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Thread: The cynic's outlook on the BOF process

  1. #1
    Member willphish4food's Avatar
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    Default The cynic's outlook on the BOF process

    Well, I am cynical. I admit it. Years of status quo, despite all objections to the status quo, will do that to a guy. I've been to 3 BOF meetings now, being heavily involved in the process, from the AC level on up, so I have a history, albeit a short one, with the process. I lived in Wasilla, now in Willow, and have sportfished that area fanatically for more than 20 years. I have a history there.

    Now, the cynic. In 2005, I came to the board expecting there to be a dodge. We hoped for action, but expected a demand for more studies. (We got more studies.) Either by ADF&G, or BOF, or both. They don't want to deal with expanding populations in the valley and the professed need for more fish inriver. Well, they found it. We claimed that intercept fisheries are catching an uneven amount of fish destined for the valley, and restrictions to valley sport fisheries were the only active step being taken. The answer we received from the board, was that with the new Genetics study being initiated, the Board would have enough information to decide what actions to take at sea to move more fish into Valley rivers. They acknowledged a problem with Su/Yentna escapement, claimed insufficient data to spur action.

    Enter 2008. Genetics study completed. No excuse, right? Time to take action? Well, enter the dodge. First, throw out the genetics study, point out inconsistency in the data, also the data has not been analyed into August yet, where its still critical for management. That may not be enough. Dodge number 2. The sonar count in Yentna is undercounting, due to higher weir counts. Therefore, we really don't even have a problem with escapement, as many more fish are going past the sonar than what we actually count. Sounds great! Well, the cynic in me was vindicated. Dodge number 3. More studies will now be instituted, to find out what really is going on up there.

    Oh, for the record, the department knows sonars undercount. That is an established fact. Just look at the numbers. In '96 the sonar counted 90k or so sockeye, and the 1 weir they had in one lake in the system counted about 35k fish- nearly half the entire Yentna numbers, whereas it should have been about a tenth if the sonar was counting every fish. So this isn't new news at all- but it makes a great dodge when it comes to being held accountable to manage for escapement goals! What convenient timing....

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    Member fishNphysician's Avatar
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    Default

    OK will...

    Here's a bone they threw at the MatSu contingent. This came out of the Clarion.

    Proposal 140, passed.... clarifying that achieving the lower end of the sockeye salmon escapement goal in the Yentna River will take priority over any of the Kenai River sockeye salmon escapement goals;
    Didn't say anything about Yentna goals trumping any Kasilof overescapement issues.
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
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    Member willphish4food's Avatar
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    Default yippee!

    Yes, this is a bone. Too bad its a 6 year old or better bone thats all chewed up and stale. It was already in the management plan. Its ok though, I may be a small little bee without a very big sting, but maybe enough little bees and enough little stings in enough places will create enough discomfort to bring about some change.

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    Default

    Ok will, you have a fairly good gripe, BUT........

    you are talking about a chronically underfunded department that manages an area almost as large as the continental US of A. Do you think the Depts budget is the same as say, Cali, Wash, Oregon, Idaho?? I'd bet every SINGLE One has a higher budget for the fish and game dept.

    You mention that the dept KNOWS sonars undercount fish......in some systems but not in all, it depend on years of analyzing wiers vs sonar is the only way to know and even then it's an educated guess. (correct me there Nerka if I'm mistaken)

    Something WAS done, and can you say more studies AREN'T needed? They are essential to get a true baseline here. That genetic study was flawed, period. Was that bad? Yes, but there is no conspiricy here. People just failed.....and who hasen't? I'd be willing to bet dollars to donuts the people doing, organizing, and overseeing spending had no real working knowledge of genetics beyond what they learned in college years ago.

    Then add in the fact that proposals, and the BOF is a public process.......what do you want?

