UCI salmon taskforce
UCI salmon task force meeting in Soldotna on 5/22/08 at the soldotna sports center, from 3pm to 9pm. Fish and game testifies from 3-5 and then public testimony. Everyone who fishes needs to attend. The valley meeting is scheduled for 5/29/08. Put your money where your mouths are and come out and testify. I don't care which way you do, just testify.
So, I missed this afternoon's session...anything out of the ordinary? I'm going to try and catch some of the evening session on gavel to gavel's website.
Not a good day for ADF&G
Mr. Fish, the directors of sport and commercial fish bored the group for two hours and confused the heck out of them with no answers or bad answers to questions. This group wanted to focus on the issues and instead got an escapement goal lecture and a listing of management plans that just confused them and bored them to death.
When asked simple questions about counting fish with weirs, sonar, and aerial surveys they could not answer in a simple way. They made it sound like ADF&G had no idea what was happening in the drainage which is not true. They did not know the data and therefore misled the group. For example, when asked about the escapement goals neither one knew that limnological data was used to check the production potential of the lakes for sockeye salmon. Neither one of them knew we identified a problem with the counters in the early 80's but the legislature refused to fund weir studies - the mantra was keep a status quo budget because oil was at 10 dollars a barrel. Without any historical knowledge they looked poorly to everyone.
I guess they just do not know how to prepare for a meeting like this or did not take it seriously.
If I was the Commissioner I would be rolling some heads. Not once did they indicate how many fish are making it to the Mat Su when that is the real quesiton. Nor did they point out the BOF process in any detail about how much material was provided. I had to do that in my testimony - interestingly not one question for me so I really do not think the task force cared about the past - they are making the same mistake the ADF&G did.
If one goal of the task force is to find out why the public is frustrated with the current public process, it sounds like the meeting was a success. I hope at the next meeting the Dept can give some real answers.
Well, the report is in and from the staff it was apparent that hardly anyone showed up for the valley legislative hearing. From the reports it appears there was more staff and legislators there than public. In fact, compared to Kenai there were significantly more people at the Kenai hearing.
For example, the time limit was removed in the valley since there were so few public there to testify.. Also, some staff indicated those 10-20 who showed up were mostly guides and business owners - not the general public. In contrast, in Kenai the task force ran out of time for testimony even with the three min. limit and had to postpone input from 5 people.
So given all the hand wringing we hear on this forum about no fish in the valley where was the general public at the valley hearing? Must not have been much of an issue for most of the valley folks.
What an astounding conclusion. Perhaps the fact the meeting was held from 3-9 pm on a Thursday (workday) on the first really nice day we've had all summer, had something to do with turnout. No, the problem is the same it has always been. The sport fishing public in the Valley is so disillusioned by the political process that they do not attend public meetings. If there is no financial interest to attend, what is the incentive? That their attendance will provoke change? Like it did before this last BOF meeting? I wasn't at the Soldotna meeting, but what percentage of those attending that meeting actually had no business interest in the fishery? I actually was at the Wasilla meeting, Nerka. There weren't many people without a business interest: however, there werent' many with one, either. There were several dozen altogether, and many represented groups of people. You conclude Valley anglers don't mind the lack of fish, because there weren't thousands of anglers at this meeting? Well, have you looked at the Deshka weir count? The harvest report at the Little Su? Asked guides how their clients are doing? Asked anyone who has sport fished the Valley how good the season is so far?
From what I understand from my 9th grade civics course is that we live in a representative republic- the democratic process is carried out through our elected officials. We elect representatives to speak for us: that is how Americans are raised. Our representatives do the work we elect them to do, so we don't have to, and can go about the business of paying bills, feeding our family, and taking our family on outings. Why would the average Alaskan feel a political fish meeting is any different, and why would anyone assume that there is no issue because people are letting their representatives do the political work for them?
Nerka, do you have the actual numbers? I would like to see the hard data that shows that "hardly anyone showed up." How many people signed in to testify?
you can get the numbers yourself
WFFF - you can get the numbers yourself from the LIO office in your area. However, you can also listen to the testimony on gavel to gavel and see that there were no time limits and the meeting ended early. If this was such a big deal I would assume that the meeting would go late and that a time limit would be necessary. Neither happened from what I am told.
