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Thread: Senate Resource committee hearing on new BOF nominees

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    Member willphish4food's Avatar
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    Default Senate Resource committee hearing on new BOF nominees

    The Senate Resource Committee is holding a public hearing on the appointments of Morris, Jensen, and Brown to the BOF. It is at 3 pm Wednesday, the 26. To testify from the Valley, go to the LIO (legislative information office) on Railroad Avenue, two blocks past the train depot. The majority of public testimony will be favorable toward them; their actions on the board have been very well received by commercial fishermen in Kodiak, Bristol Bay and the Southeast. Sport fishing voices were mostly absent from the House testimony, so I don't know how their actions are percieved by sport fishermen in other regions.

    I will be speaking in opposition to their reappointments, and no vote on Brown, who I know little about, but on the surface looks like a fair choice to all sides. My grounds are very simple. The Board is charged with making decisions in accordance with the plans in place, and in keeping with the Sustainable Salmon Management policy. Votes made by both members at the 2005 meeting contributed to the further decline in the Susitna Sockeye returns, did nothing about the reported pike and beaver problems in the valley, and have led to the stock of concern status now "enjoyed" in the Susitna. After listing the Susitna Reds as "stock of yield concern," the action plan they helped draft and pass contained no provisions to provide passage through the Central District drift and set gillnet fleets. As the highest harvester of salmon in the Cook Inlet, these fleets have the biggest impact on salmon moving north in the Cook Inlet. The restrictions to Northern District set gillnets are ineffectual if the salmon are intercepted before getting to that area.

    The Northern District Salmon management plan places a sport fishing priority on coho and chinook in the Northern District. Voting at this 2008 meeting closed an existing sport fishery for chinook, (Alexander Creek) while expanding the commercial fishery on the same stocks. The vote to completely close Alexander Creek went beyond both the Department's recommendation, public's testimony, and the SSMP instructions on voting to change "existing fisheries." Instead of restricting the fishery, as the department recommended, they voted to close it. Consistent management would have directed them to also keep the Northern District Set net fishery status quo, but they increased it District wide by 66% for 2008, 33% for 2009 and 2010. This on top of a 50% increase in 2005.

    They voted against increasing the coho sport bag limit, citing biological concerns, and the department's testimony that many systems in the valley are already at MSY, yet lengthened the set gillnet season. Again, consistency in management would be to leave the set net seasons status quo. Remember, sport fishing is the priority use by management plan in this area. Logically, if there are already barely enough fish for the priority group, there are not excess fish for the lower priority group to harvest.

    If you think I'm just barking loudly cause I like to bark, thats fine. But before you throw rocks at me, read through both the Sustainable Salmon management policy and the Northern District Salmon management plans, and then pass judgement.

    If you're a sport fisherman in the Mat-Su Valley, and do not want the 2007 silver season to be the future of our fishery, then come down at 3 and speak up.

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    Default WFFF way off base but that is expected

    WFFF- go ahead and continue to misrepresent what happened at the Board of Fisheries meeting. To say they did nothing to deal with the issues of Susitna Sockeye is a bold face misrepresentation. I have read the documents you cite and they did exactly what they should have done. You continue to fail to recognize that the escapement goals for sockeye have been met. You also fail to recognize that it is not the Board of Fish that deals with pike but ADF&G. I do not see you calling for the Commissioner of ADF&G to be removed.

    Relative to coho you fail to recognize that there is no biological concern and we went through that with that issue on this thread. I can only conclude you have no ethics on this issue - you do not read reports, look at the data, or try to make rationale points - instead you attack the people who did look at the data and made the tough decisions. I am not a fan of one of these board members but at this last meeting even he tried to listen and learn and act accordingly.

