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Thread: Sounds better

  1. #1

    Default Sounds better

    Just read over this news post:

    http://www.peninsulaclarion.com/stor...ews_4576.shtml


    I liked most of what I read and believed what G. Gabriel said about the board would benefit from having a member with a professional background who served in an advisory position "someone with higher education would be able to analyze the data board members receive and provide clarification if it's needed." is a good idea. Seems to me this is a more common sense approach to the composition of the Board of Fisheries.

    Any thoughts?
    Marc Theiler

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    Do not be fooled as this is the way that the BOF membership is made up currently.

    ADF&G upper brass, law, and regional ADF&G staff are on hand whenever their area has a proposal before the BOF.

    What presents the biggest problem (as I see it) is that ADF&G is divided into a commercial division and a sport fish division. The two seldom seem to work together when proposals are before the BOF and that is clearly evident in a Upper Cook Inlet BOF meeting.

    Board of Fish members are more savvy than most are giving them credit for. Still, I personally would like to have a set number of seats allotted to commercial, sportfish, PU, and subsistence. This would try to keep the make up of the Board more even but still politics will come into play before the Board nominees are finalized.

  3. #3

    Default Yeah

    Yeah, I agree politics will come into play. I am sick of it, how hard is it to find good, honest men that want the best for all, think critically and remain objective to the greater good and environment? Is this even possible today in America?


    I don't think the BOF can deal with subsistence since it's federal, can it?
    Marc Theiler

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    Member MRFISH's Avatar
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    Default

    I don't necessarily agree with having seats "designated" for a user type. It may sound good, on face value, but I think all the members (while each may bring certain points of view to the table) should be well-rounded with a good understanding of all aspects. I think it's just up to the Gov to appoint and the Legislature to confirm good individials and a "balanced" Board (as the process is, now).

    What's balanced? That depends on who you ask.

    And, there is a whole lot of subsistence fishing in the State, under State management. Strange comments in the Clarion article.

    Art.

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    Default I love user groups

    I just love user groups looking out for their self interest to the detriment of the citizens of the State of Alaska. Instead of having real discussions on how to make the BOF better we get political hype from Senators running for re-election, under the umbrella of making the BOF fair. What a joke.

    First, who says user groups should have a say at all? I submitt that the self-interest makes the BOF more political. Maybe the BOF should be made up of individuals who have abilities in areas like economics, biology, ecosystem management, environement law, civil law, business, human resources, innovators, etc. These individuals would be charged with making decisions based on information and they would have the ability to understand it. They would have their own staff to research information and check information prior to a meeting. They would be able to meet in workshops and non-regulatory meetings to understand the fisheries they must regulate. Maybe they would be full time employees of the State - after all it is a billion dollar industry. I maintain that no business in this country that controls one billion dollar of income would be run by a part time Board without a technical staff or executive director who has expetise in the field.

    No, we get user groups trying to get an advantage - it come across loud and clear that the users really like the politics - they just do not like it when they are not in power.

    Also, until someone can prove that the past BOF made any decision that is not defendable with the data on hand I would keep my mouth shut - it just shows ignorance.

    Iceblue - ADF&G under one division would just be a dictatorship for one user group if you think politics enters the process now. That would fix nothing. I also disagree with your assumption that divisions which disagree are bad - in my experience it keeps everyone honest in the long run. However, I do not agree that at the local level politics plays much of a role. My experience is that the local staff communicate very well and there is a good exchange of information.

    There are a number of ways to make the BOF process better but the likes of Senator Green are not interested. She is pandering to her citizens in the valley in a re-election year. I would hope people would see through that but I guess not given some comments on this in the article and from the legislature.

    Heck, in the public hearing some of the committee members referenced that the BOF was already set up this way - one said Juneau had the sport fish seat. Nothing could be further from the truth but that individual did not take the time to do any homework on the subject.

  6. #6
    Member willphish4food's Avatar
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    Default a different animal

    The bill as described here is a different animal than the one originally submitted by Sen. Green. It originally asked for 9 seats, with a 3, 3, 3 split. Taking away two seats, one each from sport fish and com fish, but leaving 3 PU seats, could result in a gridlocked board on a ton of issues. One thing this would be certain to do, is cause commercial fishing interests to take a back seat to sport fishing and personal use fishing. They need 4 votes to pass anything, so would need 2 more votes from sportfishing and pu reps. PU proposals would only need 1 extra vote to pass, and sport fish have an ally in most PU fishermen, so getting 2 votes from the 3 PU reps would be pretty easy. The time for this sort of dynamic may be here for the Cook Inlet, but elsewhere in the state it could be disastrous.

