Jeff Fox (worthy man indeed) quote
This should go down as an all time classic, from the public meeting in Wasilla Monday night. When asked about sharing the burden in commercial fisheries, area manager Jeff Fox answered
"Com fish does not share the burden of conservation"
"I can only do what the BOF tells me to do."
He went on to say that any restrictions due to projected poor king returns were in the board's hands, not his. Interesting, as the BOF in 2008 passed a proposal that "told" Jeff Fox and the department to do exactly that- use his emergency authority to act outside management plans, both to restrict or expand fisheries as needed, to be able to keep them within their goal ranges. I'm glad two board members were there to be able to hear him tell us that.
F&G damage control quickly came forward and told the attendees that Jeff didnt' really mean to say that, that com fish really does share the burden, that its not really all on the sport fishermen's shoulders. That really went over like a lead brick, though, to a bunch of people who are staring at heavy emergency restrictions on their fishery, and no department generated restrictions on the nearest commercial fisheries.
sticking foot in the proverbial mouth
I was somewhat appalled when he made those statements. But does that just go straight to the problem? It is the mindset of Comfish because that was said almost twice. The Boys from Fish and Game were told that they have a confidence problem when it comes to the public reaction from their actions. It is unfortunate that Mr.Comfish made those statements but he did. I walked away from that meeting feeling somewhat rejected and was just put back on the proverbial shelf, to dry. I see it as the same old dance but just another tune! Good tune but I wouldn't want to dance to it.
(Throwback to the 60's dance programs.)
I guess you had to be there to experience the awkward silence after Comfish made those statements. I was embarrassed for him. So now we will have to see what happens from here.
Doesn't surprise me a bit coming from Fox. Usually he says that type of stuff off record out in the hallway. It does speak volumes of his mindset as a fisheries manager. Is there a tape recording of the meeting? I would be more than happy to buy it.
You are so full of yourselfs
Guys, Jeff Fox was correct relative to the Deshka and other systems. The management plans detail how the conservation burden is to be shared, not an area management biologist.
For example, the regulations state that the conservation burden is to be shared in proportion to harvest if no plan exists. Jeff Fox cannot change that so when Jeff says the BOF sets the stage he is correct. You guys should read the plans/regulations.
Using e.o authority outside the management plans is usually a Commissioner of ADF&G call, not a specific division. So again Jeff is correct, it is not up to commercial or sport fish division to make the call, it is the combined authority of ADF&G. I think it is absolutely funny that a commercial fisheries biologist, like Jeff Fox, writes 20-30 e.o a year to get escapement goals met and people like willphish4food question his conservation ethic.
Maybe you guys are not knowledgeable enough to know what Jeff was saying and that is pretty obvious from this thread. It should be deleted as it is based on a false premise.
Are you saying Fox is correct in this statement?
Originally Posted by willphish4food
Is there a record of what was actually said at the meeting available? I didn't attend, but I would like to interpret the context of what was actually said myself. I am not condoning something Jeff Fox might have said, but I have great reservations with the legitimacy and intent of just about everything willphish4food posts here.
willphish4food, what do our fishery laws say about the commercial fishery sharing the burden of conservation? Would you please post that, and where you think those laws have been broken?
Concerning the northern district Kings, it's my understanding the commercial fishery has been restricted for well over a decade, and that more restrictions have already been put in place for them this year, and that they haven't been allowed to harvest their caps in many years due to conservation restrictions even when a dozen years of huge surplusses existed. The proof is in the pudding when it comes to commercial fishing sharing the burden of conservation, following the fishery laws, and management plans there. What Jeff Fox might have said won't change that.
Also, what am I missing in your comment about restrictions due to projected poor returns being in the BOF's hands, and Jeff Fox being directed to use emergency authority?....
AS 16.05.251. Regulations of the Board of Fisheries.
(a) The Board of Fisheries may adopt regulations it considers advisable in accordance with AS 44.62 (Administrative Procedure Act) for
(12) regulating commercial, sport, guided sport, subsistence, and personal use fishing as needed for the conservation, development, and utilization of fisheries;
(15) regulating resident or nonresident sport fishermen as needed for the conservation, development, and utilization of fishery resources;
AS 16.05.060. Emergency Orders.
