ADF&G staff will be available to answer questions after the presentation
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.
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 The Bendix sonar counter for sockeye at river mile 19 is outdated and replacement studies started in the late 90's.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.