"... pretty good fisheries management"
This isn't meant as a personal attack, but the quote from Nerka and the beliefs of the "goodness" of "success" of sockeye management makes me want to puke after what has happened at the mouth of Kasilof over the last few days.
We are now sitting at 150+ hours of continous terminal netting of the Kasilof.
The king salmon sport fishery has been closed for over 80 hours now in the interest of the fish ... now don't try to twist this around Gramps and say that I'm pushing for an extension. I'm not. The run has shifted late enough in my years here enough as it is. The fact is, that date exists to lay off of these fish. Some of us are, as you see below, the comm fishery is doing far from that!
We have no BEG for these kings. nor do we have one for the silvers.
The "REPORTED "commercial take the last three days:
Aug. 1: 201 kings and 699 silvers
Aug. 2: 143 kings and 522 silvers
Aug. 3: 338 kings and 506 silvers
Bet some steelhead are starting to show up in there as well!
While I've never been one to buy into "Conspiracy Theories", many of us are starting to wonder.
This sort of net pressure never existed until the first year of a study to figure out how many of these kings really came back to the Kasilof.
We've argued for years that is simply a fraction of what we saw two decades ago.
Sport catch data would certainly reflect that of logbooks went back that far ... personal logs do, but of course, they don't count
Maybe there really is a desire for no plan to be put in place or at least to have the numbers so screwed up that we'll never really know for sure.
But at least we're doing a great job on the reds ... good thing, 'cuz at this rate they will be all that's left for my kids!
Sad to see, all in the name of maximizing profit for one user group.
way off base Bob on the start of the terminal fishery
Bob, put your mind at rest - the terminal fishery was put in regulation over 20 years ago, following the 1985 season.
Originally Posted by Bob Ball - Piscatorial Pursuits
The reason it is being used more and more is because Kenai River Sport Fishing Association pushed for windows during the regular season and they are focused on Kenai River fish. Lets not fool anyone here.
If the windows and extra time restrictios were not in place the commercial fisheries managers would use the set net fishery and the terminal fishery would be a thing of the past - just like it was for most of those 20 years. So blame the party that is responsible -the Kenai River sport fisherman and the Association that claims to speak for them.
I believe the set net exploitation rate is much lower on chinook than the terminal area.
However, when I said the management did a good job and you wanted to puke I had to laugh at the irony of that statement. I have seen no data to say that the chinook runs were larger in the past than today or that Kasilof is not sustaining a fishery.
I agree with you that Kasilof chinook should be a focus of research but lets not get off on wild speculation about motives and black helicopters. That makes no sense.
Remember the managers must follow the regulations and to date the regulations have reduced flexibility and therefore to harvest fish to meet goals the terminal fishery is used more and more. I do not support that but the managers have no choice given the regulations. At the last Board of Fish meeting no one from ADF&G talked to your concerns so maybe you should talk to sport fish division about their projects and data.
Bob, with all due respect I am going to continue to have a very hard time giving credence to your concerns expressed here based on the huge disparity between that and what is on your website. You know, all that stuff about "best-kept secret" and "trophy-class Alaska king salmon" and "the odds of catching a king here are much higher than in the Kenai..." etc.
Originally Posted by Bob Ball
I think you bring up a lot of good and valid points, and that your time and history there on the Kasilof, and your observations, are very valuable. I really do. I think you really care too, about the sustainability of the fisheries. Most always though, your concerns expressed here completely contradict what you say on your website. When I read your posts, I often wonder how you justify that?
Just once I'd like to see a guide (whether fish, or game) advertise according to his or her version of the truth: "Hi I'm Bob Ball and the Kasilof LR King stocks may be in trouble. I believe that continued commercial fishing exploitation and no proper mgmt plan for this important fisheries stock puts it in danger. We are only seeing a fraction of the LR Kings that we did two decades ago. Please consider this before booking a trip with us."
Whoa there big guy
This is an inaccurate explanation for the increased use of the Kasilof terminal area, particularly for this year but also recent years.
Originally Posted by Nerka
This year it was used because: 1) the drift net fishery was limited to pass Susitna sockeye which were forecast to return in very low numbers and 2) the Kenai set net fishery was limited because Kenai sockeye run size was low.