    WFFF - there is no hope for the valley if the people in the valley cannot get over the " I did not get what I want so I will whine until I do syndrome"

    Frankly, I am tired of people who cannot or will not use data - you have never responded to the fact 1.5 million coho go into the Northern District and you catch all of 48 thousand. At this rate we would need to double the run to get you another 48k. Since the commercial harvest is not at this level or even close to it you are really saying you want a complete closure of the commercial fishery. Please do not say no - because anything less than a complete closure would not be measureable in the coho fishery - and it probably is not measureable at that level.

    I feel sorry for you WFFF for you will never get any peace on this issue until you understand the fishery and the data and you refuse to do that and yet you want others to read the policies. WFFF - read all the plans and the history of them and the record from the BOF meeting and the data reports and then talk to the people who wrote them. Maybe then if you have an open mind you may understand why I am having a negative reaction to your post.

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    Member willphish4food's Avatar
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    Default data and how its read...

    Keep saying I don't read the data and all that...some readers will believe it, I'm sure. Where did you come up with the 1.5 million number for silvers? Is that truly a "fact" scientifically? There is no consistent counting method of silvers in the valley... you're a scientist, and you will state that it is a "fact that 1.5 million cohos go into the Northern District and you catch all of 48,000." Who's misrepresenting data here? I believe I have a very legitimate beef with the two members up for reappointment, and with the governor for reappointing them, and I will continue to say so. Let the reader decide.

    Understand that sport fish catch numbers do not come from hard counts of fish caught. They are mainly estimates gleaned from angler reports, which are filled out after the summer is over, based on the best recollections of the anglers who choose to respond. The numbers of fish entering Valley streams is also estimated. There are two weirs- one on the Deshka, one far up the Little Su. Other estimates come from aerial and foot surveys- the same surveys that the Soldotna office stated were not accurate enough to cause concern for the chinook stocks in the valley. You agreed with that assessment, and told me the man who spoke to those surveys and his concerns was badly mistaken. Now you attack me by using the same data that man and his office has collected on the valley. Which is it. Do we trust his data or not? Nerka, talk about me not reading the data- I do read it. Thats your problem. I do read it, and I listen to the expert testimony regarding the data that is out there. There is no consistency. You are defending data now that you rejected when it did not suit your idealogy.

    All reading, data, history aside. When a sportfishing proposal came up, the dept said, and the board agreed, that the coho in the northern district are fully allocated. Otherwise, sport fishermen would be allowed to keep more fish, to return to the limit they had before stock of concern for coho was put in place. The Northern District setnet fleet received an allocation increase. There were very little provisions made lower in the inlet to get more coho north. There were no excess fish to take that increase from, however. I will not let that slide. Sorry, Nerka, thats where I stand on this.

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    Default Wfff

    If you read the report on the estitmation of coho and chum salmon entering the Northern District from the inlet tagging study you would know that the estimate was 1.5 million for the low estimate. The higher estimate was 3.0 million. Both have errors as does the sport fish survey but the 48k for the harvest is what ADF&G and the Board uses. If you have information that says otherwise and is checkable then fine but when you just say it is wrong without justification then you are off base.

    Also, you are selective in your reference to my comments. Chinook counts and other counts are two different apples.

    Relative to the biological issue in the northern district that is pure bull on your part. We have gone over that. With over 1.5 million coho headed to the northern district they cannot be a biological problem except for the high use areas. I will debate that with you or ADF&G Palmer office anytime and anyplace. However, the Board of Fish agreed with my evaluation, not because of me or anyone else, but because the data was very clear here.

    I am off the Texas to watch birds and stop this nonsense of debating with you on issues you fail to understand or even try to understand. You have provided no data, none, that coho are an issue in the valley relative to total population numbers. Also, the weired systems have harvests increasing over time. All hype for an allocation objective or worse to eliminate a comercial fishing industry - well when you want to do that in my community you have a fight on your hands - you lost at the Board of Fisheries because you did not have the data to verify your wild claims. End of story.

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    Member willphish4food's Avatar
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    Default very good point

    You've made a terrific point, Nerka. The study you reference was done two board cycles ago, and had a variability of 1.5 million fish. One part showed 1.5 million fish, the other 3 million. So its a "fact" that 1.5 million coho enter the Northern District... Brilliant!

