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Thread: Low-holing in grand Alaska style

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    Member fishNphysician's Avatar
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    Default Low-holing in grand Alaska style

    I took quite the beating from locals on this issue in another thread.

    (And my apologies to kodiakcombos for the hi-jack)

    But I believe a picture paints a thousand words. This one speaks volumes....

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    so what are you trying to say? are you stating that because the salmon spawn in WA they should be considered WA fish, even though they spend the majority of their life in AK waters?
    I breifly saw the arument in the other thread, but please restate your point of view on the issue.
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    so where is the info on the south central troll catch? got it somewhere? or are we just going to compare apples to oranges again?
    i have been hearing tourists talking about catching 40-50 lb kings trolling up by deep creek... likely they were kenai bound.
    personally i think the situation on the kenai calls for a sportfishing closure from AP north, and shutting down the river completely to king fishing.
    the comm guys need to take a proportionate hit also.

    as to Alaskan fish that spawn in WA or BC..... hey, AK fish can honeymoon wherever they want, eh?
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    No worries plenty of the AK boats are Washington owned

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    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    No worries plenty of the AK boats are Washington owned
    As in, about 98% of the Bering Sea trawl fleet, and a big chunk of the processing plants on shore. Not to mention all the Northwest guys driving Bristol Bay gillnetters and working on deck. What do they care about fish problems in Alaska, as long as it doesn't interfere with their paychecks? They take their money and go home.

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    Default Care to Elaborate

    Doc,

    I missed the other thread that you referenced. Could you please elaborate a little on the reason for this thread, and the picture that you posted. Call me closed minded but what I see is that we catch more fish in SE Alaska. Are you trying to point fingers? It's hard to have a conversation when you don't know what the other person is getting at. Thanks.
    I'd agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong.

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    Default This ain't new.......

    The history of Pacific salmon fisheries has been that each succeeding group of fishermen get "in front" of the previous group. Anglers call it "low-holing". The Tribes were traditionally the only folks catching salmon (200+ yrs ago). Then there was a long line of gear types that got in front of the tribes (fish wheels, fish traps, gill nets, horse-drawn sienes, etc). Then the fishermen went offshore to catch salmon in dories, sailboats, and skiffs. Then they went farther out in bigger boats to catch them as they returned home. And now, for the past 50+ years, fishermen pursue them directly on their feeding grounds in SE Alaska and northern BC.

    For many years, AK and BC fishermen firmly stated that they were catching "their" fish. That is, they were catching fish that were bound for spawning grounds in their State/Province. Research clearly indicates the Chinook being caught in SE AK and northern BC originate and return to the rivers in the Pacific Northwest, most notably the Columbia River. Again, that's not new, but some folks still cling to the arguments that Alaska gets to harvest those fish because Alaska's fish management is sooooo much better than everyone else's. That's nonsense, and just about everyone outside of AK knows it. Not bashing AK fish management, but when you're catching fish that originate and return to a river far outside your jurisdiction, they don't seem to be quite as important.

    The folks from Alaska will get a solid dose of this reality when (or if) some commerical fishermen locates the ocean feeding grounds for the Kenai River Chinook. When that happens, the Kenai Chinook will go the way of the Columbia River Chinook (i.e., almost extinct). And there won't be anything they can do about it. I hope that never happens but it's a tough lesson that's been repeated anywhere that Pacific salmon (and Atlantic salmon) live.

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    Member fishNphysician's Avatar
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    Default

    The issue on the other thread was interception of salmon before reaching their home waters. The restoration and conservation burden for local stocks rests entirely on the shoulders of local stakeholders in the basin of origin, yet the lion's share of the spoils go to those exploiting the local stocks in faraway fisheries, with few returning to the "home team".

    I pointed out that 75%-plus of the exploitation on our local PNW chinook takes place in AK/BC, only to be met with skepticism, denial, and outright indignance.

    This is just an example of more data that shows whose fish are being snarfed up in Alaska's fisheries.

    what I see is that we catch more fish in SE Alaska
    Yes that's true... but you miss the bigger picture. The SE-AK fisheries are exploiting very few of the fish originating in SE-AK. Look how tiny the skinny white slice of the pie really is! The overwhelming preponderence of the SE catch originates from everywhere else but SE..... 60%-plus from Coastal WA and the Columbia River (the huge purple and green hunks of the pie).

