their published comments, Nerka. What is it? Are we crying wolf? The department agrees. Yet Board votes to increase commercial seasons on Northern District streams, and expand fishing in the Central District that intercepts Northern bound coho.
Yup, the guy in Soldotna reading the data collected by the guy in Palmer is definitely more of an authority on conditions on the ground than the guy who was on the ground collecting the data. DANG, I'm so dumb! Why didn't I see that?
WFFF, any updates on anything passed or denied this morning?
I didn't see any sweeping changes to the votes this morning. With the 7th member absent, it creates the need of a super majority to pass anything. 4-2 vote. So the lines are pretty evenly drawn. Morris and Jensen are opposed to any restrictions on drift fisheries, split on restricting or liberalizing setnet, and Williams usually votes with them. At this point in the process it seems that eyes are glazed over; board members know what their vote is before deliberation begins, so all the discussion is just sliding off. So anything that would have helped passage of fish through the central district failed. Now deliberating on Kenai River drift and motor proposals. I don't have a dog in that fight, so I'm taking a break.
I just left, all the Kenai drift proposals went down easily.
By "went down" do you mean shot down?
Hey Yukon, I read something in the Peninsula clarion about bait being allowed in May and June, can you shed any light on that one?
No added drift days on the Kenai. It went down 6-0.
ADF&G will still EO bait, but the big change is that instead of projecting over 9000 fish all they have to do is project between 5400 and 9000 fish. I would assume bait in late May, for sure early June.
WFFF - again you are over-reacting and here is why.
Originally Posted by willphish4food
One, the sockeye goals are being met - E.O authority still exist and for sockeye the Norhern District harvest is 7000 fish. It is unlikely that any closure will take place in the sport fishery. So the big concern about valley sockeye fishery is gone - they probably will not close with the new weir counts.
Two - chinook for one year is not an issue. The commercial fishery is for a number of stocks and regulations are written for the norm with E.O. authority to deal with stream specific issues. Again, a few hundred chinook will not make or break the run. You make it sound like the BOF opened everything up without any caution. That is not true. They added one period.
Three - coho salmon are not a stock of concern and the valley fishery has been growing - that is why ADF&G left the two fish bag limit. To reduce exploitation rates within the drainage on specific stocks. If the fishery was not growing they probably would have gone to 3 fish. ADF&G sport fish does not like to write e.o's so being conservative makes their life easier. If the whole commercial fishery was closed the coho run would increase by 10% - given 1 million fish are headed north and only 40-50k are harvested by the sport fishery it makes no sense to me to have a 2 fish bag limit unless you do not want to manage the fishery.
Four - the skill of the Palmer staff is questionable Remember the closures last year on sockeye - staff estimated a total return of 64k when on the day the e.o was issued the return was 64k and weeks to go in the run - or the coho closures and then reopening - or the comments about pike not being an issue for sockeye that everyone says is wrong (Red Shirt Lake ring a bell), or the comment that chinook goals are not being met and the data shows that the counts are within a few fish of the maximum sustained yield goals or SEG goals. How about the comment sport fisheries are not doing well in the valley and then the data shows they are growing or the comment effort is increasing and the data shows it is stable. Do I need to go on? The Sport Fish staff has done a terrible job of providing good information to the Board and the Board members know it - in these cases they turn to people who give them good data. By the way the data is not from the guy in Palmer it is from Statewide harvest surveys from Anchorage or weir counts by CIAA. The Palmer staff spent over 1 million dollars on a failed mark/recapture study and the Sport Fish staff ignored the advice of those who had worked in the drainage and told them the reason they would fail. So at this point I will take the Soldotna staff opinion any day over the Palmer staff. I think the Board agrees with my position and it is not about allocation from the valley - it is about truth in the process.
We agree on that, Nerka. It is about truth in the process. Where we disagree is on who is telling the truth.
Originally Posted by Nerka
On a side note, let me ask you this. Lets say a legislature was asked to pass legislation concerning logging permits in the valley. Lets say he owns a small sawmill that adds about 20% to his income each year, and he gets his lumber from a variety of sources around the state, only some of which come from the valley. Would he have a conflict of interest in this issue, even if he states it wouldn't have a quantifiable, direct affect on the amount of income he makes from his venture?