    The issues I was debating stem from the 2005 board meeting, this board meeting, and a natural disaster in 2006. Willette's study done 6 years ago has very little relevance to today's coho runs.

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    Default look at the other data WFFF

    WFFF, look at the hatchery tagging results, look at the catch in the Northern District - how can anyone say that a harvest of 48k out of 500 coho ( I am saying that even if the estimate is off by a factor of 3) the harvest still is not high enough to do what you want to do. You would have to put the whole commercial fishery in a closed state for the season to make much of a difference. Why you cannot see that your position is just not defendable is beyound me. I used the low estimate to be conservative.

    Stop and look at the data. It just cannot support your position. Also, a single flood event may have a one or two year impact but unlikely for multiple years.

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    Member willphish4food's Avatar
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    Default Missing in Action

    Back to the reconfirmation of Morris and Jensen: how is it that the action plan for Susitna/Yentna contained no provisions for the Central District drift or set gillnet fleets? The Sustainable Salmon management plan directs the writing of action plans. The first sentence in the instructions for action plans follows: "3. A) salmon management objectives should be appropriate to the scale and intensity of various uses and the biological capacities of target salmon stocks."

    Further into the SSMP: 3. E) management programs should be effective in (i) controlling human-induced sources of fishing mortality...effective monitoring...

    We know that commercial fishing is the best way to efficiently kill a lot of fish in a very short time. We have been told that repeatedly by various sources, including comfish ADF&G, that its the only way to control overescapement into the Kenai. Commercial fishermen catch fish, thats what they do, and they're very good at it. The central district gillnet fishery is the BIGGEST human induced source of mortality, yet was left completely out of the plan. No controls on it, no proposals for further monitoring of the number of Susitna bound fish being intercepted. What if you say that its not "proven" that they take a lot of Susitna fish, because the exact number is unknown? Well, thats covered in the SSMP, too.

    "3. H) the board will work, within the limits of its authority, to assure that (ii) effective mechanisms for the collection and dissemination of information and data necessary to carry out management activities are developed, maintained and utilized.
    (iii) management programs and decision-making procedures are able to clearly distinguish, and effectively deal with, biological and allocation issues."

    Don't get me wrong. This is not just on the Board's shoulders. They are to work WITH fish and game to develop these plans. So ADF&G is also at fault. But the Board's authority here is to recommend to the commissioner the adequate staff and budget for research, management etc to "fully implement sustainable salmon fisheries principles." They totally failed to do this, and need to be held accountable for this failure to follow the SSMP.

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    Member willphish4food's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    If you read the report on the estitmation of coho and chum salmon entering the Northern District from the inlet tagging study you would know that the estimate was 1.5 million for the low estimate. The higher estimate was 3.0 million. Both have errors as does the sport fish survey but the 48k for the harvest is what ADF&G and the Board uses. If you have information that says otherwise and is checkable then fine but when you just say it is wrong without justification then you are off base.

    Also, you are selective in your reference to my comments. Chinook counts and other counts are two different apples.

    Relative to the biological issue in the northern district that is pure bull on your part. We have gone over that. With over 1.5 million coho headed to the northern district they cannot be a biological problem except for the high use areas. I will debate that with you or ADF&G Palmer office anytime and anyplace. However, the Board of Fish agreed with my evaluation, not because of me or anyone else, but because the data was very clear here.

