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Thread: More on Kenai Gillnets

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    Default More on Kenai Gillnets

    With regard to the Kenai Fisheries Proposals, keep your eye on the ball. . .

    It's the RESOURCE, and what's best for ALL ALASKANS.

    The resource WILL SUFFER if they do this, and ALL ALASKANS and tourists who use the resource will too. Remember history. And if you don't know history, do your research on what the 1974 Boldt Decision in Washington did to wild fish populations.

    These proposals will only be the beginning of an unfair, extremely irresponsible allocation and (mis-) management strategy, as the Boldt Decision in Washington State very clearly illustrates. Heck, the tribes down there sell their fish just like any other commercial fisherman. They use very, very few of the fish they catch for "traditional use" or "subsistence." Those terms are used hide their true intent.

    This needs to stop right now if we value the wild fish populations in this watershed (and others in the future). If it's not stopped, other groups will surely start their own proposals (the Kenai Fisheries Proposals are just the tip of the iceberg) and watersheds in many places in AK will be nickled and dimed by such proposals until we have what the Washingtonians have. Endangered and in some cases EXTINCT wild populations.

    If it must be Entitlement, how about they get their percentage of the resource, based on their percentage of the total users of the resource? Fair? In other words, they are entitled to what the rest of we Alaskans get, with tourists thrown in as another user of the resource, no more and no less. Ninilchik is not Kivalina. What a trumped-up crock of you know what. What irresponsibility and selfishness.

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    Just so you know the entire Y,K drainages are open to gillnetting, meaning I could have a setnet site off the backside of the fairbanks airport if I wanted too, so the gillnet thing isn't the issue. Clearly gillnets in the kenai would hurt the kenai but sockeye in the kenai aren't endangered like the stocks in washington state which were, the ecological impact on the river would be nowhere near as great as down south.

    The problem is clearly ANILCA is being misinterperted hopefully this issue will wake Alaskans up to the issue and let us get past taking it to court (stupid idea) and move towards reconsiling our constitution with the federal law. Which in case you are wondering would have very little effect on the average fisherman or hunter as the state already has subsitence programs in place (teir II, community harvests, commercial permits on major rivers).
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Default you've already taken your eye off the ball

    Quote Originally Posted by ak_powder_monkey View Post
    Just so you know the entire Y,K drainages are open to gillnetting, meaning I could have a setnet site off the backside of the fairbanks airport if I wanted too, so the gillnet thing isn't the issue. Clearly gillnets in the kenai would hurt the kenai but sockeye in the kenai aren't endangered like the stocks in washington state which were, the ecological impact on the river would be nowhere near as great as down south.

    The problem is clearly ANILCA is being misinterperted hopefully this issue will wake Alaskans up to the issue and let us get past taking it to court (stupid idea) and move towards reconsiling our constitution with the federal law. Which in case you are wondering would have very little effect on the average fisherman or hunter as the state already has subsitence programs in place (teir II, community harvests, commercial permits on major rivers).
    First, were not talking about Y/K here. We're talking about the Kenai.

    Second, the Washington stocks in question (Boldt Decision streams) were not endangered until after a few generations of the gillnetting due to the Bold Decision.

    Third, it's not sockeye that are the concern. If that's all you're thinking of, you aren't seeing the big picture. There could be tremendous detrimental impact on fish other than sockeye in the Kenai watershed, especially if we grant these proposals and a few years down the road they start asking for 50% or something like that, like the tribal organizations did in WA. I say "could." Do you want to gamble on it? I don't. I've seen the results down in WA. Why would it be any different here? Do we have some new, better way of making gill nets more discriminatory? Nope. Even if we did, the Entitlement idea is still wrong.

    Again, this needs to be about what's best for the RESOURCE (and it isn't just sockeyes) and for ALL users of that resource. ANILCA is part of the problem; but it's not the entire problem. The Entitlement concept is more accurately the problem.

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    I won't disagree with gillnets being a bad thing for rainbows and those 600 or so chums that spawn in quartz creek. I also won't disagree that the Boldt decision wasn't collosially stupid, but I'll say a few things about sockeye fishing on the kenai, first off gillnets are the only reason we see the run sizes that we see today. In most years there isn't a cubic meter of water on the upper river that don't have a few sockeyes in it by september, my concern isn't for the sockeyes, or really the rainbows (lets be honest one gillnet isn't that big of a deal when the bow's aren't migrating to and from the lakes).

    I think its bad to compare this to the Bolt case because its my understanding that native groups in WA can sell their fish which will remain illegal in AK, and because the rivers in Alaska are umong the cleanest and most production rivers left in the world unlike washington rivers whoe's salmon and steelhead stocks were severly threatened before the use of gillnets in rivers. I'm just pointing out that saying look what happened in washington is a weak arguement.