    It all comes back to funding. With more funding more studies, and sonars AND Wiers. With more funding more and better workers. (ie ADF&G is likely going on strike from what I hear as they haven't had a pay raise in over 4 years........and some management just voted themselves a 40% raise.) They love thier jobs, but c'mon. I know a couple people who mangage HUGE areas that had to learn on the fly b/c there is way more to the job than being able to ID salmon, and count them. However most entry level ADF&G people started out doing just that working as techs. I have a biology degree. I'm kinda smart. Does that mean I'd be a good area manager of the Y-K delta fishery? No way. I simply don't have the experienc to do so.
    The dept needs to be funded more. We have the Largest runs in the world. We have the largest area in the US. We have some of the most remote. The amount of money WE spend on this stuff is a joke. To expect perfection in this current state is not gonna happen.

    I hear you though!! I feel like there is some serious problems with the Su/yetna.........BUT THE SKY IS NOT FALLING. Those stocks won't disappear overnight. Keep doing what you are doing willfishforfood. Keep trying to inform people and discuss this stuff. Imagine if you were a staffer for 15 years, and everything you did got misused, misunderstood, or ignored or politisized.

    In short Willfish you did good this BOF cycle. You got a lot of people thinking, myself included. Maybe a BOF member reads this who knows? Please remember that many ordinary (or extrourdinary) alaskans read this. Without attemps and failures nothing EVER gets done. I thank you for what you did, I thank Nerka for the work he did and does. I thank Marcus for always giving his opinions. And Mark, and grampy, and Heck many, many others. Keep your chin up buddy.

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    Default WFFF and doctors.

    I heard an interesting piece on PBS tonight. It was how doctors think. In the discussion the author of the book ( a Harvard doctor) noted that doctors get anchored to a position and cannot see beyound it. That appears to me what WFFF is doing. He is anchored to the position that fish are not making it to the Susitna River. However, when data comes in that is contrary to that position he cannot pick up his anchor and move on. Instead, he makes reasons for why there is a dodge to use his words.

    The Department has requested evaluation of the sonars since 1985 as I have pointed out. However, that does not change the fact that the weir counts at this meeting showed that lots more fish went into the system than the sonar counted.

    Relative to genetics the data showed in 2 out of 3 years, even correcting for error, that the drift harvest was lower than thought and that in the third year escapement goals were met.

    Tagging studies showed that coho and chum salmon stocks are not exploited at above 10% in the commercial fisheries.

    So WFFF pick up the anchor and move on to dealing with the real issues in the valley. The Mat/Su habitat partnership is a good starting point. They have outlined real things that will produce fish. If you need a reference to their report I can get one for you.

    Next, make sure the Department studies are done to high scientific standards. That was a problem with the mark/recapture work - outside experts were ignored when they should have been consulted. ADF&G can and should improve its quality control programs. That is something we all can work to achieve.

    Finally, it would be good for all of us to work to improve the BOF process. Reports should be out months before the meeting and people allowed to comment on them from a scientific position. Work sessions would help people understand some of the issues and how far one should use the data.

    WFFF - do not forget that we are all in this to make sure the resource is here for future generations. I do not believe that the BOF did anything to keep that from happening.

  6. #6
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    Default How doctors think....

    (Well, at least how THIS doctor thinks.)

    We all heard a lot of discussion about depressed Mat-Su stocks, and allegations of how meeting the Kenai-Kasilof goals constrains the ability to meet Yentna goals. But what are mangers to do? They can't just let all those Kenai fish go by unharvested, can they?

    Virtually all of the emphasis on preventing Kenai overescapement is focused on liberalizing the sockeye harvest in the Inlet. And as many have alleged, it happens to the detriment of stocks in the Northern District.

    Instead of relying solely on the gillnet fleet in the Inlet, what about using more of the untapped in-river harvest capacity to minimize the dreaded risk of Kenai overescapement. This is a readily available and grossly under-utilized "tool" to pull out of the management toolbox. The beauty of it is that significant harvests of surplus Kenai fish can be achieved with ZERO impact to northern stocks. Harvest effeciency may not be quite on par with commercial gillnets, but at least this option is 100% selective for Kenai stock.

    What exactly do I have in mind?