(a) This chapter does not limit the power of the commissioner or an authorized designee, when circumstances require, to summarily open or close seasons or areas or to change weekly closed periods on fish or game by means of emergency orders.
(b) The commissioner or an authorized designee may, under criteria adopted by the Board of Fisheries, summarily increase or decrease sport fish bag limits or modify methods of harvest for sport fish by means of emergency orders.
what was the context
We get a quote out of context. Put this in the context of the discussion and I will respond more.
Originally Posted by yukon
Of course Commercial Fisheries shares the conservation burden in UCI. E.O's are written every year to do this. However, if Jeff was answering about the Deshka River chinook he is correct. The plan states the Commercial Fisheries close when the Deshka closes. If the BOF wants to change that then they can and did. However, it is not Jeff Fox or the ADF&G to change that plan given the history of the plan. Remember the Deshka is going to make the goal according to the forecast and actions taken. What is at issue here is that some in the valley did not like what the BOF did at the 2008 meeting and now want to revisit that issue.
Relative to Susitna River sockeye salmon there are numerous times Commerical Fisheries took the whole conservation burden as the sport fishery did not close in the valley at all - even when below the goal. So this issue is complex given the management plans, the history of how they come about, and how a Commissioner of ADF&G feels about the issue.
So would Jeff Fox say this as a blanket statement for all fisheries - of course not. This is just anothe Willphis4food misdirection. Jeff knows the plans better than anyone in UCI and he lives then everyday of the season. He knows his authority and when he has to go to the Commissioner. He has instructions from the Commissioner that he can operate within the plans but he cannot go outside them on his own. That is pretty standard. So the Commissioner is the one who can and cannot make the call on going outside the plans -
That is why I will try and find the audio, or a transcript so we can discuss this in context of what he said.
The meeting was recorded. I don't know when the audio will be available, but the Blue Ribbon committee did the recording. Jeff put his foot in his mouth. Given the context of the meeting, it was a very memorable moment.
Grampy- Funny about caps and history and burden sharing... the cap of 12,500 fish doesn't reflect historical catch at all- only a 4 year period from '86-89. That's in the reports from '69 to the present. It is very true to say that the commercial fishery in the Northern District shares and has shared the burden of conservation by regulation and by plan. I do not deny that. I may argue the degree of the sharing. It is not true to imply that the sport fishery does not also share in the conservation burden by regulation.
My argument has been and will remain to be that sportfishing was called upon to shoulder an additional burden, outside regulation, by EO. The division of Comm Fish did not call for any commercial fishermen to shoulder an additional burden. Saying that they already do share the burden is not pertinent; this is an extra burden put in place by EO, but only placed on one side of the fence, not collaterally.
Northern District was restricted by emergency action. That action came from the Board of Fish, though, and not from within the Department. Nothing has come forward from the department about other possible causes of our low king runs, such as Bering Sea and Doughnut Hole interception, and ocean rearing conditions.
The Department and the public know that the Deshka river has very wide abundance swings. When management was changed to address lows, it was able to rebound. I asked John Marcotte a very pointed question. Management changes across the board were made to bring back the Deshka. (Oh, Grampy- perhaps you forgot the 5 year moratorium on sport fishing the Deshka?) I asked what management actions are being made to ensure the Deshka runs do rebound, and to restore the other systems where runs still have not rebounded? When I asked about Theodore and Lewis rivers, he could only answer that he didn't know anything about those rivers. Is there research to pinpoint causes, are genetic studies being done on commercial catches to determine interception rates, if production is the issue, is the source being searched out? Well, apparently not, if the head of com fish in the area doesn't even know the rivers in question have a problem. See, these are two rivers that have not bounced back. They can only bounce back if the management that has kept them at today's low numbers is changed.
WillPhish, I'm not wading into the pros/cons of this...but a few things in response to your post. I didn't see Gramps say that the sport users haven't had to bear some of the burden of conservation...I think his comment was the opposite: that when the chinook runs were strong and escapement goals were being exceeded/bag limits liberalized that the ND commercial guys didn't get any appreciable increase in opportunity/harvest, while still being well below their "cap".
Originally Posted by willphish4food
Additionally, if you're talking about asking a pointed question of (Jim) Marcotte, you're barking up the wrong tree. Jim is the Executive Director of the Board...and not a manager of any fisheries, whatsoever. He coordinates the Board meetings/activities and everything else that it takes to soliticit proposals/make meetings happen/disseminate information. And he does a heck of a good job, IMO. In his position, he doesn't have to be initimately familiar with that kind of stuff.
