Limited entry for guides?
Last year, at their April meeting I think, ADF&G's Tom Vania told the Kenai River Special Management Area board that the department was working on limited entry for Kenai River guides.
Following up on that, I sent Mr. Vania this e-mail yesterday:
Good afternoon, Tom,
How's the department's limited entry thing going? A Kenai River guide intimated to me yesterday that it might be out in a month? Is this true? When might the public expect to be able to view it?
Also, someone told me they heard the permits were going to be given to businesses, not to individual guides. True? And if it's the case that businesses will be what's permitted, will the businesses be limited in any way as to how many guides they can hire? In other words, does the department's proposed limited entry program limit the number of guides on the Kenai? Or can a permitted business, as it expands, hire more and more and more guides?
Finally, how is such a program instituted? By bureaucratic fiat? The legislature? Is there a place in the procedure for public comment?
Mr. Vania replied this morning:
The responses I was given by Doug Vincent-Lang to your questions are in caps
Regional Management Biologist,
Cook Inlet & PWS
Alaska Department of Fish & Game
Division of Sport Fish
333 Raspberry Rd.
Anchorage, AK 99518
From: John Nelson [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Wednesday, January 17, 2007 12:28 PM
To: Tom Vania
Subject: Limited entry. . .
Good afternoon, Tom,
How's the department's limited entry thing going? A Kenai River guide
intimated to me yesterday that it might be out in a month? Is this
true? When might the public expect to be able to view it? GIVEN THE CHANGE
IN ADMINISTRATION, THE DEPARTMENT IS INFORMING THE NEW ADMINISTRATION ON
THIS INITIATIVE AND AWAITING THEIR DIRECTION. AS SUCH, LEGISLATION WILL NOT
BE AVAILABLE FOR REVIEW AS HOPED BY THE END OF THIS MONTH. WE WILL CONTINUE
WORKING WITH USER GROUPS ON THE ISSUE IN THE INTERIM.
Also, someone told me they heard the permits were going to be given to
businesses, not to individual guides. True? And if it's the case that
businesses will be what's permitted, will the businesses be limited in
any way as to how many guides they can hire? In other words, does the
department's proposed limited entry program limit the number of guides
on the Kenai? Or can a permitted business, as it expands, hire more
and more and more guides? THE PROPOSAL IS TO AWARD A PERMIT TO THE BUSINESS
AND TO LIMIT THE NUMBER OF CLIENT-DAYS THEY COULD PROVIDE. AS SUCH THERE IS
NO PROPOSED LIMIT ON THE NUMBER OF GUIDES THAT COULD BE HIRED BY A BUSINESS.
THE LIMITATION IS ON THE CLIENTS.
Finally, how is such a program instituted? By bureaucratic fiat? The
legislature? Is there a place in the procedure for public comment?
LEGILSATION WOULD BE REQUIRED FOLLOWED BY REGULATORY DEVELOPMENT. ALL
THOUGHOUT THIS PROCESS THE PUBLIC WOULD BE ABLE TO COMMENT.
I replied to Tom this morning, asking whether it is possible to know the names of the "user groups" referred to by Mr. Vincent-Lang.
So what do the guides who read this forum think? Is the department's proposed limited entry program a good thing or not? What are the pros and cons?
Does not sound good
I'm not a guide in your area ,But I think what he said about Client days could hurt you . How many days would they give you 2 weeks 9 weeks how many ? They might tell you can only fish every other week or say you are limited to 6 clients a week. If you are the business it could hurt your pockets.
My first impression is that addressing it from the standpoint of "rationing" client-days is a good first approach as it does not directly target, limit or exclude the immediate provider of services, the guide.
That said, the proposal will have the immediate effect of limiting the number of "seats to the show" available to anglers if they wish to fish from a guided vessel. This would result in an unavoidable restructuring of the fishery.
The available guided seats, which one would have to presume the proposal aims to reduce (why else would they float the proposal?), would probably be used to run more all-day trips vs running double half-day trips, as running doubles would consume the available client-days twice as fast. This would be less of an issue if a half day trip is counted as only a half-client-day... we'll have to see how the bean counters want to do the accounting.
The other effect it would create is that the would-be guided anglers that can no longer get a guided seat will be displaced to a non-guided vessel or perhaps displaced from the fishery all together.
The motivated die-hard anglers will simply buy a boat and learn to run it and fish it on their own. The casual angler won't do that... he/she will simply be displaced from the fishery. I suspect a number of tourists fall into that category.... the ones that regard fishing for Kenai kings as just another activity to check off on their list of "things to do" on their Alaska vacation.
In effect, such rules would indirectly reduce "angler demand"... something that must happen if overall use of the river and crowding is to ever decrease.
"Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone."