    This tweaking of the board may or may not work; Nerka, I think your idea of a full blown regulatory body, fully staffed and paid, working under the public eye, is a great idea. Where we disagree, is in our assessments of the current board's decisions. Thats all been well hashed out in other posts!

    One thing I would really like to see addressed, is the ethical responsibilities of board members. The Board Chair should not have ruled on ANY Cook Inlet salmon proposals. Period. Under Federal Ethics guidelines, and state legislative ethics guidelines, he would NOT have been allowed to participate. This is akin to asking a legislator who owns a halibut charter booking business to submit or vote on legislation either increasing or decreasing the number of clients he can book, or the number of halibut that can be caught. He may be able to make a fair and unbiased decision based solely on fact, but there would always be a taint on the legislation because of his personal interest in the outcome.

    I don't know how to solve this. At this meeting, there was a representative from the State Law office, but he didn't raise the above point at all. The chair tried to use his position as chair to dismiss the Valley rep, a retired Fish and Game hatchery biologist, because of a very vague commercial tie. The rest of the board voted 3-1 to keep him on board. At the same time, he left himself on the board, even though he owns a business that sells Cook Inlet caught salmon for processors and fishermen. He testified at a meeting in April that this business is responsible for 20% of his income, so therefore is not a "significant" part of his income. Well, the season lasts roughly 3 months. So he makes 1/5 of his annual income in 1/4 of the year. Add in dividend checks and investment income, and this is his full time job in the summer.

    When asked to make decisions to reduce the number of salmon available to Cook Inlet processors through commercial fishermen, he voted no. When voting to increase the possible supply, he voted yes. He stated to the Daily News that it was unconscionable that 1/2 a million "excess" reds were allowed to escape into the Kenai. Coincidence? It very well could be. But there will always be a very strong taint to his voting record, because of his personal involvement in the industry.

    The stink still rises- he was reappointed by our governor. He may not be approved by the legislature, but thats a long shot. Who is overseeing the process?

    Somebody has to make the board accountable... no matter how we tweak it, if they are not held to the same ethical standard as members of our government, nothing will change. As Nerka stated, fishing in Alaska is at least a billion dollar industry. Not just commercial: sport fishing is $350 million by itself (USFWS survey).

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    WFFF I understand your frustration and I favor your point of view on most of these issues that are posted on this forum however the attack on Mr Morris was out of line. If Mel would have been conflicted out we would of been down to five BOF members voting on the issues which is not good either. Mel also has been on the Board the longest of the current members and he was allowed to vote in his previous two Cook Inlet BOF meetings so what really changed since then?...I believe that Mel did what he had to do based on the information given to him at the UCI BOF meeting. I also believe that Mel is one of the good guys. No, he has not voted on every proposal the way I wished that he would of but say what you will he is honest, fair, and understands the process better than most. In fact I will be going down to the L.I.O. office here in Kenai and testifying on his behalf today in hopes that he does get reappointed to the BOF.
    Your anger should be aimed a little higher than the BOF members themselves. Wasn't it interesting that when the issues of Nothern District coho came before the board that the regional sportfish biologist for the Northern District was not premitted to say anything of value and that in fact it was the Kenai area comm. fish biologist who spoke? This person was also purposely vague in his comments about the real impact of extending commercial time to August 15 from the current August 10 timeframe and about how many additional coho would be harvested. Don't believe me? Think back to what he said and how it was said. Things like that really make one wonder.

    Thinking more on it I have to admit that I also agree with what Mr. Fish had to say in his last post. I think that no matter how the makeup on the BOF is formulated we will always have to rely on the individual members to keep things as "fair" as possible. That is the way our system is set up and like it or not I do not see it changing anytime in the near future.

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    Default not true iceblue

    [quote=iceblue;232545].
    Your anger should be aimed a little higher than the BOF members themselves. Wasn't it interesting that when the issues of Nothern District coho came before the board that the regional sportfish biologist for the Northern District was not premitted to say anything of value and that in fact it was the Kenai area comm. fish biologist who spoke? This person was also purposely vague in his comments about the real impact of extending commercial time to August 15 from the current August 10 timeframe and about how many additional coho would be harvested. Don't believe me? Think back to what he said and how it was said. Things like that really make one wonder.

    quote]

    Iceblue you just told WFFF not to take Mel on and then attack the local commercial fisheries biologist. First, the northern district biologist spoke in the committee meetings ( I was in all of the commercial ones). What happened is he did not prepare materials for deliberations that the comm fish biologist had prepared. Every piece of information that was an RC with figures on the coho catch was reviewed by sport fish division.

    Second, the ADF&G reports showed the PIT tag results and that was from a published report.

    Relative to extension of the commercial fishery to August 15th I was the one who actually questioned the existing pink salmon plan. I pointed out that using the drift fleet instead of the set nets caught more coho per pink than the set nets by a large margin and more coho in total.

    Those figures came right out of the ADF&G RC and were given to the BOF members. To say the comm fish biologist was vague is not true - the data was right before the Board and committee members in the RC's and he referenced them for everyone to look at. In fact, the KRSA biologist came up to me and thanked me for pointing that out - I believe it was 60,000 pinks for 1000 coho vs. 1800 pinks for 1000 coho in the existing pink salmon plan.

    Relative to Mel WFFF you need to dig a little deeper into his relationship to the processors. Mel filed a complete disclosure with the AG office before the meeting and had a ruling on his potential conflict. His arrangement with the processors is just like you and I buying food from Safeway. He does not set any prices, does not decide how many fish should be purchased by the processor, has no control over the operation of the processor, and is independent of the processor operations. The AG staff found he does not have a conflict. In contrast, the issue with Delo was a close relative (mother or mother-in-law) who has a commercial set net permit in the northern district. Upon her death a portion of the permit value would come into Mr. Delo's family. That was a direct financial tie to the fishery and again deserved discussion. The AG office in this case did have reservations about having Mr. Delo in the meeting and said so. The Board voted to ignore the AG advice.

    I hope both iceblue and wfff realize that making comments about motives of people without the full facts detract from your positions. Iceblue you were on the right track with Mel and went in the ditch with the local staff. Believe me there was no gag order on sport fish personnel at the meeting. They spoke numerous times and of course they had opportunities to discuss things with Board members that the general public did not have.

    Lets call this BOF meeting like it was - a group of BOF members did a good job of understanding the issues, looking at the data, and making a decision. One may not like the decision but they were not hoodwinked into anything.

  9. #9
    Member willphish4food's Avatar
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    Default maybe so

    Maybe I am just barking up the wrong tree when it concerns the current BOF chair. Say it is just like buying food at Safeway. If I drink a lot of milk, but have a limited food budget, and had the opportunity to vote to increase the price of milk to $20 or decrease it to $3.00 a gallon, and voted for the decrease, would my personal interest in the matter be an object of debate? I think something stinks in Denmark... I saw a lot more at stake than just the chair's apparent conflict. The system that allows him to vote on the same proposals that he voted the other member not be allowed to vote on, stinks.

    I, too, questioned the departments omissions in their comments.

    *Why list a biological concern on coho when requesting a reinstatement of a 3 fish limit for sportfishing, but list no biological concern, only "neutral on the allocative aspects" when commercial requests for longer seasons, more gear, and ultimately a bigger share of the Cook Inlet coho came up?

    *Is this an admission by the department that they only become concerned about salmon stocks once they are past the commercial fisheries? Or is it an intentional omission to allow more intensive commercial fishing?

    *Where were the full reports for cohos from the 2007 season? Why was data from 2004 submitted as "current" data? That data is 2 board cycles old!

    *Why would the commissioner of ADF&G sit silent when the Soldotna biologist contradicts the science presented by his colleague in Palmer regarding the fisheries that the Palmer biologist manages?

    *How can the Board be expected to make informed decisions on biology when the department cannot agree on the biology that they have, and will not present a unified report to the Board?

    Yes, there are a lot of questions rattling around my head. I am trying to dig deeper, while maintaining full time work and family. I hope others are digging, as well. Nerka, this isn't a personal attack on either of the Soldotna Jeff's. It is a probing question about the entire process, and what ADF&G's role is within it. Is theirs a biological mission, or a political one? Or a biology guided by the winds of the current political regime?

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    Default some good questions WFFF

    Mel does not set the price of UCI salmon - he has no control over that anymore than we have control over the price of milk in your example. No matter how much milk I buy as an individual I cannot control the supply of milk or the price.

    However, your other questions are valid ones - relative to coho reports ADF&G sport fish division has been remiss in getting them out. I guess you need to talk to them.

    On the issue of 2 vs 3 fish bag limits again sport fish division reached a position that was not system specific and that is the problem. If they have one high density fishery then going to 3 fish is a problem for that fishery. They want consistent regulations for sport fisherman - I understand that but it does not make it a biological problem - it is more social. There was no finding of any conservation concern by either division.

    Relative to the Palmer biologist vs Soldotna did you ever consider the Palmer biologist is incorrect. He has been before - the last time to close the sockeye fishery when he projected a total return for that run that was exceeded two days latter. I believe a coho closure also took place that was rescinded. So maybe the issue is not where someone works but which facts are correct and what facts back up a position. I believe the Commissioner knew what the truth was and allowed a correction to a wrong position.

    At this point there are internal problems in ADF&G relative to process. I agree with you that reports need to be current, that they need to be out for public review well in advance of meetings, that they need internal and external peer review, and that positions on policy should be clear. None of that happened at this Board meeting on the big issues so we find confusion on the issues - it was not the best performance by ADF&G at a Board meeting but the facts did get out with the user group discussions in the various forums.

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    Quote Originally Posted by theilercabin View Post

    I don't think the BOF can deal with subsistence since it's federal, can it?
    Alaska has lots of state subsistence fisheries (and hunts), the difference is that in federal fisheries and hunts only "local" residents can participate whereas in state subsistence fisheries and hunts all residents can participate.
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    ...However, your other questions are valid ones - relative to coho reports ADF&G sport fish division has been remiss in getting them out. I guess you need to talk to them.

    On the issue of 2 vs 3 fish bag limits again sport fish division reached a position that was not system specific and that is the problem. If they have one high density fishery then going to 3 fish is a problem for that fishery. They want consistent regulations for sport fisherman - I understand that but it does not make it a biological problem - it is more social. There was no finding of any conservation concern by either division.

    Relative to the Palmer biologist vs Soldotna did you ever consider the Palmer biologist is incorrect. He has been before - the last time to close the sockeye fishery when he projected a total return for that run that was exceeded two days latter. I believe a coho closure also took place that was rescinded. So maybe the issue is not where someone works but which facts are correct and what facts back up a position. I believe the Commissioner knew what the truth was and allowed a correction to a wrong position.

    At this point there are internal problems in ADF&G relative to process. I agree with you that reports need to be current, that they need to be out for public review well in advance of meetings, that they need internal and external peer review, and that positions on policy should be clear. None of that happened at this Board meeting on the big issues so we find confusion on the issues - it was not the best performance by ADF&G at a Board meeting but the facts did get out with the user group discussions in the various forums.
    Nerka, this is a very sensible answer, very pat, and sounds good. It makes sense, until you look at it closer. Look at the bold type, then look at department comments on proposal 342. They're on page 331 of the handout.
    "The department is OPPOSED to the biological aspects of this proposal and is NEUTRAL on the allocative aspects which would set different bag limits based upon residency. Increasing the coho bag limit in streams that are road accessible, within close proximity to major population centers, and which receive relatively high angler use, may increase the harvest above a sustainable level on years with low returns."

    The department did not say what you're claiming they believe. They are opposed to the biological aspects and neutral on the social. So now you're telling me that the public and the BOF is to read the dept comments and just understand that thats not really their position, that their position is exactly opposite of what is written? How's that work?

    If the "Commissioner knew what the truth was and allowed a correction to a wrong position," during the department testimony phase, he was still remiss by not speaking up to that at that time, and was even more remiss by not correcting the department's written position on the proposal. The board chair was remiss in not digging into it further and finding out exactly what the department meant.

    Look at the Dept comments on prop 142. This is to add a Saturday fishing period each week after August 10. "This proposal would increase the harvest of sockeye and coho salmon in the Northern District by an unknown amount." "The department is NEUTRAL on this allocative proposal." No mention of a social problem with this, and despite saying that eastside streams may not be able to sustain additional harvest in low and average years, the department did not declare opposition to this proposal due to its biological concerns.

    All that said, I have to apologize to Mel. He voted to oppose prop 142 and prop 342, in keeping with the information in front of him. Jensen, however, who chaired the committee, and Williams, voted for the increase in fishing time, and also submitted to the board in the committee comments, a Board Committee Recommendation: "concensus to support." This despite a management plan for that area giving sport users priority use on this resource...