This year and in most other recent years, windows and EO limitations contained in the management plans are routinely set aside in the Kasilof area in-season under the Commissioner's authority to access big Kasilof runs for the commercial fishery and to limit escapements to within the prescribed escapement goals. Hard to figure how windows and EO limitations are the problem when they are routinely ignored.
For several years now, the terminal area has been employed in the face of increasing Kasilof sockeye returns despite escapements at or above the existing escapement goals. This implies that current escapement goals are too low and natural production capacity is greater than currently estimated. The problem is there is a 5-8 year lag in when the stock-recruitment data catch up enough to update the goals.
At the same time, the Kasilof area set net fishery has been essentially managed for a single stock - Kasilof sockeye with no real limits for protection of Kasilof kings. Why? - because there is no in-season data on Kasilof king escapement. It's a burden of proof issue. Since there is no data that proves Kasilof kings are being overfished, then the sockeye escapements end up being the management driver.
Fair enough Mark ... I'll address some of the points you bring up, and I'll certainly address some of Nerka's:
I'll briefly touch on some of this. I'm currently in the middle of an article for a publication that I do a column for, and I only have a little time before my deadline. I'll be compiling some more data and charts this fall, but I have a pretty good idea of what they will reflect I'll probably ramble, but hopefully, a few points will come across.
The odds of catching a king in a "normal" year (read normal two a week and 2-3, maybe 4 12 hour EO's) are much higher on my boat than even the best years of July creel counts off the Kenai. Catch rates were every bit of that of the first run where the fish are "cooped up" in a fraction of the water that comes down the river in July.
That's how good this fishery was ... doubles were common and you never thought twice about not limiting out in a six hour trip (back when everyone ran doubles, now we all do single trips due to restrictions and changing with the fishery). With it's growing popularity, it will likley never be that good again since you don't have every prime spot after another as we once did. That's just part of life, but it's easy to tell when the overall numbers just aren't there.
Granted, the last few years haven't been normal. Three straight years of terminal netting for at least a portion of the run. EO's that completely ignore windows that were supposed to be set aside. Twice this year, we've seen 150+ hours of continuous netting either in the terminal fishery or in the Kasilof section (regular opener or 1/2 mile).
Trophy-class? Sure ... are you doubting that the Kasilof strain of fish fails to produce kings in the class that is offically recognized by the state of Alaska as a certified trophy? Off my boat, 3-4 a season are typically certified as "trophy fish" by the state of Alaska, a few years back I had 6 or 7. Even this year, we still had two.
If you read through the entire site, you will find in the run timing chart that we specifically mention commercial fishing season and that it may effect the numbers of fish as well as fishing success.
It's something that we routinely discuss with prospective guests when helping them decide when to come. If it puts your mind at ease, I'll be happy to pass along a couple of emails addys in private to verify this fact.
Maybe it will surprise you to learn that a number of my regular July guests share these same concerns ... I can forward you some of the letters they've writtten as well that they've all recived canned responses to. That's part of being a guide is educating the people you fish. A number of guests this year released their fish as well, hoping a few more would make it up.
Many of them have seen the overall decline as well and many have suffered from some complete shut-off of fish flow in recent years.
This brings me to a question for Nerka ... yes, I know the reg has been on the books for years, but please tell me prior to 2002, what years was the fishery utilized? I belive the same regulation exists for the Kenai as well. Please tell me what years it has been utilized there?
It is a fraction of what it was years ago, but for many guests to the KP, the relative solitude and quietness of at most a few dozen difters versus 500+ powerboats is half the attraction. Under relatively normal commerical schedules, it will still outproduce, per rod hour, the Kenai.
With a poor run this year and an extremely aggressive schedule by comm fish, it pretty much sucked outside of a couple of days ... which, surely by coincidence, follwed the one 36 hour or so break we got around the 23rd or so. Mnay sports anglers lost, and there's little question that the fish probably did too.
This is the beginning of the end if things don't change. And as I've mentioned, because the study has worked off the poorest returns in anyone's memory. That memory includes my 14 years, my neighbors's 19, my other neighnbor's 22, and a retired guide that still lives on the river that has been fishing it for over 30.