    How about doubling and tripling of PU limits by EO? 50 fish per head of household and 20 for each family member. Do I hear 75 and 30?

    How about doing likewise with daily bag limits in the sport fishery, with double the daily bag in the possession limit to maximize an angler's weekend take.... 12 per day and 24 in possession. Do I hear 18 per day and 36 in possession?

    Similar things were proposed for Kasilof, but detractors argued there was neither the infrastructure/access/efficiency/participation in the fishery to make any meaningful difference. Those are ALL non-issues on the Kenai. In-river users on the Kenai are the backbone of a mighty sockeye-killing machine. When sockeye swarm the lower river "en masse", individual in-river harvests of this magnitude are a slam dunk. Imagine what the cumulative effect of all participants might be.

    Why not use the departments EO authority to take greater advantage of this underutilized management tool?
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
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    Talking Nothing special . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    How doctors think....(Well, at least how THIS doctor thinks.) . . .

    "Doctors" think just like everyone else, Francis—in terms of their presuppositions and self-interests. . .

    No special grace attached to an M.D. that I know of. . .


  8. #8

    Default PU limits

    Doc,

    Thanks for taking a step out of the box and looking for a reasonable solution. I do have to say, however that as a family who eats a lot of fish, my family rarely takes our PU limit as it is. Presently my limit is 55. That makes 110 meals, and then add halibut and sport caught kings and there is plenty of fish to take care of our needs and desires.

    By doubling the PU limit, I see an open door for PU waste, PU exploitation through barter or sale and so on. As it is, I believe that a good portion (add your own definition here) of Kenai and Kasilof river PU sockeye are ending up in personal canning factories and on a one-way trip south to market. I remember reading a post from someone in your area about a sign along side the road advertising Alaska salmon for sale... maybe commercially caught, but maybe caught by a PU fisherman.

    Though I apprecaite your willingness to offer up alternatives and certainly enjoy your advocacy of sport fishing, I don't think that I would stand behind the idea of doubling or tripling the PU limits.

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    Wink Possum in the woodpile. .

    Quote Originally Posted by alaskanfishguides View Post
    Doc, Thanks for taking a step out of the box and looking for a reasonable solution. . . . .
    Though I apprecaite your willingness to offer up alternatives and certainly enjoy your advocacy of sport fishing, I don't think that I would stand behind the idea of doubling or tripling the PU limits.
    Nor would I stand behind such a notion. If anything, limits are on the high side of reasonable now, and raising them further would be an invitation to sheer, gluttonous waste.

    Nor do I think Francis's idea anywhere near a "reasonable" solution. There's a possum hiding in that woodpile. It is, as I see it, just one more excuse to put more reds and the kings that run with them in the river for the fun and amusement of the fishNobsession crowd. .


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    Quote Originally Posted by alaskanfishguides View Post
    Though I apprecaite your willingness to offer up alternatives and certainly enjoy your advocacy of sport fishing, I don't think that I would stand behind the idea of doubling or tripling the PU limits.
    Look, I'm not a huge fan of harvest simply for the sake of harvest, only to have the PU fish wasted or the privilege abused. But we all keep hearing the outcry against irresponsibly overescaping the mighty Kenai. It almost sounds like an all-out jihad against surplus sockeye is warranted to rescue the Kenai from impending doom.

    Would you have similar concerns for liberalizing Kenai sport harvests when the threat of overescapement rears its ugly head?

    Just trying to flesh out the extent folks would be willing to utilize other avenues of responsibly cropping the Kenai escapement down to MSY. I'm sure the Mat-Su folks would appreciate any management options that would help to minimize interception of their depleted sockeye stocks.
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
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    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    . . I'm sure the Mat-Su folks would appreciate any management options that would help to minimize interception of their depleted sockeye stocks.

    . . .

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    Don't worry Marcus....

    My irrational ideas won't pose a threat for another three years.
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
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    The KeenEye MD

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    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    Don't worry Marcus....

    My irrational ideas won't pose a threat for another three years.
    Nor mine either, Francis. .