    All I'm saying is the Home Team deserves something better than scraps.
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    Looks like they need to train their fish to stay out of the neighbors back yard.

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    Can you direct me to where you got that figure from. I can't seem to find it anywhere on the Wild Salmon Center's page.

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    Default Hmmmm....

    Well I can see what you are saying Doc, there really isn't a great way to regulate a mixed stock fishery. Yes, fish from other systems come to SE. We catch them. I wouldn't really call it "low-holing" though. It's not like we position ourselves to gain better access to the fish. This is where the fish are. Maybe I'm missing something but I don't see a slice of the pie for Kenai, Yukon, or any nothern/SC AK fish. I hate to be closed minded on this issue, but like Cohoangler said it's a fairly old issue. I think the Columbia River has bigger problems than SE AK fisherman.
    I'd agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by patrickL View Post
    Can you direct me to where you got that figure from. I can't seem to find it anywhere on the Wild Salmon Center's page.
    Here you go...

    http://www.hcn.org/blogs/range/pacif...ed-geographies

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    Quote Originally Posted by salmon_bone View Post
    Gracias.

    I'm just trying to figure out where the data came from to support that figure. From what I can tell from the fine print around the figure is that its all hatchery fish. Not wild spawning fish. I also can't find any numbers to go with the figure as in how many fish in each sample from each area. Also, as stated in the fine print they excluded 80K chinook that are Alaska origin. Its important to have the data used to make the figure when trying to interpret the figure.

    One question I do have for you; is your problem that SE Alaska is catching your fish and you feel you should be given first crack at it OR is your problem that Columbia River chinook are endangered and the harvest in SE is an over exploitation of a limited resource. Just trying to clarify here.

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    I think the point is, as Fish Doc stated, there is a significant conservation burden on the local folks (e.g., in Columbia Basin) while the benefits are accuring to another group (fishermen in SE AK). Said another way, those of us in the Columbia are paying the bills while the SE AK fishermen get the rewards.

    But that's not a new argument either. For example, here in the Columbia Basin, the good folks in Montana are constantly complaining that they need to give up "their" water in "their reservoirs" to the lower Columbia River so the outmigrating salmon can have a safer journey to the ocean. But since Montana doesn't have anadromous salmon, they don't benefit from those water releases. And they're right. Again, one group pays the bills while another group gets the benefits.

    I'm not saying it's okay for SE AK fishermen to catch lots of Columbia River Chinook, but we all need to acknowledge what's going on; and let's stop the charade that Alaska Chinook stocks are in better shape because of better management or location or enlightened thinking, etc, etc. If the Chinook salmon stocks in AK are doing okay is because the fishermen are targeting Chinook that return somewhere else, and the habitat in AK remains in fairly good condition.

    Notice the two main ingredients for successful salmon stocks - low levels of fishing mortality and access to high quality habitat. When you boil it all down, those two ingredients are all it takes to have robust stocks of Pacific salmon.

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    Default Right...

    Why get mad at AK for catching the fish? Would the harvest level be an issue if the habitat wasn't screwed? I think the first finger needs to be pointed at the folks that messed up the river long before you start pointing to us folks to the north.
    I'd agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong.

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    Default rethink you position???

    Quote Originally Posted by Cohoangler View Post
    I think the point is, as Fish Doc stated, there is a significant conservation burden on the local folks (e.g., in Columbia Basin) while the benefits are accuring to another group (fishermen in SE AK). Said another way, those of us in the Columbia are paying the bills while the SE AK fishermen get the rewards.

    But that's not a new argument either. For example, here in the Columbia Basin, the good folks in Montana are constantly complaining that they need to give up "their" water in "their reservoirs" to the lower Columbia River so the outmigrating salmon can have a safer journey to the ocean. But since Montana doesn't have anadromous salmon, they don't benefit from those water releases. And they're right. Again, one group pays the bills while another group gets the benefits.