Originally Posted by willphish4food
Were you at the meeting and if so you should know the numbers and rules imposed.
I went to the Soldotna meeting and the number of people signed up to testify could not because the task force ran out of time.
so then is this brouhaha about a lack of fish in the valley being driven by commercial sport fishing interests at the expense of the consuming public who don,t fish?
Originally Posted by Nerka
that is my conclusion
Gretchen - you are right on the mark. There is a group of people in Upper Cook Inlet who want a recreational priority for sportfisherman at the expense of everyone else. They came out and testified to this at the legislative hearing. In even a more typical fashion they used misleading or outright lies in their testimony.
This has been a passion of Bob Penny for 26 years and he testified as such along with a number of others at the hearing. What is interesting is that the valley government had people testify to this and in that presentation it was stated the citizens of the valley paid the hotel bills and food costs for a number of individuals to attend the Board of Fish meeting. I wonder if most people in the valley know this happened.
In any event, given all the posts and crying about lack of fish it turns out that few in the valley cared enough to come out for a meeting. Mostly guides and bed and breakfast owners - commercial interests.
So yes, this is causing the State via L. Green and Huggins to spend thousands of dollars of State money to get into something they never should have gotton into in the first place.
One should listen to the Commissioners message to the task force in the valley hearing. He said the resolution was written in haste - implying it was not correct, he said the the task force could do some good things on habitat protection (not happening in the valley), funding of research, and most importantly access to areas where fish are not being exploited. He pointed out that there is lots of fish but the limited access makes the few spots that have access overcrowded and therefore hot spots for problems. He was right on and these are issues that the all user groups can get behind.
However, the task force led by Green and Huggins will have none of this. It is all about a recreational priority in UCI and yet they have no clue what that means. Here is one question on a recreational priority. Most of the lic. sales and harvest comes from non-residents - so if we create a recreational priority are we giving Alaskan fish a priority to non-resident anglers as opposed to residents who commercial fish or buy their fish in Alaska. I think that is an interesting question to those who push priority fisheries. Also, who will define need for a non-resident based fishery - the non-residents who have no vested interest in Alaska? Or will it be the commercial sport fish interests to the detriment of Alaskan anglers - the Kenai guide issue is a prime example.
Assumptions only, not facts.
I sat at that meeting for three hours in the valley. We had fish and game people testify from 3 till 5. When testimony started back at 6pm, fish and game people continued to testify about what is a BEG compared to a OEG, etc. This carried on till 7pm when the "PUBLIC" was finally allowed to testify.
After that,I sat there while economists carried on for 20 minute stretches talking about ex-vessel monies etc., trying to educate the legislatures that were there. These were people trying to educate the taskforce, not convince them one way or the other.
Funny Nerka, I don't know who told you what and how they told you but a lot of people never got to testify. I finally got up there at 8:45 and one minute into my testimony, Sen. Green interrupted me and asked how much I had to say and so I pitched out what I had written, in two minutes when I should have been allowed my full 10 minutes, since I represented the South-Central Alaska dipnetting Association.
I even think your "Brother-in-law", Dr. Bear maw, never was allowed to speak due to time constraints either. Testimony was carried over to the special session in Juneau for this week.
Nerka, your assumptions are so off base, I won't even attempt to address them. Just don't shoot off at the mouth when you are talking out the other end. Stick with what you know, not what you just assume or what was passed to you second hand. You were given wrong info but please don't pass it along like you accuse people living in the Valley, of passing along info that doesn't follow your own personal opinion concerning valley fisheries. Report what went on in your neighborhood and I will report what went on in mine. End of discussion and if you want more info, I have Lyda's private number and I am sure she would be happy to talk with you face to face. Just say the word and I will be happy to set it up. Now you can have a good night. Tootles, Ken
more misinformation whop2000
Nice comments whop2000 - really showing your character.
The reports came from ADF&G staff at the meeting. Call them - you know the number.
I really do not care about this except the one thing you did not speak about is the lack of people at the meeting. I suppose ADF&G cannot be trusted on that either.