The KeenEye MD
Correction. . .
Mr. Vania did not say " the department was working on limited entry for Kenai River guides."
Mr. Vania said, "...the state is looking at limited entry; the commissioner [of ADF&G] has made it a high priority to start developing a system for limited entry for the sport fishing industry. This included both fresh and
saltwater. Similar to the limited entry that is in place now for the
commercial operators. There needs to be the same system set up for the
fresh water sportfish industry. The Commissioner has made this a high
priority to start putting that system in to place developing the criteria."*
I apologize for the error.
*KRSMA board meeting minutes
That's meant for members of the general public who are not wealthy enough to be able to afford increased guide fees or own their own boat or have friends with boats
the acronym stands for "Bend Over Here It Comes Again"
Fortunately I A) own my own boat and B) I have more invitations to go fishing with freinds than I can accept during a season and C) on those few occaissions I have been on the river with a "guide" (i.e. boat driver) money was no consideration (and yes I did tip him about 25% whether we caught fish or not)
in any event this proposal limits access to the General Public who do not own boats capable of fishing the Kenai River
this is the crowd that wants to lauch their boat and then close the boat launch.......of course the guy before him had exactly the same idea
actually I guess I'll benefit from the reduced traffic.......I just can't help pointing out unfairness and selfishness when I see it
Cheese - So what would you suggest be done? I agree that there are some concerns with this approach, but what are the alternatives to some sort of limited entry?
From the reading it looks like it will be a Statewide plan, for fresh and salt water, not just a Kenai plan.
It's going to hurt everyones pockets. When the tourists are confined to combat bank fishing for reds, they are going to turn that RV around and go north.
As Marcus has repeatedly pointed out in these discussions, we can't continue to "grow" an industry when the resource it depends upon is finite. I don't think ANYONE can argue that the Kenai is at or near its carrying capacity as far as exploitation goes... some feel that carrying capacity was exceeded years ago.
We can all argue about what a "quality" experience means on the river... but few can argue the fact that the experience we have today is NOT the experience we had just a few decades ago. Many feel the river is just flat out over-used. The irony is that those of us with a passion for the Kenai are all part of the problem, me included.
We must all come to grips with the fact that a finite resource can only withstand so much use. The painful reality is that user demand is at a point where the resource is being strained and the quality of the experience has suffered.
We can't grow the resource, so the only option we are left with is to curb user demand. No matter what we do, someone will be left out... someone will cry foul... that they've somehow been disenfranchised. Get over it... like the opening line of the Lion King so eloquently states... life's not fair.
I see several options to reduce demand, and they pretty much fall into one of three categories...
regulate people out,
price them out,
or "chance" them out.
I've also included some examples in each category
Regulate the means and methods of the fishery to make it less attractive to would-be participants. Drift-only days would exclude those who can't/won't row. Artificial-only would exclude those who will only fish with bait. A season-long slot limit would exclude those who want to kill big fish.
Price the fishery to make it less attractive or cost-prohibitive to would-be participants. Increase the license fee or create a special Kenai "use-fee" and designate the proceeds to fund habitat conservation/restoration projects. Raise the price of a guide seat... you'll be selling a higher quality, less crowded experience on the "world's greatest sportfishing river" to justify the premium price.
Regulate access to the fishery by "lottery" rationing. Create a special king salmon permit drawing and issue a limited number of permits like they do for big game hunting. Base access on the license number... licenses ending with an even number can only fish on even dates, while those ending with odd numbers may only fish on odd dates.
The third category is arguably the "fairest" way to crop the pool of would-be users, but it would also be the most chaotic and socially disruptive to implement. How would family members be able to fish with one another? Would you be forced to fish with "strangers" on a guide boat? Etc.
"Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone."
The KeenEye MD
another fun topic
Well the cat is out of the bag and I am sure we will here some real dandy proposals on this thread, come to think of it mabey mine wil lbe lumped into someones dousy bag as well.
Is there a need to limit use on the Kenai? Yes and no. The fishery works as is at the moment and will be able to sustain itself as is; Is there room for growth, sure lots unless of course you talk about the last two weeks of July.
What will some of these proposals bring about? The whole limiting guides to the amount of clients one can take based upon previous years totals??? So you are guide, you are allowed lets say 35 clients each year for life. When are you going to take them? The last two weeks of July thats when, what has that done to reduce the pressure during our busiest and most controversial time. Lets get real if the crowds were like it is during early June and anytime after July 31st we would not even have this discussion and for the most part people in the area might actually appreciate what the guide community brings to the table, instead of grouping all guides into the same bad apple group all they want to do is rape and pillage, if you don't believe me read the Clarion on any given day they sure have stated where their support lies, and not to metion the great opinions we are all so much better off by reading.
Limiting permits to the owner of a business? I like and support the idea some, but I also belive that since this is a capitalist society that we live in we have the right to be able to grow our business. Good business stay in business because of who is behind them, the way I see it is that there are probably some bad eggs that are going to get 180 client days and there are some really good guides that are needed in this community for the future of our fishery that are only going to get 30. How does it impact those that may have worked here 15 plus years and just recently acquired the funds to start their own business, now with this proposal you are going to keep some bad in and weed the good out. I know it can work the other way as well. Good business owners do not hire crap help, if they do they generally do not stay in business long.
There is an effort to try and reduce numbers in place now, (how ever big or small...well that is up to you to decide) but have we even given it a chance to see if it might start to work, no. Let's take the guide accademy in which I feel the river might be better off if eveyone were required to take in order to run the Kenai. Anyway all new guides for this year must take this course in order to even qualify for their state park permit. Because of the times that it is offered only a very small % of guides taking the course are new. Far less than the number of new guides that started on the Kenai last year. Is this helping decrease growth, ....yes it is.
If I was in Vegas I would bet, in fact I would put someones 180 guide days on it, that if you increased drift boat days you would decrease pressure. So lets make it a drfit only river for all user groups from July 10 to July 31st.
Let's go to the reg book and make some changes to promote visiting anglers to consider coming at a different time rather than the last two weeks of July. #1 get rid of the slot, why is it still in place if we continue to decrease our escapment goals and open bait earlier each year. I want to protect that large stock of fish as much as anyone but what good is the slot doing now. What it has really done is that is has taken people that may have considered a different time of the year and packed them into July. Look at how many guides only come for July, it is easy to see why with the demand that is out there.
Or let's put the slot on all season "48 -54" plus increase the limit to two a day below 28, now you pretty much have as good of a chance at catching your trophy in May as you do July. The nushgak allows 4 fish total one a day if over 28 or two a day both under 28 or one and one. That works pretty well.
How much more pressure do you think will be added to July when they pass the halibut limit to one fish in June. That should really help numbers out.
It is a big picture but we continue to funnel everyting right into July. Guide numbers and private anlgers continue to contribute to the problem of over crowding but there are many more outside factors that make for this increasing problem, dont just blame it on the guides, they are trying to make a buck just like most of you have done all your life, they are just lucky enough to be doing it in a way almost everyone wished they were able to do it as well.
Letting the cat out. . .
Well said, the cat's out of the bag for sure. It would seem Sport Fish has been working on this thing for nearly a year, maybe more, and this is virtually the first the public has heard of it?
Given Sport Fish's obsession with opportunity and the fact that commercial users are in business to make money, it'll be interesting to see what kind of hen-house the foxes come up with.
Whatever. . . it's out in the open for our consideration, comment, and input.
Good points, fishNphysician. . .
Bravo Fish and Game
A lot of you have made some great points, this thread needs to keep going. Kenai Kings are a finite resource and as long as the guide industry has no limitations and there is a profit to be made it will continue to grow. The result will be decreased King numbers, more pollution, more wake damage, more crowding, and a decrease in the overall quality of the fishing and experience on the river. As Clice said, the residents of the Peninsual have spoken and what was once a fairly quiet anti-guide majority is starting to become vocal. The latest cabal to increase horsepower and limit users has just created more bad blood between user groups.
Guides will not regulate themselves, they have window dressed with the guide academy, but what matters to most is the numbers game. Any logical suggestion to limit guide numbers is attacked in this forum. According to them any changes made to the industry will drive them out of buisiness and cripple the economy. Is this true? I don't think so. Why not be proactive and do something before the Kenai reaches a critical mass and collapses.
Guides should see the writing on the wall, the halibut fleet is about to be spanked because they cannot self-regulate. Kenai guides are next and it will be taken out of their hands because they have had their heads in the sand for too long.
Put it to a vote on the Peninsual to cap guides at 100, hell fifty, and it would win by a landslides.
"Put it to a vote on the Peninsual to cap guides at 100, hell fifty, and it would win by a landslides."
With comments like that no wonder why guides are always on the defensive.
Guides have tried to self regulate, within the past few years they have attempted to put a limit on themselves only to be challenged by some of the bigger lodges with a lawsuit and that pesky State Constitution which would cause them to lose when attempting to restrict themselves. It takes a lot more than most think to limit guides.
If that is the case ,I think all people that are or are not guides, Need to carry the log book that us guides have to carry and fill out after each catch . F&G makes us do that so they can keep track of populations ...Give me a break there are more Weekend warriors accounting for more catches than guides..How are the fish they catch accounted for ? Yes they sign tags for kings but what about ,Silvers,reds ,chums ?????. Most weekend warriors are CATCH AND FREEZE , Not Catch and release.
Kind of funny how some don't want to take away the "average Joe's" fishing opportunity that somehow guides take away but the seem to forget that the guide has "average Joe's" in their boat. In the end you are limited access by the "average Joe" by putting more restrictions on guides, whether it is in the rivers or on the ocean.
Bend over here it comes
When these regs. are implemented, here's what will happen: 1. Since a guide can only guide so much or for a buisness- In order to maintain a status quo life style they will simply charge MORE MONEY for their srevice. 2. Since the Busnesses will have all the alocations they will soon become the power of control on the river and AF&GD will soon treat them like the oil companies, they will have the deep pockets.
3. Sport fishing will soon be commercial-tourist fishing only.
Yes, the fish on this river are a finite resource and as such will have to be controlled as maintained. In all fairness, the way to fish this river is like gas rationing;ODD and EVEN days. Let the guides fish with customers on even numbered days and let natives fish on odd numbered days. This would reduce river traffic and decrease fishing pressures.
[QUOTE=amp;56838] As Clice said, the residents of the Peninsual have spoken and what was once a fairly quiet anti-guide majority is starting to become vocal.
I can't seem to find anywhere where I said residents of the Peninsula have spoken. I simply stated that we would not be having this conversation if the river was like it is during early June or after July.
Bravo Fish and Game.....might want to rethink that, there are other contributing factors as to why there are more and more users during the last two weeks of July than just the sockeye run. But I do agree with you in that I belive F&G does a very good job on the most famous river in the world. You still have as good of a chance at catching a King, mabey more so than you did back than....whenver than may be.
"Any logical suggestion to limit guide numbers is attacked in this forum"
What is your logical solution, limit it to 50.....thanks for the well thought out input
"According to them any changes made to the industry will drive them out of buisiness and cripple the economy. Is this true?"
It will adversly effect the economy, You may think that you are just getting rid of guide but that doesn't mean you are not getting rid of their spouse that is your doctor at the hospital, nurse, nice girl that serves you coffee in the morning etc..... What do you think will happen to all of those Bed and Breakfasts or your property values when they all saturate the market, how bout the simple sales tax revenue generated by these businesses, think 50 will will suffice that revenue.
As for a plesureable experience on the river, what my be your cup of tea is not everyone elses. Obviously some must enjoy it here, why would they continue to show up during July. If pleasurable to you is to fish with no one around I guess you can pay big bucks for a fly out somewheres and even then those places with little human impact are few and far between. There are a lot of people that like the fact they can sleep in a bed at night after eating their big mac and falling asleep to re-runs of Seinfeld.
Think of ways that we can keep the numbers at present levels or slowing decrease them over time. There are many other ways than just throwing out some random number and saying you get what you get dont pitch a fit!
First off did I ever say that guides should be limited to 50 or 100, I just hypothosized what could happen.
Second- Letters writters to the editor in the Clarion have been very vocal in their opinion of the guides in light of the 35/50 4/2 stroke debate. It is a fact some people hate guides, just hate them and think all the river's problems would go away if they were gone. Now we know this isn't true but that doesn't change anything.
What is going on here is a polarization of two user groups. The guides, I guess according to posts on this forum, are helpless to make any changes fishery in light of the state constitution.
The Fish and Game should be more proactive in managing the resource, including the users both private and commercial. So if they are finally deciding to do something, Bravo, lets hear it.
As far as I'm concerned I support somekind of hard cap or limited entry system. I don't like the ideas of large corporations like Princess Lodge or Holland America swallowing up all of the guide permits, But hopefully the state could do something to keep mom and pop outfits fishing.
Look at this "stuff" that has already come up in this one little thread. In some eyes it is about time DNR and F&G did something to limit/restrict guides. Some are saying it is not enough or that guides will now get deep pockets and rule the fishery. How can a guide get a fair shake? Do you see why guides get tired of it?
It gets old after a while.
Originally Posted by amp
Where did you get your info on Princess and Holland ? How do they swallow guide permits ? I have 3 business I operate with the cruise lines .They have nothing to do with permits ,We offer them a service and we as a guide service have to get all the permits and insurance. They only offer it to thier guest as an optional excursion. And they only have 1 maybe 2 fishing tours per lodge.
I'm not putting the blame on anybody on here...Except for politicians I think they are all crooks . And if you notice most of the people (Where I live anyway) that complain to the state or are bringing up some of these STUPID
proposals, Don't even have a pot to pi$$ in,They are living off our taxes since most of them are getting welfare and whatever other free money they can get. from the state . I can not get anybody around here to work for $15 hr because they say they will loose thier welfare and benefits.
Sorry had to vent !!!!!! anybody else around here getting tired of plowing snow ? "Except for the folks that do it for an income."