    I think better aurguments exist, most of them involve actually looking at the law and reading it.

    The NTC clearly has huge huevos to even try this, if it passes I see lots more bigotry and hatred towards natives and with petitions such as this as well as the anti environmental actions of various native corporations, and locking up huge tracts of land some of it might be deserved, which is just sad.
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Charholio View Post

    Third, it's not sockeye that are the concern. If that's all you're thinking of, you aren't seeing the big picture. There could be tremendous detrimental impact on fish other than sockeye in the Kenai watershed
    Amen, Brother! Amen!

    Aren't the existing gillnets bad enough? Do you really want more of this carnage in the river?






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    "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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    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    Amen, Brother! Amen!

    Aren't the existing gillnets bad enough? Do you really want more of this carnage in the river?






    hmmm those guys must be using King mesh to bad those fish got away, they are each $50 bills. Are you serious? the nets now are the only reason there are enough reds for a dipnet fishery or a sport fishery that is as productive as it is (unless sport anglers/ dipnetters could somehow harvest 3 million fish). Notice how the escapement of late run kings last year was 35,000+ fish. Notice how the sockeye stockes in susitna and knik arm drainages crashed pretty hard when openers stopped for the silvers. Gillnetting is a great sockeye managment tool that makes lots of people money. Its just not a great tool on the spawning grounds.
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    I won't respond right know, I will let doc take this one.
    Last edited by yukon; 02-16-2007 at 23:59.

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    Default aK powder monkey is correct

    Thank you Ak powder monkey - when one evaluates a fishery one does not do it on hype and fear. One does it on what type of gear is used, the amount of gear, catch rates, time and area fished, and if a quota fishery is in place.

    In the present case a quota is proposed for rainbow and dolly varden along with salmon. That quota is so low that there is no way for the stocks to be overharvested - including early run chinook in the Kenai. First, the quota is 1000 chinook from both the Kenai and Kasilof. However, even if it all comes from the early run the stock has that level of harvestable surplus ( see the feds report on this topic). Finally, my experience with gill nets in the Kenai and the experience of ADF&G biologist who have tried to catch them is that a shore based net just cannot catch them. The net tends to be tight in the current and large fish tend to sense the net and not be gilled. Where the subsistence fishery could be allowed there are rocks and other issues that keep a drift net from fishing.

    There is no way that Ninilchik can show a need for 50% of the stocks of the Kenai River - this makes it different from Washington where 50% of the harvestable surplus was granted to the tribes.

    Also, the pictures provided by doc are selected for effect and one has to question where this happened, what percentage of the population was impacted, and whether these fish were used for food. If used then what difference does it make how the skin looks? I have seen early run chinook harvested in the Kenai River sport fishery that would make these look good - spawning fish in the middle river from the early run.

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    Quote Originally Posted by yukon View Post
    I won't respond right know, I will let doc take this one.

    I think the pics speak for themselves, yukon.

    And for the record, Nerka... aye, they be Kenai fish, mate!
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    Default big picture on entitlement and precedent

    Who would say Entitlement is good? This one lets the foot in the door, so to speak, and sets a precendent for more. History, again (sigh). I hope more people wake up and smell the coffee.

    How long does it take to grow a 30 inch rainbow? A lot longer than it takes a gillnet to find one and kill it. If continued for years any gillnet used for sockeyes is going to catch a lot of big rainbows over time. The mesh size is perfect. We may still have a great population of rainbows, but I'd guess the large fish will become fewer. No one can predict the percentage of loss; trying to estimate it is a roll of the dice. I don't want fisheries managers gambling like that with the resource.

    Do A LOT of people really make a lot of money gillnetting? Really? Or just a small percentage of the Alaska populace and an equal or larger number of Seattle and other Outsiders? Seems to me there are an awful lot of people who come up here only in the summer to make a living. Again, a small group that the managers cater to, but whose own indiscriminant harvest method and the resultant bycatch threatens an industry that brings much more revenue to more people than theirs does. But this isn't the topic.

    I'm starting to feel the commercial sockeye harvestors starting to get defensive in support of this new user group. Why is that?

    Isn't there a rather large sockeye hatchery on Trail Lake in the Kenai watershed? Who paid for that? Nerka, help us out on that one. Couldn't that be a significant part of the overescapement deal? There are soooo many sockeys that we have a problem with so called overescapement? Bring out the gillnets--quick, we need to harvest an overabundance someone created by introducing hatchery fish into a wild stream. I digress again, but only to address what Monkey brought up. Thanks Monkey, I hadn't made the connection between the defensiveness of the pro-gillnet comm fish guys and this particular issue.

