Susitna River management in 2008
The reaction from the Board of Fish meeting prompted me to try and explain how I think ADF&G and the Board approached this issue. So here is my attempt to provide some perspective.
1. The Board recognized that sockeye production in the Susitna is lower than normal - they declared a stock of yield concern. This is not a biological concern yet because escapement goals are being met.
2. Relative to sockeye escapement goals the BOF recognized that the goal was 90-160k for the Yentna which would provide at least 200k for the drainage.
3. The BOF realized that the Bendix counter was undercounting significantly and cannot be used in the future to manage for the goals. It is like taking your blood pressure with a broken instrument. They need a new instrument - the Didson sonar may have similar problems as the Bendix.
4. The BOF said how will you manage for escapements and ADF&G responded by saying we will use the weirs to see how we are doing-- - inseason management is not really possible at this time using sonar. We will use catch rates and some type of fixed exploitation model - BOF help us define that model and the BOF did.
5. Given that inseason management is not useful the BOF helped define a fixed exploitation rate model which said manage the fisheries this way and lets see what happens. They kept the drift fleet restriction in place, they added one net to the Northern District, and they removed any closures in the sport fishery for the next three years.
6. The BOF made the fisheries operate within limits and ADF&G agreed. Given that there were over 100k fish available for harvest in the poor years from the last cycle this approach is not irresponsible.
7. ADF&G needs to do some things for the public to understand what is happening. They need to re-establish the goals for the Susitna based on information other than sonar - euphotic model, weir counts, ... They need to put in the Didson sonar and Bendix to establish a relationship for use with the historical data set. They need to keep evaluation of the Didson sonar program going and improve upon it with research on species apportionment. They need to get the public up to speed on what a fixed exploitation model means via press releases and public hearing. They need to tell the public that inseason sonar counts will not be reported as they may be misleading the public and creating expectations that are not real. They need to show that this issue with Susitna sonar is not widespread relative to Kenai - simulation models of error would help out here.
8. The valley residents need to be educated on the data sets and honestly told what worked and what did not work. The citizens of the valley need to be honest with other citizens of the State on what the real issues are - for example a higher allocation of coho is based on their needs - what are they - are they justifiable - what is the cost/benifit? The valley citizens need to accept that some of their preconceptions are wrong - otherwise they will be stuck in frustration when objective people look at the data - the BOF were very objective in this last meeting. The residents also need to keep the legislature out allocation- they can fund studies but getting them involved in allocation is a loser for everyone.
9. All UCI users should work to improve the BOF process.
I hope this helps people start to understand that the BOF actually did a good job of sorting out the issues - defining a course of action - and keeping ADF&G on tract to work with the issues. They did not sell out as some have said, they did not ignore the concerns of valley residents, and they did not say to ADF&G to stop research in the valley.
Nerka, fine post!!
I'll ask before anyone else, but what about fish creek? If so many reds are making it to the northern area, why has fish creek been so bad? Beavers? Pike? Something else?
You mentioned in one post that it is a smolt out-going problem and not primarily escapement. Would you link something so I can read up on that?
I have a feeling I'll know that reds are making it north when I can go to cottonwood creek and catch reds, when I can dipnet fishcreek, and when I can catch reds in the Yetna and some of my "secret" spots in the Knik. Till than I'll listen to experts like you and try to educate myself.
Thank you for all the time you put in on these forums. I appreciate it!
talk to CIAA
The best source of information on Fish Creek is the director of Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association. They have been doing the smolt studies and they can tell you the poor survival rates. They put lots of fish into the lake and they just do not survive. This year they are holding fish to smolt size for release to bypass the lake rearing environment.
I don' think that getting the legislature involved is a bad idea at all. Normally, when everybody loses, it is really good for the fishery.
The Board of Fish spent 12 days and countless hours before the meeting coming up to speed on UCI issues. The legislature has no idea what it is getting into if they jump in because one user group is upset over allocation. That is no way to run a billion dollar industry.
Originally Posted by T.R. Bauer
Just my thoughts.
Susitna drainage plan, not
Nerka your such a commercial fisherman lackey. Everything is about allocation to the Commercial fisherman and nothing about the fish stocks of the Yentna. The Northern water drainages are in trouble due to several factors,
1) The pike, right now we can help level the growth of pike in the system but it will be years before we can get a balance.
2) The philosophy that ADF&G has of ďscrew the northern districtĒ lets not let any more fish get into the Kenai once the escapement goals on the Kenai are reached.
Ask yourself these questions?
Are there more beaver than twenty years ago? No, this is BS argument. Throw a red herring out there that some idiot would have to believe.
Did all the sport fishermen that fish the Yentna and Susitna suddenly become terrible fishermen? Or are you saying the fish are there we just donít how to catch them.
Donít the majority of the people in Alaska population center deserve to have an opportunity to catch wild salmon, without travel hours to Kenai? Or is the 1600 +/- commercial fisherman deserve the fish more.
As far as Iím concern nothing got done for the Susitna / Yentna drainages, and nothing will ever get done until we remove the current main interest of the board of fisheries, from how we can get the maximum commercial harvest to how can we benefit the most people in Alaska.
Ya know your post might have been readable and possilbey come across as someone with a clue.................without the name calling. That made the rest of the post sound like a spoiled, crying little kid who didn't get what they wanted.
Nerka is not a shill for the commercial fleet. He says what most (I would think though JMO) ADF&G staffers would. The current thinking is always ALWAYS about escapement. It is a sound theory as we sure have lots of salmon. Even in your post I have no idea WHAT salmon you are talking about. Chums? Valley gets lots. Cohos? Valley gets plenty. The only one to discuss is reds, and I'm willing to let the state and BOF deal with it. I think even if they are mistaken or moving to slow that they are honorable people doing the best they can. You yourself even mentioned the pike....maybe they and not JUST commercial interception is the problem?
Back to Nerka, the guy gives stats. IF you don't like his data find better data. Since commfish has better data at the moment he uses that. Some people don't like what Nerka has to say, but overall I find him pretty balanced once you understand he believes in escapement management.
Benefiting the most . .
Is that Roland Maw, Nerka?
Originally Posted by Nerka
no it is not Roland Maw
The director of CIAA is Gary Fandrei - he is a biologist also. The number is 283-5761. He out this week but will be back next week. He also has extensive experience in the Susitna drainage.
I think you missed by talk at the Board of Fish meeting on why the northern district sockeye should be listed as a stock of concern for yield and possibly biological. I pointed out that in 10 years if we do not start to deal with all the variables in the system we could end up with threatened species or worse endangered species.
Originally Posted by SuYentna Dave
Relative to a commercial fisherman lacky I would also point out at the meeting I took exception to a number of commercial proposals on behalf of KAFC. We thought some of them were not correct - for example lowering the escapement goals for the Kenai, making a westside sockeye fishery, keeping the existing pink salmon plan, and putting into regulation fixed fishing times. Also, we stated that for the next three years sockeye salmon fishing in the northen district should not be restricted at all - you only catch 7000 fish and the runs can handle that harvest while we get a handle on stock status by lake system.
Relative to chum there is a loss of production but most experts feel it is an ocean issue but I and others agreed that ADF&G should do some work on chums in the drainage to make sure. I and ADF&G agreeded it was not a stock of concern because the commercial fishey catches have decreased by significantly by regulation.
Coho stocks appear to be healthy - there are lots of coho going into the drainage. However, the distribution of the sport fishing effort is what is at issue. It is concentrated in a few drainages and even with that the harvest is increasing while the effort is staying the same. ADF&G data not mine.
So you can think one thing but I would hope you stop venting on a personal level and provide some data. The pike issue is a good example - the data shows that over 50 lakes now have pike and we need to act on that - so far no one is trying to even deal with it.
I will refer you to Gary Fandrei at CIAA (282-5761) to discuss the growth of beaver dams in the drainage. I know from 20 years ago that the number of dams was much less than today but one has to fly the drainages to see that - limited to on ground observations is not giving you a big picture.
Hope this helps -
Just for clarification when I said no restrictions in the northern district sockeye fishery I was speaking of the sport fishery.
We supported the reduction of gear in the northen district commercial fishery - they could fish 3 nets on regular periods - now they can fish only one net at the end of July. That is a restrictions over what they had and of course ADF&G can take that away via EO
I am a whiny, spoiled child.
Here I was on my high horse telling someone not to call others names and called him names. Shame on me. Sometimes I'm an idiot.
Still my thoughts are the same I wish I hadn't called anyone any names though.
My apologies SuYetnaDave.
No one is convincing me they are going help the Susitna
No one is convincing me they are going help the Susitna
Yes Iím a little frustrated with the BOF process. All I here is blah, blah blah. Same old same old story.
Nothing is getting done, will there be any effort to get more fish into the Susitna to bolster the stocks, no. It will be the same old story with the commercial biologist concentrating on the Kenai and to hell with the Northern district
I have been able to see the difference in the drainage the last 24 years. And you can take it to the bank that the beaver population is lower now than twenty years ago. I just donít buy that argument. The Sockeye, Chum and Coho can survive in this drainage with the pike if we get the numbers of salmon up.
But as long as the biologist believes the system is getting plenty of Sockeye, the salmon stock will disappear. As long as the Susitna is tied to the escapement goals on the Kenai, our stock will continue to dwindle.
Iím here to say that Iím not against commercial fisherman, I benefited from commercial fishing for several years. I do have a problem with commercial use of fish in a distress area, just as was the case when the Yukon Chum crashed. It just doesnít make sense for me to see emergency closures of sport caught fish, when nets are still in the water. How are the 4000 -8000 sport caught fish going to achieve an escapement goal. I guess that goes into that category of educating the valley people.
There really is a concern for Susitna River stocks? Really? Even funnier: there really is a plan? I bet not.....
Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association met with the Commissioner of ADF&G to work out a cooperative study plan on the Susitna sockeye this past week. I understand that plan will include the study of 14 lakes to identifiy what the issue is in those lakes (not all lakes are the same as we know), to have a defined program to deal with fish passage issues, and to start the process of how to deal with pike. I also understand the political will is there to fund this approach over the next five years. I do not think anyone can say they bet there is no plan. CIAA has their approach out in published form.
Before one can fix an issue one has to know what exactly the issue is. Unlike some valley residents who think they know it is commercial interception there are other good minds who say no - some lakes have pike, others have blockage to migration, and in one lake we know the water depth is now 6 feet - down signficantly from previous years.
So lets give ADF&G and CIAA a chance to work on this and see if the money comes through.
Ok Nerka, There maybe a plan, but they have done a lot of talking about the Su, and like you said, they really have no idea what is going on, but something is. Is it the pike? Perhaps. Is it the beaver dams? Maybe. Is it overfishing? Beats me. I am not so much worried that there is no plan as I am concerned about the continued lack implementations to find out what is going on with the Su. I probably should have said that instead.