    I'm not saying it's okay for SE AK fishermen to catch lots of Columbia River Chinook, but we all need to acknowledge what's going on; and let's stop the charade that Alaska Chinook stocks are in better shape because of better management or location or enlightened thinking, etc, etc. If the Chinook salmon stocks in AK are doing okay is because the fishermen are targeting Chinook that return somewhere else, and the habitat in AK remains in fairly good condition.

    Notice the two main ingredients for successful salmon stocks - low levels of fishing mortality and access to high quality habitat. When you boil it all down, those two ingredients are all it takes to have robust stocks of Pacific salmon.
    So now you want to have the fish return that you destroyed by having cheap electric bills and industrial development. You want to still get the citizens of the United States to pay for the restoration work which costs millions and yet you want the majority of the benefits of those efforts? So destroy something and then register dissatisfaction over the fact you have few fish. Something wrong with that position from my perspective.

    I would suggest that you also fail to realize that having treaties with Canada and other states makes it possible for restoration to work and builds friends to help support those efforts. It makes no sense to me to throw stones at people who have a history of fishing those stocks and pissing them off after what the citizens of the PNW did to the commonly owned streams of the northwest.

    I think it would be better to say thanks and build on those relationships than try to destroy them. Also, the allocation of fish between areas is debated and decided in a public manner and that is a good thing.

    It appears everyone wants fish that are born in their area to be their possession. That is nuts for a migratory species. What they should be saying is they have a responsibility to the rest of society to take care of habitat and those species that migrate through their area so all can enjoy the benefits of these resources. For some reason migratory birds are treated this way but salmon are considered property of those who's waters they spawn in.

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    Default Thank you

    Thanks Nerka, that was a much better version of what I wanted to say.
    I'd agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong.

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    Nerka - Thowing stones? I thought I was being careful not to do that.

    I was explaining my interpretation of the graph that Fish Doc posted. Again, the point is that the conservation burden and the conservation benefits are accuring to a different set of folks. The unstated premise was that this is unfair. Fish Doc is right, but my second point was that it's not unusual. It happens all too frequently, even within the Columbia Basin.

    I'm only asking for honesty and clarity on who is catching which fish. That is, the SE AK fishermen are catching Chinook that originate in the PNW (for the most part). The fish they're catching do not originate in SE AK (for the most part). And they ought to acknowledge that. So let's not use the argument that since Chinook stocks in SE Alaska are doing well, the SE AK fishermen can continue to hammer Chinook from the Columbia River. To me, that argument doesn't hold water. The issue has nothing to do with treaties with Canada or habitat in the Columbia, or power rates in the PNW.

    So am I the one throwing stones?

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    Default We need a better chart

    This chart is misleading to begin with. By excluding 17% of the SE AK catch from the chart they are over representing the proportion of Columbia R. fish that are caught. This chart is made to look like about 30% of the 460,000 or 138,000 fish are Columbia R. fish. when in reality it's 30% of 380,000 or 114,000 fish. This chart would have you believe SE AK is catching 20,000 more fish than it does. And using a rough estimate based on the relative area of the pie charts you can estimate that the WA folks are catching 80,000 Columbia R. fish.

    Using the same rough estimation the west coast Vancouver fishery is catching roughly 111,000 fish. I would like to see that actual harvest data because like I said my estimations are based on the relative size of each chart, but don't jump on SE AK just because our circle is biggest. I didn't even include the Northern BC circle. The canadians are catching a lot more of the Columbia fish that the folks in SE AK.
    I'd agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong.

  20. #20

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    According to the Pacific Salmon Commission

    SE Alaska fisheries averaged (Troll, Sport, Net from 1985-2007)

    14.08% of the catch for Columbia Upriver Brights
    13.53% of the catch for Mid Columbia Brights
    15% of the catch for Columbia Upriver Summer

    that is percent of the TOTAL stock (catch + escapement) for each of the stocks listed above.

    So, if we look at the worse case...of all (catch + escapement) of the Columbia Upriver Summer stock, for those 22 years, we took 15%. That means if the average total number of Columbia Upriver Summers was 1000, we were taking 150 a year. Seems pretty reasonable to me!

    The highest three percentages of total per stock, for SE Alasaka (All fisheries)

    37% Alaska South SE
    20% Upper Georgia Strait
    17.49% West Coast Vancouver Island Hatchery

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