    I am off the Texas to watch birds and stop this nonsense of debating with you on issues you fail to understand or even try to understand. You have provided no data, none, that coho are an issue in the valley relative to total population numbers. Also, the weired systems have harvests increasing over time. All hype for an allocation objective or worse to eliminate a comercial fishing industry - well when you want to do that in my community you have a fight on your hands - you lost at the Board of Fisheries because you did not have the data to verify your wild claims. End of story.
    Beautifully and eloquently stated once more. "Both have errors but (are what) ADF&G and the board uses." Why then, Nerka, do you not accept the sonar data that shows underescapement of reds to the Yentna?
    Nerka- "You continue to fail to recognize that the escapement goals for sockeye have been met." I could not say it better than you said it yourself: "The sonar has errors but is what ADF&G and the Board uses." As long as the escapement goals are enumerated by sonar, and that sonar shows underescapement, I will continue to "fail to recognize" that goals are being met.

    I disagree that I lost at the BOF because my claims were wild. The data is there, as I have pointed out in numerous posts, but it is a matter of the board, just as you do, cherry picking the data they wish to listen to, and deciding how they wish to interpret it.

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by willphish4food View Post
    Beautifully and eloquently stated once more. "Both have errors but (are what) ADF&G and the board uses." Why then, Nerka, do you not accept the sonar data that shows underescapement of reds to the Yentna?
    Nerka- "You continue to fail to recognize that the escapement goals for sockeye have been met." I could not say it better than you said it yourself: "The sonar has errors but is what ADF&G and the Board uses." As long as the escapement goals are enumerated by sonar, and that sonar shows underescapement, I will continue to "fail to recognize" that goals are being met.

    I disagree that I lost at the BOF because my claims were wild. The data is there, as I have pointed out in numerous posts, but it is a matter of the board, just as you do, cherry picking the data they wish to listen to, and deciding how they wish to interpret it.
    Again, WFFF you just seem to ignore facts and figures that are out there. The sonar counter was used until it was shown with hard numbers (wier counts) to be undercounting. That was also confirmed by the radio mark/recapture estimates. So the sonar undercounts and therefore the goals have been met. The goals were set independent of the sonar counter and then adjusted with the sonar counter data but in all cases the goal is the absolute number of fish spawning - not some index. I do accept the sonar is undercounting - you do not when you insist on using the sonar counter for management relative to the goals.

    Right WFFF it was a giant plan to put it to the valley people by the Board of Fish and support the commercial fisherman - bull. They used data and saw that the valley folks could not make their case with the data on the table. You still have failed to provide one rationale point with data on the allocation issues.

    Relative to the policy the concern was a yield concern - meaning yield was going down so your answer is to restrict yield further? That would make it a biological problem which means escapement goals are not met and that is not true. Also it is only sockeye that has a yield concern. All other stocks are providing increasing yields - coho sport harvest has increased not decreased.

    You lost WFFF and that is a fact. Blame it on some reason other than the valley representatives were not prepared with data or merit on their points but that will not change the outcome.

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    Default restricting yield

    Yes, Nerka, my answer to correcting the lower yields is to restrict the yield now so that we will have yield in the future. That makes perfect sense! Return more of the fish that are coming back, (a higher percentage of the run) so that they produce more progeny, thus increasing future yield. The return per spawner doesn't need to be any higher than its current number, if we have more spawners. And whether it makes any sense to you or not, its what is required in the Sustainable Salmon management policy. Wait, I'm the only person that needs to read and study more- right? "Shared burden of conservation among all user groups." Its pretty simple.

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    Default flawed biology

    Quote Originally Posted by willphish4food View Post
    Yes, Nerka, my answer to correcting the lower yields is to restrict the yield now so that we will have yield in the future. That makes perfect sense! Return more of the fish that are coming back, (a higher percentage of the run) so that they produce more progeny, thus increasing future yield. The return per spawner doesn't need to be any higher than its current number, if we have more spawners. And whether it makes any sense to you or not, its what is required in the Sustainable Salmon management policy. Wait, I'm the only person that needs to read and study more- right? "Shared burden of conservation among all user groups." Its pretty simple.
    WFFF - your biology is flawed. The sockeye entering the Susitna are in excess of the escapement goal by a large amount - depending on what estimate you use. At a minimum the goal has been exceeded by at least 50k fish in the last couple of years. However, those fish are not producing in some years which results in decreased yields.