Willphish4food - do you even read what you write? What conservation burden does the sport fishery have in the management plan? They fish 7 days a week 24 hours a day. There was no additional burden as you imply put on the sport fishery. This is what the management plan called for and again Comm Fish would not call for additional actions outside the plan. What I find funny is this whole discussion is based on a forecast and you speak as if the run has already failed. I cannot say it more clearly - you continue to mislead people here on what the regulations say and the history of those regulations.
Originally Posted by willphish4food
Correct me if I'm wrong here. Regulations allow both groups to catch fish. Both groups have restrictions placed upon them. To say anything other is to be misleading. Nerka, for your argument of 24/7 fishing to hold true, you must be talking about all sport fishermen, not chinook fishermen on the Deshka. So if that is so, we must talk all commercial fishermen too, not just commercial fishermen in Upper Cook Inlet. Fair enough? I think so, as Deshka sport fishermen have been restricted beyond regulatory restrictions, by EO, to fishing only 6 am 11pm, and can only keep fish 3 days a week.
I'm sure most who read this forum realize "sport fishing" is not just a sport to most Alaskans. We do it for the reward of fresh fish to put in our larder as frozen, smoked, canned or freshly grilled wild raised fish. Being of an independent mind, with the ability to do it myself, I do not feel it is right to pay someone else to catch those fish for me. I respect the laws that are in place, so I catch those fish where it is legal to do so. When I am allowed to fish for king salmon without being able to retain them, my sport fishing has become just that- sport fishing. I am no longer able to sustain myself or my family with the result of that fishing- therefore to say "you're still able to fish, so quit whining," is like telling the setnetters to string their buoys on the bay with no net underneath and call it fishing.
If not for conservation, why are any restrictions in place?
Bfish, I'm sorry about the name mixup. It was Director John Hilsinger, not Jim Marcotte.
Beginning in 1993, in all waters of the Susitna drainage the annual limit for king salmon is 5. Guides may not sport fish in waters open to fishing for king salmon while a client is present. Bag limit was set at 1.
Originally Posted by Nerka
In Unit 1 of the Susitna drainage (includes Deshka), in waters open to king salmon fishing, fishing is not allowed between 11pm and 6am May 15-July 13. In the Deshka, after taking a king salmon 20" or longer, a person may not fish for king salmon on that same day.
In Unit 2, only unbaited, artificial lures are allowed June 1-July 13. Most waters in Unit 2 are closed to all fishing June 16-19, June 23-26, June 30-July 3, July 7-13. After taking a king salmon 20" or longer, a person may not fish for king salmon on that same day. Upstream of the Parks Highway bridges are closed to fishing for king salmon.
In Unit 3, only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure is allowed year-round, in waters open to king salmon fishing, fishing is not allowed between 11pm and 6am May 15-July 13.
In Units 4 & 5, only unbaited, artificial lures are allowed Sept 1-July 13, fishing is not allowed between 11pm and 6am May 15-July 13.
In Unit 6, only unbaited, artificial lures are allowed Sept 1-July 13, after taking a king salmon 20" or longer, a person may not fish for king salmon on that same day. Upstream of the Parks Highway bridges are closed to fishing for king salmon.
"Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone."
The KeenEye MD
not conservation burden
In the context of the discussion these are not conservation burdens. Using this rationale it would be like saying the drift gill net and set gill net fleet only fishes two days a week by regulation for conservation. Therefore, any restriction less than 7 days a week 24 hours a day is conservation. In a way I could see someone making that case but regulations that are common every year tend to be passed for a variety of reasons - providing opportunity for more people, making the guided angler harvest equal with unguided, spreading the effort out over time, reducing conflict in the fishery, and of course letting the fishery proceed without major emergency order alternation (important in a sport fishery). This last one is more a fixed exploitation model of management so I do not fully buy that all restrictions are for conservation.
Originally Posted by aktally
Maybe I'm seeing something different than you but when I read willphish's statement I think that is what he is talking about.
Originally Posted by Nerka
Below is a link to the 1994 management report which reviewed past BOF actions that were taken to address stock conservation concerns (beginning on page 55). Those regulations that I listed above were implemented back in the early 90's and are still in place.
Originally Posted by willphish4food
maybe it is the definition of conservation burden
I tend to use the conservation concern definition in the BOf regulation book which states concern arising from a chronic inability, despite the use of specific management measures, to maintain escapements for a stock above a sustained escapement threshold.
So while these measures came about for a variety of reasons I do not see them as soley for conservation to meet escapement goals. For example, the goals for a number of ND systems have been met or exceeded and some of these restrictions remained in place even in those situations. This would say that they are not conservation only restrictions - would you agree with that Aktally?
Also, the issue is not about what should be done but who should do it given the management plan. This thread started with a comment about Jeff Fox and to date Willphish4food has not provided the context of Mr. Fox's statement.
Were you there Ak to help define the context of this statement or if it is even true?
The context of the meeting was to discuss the change in management of Susitna sockeye stocks, and the upcoming king season-sic, EO restrictions to the Deshka River. In this context, Jeff and other Department officials who were there were asked what actions the Department of Commfish was planning or had taken to share the burden of conservation. I can't say exactly where in the meeting his response came- thats on the audio, which I don't have access to.
Here is what two other people who were at the meeting wrote- I only spoke with Julie after she had written her post.
The press release announcing and detailing the meeting is also included in that discussion.
For those who need further clarification, this was a public meeting with the audience in chairs and standing against the back wall of the room, with a panel of 5 Fish and Game representatives and one moderator, Larry Engle, a retired Fish and Game biologist, seated at a table in the front of the room. One small table was set in front of them where an audience member would sit and ask questions and discuss the strategy with members at the table. Other members of the Department were seated with the audience, as were members of the Mat Valley, Su Valley, and Anchorage AC's, the AOC, and Matsu Anglers. 4 legislators and several staffers were in attendance, as well as BOF members Howard Delo and Carl Johnstone. Though issued the press release, neither the Frontiersman nor Daily News was covering it that I could see.
further discussion of conservation burden
In Aktally comments and Doc's thinking it was an ouch comment I think both missed the point.
In the Deshka where there is a weir there is no reason for bag limits or limiting times of fishing. If there is a harvestable surplus of fish then ADF&G can close the fishery by emergency order when the harvest is taken. Whether that is in one day or multiple days is the purpose of the bag limits and restrictions on fishing times. Not conservation.
What bag limits do and fishing time restrictiions do in this situation is spread the harvest among users and extend seasons for a longer duration. That is not conservation but allocation between sport fish users.
So when I see a list of restrictions on systems that have weirs and escapement goals pardon me for not buying into the conservation burden rationale.
Also, Willphsh4food, you made this post about Fox and now you cannot tell us what fishery we was talking about or you need the tapes to see the context. Why would you post if you do not know this other than to make a fuss about nothing.
the tone of the meeting
Here's a description of what went on at that meeting from someone who attended:
"To All Concerned,
Below I wrote up a preliminary assessment of what happened at the May 18, 2009 meeting in Wasilla concerning the Commercial Fish Division of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's plans on how it would be managing all salmon stocks headed for streams in the Anchorage and Mat-Su areas this year. I would like to make it clear that these are my views and only my views. Proceedings at the meeting were recorded by the Mat-Su Borough.
The only people in the room who expressed support for ADF&G's 2009 Commercial Management plans for salmon bound to Northern Cook Inlet streams were the Commercial Fish manager, Jeff Fox and the State Director of Commercial FIsheries, John Hilsinger. Thank you attending Representatives and Senator Huggins and all public participants for letting ADF&G Commercial FIsh Division staff know that their new plans for mismanaging Northern Bound Upper Cook Inlet salmon stocks are UNACCEPTABLE.