I love the comment about my backyard. Funny how your legislators and valley folks are trying to destroy the communities I live in. I guess you cannot follow your own advice and stay out of our business. Instead, without any data to support your positions you are trying to manage the UCI fisheries via legislative interference instead of a Board of Fish process that at least spends days listening to the public.
I would talk to Lyda anytime but she is not interested in facts. If she was she would have done her homework before the task force resolution was written. Even the Commissioner of ADF&G told the group the resolution was written in haste. A nice way to say it is full of bull which this whole task force is in a nutshell.
When will the Real Salmon Biologist Step Forward???
The rumor mill and innuendo tasks force for the commercial fishing supporters are at it again. These are the only folks that know how to manage Cook Inlet and that management strategy is for a commercial priority. This is the same strategy that has nearly wiped out the whales, buffalos and commercial fisheries in many parts of the world. Behavioral scientist tell us the hardest thing to change is a persons or groups attitude. We ca see that in all of their writing and comments are, donít make us change how we are doing things if you do you will destroy our life styles and our homes. They believe that your homes and life styles are not as important as theirs, because we are Johnny come lately we are second class citizens. We can not have the first priority on our own god given resource because,we donít have a limited entry permit. I have heard these elitist say what right do these people from Anchorage and the Valley have to come down here and take our fish.
I was at the task force meeting were only fishing guides and lodge owners showed up. I can name to the two fishing guides present (one of the guides spoke for the Susitna River Advisory Committee) and I didnít see a single lodge owner. Alaska Department of Fish and Game presented a two hour slides show (question and answer by legislators) that have been shown at numerous Cook Inlet Board of Fisheries hearings that was supposed to provide new data to the Task Force. Senator Wagner (who was or is a commercial fisherman.) as Task Force member from Kenai River area, asked the department why 2.2 million dollars was allocated to study coho and chum salmon saying that this data was not needed to manage Cook Inlet. No one from the department would or could give him the answer, the truth is they donít want this study because it is going to tell them what they donít want to know! It should be noted that left the meeting before the public comment period, he must have had a very pressing matter to keep him from hearing what we had too say. I was prepared to explain the importance of the coho and chum studies!
There were two people that spoke up for the Mat-Su. Borough one of those that spoke up for the Borough was Larry Engels retire department biologists and chairman of the Board of Fisheries, the rest were private citizens. The private citizens that spoke range from a 50 plus yearsí valley resident described the decline of valley salmon stocks, another retired department biologist that had very little positive to say about the current management strategies. Senator Huggins directed the department to review the action of the Board of Fisheries that restricted sports use and what actions were taken to restrict commercial fishing. Valley residence encourage that the task force look at the following areas, Marine Stewardship Council Report and the Departs answers, buy back of permits and/or withdraw of permits that havenít been used, a sports fishing priority in Cook Inlet and last but not least make the Sustainable Salmon Management Policy into law. A bill has been locked up in the legislature for two years by commercial fishing legislators.
Since 60% of Alaskans live around Cook Inlet and stock our freezers with the salmon that commercial fishers believe that they own and control it is time to step out and take control. Look at the legislators that have been and will continue to work to in the future for our rights remove the ones that are road blocks. Before our salmon runs are lost for ever or fishing closed down like the west coast.
Save Cook Inlet Salmon
delusions and more delusions
Bigfisherman - you make it sound like you have some God given right to fish produced in your area. That is not correct. The fish belong to the people of the State of Alaska and the citizens of the United States.
You imply that commercial fisherman will lead to the destruction of UCi salmon. That is a false statement. In the 1960, 70's, and 80's when commercial fisherman were in control of the Board of Fish escapement goals were raised, fishing curtailed, and stock production increased, Then came development in the Mat/Su valley, introduction of pike, and lack of trapping and production has dropped. You should take care of that habitat before you point fingers at commercial groups who have demostrated they are willing to restrict themselves for long term production. What is different in this case is that restrictions will not improve production. What is needed is for the valley to take care of the valley habitat and work with others to do that. Instead, the concentration on a recreational priority does nothing to increase salmon production.