    Monkey (no offense intended with the shortening of your handle), the streams in the Boldt area, although suffering from increasing human impact had very viable wild fish populations prior to the decision. I lived there then; I fished those rivers and caught my first salmon and steelhead there. There is irrefutable relevance in using that disaster as an example of what could happen here.

    Will the Ninilchik people carefully release the wild kings from the Kasilof without removing them from the water and will they release Kenai Kings in the slot so they may spawn future generations? No, they can't. If I have to, why don't they?

    I would say great pics, Doc, but well, they're only great to make the point. I'm sure you get me on this. You bet they were shown for effect--the effect of making a point. No words could have said more accurately and clearly what those pictures say. I've caught a few like that myself. Some fought so poorly I wonder if they'd have made it to spawn even without having to fight me. I wonder how many free themselves, but use so much energy they die before even reaching the stream? We'll never know.

    Those are $50 fish to Monkey and a small minority of Alaskans and Outside comm fish people, with that $50 benefitting few. They're worth several hundred to most Alaskans and thousands to the tourists, most of which gets pumped right into different parts of the Kenai Penninsula and Alaska economy, benefitting many Alaskans. And the ugly mid-river early run spawner that was kept? Worth hundreds if not thousands of dollars, though any experienced sportsfisherman would frown on killing the fish if it can be avoided. Darn it, I digressed again. But the $50 comment was irresistable to pass on.

    Once more, this is an unfair and unwise precedent. This Entitlement for a few under really questionable claims of subsistence (1 to 5% of them say they live a subsistence lifestyle), traditional use, dogfood, etc. not in the best interest of the very vast majority of the users, and as it has been proven before in Washington can devastate the resource. This sets precedent here in AK just as it was set in WA. It's far wiser and more equitable to stop it now. The people of Ninilchik (and the others in the proposals)will be just fine, for sure, even if these proposals don't become the law of the land. In other words, there is no NEED to do this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post

    In the present case a quota is proposed for rainbow and dolly varden along with salmon. That quota is so low that there is no way for the stocks to be overharvested - including early run chinook in the Kenai. First, the quota is 1000 chinook from both the Kenai and Kasilof. However, even if it all comes from the early run the stock has that level of harvestable surplus ( see the feds report on this topic).

    Finally, my experience with gill nets in the Kenai and the experience of ADF&G biologist who have tried to catch them is that a shore based net just cannot catch them. The net tends to be tight in the current and large fish tend to sense the net and not be gilled. Where the subsistence fishery could be allowed there are rocks and other issues that keep a drift net from fishing.

    There is no way that Ninilchik can show a need for 50% of the stocks of the Kenai River - this makes it different from Washington where 50% of the harvestable surplus was granted to the tribes.

    Also, the pictures provided by doc are selected for effect and one has to question where this happened, what percentage of the population was impacted, and whether these fish were used for food. If used then what difference does it make how the skin looks? I have seen early run chinook harvested in the Kenai River sport fishery that would make these look good - spawning fish in the middle river from the early run.


    If the Feds say there's a harvestable surplus of early-run kings, then why are the sports restricted most years?
    The Ninilchiks cant show a bona fide NEED for any "subsitence" fishing in that river.

    The Nisqually Indians (Bold decision stream) use shore-based nets for the majority of their gillnetting. They are remarkably successful.

    The pictures were of Kenai fish. Are you calling him a liar? I know that you don't mean to. If the mid-river spawners are an issue for sports, than why would anyone suggest the Ninilchiks net an area with mid-river spawners?

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    Default try to answer questions

    The issue of Trail Lakes hatchery and Kenai sockeye production - the only stocking of fish is into Hidden Lake and that is minor. The sockeye runs to the Kenai are 99 percent natural.

    I was not calling doc a liar at all. I said the pictures were for effect. I can show lots of pictures of chinook from the Kenai without gill net marks and the fact someone kept these fish and took pictures tells me they met a need. Also, fish are breaking down as they approach spawning so fungus and other issues with the skin come into play - do salmon species that make it through a gill net have marks - yes - so what? The number, impact on spawning, impact on the desirability of the fish, and other factors need to be discussed.

    Commercial harvesters from what I can tell are pushing for a level playing field that includes discussion of the facts - not some concern that is not based in fact. Also, I suspect that an attack on a gill net fishery for the reasons stated in this forum is a threat to their fishery. The hype is just over the top relative to the use of gill nets.

    A quota fishery does not mean the large rainbows will be eliminated from the fishery. One question that has not been answered is what mesh size is going to used in the fishery. Also, time and area can make the probability of capture very low of rainbow trout.