The meeting went well in that it might have raised awareness of how the Commercial Fish Division plans to change management of the Upper Cook Inlet commercial fisheries with a new Yenata / Susitna sockeye salmon goal and assessment method out of regular Board of Fisheries cycle. Certainly ADF&G did not promise anything that gave much hope for meeting the long established sockeye salmon escapement goal for Yentna sockeye salmon in either 2009 or 2010. ADF&G Commercial FIsh Disions is dropping the long established goal and creating a new one measured in such a way as to make it difficult for the public and Board of Fishereies to compare the old and new goals. In addition, with the new goal it seems like ADF&G Commercial FIsh Division is telling the public if any management challenge exists for Northern bound salmon stocks, there may be absolutely too many salmon making it back to Mat-Su and Anchorage area streams -- something which could later be deemed an emergency situation, likely requiring harvest of much more salmon in the commercial fishery. Say WHAT? Is ADF&G ignoring the Board of FIsheries designation of Stock of Yield Concern for Susitna sockeye and creating their own designation of Stock of NO Department Concern? Although ADF&G forecasts call for a lower than average return of sockeye salmon bound for the Yentna River in 2009 manager Jeff Fox indicated no inseason adjustments to the commercial fishery will be needed to meet the new goal, and ADF&G will only be assessing attainment of the goal AFTER the season with the new weir counting method. One good thing was that two Board of FIsheries members Carl Johnstone and Howard Delo attended the meeting and observed ADF&G Commercial Fish Division actions. In addition, Representative Craig Johnson from Anchorage, Representative Bill Stoltze Eagle River/ Mat-Su, Representative Mark Neuman Mat-Su, and Senator Charlie Huggins Mat-Su all attended and expressed outrage at what ADF&G Commercial FIsh Division was attempting to do. Hopefully ADF&G's suggested plan for managing the Upper Cook Inlet Commercial Fishery in 2009 will be reevaluated.
By Anchorage Daily News account there were approximately 40 people attending the meeting. Phil Cutler from Alaska Sportfishing Association attended, as did some of the members of the newly formed Mat-Su Angling Club. Jim Stubbs attended for Anchorage Fish and Game Advisory Committee (AC), Tom Payton for Mt. Yenlo AC, Tony Russ and myself for Matanuska Valley AC, and Steve Runyan for Susitna Valley AC. Some local Mat-Su Fishing guides attended. Northern District set netter Kenny Rogers also attended. I saw no one in the room express ANY approval for the new program other than Jeff Fox, the Upper Cook Inlet Commercial Fisheries Manager, and John Hilsinger the State Director of Commercial Fisheries. Are these two individuals representing the best interests of the State? At the Meeting, the Commissioner of FIsh and Game's Communications Director, Jennifer Yuhas, questioned if one or both of them were accurately representing ADF&G's position.
The discussion on king salmon restrictions to the Commercial and Sport fisheries of Northern District king salmon was also a slap in the face to sport fishermen and the Advisory Committees representing over half of the state's human population, when the Commercial Fisheries Director and the Commercial Fisheries manager both acknowledged there was a down turn in king salmon production from Northern Cook Inlet, but said rather than make any inseason adjustments to regulations the Commercial Fish Division would just follow the regulations in place in the management plan. Jeff Fox went so far as to say that if ADF&G did anything other than follow the management plan regulations or specific instruction from the Board of FIsheries to adjust adjust the commercial fishery for escapement goal shortages, the Department would be violating allocation decisions made by the Alaska Board of Fisheries. This seems in direct opposition to what ADF&G told the Board at both the 2008 Upper Cook Inlet Board of Fisheries meeting and the recent 2009 state wide Board of Fisheries meeting -- that ADF&G could make emergency order changes as needed to manage the Northern District Commercial King Salmon FIshery and Upper Cook Inlet sockeye fisheries to meet escapement goals. Which brings up an obvious question, who is ADF&G Commercial FIsh Division attempting to mislead? 1. The public by saying Commercial Fish Division can not make inseason adjustments to Management Plan Regulations for conservation purposes or 2..the Board of FIsheries by answering direct questions with an affirmative answer that, YES, the Commercial FIsh Division can make emergency orders, as needed, to obtain king salmon and sockeye salmon escapement goals. Why would the Commerical Fish Divison of a Governor (who pledged to provide an open and transparent administration) attempt to mislead either the public or the Alaska Board of Fisheries? Is it possible this Commercial Fish Division is intentionally misleading the public, the Board of FIsheries, and members of the Alaska State Legislature? In this case ADF&G Commercial Fish Division's actions SHOUT, while the ADF&G Commerical Division's spin attempt is woeful, to say the least. When ADF&G Commercial Fish Division refuses to do its job, and, instead, misleads the Public, the Alaska Board of FIsheries, and State Legislators, who has the authority to clean up the mess? Commissioner Lloyd? Governor Palin? The ball is in your court."