Relative to your point about a buy back program it is a fools game. As long as escapement goals are maintained less fisheman just means more fishing time for those who have permits. Buy backs are to make commercial fisherman economically sound not reduce harvest. So a buy back would make a few commercial fisherman more money. End of story. The fact those in the valley are pushing this mean they do not understand the reason for buy backs or they are willing to give up escapement goal management. If it is to give up escapement goal management your arguements about sustainable fisheries goes out the window. You cannot have it both ways.
The chum and coho studies are a joke - they are not focused on what need data needs to be collected. Again, people like you have put pressure on their legislators to fund a meaningless study. The study as proposed does not make escapement estimates. They look only at spawning distribution. For coho we have done that a number of times in the last 15 years. For chum we know from the Susitna hydro days that the major producers of chum salmon at limited to a couple of streams. It would be a better idea to fund studies on how to count these species than repeat past studies that already provide the information.
As far as Senator Wagnor he was required to be at a meeting in Anchorage on the gas pipeline. He stated that to the chairman along with some other legislators. So I think he made a good decision. This whole task force is a joke and has been from day one.
When people in the valley want to discuss in a rationale way how to improve valley fisheries I am sure some of us will listen. However, we will not listen to dribble about how there is no fish in the valley streams. You have not provided one bit of data to support that conclusion. All the data says otherwise and yet you continue to promote that dribble.
It is not commercial fishing interest it is ignorance that is causing the valley problems. If the ignorance can be cured then the future of the valley fisheries may be good. Without dealing with habitat issues and the other forces reducing production in the valley your fisheries are doomed.
Sory to the slow reply I have been out looking for a KING
The average Alaska does have a God Given right to Salmon Resource First.
If Iím not mistaken as a valley resident and of the state of Alaska and all the people that live here in Anchorage and the Valley or that come up here to fish are give a GOD given right through the Constitution of Alaska and the Constitution of the United States of American. It is only the folks with limited entry permits and their supporter that are says we donít have a right. That commercial fishing interest have a higher priority than we do; I believe that the federal court spoke for sports fishers in southeast Alaska when they returned the second fish to the sports fishers!
What I said was; commercial fishermen and hunters had played a major role in reducing numbers of some wildlife resources through out history to the point that they were nearly wiped out! I pointed directly at the complete closure of salmon fishing along the west coast and I could bring up the success of the complete closure of commercial fishing along the Gulf Coast and portions of the East Coast to the revitalization of numerous coastal species, in just a couple of life cycles.
You blast the current funding of chums and coho studies being a ďjokeĒ if they are a joke it is on the Department and whom ever are writing these planned studies they have been given a free hand, with the Chum and Coho studies the same way they were with the sockeye studies. If they donít get the information they need it is their on problem since they have the sole responsibly to plan and execute the study. The only thing I can see initially with the chum and coho study is they arenít planning on doing any genetics work in salt water for several yearsí only fresh water. I would prefer to have them done in the first two years for starters so we can start during harvest information on whoís catching what streams fish. Because the department has always said they donít have enough data to know what is happening with chums and cohos. Hope fully when all these studies are completed we will have a better understanding of all our salmon movements and the department will be able to make a accurate forecast before the middle of the forth week of July (normally 24-26 July) and have a new way of making an more accurate preseason forecasts for not only sockeye salmon but chum and coho too! With tools such as these our problems hopefully are resolved. I am betting on these studies to start bring truth into Cook Inlet management.
Speaking of health of Northern District salmon stocks the radio station has just announced that the Deshka River the returns are so poor that if returns donít improve the season limit may be reduced to one fish and bait will not be allowed. I believe that the Local Fish and Biologist stated that he was expecting below average returns of king and cohos in the Northern District. This is one of the weakest returns on record, 221 through the weir on the Deshka River and according to the harvest surveys on the Little Susitna the harvest is the lowest on record! How much extra time and gear was given was given to commercial fishermen after they had heard his concerns. Let me count a Stock of Concern on Yentna River sockeye salmon, complete closure of king fish on Alexander Creek due poor return (no stock of concern status) and now the first of what could be major restrictions are forth coming some Northern District kings if not all. According to the Sustainable Salmon Management Policy when there are conservation restrictions applied to one then all user groups have to share in the conservation measures.