    Relative to early run chinook - the proposed fishery is upstream and most of the early run (over 80%) will not be exposed. If the fishery is above Skilak Lake only a couple hundred early run fish spawn above the lake. Therefore, the chance of catching an early run chinook is very small and it is possible to restrict the timing of the fishery to avoid this stock if needed

    The slot limit is questionable from a scientific viewpoint. After review ADF&G biologist will admit what it does is reduce exploitation rate - now about 20-25% in- river. This is very low and I think the slot limit should be revisited - however given the low exploitation rate there are harvestable surplus of fish that are not being taken. The feds prepared an excellent report on the stock status of the Kenai stocks and one should read it. Good stuff no matter the subject.

    Cannot take up any more time on the value of the fisheries but the statement commercial fishing only benifits a few and the fish are not worth much is just not true. Millions of peoples and thousands of people are impacted by this fishery in a positive way. What I and others are saying is that our community has a major positive impact from having all the fisheries operate. They are doing that and only greed by a few sport fisherman that think every chinook and rainbow trout is God given to them disagree. Surveys in our community and political leaders know the value of the diversity of industries related to fishing.

    Just for the record millions of tax payer dollars are going to pay for the rebuilding of infrastructure that promoted the bank sport fishing industry in Soldotna - the ice took it out. No one is saying not to do it even though most people here do not fish.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post

    I was not calling doc a liar at all. I said the pictures were for effect. I can show lots of pictures of chinook from the Kenai without gill net marks and the fact someone kept these fish and took pictures tells me they met a need. Also, fish are breaking down as they approach spawning so fungus and other issues with the skin come into play - do salmon species that make it through a gill net have marks - yes - so what? The number, impact on spawning, impact on the desirability of the fish, and other factors need to be discussed.
    When the nets are fishing heavy, easily 35-40% of the LR kings coming to my boat have net marks. Nobody has an objection to fish that are merely "marked" with superficial blemishes. What I tried to show with those pics is the full spectrum of bodily mutilation inflicted by the nets on a non-target species. Many of the fish are so badly damaged and weakened that they fall prey to seals before hitting the river, or simply die on the bottom. Others may escape the nets with some semblance of vigor, but the severity and extent of the wounds leaves them severly immuno-compromised:



    This guy's problems started just behind the pectoral fins. The net scars just got deeper as he pushed his way thru, until running into an impasse at the dorsal fin. At that point the fish thrashed violently, shredding the flesh on the dorsal fin right down to the bone and severely entangling everything aft of the dorsal in the net as well. Through shear determination (and thankfully dumb ignorance of the outright mutilation being inflicted by its attempts to escape) this powerful fish was able to bust its way through the "selective" mesh to cheat death for the moment. To me it looks like the fish was dipped tail first into a king-sized garbage disposal. Reminds me of a Mel Gibson movie about some silly Romans. This salmon's body may as well have been filleted wide open to allow maximal penetration of the river's ever-flowing bacterial, fungal, and viral load. In other words, this fish is dead of overwhelming infection long before it is ripe enough to spawn.



    This pic shows what happens when a fish gets "flossed" by a gillnet. The fish keeps pushing forward until the mesh lodges in the corner of the jaw, thereby snaring the fish across the eyes and over the top of the head simultaneously. Not pretty. Without the protection afforded by fish scales, the mesh lacerates through the naked skin surface, gouging out the peri-ocular tissues as well as creating deep fungating ulcers on top of the head. Such injuries dramatically increase the fish's risks of acute orbital cellulitis, infectious encephalitis and ultimately neurologic damage that impairs its muscle function and swimming ability. You've all seen these blind, lame "cauliflower heads" milling aimless around in eddies and soft spots in the river.... they are too neurologically impaired to negotiate the main flow. Simply said.... they're dead... and long before they ever set fin on a spawning bed.

    Relative to early run chinook - the proposed fishery is upstream and most of the early run (over 80%) will not be exposed. If the fishery is above Skilak Lake only a couple hundred early run fish spawn above the lake. Therefore, the chance of catching an early run chinook is very small and it is possible to restrict the timing of the fishery to avoid this stock if needed
    If they are entitled to catch a 1000 king quota, what makes you believe they would craft a fishery where a only a handul of fish are available. That makes no sense whatsoever. Human nature is human nature... nobody drives 25 mph in the 55mph zone. Give anybody a 1000 fish quota and they will craft a fishery to maximize their take.

    The slot limit is questionable from a scientific viewpoint. After review ADF&G biologist will admit what it does is reduce exploitation rate - now about 20-25% in- river. This is very low and I think the slot limit should be revisited - however given the low exploitation rate there are harvestable surplus of fish that are not being taken. The feds prepared an excellent report on the stock status of the Kenai stocks and one should read it. Good stuff no matter the subject.
    The merits of the slot-limit in conserving large early run fish is unquestionable! The problem is not the concept, it's the way it is being executed. