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Thread: ADF&G announces restrictions

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    Default ADF&G announces restrictions


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    that is geat news! ABOUT TIME.
    Semper Fi!

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    Default I love the inconsistent behavior of ADF&G

    So Bird Creek goes down 40-50 fish and it is closed because of low run size. Yet Slikok Creek goes from a couple hundred fish with over a 100 females down to 16 females and ADF&G takes no action. They should be ashamed of this lack of resource concern and action. A small increase in the closed area around the mouth of Slikok was asked and yet the Commissioner refuses to take action. A population of early run Kenai River chinook may go to extinction and the system is less than a half mile from the Soldotna office. Boy you just got to shake your head on this one.

  4. #4

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    I was told the Bird Creek closure was due to illegal king fishing last year. People were taking kings when the fishery was closed to kings. So they closed it to all fishing to aid enforcement.

    It's obvious you disagree with f&g on Slikok but just because they don't do what you want doesn't mean they aren't concerned or should be ashamed.

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    Default concern????

    I hear that ADF&G is concerned but I see no action. How concerned are they if 16 females does not prompt some action? I think they are giving lip service to the issue. Here is what I received from the Commissioner


    We recently discussed this issue at our Upper Cook Inlet preseason meeting on April 30, 2010 which was attended by both fisheries management and research staff from both fisheries divisions; all were in concurrence with our approach. The overall low escapement numbers and percentage of females observed for Slikok Creek king salmon in 2009 does concern the department, however your suggested course of restrictive action employing emergency order authority will likely result in no quantifiable improvement to this situation. We intend to monitor this spawning population, and will again run the weir in 2010 on Slikok Creek to count the escapement and collect biological data. Additionally, we are initiating a Kenai River early run king salmon mark-recapture program (including radio tagging), which should further our understanding of this and other tributary spawning populations. I’m sure that this topic, and potential for regulatory action, will be discussed at next year’s Board of Fisheries meeting.

    Here is my response to his comments.

    I know that all at the UCI preseason meeting were not in agreement. Your commercial fisheries staff is not in agreement but did not speak up. They do not want to fight Sport Fish Division knowing that the discussion is not fair or on sound grounds. ... The issue is the viablity of Slikok Creek chinook salmon.

    Second, saying that the increasing the closed area around the creek mouth will not be effective begs the question of what you will do next year if the same thing happens. Are you prepared to close the entire lower river for Slikok Creek? Since sport fish will not support a modest restriction around the creek mouth that does not impact opportunity do you honestly think that they will support more restrictive actions for Slikok Creek?

    Relative to the tagging studies it is absurb to imply that you will learn anything about Slikok Creek. There are 70 fish returning to the weir out of around an escapement of 10,000. The chance of a single fish being tagged headed for Slikok Creek is low. You will know nothing more than today from the tagging studies..

    Denby, what is the problem here? On the west side of UCI Sport Fish Division is closing entire drainages and the commercial fisheries for less of a drop in escapement than Slikok Creek? In addition, this request to close a modest increase in the size of the closed area around the mouth of the creek may work. You or the staff have no idea if it will be positive or not. Yet you make the statement that it will not work or make a quantifiable improvement in the situation. That is pure speculation that puts the resource at risk and favors opportunity. Has the Department come this low relative to resource protection? A precautionary approach would close additional area and hope for more than 16 spawning females.

    I have heard misinformation about straying impacts on the previous counts and have heard all types of excuses not to take action. I do not believe that your sport fish staff is concerned at all. They give lip service to it but are willing to risk a population of early run chinook salmon in Slikok Creek on no science or foundation of resource protection. It is a sad day when opportunity takes priority over the resource when the requested restrictions are modest.

    If this stock goes to extinction, which is a distinct possibility, and on a system one quarter of a mile from the Soldotna office it will be on your watch and legacy. I was hoping you would see the forest for the trees and take some action. I am going to pursue this with the Board of Fisheries and hope they will reconsider their previous decision.

    ADF&G had a chance to stand up for the resource here and believe me people are watching this discussion. ADF&G does not look good here and I have tried to let ADF&G do the right thing - the failure to act is very disturbing to those of us who have invested our lives and careers on this

    As a follow up here is the Bird Creek e.o.and it speaks to small run size. Bird Creek drop is not even close to the drop seen in Slikok Creek. So draw your own conclusions on the level of concern ADF&G has for Slikok Creek.

    Bird Creek supports a small run of wild king salmon that has an annual average escapement of approximately 160 fish. During the 1990’s, the run averaged 198 king salmon, but since 2000 has only averaged 128 fish. Six of the 10 lowest escapements on record have occurred since 2000. Due to the small size of this wild run, there is no open season for harvest or catch and release of these fish. Illegal harvest and mortality associated with incidental catch from anglers targeting other species could negatively impact the sustainability of this small stock. Therefore, it is warranted to close the Bird Creek drainage to all sport fishing until July 14 for king salmon conservation




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    Member fishNphysician's Avatar
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    Default Been biting my tongue... BUT...

    I must applaud Nerka's line of reasoning here.

    Again, this is an issue of distinct sub-populations bearing disproportionate exploitation.

    It's really not much different than what he and I have been saying for years about the sub-population of early-timed mainstem spawners bearing disproportionate exploitation during the month of July.

    Only this time there is tangible proof of diminished escapement past the fishery provided by the Slikok weir.

    A more precautionary approach should rule the day! PERIOD!

    The aggregate population of Kenai kings is only as healthy as its component sub-populations. The "run" is literally defined by the sum of its parts. When you decide one of them is expendable.... "oh there's so few, it's really inconsequential to the total escapement".... you are starting down a VERY slippery slope.

    I believe we are well on our way to overexploiting the Kenai's early-timed mainstem spawners. Are we really that willing to add a tributary population to the carnage?

    I understand that change is painful, but these fish deserve better.

    I tried to dole out some additional "rep" points to nerka, but the program only allows it after I've "repped" 19 other guys first. Unfortunately it's pretty dammed difficult to find 19 others who make as big a contribution to the knowledge base around here.
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post

    I tried to dole out some additional "rep" points to nerka, but the program only allows it after I've "repped" 19 other guys first. Unfortunately it's pretty dammed difficult to find 19 others who make as big a contribution to the knowledge base around here.
    Sometimes you have to weed through a lotta posts, some days it's easier.

    Rep to you for the observation (already hit Nerka for his excellent post).
    “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” ― H.S.T.
    "Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you."

  8. #8

    Default Head shaker indeed

    I’ve too have been watching this one very closely and will pile on here. In ’08 when F&G counted something like 75 fish at a Slikok weir, the department cited several reasons to dismiss the apparent drop in the # of returning spawners. If I recall, the ’08 reasons to dismiss were: 1) weir went in too late, so next year we’ll make sure it gets in earlier; 2) weir wasn’t tight enough some must have escaped counting; 3) just one year of data, don’t know what it means.

    (1) was completely bogus (2) and (3) had some potential validity, but the concern should have been elevated a year ago. All indications were if the ’08 results were confirmed in ’09, the department will have a real concern to address. Well ’09 data came in very similar to ‘08, and there are a whole series of new excuses to not take any real action. The response is “we are concerned, so concerned in fact that we’re going to conduct weir counts again in ’10", but to what end? What is the threshold that will trigger additional action? Three years of data? Extirpation?

    No very basic research or inquisitive thoughts from the department. Rather we’ll keep doing what we’ve been doing, like the genetic research on the entire Kenai River population, cause that’s what we’ve been doing. Not a dis at the genetic work, I think its important too. But lets get back to the basics and put some bio-waders in the stream, get out there and think about essential fish habitat needs; like water quality, water quantity, direct habitat disturbances or migration blockages.

    Nothing so simple seems to be in the works, we’ll count ‘em again at the weir and we’ll take a 1:100 chance that we might get a radio tag in a Slikok Fish and see where it goes and how it behaves. I don't understand this line of thinking.

    The early run ’10 forecast is pretty dismal, I can already hear and predict the '11 reasoning for deferring action. The recent pattern of conduct of the Department is to look for reasons not be concerned rather than rational thinking. Slikok is not the only small tributary to have apparent problems, I think this is a real conservation concern, it may or may not be related to harvest.

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    closure for the chinook on the chuitna, theodore and lewis.

    http://www.sf.adfg.state.ak.us/EONR/...1194/year/2010


    and before the season even began. interesting.


    apparently the necessary burden of proof for precautionary closures, is.....well.....different on the kenai than everywhere else?

  10. #10
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    I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the appropriate actions to take on this issue.

    There's really no escaping the reality that something precautionary should be done.

    Look, there could be many factors causing the decline of this stock, many of them out of our immediate control. It's clear the fish have ready access to the available habitat. Could that habitat be improved? It's difficult to imagine that any small stream flowing thru a major population center remains in a truly pristine state. There's going to be some human impact, and efforts should be made to minimize those impacts. But realize any incremental benefits derived from such measures would be measured over the long term.

    Of all the factors affecting abundance, the one where we undeniably have the singlemost impact is HARVEST.... or conversely, how many we allow to escape the fishery.

    The impact of harvest in the mainstem Kenai cannot be denied. Am I advocating a shutdown of the entire lower river downstream of the present Slikok sanctuary? Of course not. But there is a better way to prosecute the existing fishery by crafting strategies to minimize Slikok harvest impacts.

    As nerka suggested earlier, by the very fact that Slikok fish are so depleted, they are so diluted in the general population that the odds of encountering one, let's say, in the tidewater fishery are statistcally very low. Odds are greater than 99% that a king encountered by any individual angler fishing tidewater WILL be a fish of NON-Slikok origin. Allowing the fishery to take place in this scenario is very defensible. The harvest of each king produces almost no measurable Slikok impact.

    But as the proportion of Slikok fish in the fishing zone increases, that argument completely falls apart. The fact of the matter is that Slikok harvest impact rises exponentially in places where Slikok fish are known to "stage" in the mainstem. The fleet is statistically MUCH more likely to encounter Slikok kings because the fish are no longer protected by dilution.

    It ain't rocket science. The greater the "concentration" of Slikok fish, the greater our efforts should be to AVOID fishing those areas.

    The clearest example of this is the closure of Slikok Creek proper where virtually 100% of the kings an angler would encounter are Slikok origin. Make sense?

    The same logic should be employed in their staging zones in the mainstem Kenai. It is my belief (and the belief of many others) that significant portions of the river known to harbor large numbers of staging Slikok fish are heavily exploited by the fleet thru all of July. Bottom line, intellectual honesty says it needs to stop.

    This is all that nerka and his group are asking for... reigning in the fleet wherever we KNOW its impact on Slikok kings is statistically greatest.

    It doesn't take waiting for another expensive study to tell us that.

    And as for dismissing it because 'your suggested course of restrictive action employing emergency order authority will likely result in no quantifiable improvement to this situation.' is just total BS. Get a grip, folks. If we're going to intervene in some meaningful way, what other options are there? Just remember that the effects of reduced harvest impacts are real, immediate, and measurable. Every Slikok fish NOT bonked in the mainstem contributes directly to abundance and escapement.... and ultimately to increased reproductive capacity to jumpstart a depressed population.

    Are we just gonna sit around and wait for the run to collapse under the status quo? Yet another victim of analysis paralysis?

    What have we got to lose by being precautionary? A vibrant fishery is still allowed to take place at some meaningful level, while an imperiled sub-population of kings gets some measure of extra protection.

    If we fail to act now, and the Slikok fish slide toward extirpation, it would be utterly unforgiveable.

    One of the most valuable lessons we have learned in the PNW salmon crisis is that it's much better and cheaper to maintain healthy salmon populations than it is to recover depleted ones. Take that to the bank!
    Last edited by Brian M; 05-05-2010 at 16:40.
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  11. #11

    Default no disagreement

    FnP - I would not disagree with you one iota, modifying harvest patterns is the most immediate action that would likely yield the most immediate benefit. For what its worth, my direct visual observation is that Chinook entry into this creek has been later in the past couple years, compared to the previous 5 or 6. I live very close and frequently check it out. I can't say if my observations represent a pattern or not; however I know it to be true for the very recent past.

    Of the 4-H's, Slikok is faced with all of them to some degree -

    There is hydro-modification at work; surface water rights have been allocated for hay production, not sure if they are being exercised or not - there are already very marginal flows in the creek in July when fish start to enter the creek, coinciding with time irrigation would be most desired, again don't know if withdrawls are occurring, but they are certainly within a private property owners legal right.

    Habitat - livestock running in the creek, has been cleaned up to some extent, but very clear alterations of the physical habitat

    Hatchery pollution - decades old, documented strays from Crooked Creek may have had an influence.

    Harvest - previous posts covers it

    --
    I do not know how to encourage the Department to become more proactive on conservation issues. I do know that it really hampers conservation when they state luke warm concern. Like others have said, most folks are pretty willing to forgo some opportunity if the powers that be will speak up.

    I'll give you another short example the F&G hydropower coordinator has been quoted in the paper as saying Hydroelectric dams can improve fish habitat in some instances. This quote was in the context of the upper Kenai River drainage - How is a lay Electrical Board supposed to ferret out the conservation concern when the lead ADFG is publicly stating this?

    Again its easy to point out these things that seem wrong to me personally, but how to get more conservation concern out of a State Agency seems really hard.

  12. #12
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    Default The four dreaded H's... NIMBY?

    Nah... only happens in neglected watersheds elsewhere in the Lower 48... to resource managers far more negligent than any self-respecting Alaskan. (TIC)

    Seriously folks, any salmon-bearing watershed is susceptible to the 4 H's. Actually there is a dreaded fifth "H" that could spell the undoing of even Alaska's vast salmon wealth.... H-istory.... specifically the inability to learn from it. Ignoring the mistakes and lessons from the past clearly jeopardizes the health of salmon in the future.

    Count yourselves blessed that you've got a few local watchdogs bringing this issue to full light. Thanks nerka and Chaos!
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    As a precedence for ADF&G, even Funny River (another Kenai tributary) is closed to King fishing about 1 mile down from it's mouth.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    Again, this is an issue of distinct sub-populations bearing disproportionate exploitation.

    It's really not much different than what he and I have been saying for years about the sub-population of early-timed mainstem spawners bearing disproportionate exploitation during the month of July.

    Only this time there is tangible proof of diminished escapement past the fishery provided by the Slikok weir.

    A more precautionary approach should rule the day! PERIOD!

    The aggregate population of Kenai kings is only as healthy as its component sub-populations. The "run" is literally defined by the sum of its parts. When you decide one of them is expendable.... "oh there's so few, it's really inconsequential to the total escapement".... you are starting down a VERY slippery slope.

    I believe we are well on our way to overexploiting the Kenai's early-timed mainstem spawners. Are we really that willing to add a tributary population to the carnage?
    "The first rule of intelligent tinkering is to keep all the parts." Aldo Leopold

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