Let the fact speak for it self. I know when the Marine Steward Ship Commission will be looking long and hard at the department actions this summer.
Save Cook Inlet All of Salmon
again you are off base bigfisherman.
There is no God given right to fish - for any group.
Second, the management plans speak to when commercial fisheries are to be closed relative to Northern District chinook salmon. They are closed with the sport fishery in the Deshka is closed. That has not happened.
Relative to the MSC there is nothing that indicates ADF&G is not regulating harvest to assure sustainable stocks. There is a question about local governments not providing habitat protection to maintain stocks. That is your local government bigfisherman. Finally the MSC is really not needed for marketing Alaska salmon - it was once thought of as being important but in fact it has proven not to be the case.
You speak of studie to bring truth out in Cook Inlet management would you please tell me where the lies have been or truth hidden? You impinge the whole ADF&G staff when you make unfounded statements like this. While I take ADF&G to task on a number of issues it is for technical reasons. They failed on the mark/recapture studies but at least they put the data out for everyone to see. The same with the Commercial Fisheries Division. So if you are going to make statements about telling the truth please provide examples where that has not happened. I can give a number of examples where valley residents have not told the truth about the status of salmon resources.
Again, when the valley folks as represented by your posts start to see that they are the major problem in Mat/Su salmon production things can change. Until then the pointing of fingers at commercial fisherman serves no purpose except to create conflict. Nice job bigfisherman and the valley legislators.
bigfisherman, we all have a right to the fish produced in the Northern District. They aren't your fish. If you want a King so bad, head to the Kenai River...they are in good numbers and on the bite. There's even an EO for using bait. You have the same right we all do...you should use it.
You sit there and blame commercial fishing...when there's only been 2 lousy periods that only a handfull of commercial fishermen have fished! Those commercial fishermen are also experiencing either a late run or a weak run. They've harvested less than 1,000 Kings, about half of what they normally harvest. Even if they didn't fish those two Mondays, the Deska would still be below goal. Who would you blame then? Try looking at all the in-river King pressure (sport, commercial guides, etc.) on the Sue/Deshka, and add in the water conditions. What have you done about the preditors, beavers, and growing habitat pressure that have decreased production in that system...point a finger at commercial fishermen? Also take a pill and chill...it is early and the run could yet establish itself.
FWIW, the federal courts haven't "spoken" anything about the southeast halibut fishery. No decision whatsoever. They have temporarily put a restraining order on the new 1-limit rule, and resorted back to the 2-limit regulation until "procedural issues" and a "challenge on technicalities" can be addressed. It had absolutely nothing to do with conservation issues. It's pretty sad when you think about it...resorting to wording and technicalities to stop something from happening that's based on proof of reduced stocks in the commercial charter areas.
If you can't fill your freezer this year with salmon, you're a lazy butt. My neighbor and his wife from Texas (not even Alaskans) already have two limits of sockeye and two Kings each in their freezer....about 250 lbs of salmon. Not to mention all the halibut. Yep...those dang commercial fishermen.
I'd have responded sooner, Nerka, but its summer! Working harder than ever due to the poor king return. I was at the meeting in question, I did testify. As Thewhop stated, the early part of the meeting really dragged on. By the time the Public testimony period did start, some members of the public had left already. Please, before drawing conclusions from a limited data set, put that data set in context with external factors and eliminate those factors before making a conclusion. I asked for actual numbers, rather than generalizations, because you had taken two unrelated numbers to reach a determined conclusion. "Not as many people showed up at the Valley meeting as at the Soldotna meeting, therefor the issue isn't as important to Valley residents as they would like us to believe." That is a very strong conclusion made from a limited data set that follows no logic train or proper scientific method. It may be the basis for formulating a hypothesis, but should be tested before drawing a conclusion, should it not? Oops, I'm not a scientist, don't have a masters in biology, and my last college class in bio was 15 years ago, so I must be wrong!
The Deshka River is now closed to retention of kings, Northern District setnet is closed for this Monday, and there are few to no kings rolling at the mouths of Parks Highway streams. Our season looks very bleak.