    Restrictions in the fishery over the last 10 years have resulted in good escapements but but returns. That implies an in-river production issue that cannot be fixed by more spawners. So your logic of putting more spawners into the system may be just the opposite of what one wants to do until one figures out what is causing the production to be lower in-river. In fact, for some of the systems the number of spawners is very high relative to historical records and putting more spawners in may cause a decrease in production which is just the opposite of what a manager wants. More spawners by definition at some level means lower yields not higher yields. Your biology is flawed if the system is getting good numbers of spawners.

    Relative to the Sustainable Fisheries Policy you have selective reading. There is nothing in that policy that was violated by the BOF relative to this issue. They declared a yield concern not a biological concern which makes actions different. In addition, ADF&G and the BOF wrote a management plan for the Susitna which outlines conservation actions if needed and of course ADF&G always has E.O. authority to respond. Your hype about the BOF not following the policy and you are the only one to read it is as flawed as your logic on what is going on in the Susitna.

    Also, the idea of a sockeye concern when in point of fact this whole discussion is about coho salmon allocation is less than crediable on your part. The total harvest of sockeye by Mat/Su fisherman is 7000 on average. There is essentially no sport fish fishery for sockeye and to say that the valley wants more sockeye is a ruse to get more coho. You know it and so do the readers of this forum.

    Just for the record I wrote a study plan in 1985 that said we needed to weir systems and study production in-river for the Susitna River. It was rejected for a number of reasons - one of which was that people wanted to restrict commercial fishing before finding out what was going on in-river. That policy, which mirrors yours right now, was a failed policy. Today we have little information on what is happening in-river but we have spent millions on mark/recapture studies that failed, restricted commercial fishing without knowledge of what those restrictions meant, and now today the valley folks are suggesting we move offices, make commissions, and play politics but did the Senators and Representatives fund the 5 million in studies for in-river production issues. I hear they are funding coho and chinook but not sockeye - if that is true then we know that the valley is not really interested in sockeye conservation. They want low returns to get a defacto coho allocation.

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    Default flawed former managers..........

    Nerka,

    You made a great POINT; there needs to be more studies on Valley Fisheries. Interesting not however, would it not be resonable to presume that Valley fisheries have be depressed for so long that BEG's on Sockeye are now lower due low returns for so long. Maybe you are taking into account the ecological effects of you so called overescapement. The extra fish missing from the equation for the last twenty years may have minimized production for sockeye in Valley Lakes. Most certianly there are environmental changes that likewise are hampering production, considering that SE AK and the Kenai Pennisula have seen considerable warming trends in the last 30 years. In fact a sockeye study led by Carol Ann Woody, USGS in the Bristol Bay region found that the growning season had increased by 15 days in 30 years! This is of particular significance to Lake Clark and Lake Illiamna because sockeye rearing shifted from 2 years to 1 and they outmigrated much earlier missing the spring plankton bloom in the Bering Sea. Another interesting NOAA study showed that w/ the number one prey base of Bristol Bay sockeye was chum fry.

    My point is that fisheries management had direct effects on other fisheries and ecological impacts that are not always studied. Many times there is not coorilation drawn between managment and the gross negative side effects on other area's and species.

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    Default

    http://www.adfg.state.ak.us/special/susalpol.pdf To any other readers wishing to read it, this is the Sustainable Salmon Policy. On page 5, letter D, is the section that shows the failure in the action plan. "an understanding of the proportion of mortality inflicted on each salmon stock by each user group should be promoted...the burden of conservation shall be shared among all fisheries in close proportion to each fisheries respective use."

    Page 6, 4(C) "fishery management actions needed to achieve rebuilding goals and objectives, in proportion to each fishery's use of, and hazards posed to, a salmon stock.

    and 5. "Each action plan will include a research plan as necessary to provide information to address concerns."