    Hope you have a good summer while you're here.

    Peace. .


  14. #14

    Default Kings

    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    Look, I'm not a huge fan of harvest simply for the sake of harvest, only to have the PU fish wasted or the privilege abused. But we all keep hearing the outcry against irresponsibly overescaping the mighty Kenai. It almost sounds like an all-out jihad against surplus sockeye is warranted to rescue the Kenai from impending doom.

    Would you have similar concerns for liberalizing Kenai sport harvests when the threat of overescapement rears its ugly head?

    Just trying to flesh out the extent folks would be willing to utilize other avenues of responsibly cropping the Kenai escapement down to MSY. I'm sure the Mat-Su folks would appreciate any management options that would help to minimize interception of their depleted sockeye stocks.
    Again, I sincerely appreciate your thinking outside the box. I must also say that I appreciate the civil and sometimes friendly bantering between "John" and "Francis" and find it entertaining, if not educational.

    To answer your question regarding a threat of overescaping Kings, I don't beleive that the kings are being targeted by the personal canneries for export and sale. First of all, they are not as abundant but also the taking of which is much more closely watch and monitored by the authorities (i.e. sampling scales and measurements at the launches, and the F&G boat that is constantly (if not recklessly at times) running up and down the river counting rods, boats and people. The sockeye fishery is rarely monitored for sport, non-commercial harvest. I was pleased, however to read about the citations issued last year in the police blotters regarding the PU abuses, however none really addressed the personal (commercial) cannery operations. So, if the rules were liberalized for king harvest by sport fishermen, I would not necessarily be opposed because I don't see a gluttonous type of abuse like seen in the sockeye fishery. Likewise, with a 5 king limit per person per year for all of Cook Inlet (of course an additional king is allowed for the dippers), I can hardly see that this opens the door for taking more than what is reasonable for consumption. I suppose the argument could be made, however simply from an economic perspective, it is not likely the avenue I would take if I were interested in getting as much meat as I could... The sockeye fishery is way more effective for producing meat through PU and practically unlimited rod/reel fishing.

    I hope my babbling makes some sense...

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    AKFG

    I think you misunderstood my last post. I am not talking about "overescaping" kings at all.... only sockeye.

    How far would folks be willing to push the existing in-river sockeye harvesting machine on the Kenai (the sportfishery and/or the PU fishery) to help out with the overescapement problem.

    Do we really want to put all that "conservation" burden on the shoulders of the gillnet fleet every time an enormous Kenai sockeye return materializes in Cook Inlet?
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
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    The KeenEye MD

  16. #16

    Default Yes, my mistake

    oops,

    I did unintentionally read "kings" into your previous post.

    I don't know what the answer is regarding managing the overabundance of sockeye in particular. I know legislatively, and constitutionally, the sockeye are managed for a commercial harvest and the sport fishers get the left overs whereas the kings are supposed to be managed for the sport fishing. The issue is where the two intersect, like July!

    I don't know of a more effective way to manage the sockeye than the gill nets. I am sure there is something, I just don't know... I still appreciate your efforts to think out of the box and seek a reasonable solution (as much as John would like to believe that you are unreasonable)...

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    Wink I'm hurt. . .

    Quote Originally Posted by alaskanfishguides View Post
    . . I still appreciate your efforts to think out of the box and seek a reasonable solution (as much as John would like to believe that you are unreasonable)...
    Not so, not so, akfishguides. I believe Francis is very reasonable. . it's the reasons behind his reasonableness at which I look askance. .


  18. #18

    Default ooops again

    Sorry for the pain John... :P No harm intended...

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    Smile Spring fever. .

    Quote Originally Posted by alaskanfishguides View Post
    Sorry for the pain John... :P No harm intended...
    Just having some fun. . the warmer weather's got me all excited. .

    Hope you have a good year too. .

  20. #20

    Default Yea... that

    Yea, that's what we can blame it on... however I showed a 35 degree drop in temperature last night...

    May cannot get here soon enough....

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