The small sport fleet does have some effect, but it is a tiny fraction of what is taken in the nets. One good day in comm fish sectors equals the whole sport fleet for the month. And since we're talking about a shared, finite resource, you got to factor in the economics of the situation as well. What might be lost in commercial produtvity for a short timeframe is more than made up for in the sport-related dollars in the local economy and the healthy of that sport fishery in a short time is also what provides the dollars the rest of the summer around here when the comm nets aren't fishing.
I think the fact by pushing for management goals and the like that may one day impose restrictions upon our own fishery and income shows where we are coming from. BR ... you obviously don't know much about me if you doubt my intentions. I'm a huge advocate of the fish (even considered extremist by some)and politically involved in all the fisheries I particpate in (whether I guide on them or not). I'm not strictly armchair either, before I set aside my education just shy of graduation at UW due to the rapid growth of my guiding endeavors, I was majoring in Fisheries Buisness & Communications.
As I said Nerka ... I normally don't buy into conspiracies in the least, but the fact that ADF&G is so blatently turning it's back on this makes one wonder. There is no way any study operating under the inetense harvest pressure will reflect the numbers that the river carries. We're starting to think that comm fish wants this study to fail to accurately asess this run becuase 1) it will change the face of the comm fishery and 2) it will make management of sockeye that much tougher.
I've never once stated that the comm fishery needs to go away completely... but perhaps it's time for some major changes in light of the changing economics of the area.
Quick ideas there? Perhaps some co-op fish wheels above the bridge ... the sockeye are there in 12 hours anyhow, so quality isn't an issue. Dip the kings out and tote up the reds ... yes, a big change, but also one thathelps to allow for full commerical exploitation of the reds, the sports anglers for kings win, the PU fishery for reds win. Not perfect of course, but times change and perhaps it's time to consider alternatives.
I made efforts through BOF last year to liberalize PU limits and area, but comm fish has always felt that any attempt there is futile ... what's the hurt in trying?
In addition, these fish have a whole new user group that probably rivals the entire sport fishery for impact: the Ninilchik subsistence fishery in the upper Kasilof. There goes another 500 kings as well.
It's funny how Comm fish always blames the windows. It's the same blow smoke up my butt response you get in the office today. Hmmm, did the Kasilof section get it's windows this year? Only a couple at the start, and the later ones were totally ignored by EO ... it was comm fish that didn't adhere to the plan that is written.
Why even have a plan if we're not going to abide by it??
I find it interesting that the one fellow in ADF&G Soldotna office that seemed to give a hoot and is the one who got the study started is no longer here.
You're right the data isn't there.
That's the whole point
The whole ADF&G comm fish cry is numbers this, escpaement that .... but when it comes to
Nerka, please don't tell me that you're going to ignore the thousands of days observations on the water from a number of sources as not being relevant to knowing what is ongoing with a stock?
Since my schedule is a little tight right now, would you please construct a chart of total hours of comm fish effort by set nets in the Kasilof section, either full or half mile and the terminal over the last two decades?
I think the info would be interesting
Enoguh ranting for now, I'll post some more as time allows!
Oh and here came EO number 49 ... another 24 hours of terminal netting. Now I see that the king count for yesterday was drastically revsied downward for yesterday about the same time the EO for continuation of the fishery was announced. Hmmmmm????????????
Bfish, I disagree with your comment. I referenced recent years and ADF&G has used it instead of traditional manage areas - why - because those areas have restrictions on hours fished and windows. In fact, in 2007 (I think this was the year) the terminal area was put in at the start of the season to control Kasilof since law said that tool needed to be used before ADF&G went outside the management plans. Maybe you can call the Commercial Fisheries managers to confirm that but it was also stated at the Board of Fish meeting in Feb. 2008 when this issue came up.
Originally Posted by Bfish
Also, your comment about low escapements relative to the goal I find interesting. Lets say the goal is low and it is raised. By defintion that means more fish returning and more fishing time not less. So how does that deal with other stocks?
It would seem to me one would want to lower the goal to reduce production potential. Also, lets not jump to a conclusion on the goals based on one year. We have a couple of more years to see if that 577k escapement produces fish - it may. Time will tell.
However, you cannot deny that fishery management has changed in UCI since the implementation of windows and limits on fishing time. Those changes have had a profound impact on adaptive fishery management and as a result some of the consequences are not pretty - the terminal area is one of them.
We where told at BOF.......
Where u so fired up at BOF that you forgot what went on? ADFG and the Commercfial fishermen both aggreed that the Terminal Kasilof Fishery was a bad idea and that in the future would not be used........ Well here we are and it is still being implemented. Blaming KRSA for the Terminal fishery as a trade off for windows? That is one of the sillies quotes you have come up w/ yet!
O.K Tynmon, your are way off base. First, the Board of Fish did ot say not to use it. That is just incorrect. If they did not want it used they would have removed it from regulation. They did discuss the idea of not using it in place of the traditional fisheries until a last resort. That has been done this year.
Originally Posted by TYNMON
You really should pay more attention to detail - like read the regulation book and see the tools ADF&G has in regulation.
Bob, thanks for reply
Thanks for the reasoned reply. We've spoken on this board before about a proposal you had before BOF, so I know you've been active in the whole process. And as I said, I do really think you care about the fisheries. I don't doubt at all you catch trophy-class fish, never did.
I honestly think you are so close to this that you aren't seeing how your words here contradict the advertising and promotion on your website. You are part and parcel of the growing popularity. You are part and parcel of continued exploitation of this stock. At some point, if this is really the beginning of the end, you are going to have to make a hard moral choice on whether to continue guiding there for LR kings, or tell clients you've gone to C&R only. As I said, you have good and valid concerns. I hope you continue to talk with fisheries managers and bios on this, and continue to submit BOF proposals on the issues that concern you. Sure would like to see your website really reflect what you say here though in future.
BR ... The day of C&R may come come sooner than later. Since what is on my site seems to be of importance to you, please also visit our winter steelhead page where we state:
"Although not required by law in all stretches of the Peninsula rivers, we are proud to say that we operate under a strict catch-and-release policy on wild steelhead stocks."
I walk the walk when needed.
The fishery would do fine with the small sport fleet and some of the same protective measures that the Kenai has for dates and breaks in the comm fish effort. But in the effort of maximizing the red run to it's fullest, the kings and silvers are taking a beating.
Unlike what Nerka suggested, and it would be a lovely world if if ever came to be ... I know that maximizing yield for the kings and silvers is not feasible ... but the middle ground is.
The red fishery is not going to collapse if we let another 100K fish in ... we may not get max yield, but we'll make steps to ensure the livliehood of others (not just me, but the local full-time Kasilof residents that process our fish, house and feed our guests, fish my overflow, take our guests halibut fishing, etc.) as well as the fish that are currently forgotten in the current management scheme.
time to end the terminal fishery
Bob, I just looked at the catches and the terminal area is getting 3k sockeye - time to end it. I will suggest that to some people in the morning.
I said it was discussed at BOF not by BOF......
Originally Posted by Nerka
As if I saw you in the drawing rooms... Nerka careful as usual you are treading a thin line..... ADFG and Commercial Fishermen both agree at BOF that terminal fishery was a bad idea even in a last resort situation.... Seems as though you are one of it's biggest advocates.
Who cares what anyone said in a room? Only the regulations matter. However, I am not a big advocate of the terminal fishery as anyone who reads this forum knows. During my time in ADF&G we never used it - 15 years - but if one wants to tie the hands of managers with windows, fixed fishing time, and other limitations then the terminal area will be used more and more. I did state that if one wants to maintain escapement goals on sockeye salmon.
Originally Posted by TYNMON
Bob has the correct idea - a balance between goals for different stocks. That is done in the Kenai with chinook and sockeye and can be done in the Kasilof if and when data becomes available for Kasilof chinook. One problem is that inseason management tools for chinook are not developed yet to do that and I assume that is one reason the Kenai program is still being developed and not just put in the Kasilof.
Bob, it's my understanding that F&G is currently doing mark-recapture studies and some genetic work on these late-run Kings to estimate their abundence and exploitation rate. F&G recently (this week) told me that the run looks good, mainly because the run is spread out over a long time frame and a large percentage return after the sport and commercial seasons have ended. They are aware of the impact the terminal fishery has. But they are also aware of why the terminal fishery is being used..less management flexibility (as Nerka explained).
I don't feel the run is in jeopardy...only that you would like more fish for your clients during the time you fish (July). I can recall over 40 years ago the late-run Kasilof King fishery being dismal at best. It's certainly better now. You are harvesting many times more fish now. But I encourage you to bring your concerns forward to the board.