    No studies of proportionate mortality caused in the Central District were called for. The studies that we do have already show that the Central District is the highest human induced cause of mortality to Susitna bound salmon. They are the heaviest user, proportionately. Can anyone tell me how leaving the Central District gillnet fisheries out of the action plan is in compliance with the Sustainable Salmon Policy's directives?

    I am glad that the legislature is looking at the Board actions. If the Board did everything right, and followed the policies that direct them, then they have nothing to fear, and nothing to lose by this. If they did not do everything right, if they ignored or went against policy, and it comes to light, then they may lose face. The misdoings would be in the open, though. Either way, if the board was right or wrong, the people of the state and its fisheries will benefit by a close look at their actions, and the legislature calling for the board to be accountable for its actions. I do not fear the public process: bring it on!

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    Default I will explain it.

    Quote Originally Posted by willphish4food View Post
    http://www.adfg.state.ak.us/special/susalpol.pdf To any other readers wishing to read it, this is the Sustainable Salmon Policy. On page 5, letter D, is the section that shows the failure in the action plan. "an understanding of the proportion of mortality inflicted on each salmon stock by each user group should be promoted...the burden of conservation shall be shared among all fisheries in close proportion to each fisheries respective use."

    Page 6, 4(C) "fishery management actions needed to achieve rebuilding goals and objectives, in proportion to each fishery's use of, and hazards posed to, a salmon stock.

    and 5. "Each action plan will include a research plan as necessary to provide information to address concerns."

    No studies of proportionate mortality caused in the Central District were called for. The studies that we do have already show that the Central District is the highest human induced cause of mortality to Susitna bound salmon. They are the heaviest user, proportionately. Can anyone tell me how leaving the Central District gillnet fisheries out of the action plan is in compliance with the Sustainable Salmon Policy's directives?

    I am glad that the legislature is looking at the Board actions. If the Board did everything right, and followed the policies that direct them, then they have nothing to fear, and nothing to lose by this. If they did not do everything right, if they ignored or went against policy, and it comes to light, then they may lose face. The misdoings would be in the open, though. Either way, if the board was right or wrong, the people of the state and its fisheries will benefit by a close look at their actions, and the legislature calling for the board to be accountable for its actions. I do not fear the public process: bring it on!
    WFFF - the BOF did not reduce harvest further from what it already is. Therefore, there was no need to talk about proportionality. In fact, if you want to take on the BOF under the sections you cited they may have violated the policy by recommending that the sport fishery for sockeye salmon not be closed for the next three years. Thus they liberalized the sport fishery while maintaining restrictions on the commercial fishery - note that the regulations still have area restrictions on the drift gill net fishery. The sport fishery will have no restrictions.

    Second, this was a yield concern not a conservation concern and so the BOF did not have to reduce harvest to meet escapements. They are being met so the section you referenced does not apply. There is no burden of conservation being asked.

    Relative to page 6 4(c) again does not specify that harvest needs to be reduced or mandated. It says each fisheries use and hazards posed. The BOF did this in the regulations they passed - one making the sport fishery not have to close when they are harvesting only 7k fish.

    The action plan for the Susitna did include a research plan and that was presented at the BOF by ADF&G. Since the BOF meeting the plan has been further refined and ADF&G has a copy of it - you can also get one from CIAA.

    So at this point the sections you referenced do not apply or have been met. What I find is interesting is that your only solution to the sockeye salmon production issue is to restrict a user group other than your own or to not recognize that more spawners may mean less fish or lost harvest if production is being limited by factors other than spawning numbers. You really should expand your understanding of how fish are produced and what can limit their production. Just for example, some of the lakes in the Susitna had adequate number of spawners but the smolt out numbers were dismal and reflected an almost complete loss of production. Putting more spawners in is probably the wrong thing to do until one understands what is going on. The BOF recognized this basic fact and started the process to get studies going. Everyone agreed with that approach yet today those studies may not be funded - probably stopped by the politics of the valley - there is a growing number of us who believe that the valley fish representatives do not want to know what is going on.

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