    A good, sound board member will act upon the information presented to him, IN KEEPING WITH THE MANAGEMENT PLANS AND THE SSMP. The only mention made of the Northern District management plan in committee report to the board is in the opposition notes, it "May conflict 'with minimize commercial harvest' in the Northern District management plan. Why didn't Jensen, as chair of the committee, clarify the relation between this proposal and the NDSP? You add 3 or 4 periods to the fishery, and then say it "May" not be a way to "minimize commercial harvest?" Why is there any doubt?

    So thats why I can't support Jensen. I'm sticking to the facts, and presenting a case that his record is not one of abiding by the policies which govern the board.

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    Default Wfff

    WFFF - if you read my post I said that sport fish division was looking for a regulation that kept fisheries going in high density areas but this was not needed in other areas. That is a social decision not a biological one. With emergency order authority the department can close in low return years. What they did was try to make a biological problem out of a social objective which was wrong.

    Reread the comment - may increase the harvest above sustainable levels - that can only take place if ADF&G does not use it's emergency order authority. The message again is that we do not want to shut fisheries down so lets keep the bag limit low and manage if all returns are low returns. That is a management approach that is driven by social considerations - not biological.

    Relative to the August 10th discussion the coho stocks that are being discussed are not the same as the mainstem Susitna. Sport and Commercial Fisheries Divisions were united on this one - no biological problem because those stocks are under-utilized.

    So I guess I would say your characterization of Jensen is not correct - he just looked at the facts and came to a different conclusion. I continue to observe that people in the valley fish issues have a hard time understanding that people can disagree with their position and have facts to support that position. They want to look for black helicopters and I do not see any flying around. They may be there but so no one has made that case with data.

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    Member willphish4food's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    WFFF - if you read my post I said that sport fish division was looking for a regulation that kept fisheries going in high density areas but this was not needed in other areas. That is a social decision not a biological one. With emergency order authority the department can close in low return years. What they did was try to make a biological problem out of a social objective which was wrong.

    Reread the comment - may increase the harvest above sustainable levels - that can only take place if ADF&G does not use it's emergency order authority. The message again is that we do not want to shut fisheries down so lets keep the bag limit low and manage if all returns are low returns. That is a management approach that is driven by social considerations - not biological.

    Relative to the August 10th discussion the coho stocks that are being discussed are not the same as the mainstem Susitna. Sport and Commercial Fisheries Divisions were united on this one - no biological problem because those stocks are under-utilized.

    So I guess I would say your characterization of Jensen is not correct - he just looked at the facts and came to a different conclusion. I continue to observe that people in the valley fish issues have a hard time understanding that people can disagree with their position and have facts to support that position. They want to look for black helicopters and I do not see any flying around. They may be there but so no one has made that case with data.
    I guess I missed something here. The Northern District set net fleet does not target Susitna bound fish? Where, pray tell, do these fish originate then?

    So why is it, then, that the commercial fleet should fish as if all years are exceptional years, and be closed by emergency order, while sport fisherys should be regulated for low returns, and possibly expanded by emergency opener. Are you the pilot of one of the black helicopters?

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    Default WFFF - response

    WFFF that is my point. Why restrict a whole sport fishery for a few streams that cannot handle high use? I think the streeams should be managed on a case by case basis - however, from a social viewpoint the tourist industry and average angler wants to have consistent regulations in place. It is hard for a tourist to know if stream A has a 3 fish bag limit or 2 fish. So having consistent regulations is a goal that is unique to the sport fishery, especially one that has a high tourist component. Just the price paid for all that tourism in the valley and on the peninisula.

    After August 10th the Susitna coho are basically in the systme. The Northern District fishery targets stocks headed for Knik, Turnagain, and other systems of the Northern District. Everyone in ADF&G agreed with this at the meeting and that is why the fishery was allowed. Sport fisherman tend not to fish these stocks to the level that a commercial harvest cannot take place.

  16. #16
    Member willphish4food's Avatar
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    Default black helicopters

    Are you sure you're not a chopper pilot, Nerka? Very strange coincidence this morning: at 6:52 am 2 blackhawk helicopters flew over my house, close enough to rattle the windows.

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    Posted by Nerka,
    Iceblue - ADF&G under one division would just be a dictatorship for one user group if you think politics enters the process now. That would fix nothing. I also disagree with your assumption that divisions which disagree are bad - in my experience it keeps everyone honest in the long run. However, I do not agree that at the local level politics plays much of a role. My experience is that the local staff communicate very well and there is a good exchange of information
    Ins't how the current mng is kinda??? Commercial Fish rules over Sport fish that is for sure in both management priority and research allocation.

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