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Thread: ADF&G meeting on Kenai River sockeye sonar

  1. #1
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    Default ADF&G meeting on Kenai River sockeye sonar


    The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) will hold a public meeting at the
    Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association conference room at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, July 2,
    2010 to present new sonar methods to be used this year to estimate the late-run
    sockeye salmon escapement in the Kenai River.
    ADF&G staff will be available to answer questions after the presentation

    This was put out today by ADF&G. I will try to give some background history on this but frankly I am not sure why ADF&G is having this meeting. So here it goes.

    1. The Bendix sonar counter for sockeye at river mile 19 is outdated and replacement studies started in the late 90's.

    2 About 5-6 years ago a new counter called a Didson was selected to replace the Bendix.

    3. Comparative studies were done on the Kenai and based on those studies the Didson was counting about 1.4 more fish than the Bendix. No report on this has been made public.

    4. For the last few years the Department has taken the Didson counts and converted back to Bendix counts - but they did this via a method that is not totally correct.

    5. Some people questioned the method and they came out with a defense of their past practice that was shown to be wrong and they have agreed to correct the method - they get credit for finally coming around on this.

    6. For Kenai late run sockeye salmon the goal of 650,000 (minimum) was made up of 500,000 spawning fish and 150,000 sport fish allocation.

    7. Converting 500,000 to Didson counts would be 500,000 * 1.4 or 700,000 fish and then adding the 150,000 fish for sport fish allocation brings the Didson count minimum goal to 850,000.

    8. Now for some reason instead of just reporting this number and saying this is a new counting method ADF&G feels they must convert the Didson inseason counts back to Bendix counts. Why is beyound me. It will just confuse everyone but that is the purpose of the meeting I guess. Also, they have said nothing about how to handle the tiers so maybe that will be discussed.

    In any event they scheduled this meeting on 2 July which is the Friday before the holiday weekend. I have been around the block a few times and this looks and smells like a meeting they want few people to attend. At 6:30 on Friday most people will be going out for their holiday break. I know that the season counting will start soon so maybe it is just a desire to get this out before serious counting begans but next week would not be a better time since most people will be gone.

    Also, why not put out something on what is going on rather than a brief news release. Maybe the papers will pick up on this and cover it in more detail. It is not a big deal in one sense but is in another. There is no technical report to review to see if the correction figures are defendable. That is more significant to me than having a meeting at this time.

  2. #2
    Member fishNphysician's Avatar
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    So I am confused.

    Are present day DIDSON counts converted back to smaller Bendix counts to keep the database uniform? Is that how I'm understanding your explanation?

    Sounds like we're gonna have the same discrepancies as on the Yentna sockeye estimates with the two technologies.

    Seems the goals were set with the Bendix, so it makes sense to use calculated Bendix counts as a reference for current returns.

    Is this correct?
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
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    Default yes and no

    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    So I am confused.

    Are present day DIDSON counts converted back to smaller Bendix counts to keep the database uniform? Is that how I'm understanding your explanation?

    Sounds like we're gonna have the same discrepancies as on the Yentna sockeye estimates with the two technologies.

    Seems the goals were set with the Bendix, so it makes sense to use calculated Bendix counts as a reference for current returns.

    Is this correct?
    The calculation can go two ways - back to Bendix or the historical counts forward to Didson. So the data base is not the issue. What prompted this is how to manage inseason given goals are in regulation. The ADF&G wants to wait until the BOF meeting to make the conversion to Didson counts in regulation. So they want to convert this year's Didson counts back to Bendix to be consistent with the regulations. The only problem there is no easy way to do that - given the regulations have spawners and allocation mixed. So why not petition the BOF to change the regulations to Didson this year and take it up with the BOF next year. It would be an emergency regulation and would take just the signature of the Commissioner.

    However, given the backlash from the Mat/Su the Commissioner is probably politically sensitive to any changes. Yet they have to make them to count with the Didson.

    What is sad is that this conversion has been ongoing for the past two years and they were doing it differently. So now in year three it becomes an issue because someone figured out it was not correct. I have no problem with them just doing it. They should not feel they must have a public meeting given the authority they have for counting. It would be nice to have a public meeting but why do it only when the politics gets hot. Why not be upfront given the conversation is on-going and the BOF is coming up. Having it on Friday seems to be a way to have a public meeting and hope no one shows up. That is not good leadership. Either have the meeting in a time and place the public has a reasonable opportunity to attend or forget about it and just do it after informing the BOF.

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    Member willphish4food's Avatar
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    I wonder if it had anything to do with the discrepancies found in the Yentna counting and reports, and the outcry from the Valley about that, that prompted the department to work on the same problems that they're having on the Kenai? Whatever the case, its good to see they're trying to do something about it to make it a little easier for Joe angler and the governing bodies to understand it better. I only with the timing were better.

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    Default nothing to do with Yentna

    Quote Originally Posted by willphish4food View Post
    I wonder if it had anything to do with the discrepancies found in the Yentna counting and reports, and the outcry from the Valley about that, that prompted the department to work on the same problems that they're having on the Kenai? Whatever the case, its good to see they're trying to do something about it to make it a little easier for Joe angler and the governing bodies to understand it better. I only with the timing were better.
    This has nothing to do with the Yentna issues. The outcry from the valley was emotional and unfounded.

    The transition to Didson has been ongoing for years.

  6. #6

    Default just wondering

    Nerka, are you aware that the recalculation of the Kenai sockeye inriver goal that you describe will effectively reduce the number of fish delivered to the sonar during low runs?

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    Default Yes I am

    Quote Originally Posted by Bfish View Post
    Nerka, are you aware that the recalculation of the Kenai sockeye inriver goal that you describe will effectively reduce the number of fish delivered to the sonar during low runs?
    A slight correction to your statement. If low escapements are protracted and therefore the daily passage rate is low what you are saying is correct. I was aware of this potential. However, if the escapements are compressed in duration and higher daily passage rates then this will not happen. I have seen both types of entry in the historical record.

    When one converts from one system to another no one knows what the true number is unless there is an independent way to actually count the escapement. Therefore, there is uncertainity in the counts for both systems and one can only use the data at hand. What is comforting is that the Wood Rivers clear water tests showed both system as being able to function at the densities seen in UCI.

    I would have liked to see the hourly passage rates used instead of the daily. I think that would have been better but using hourly is more time consuming on making the historical data base conversions. Maybe they will report the hourly comparsions in the final report.

    I also think ADF&G has been remiss in not getting the reports out on this conversion and hopefully will before the BOF meeting. What is interesting is that at Kasilof I understand the conversion is about 1.06 on average - although averages do not mean much in this case. It just shows that both systems have some issues but that is also normal with mark/recapture, towers, and weirs.

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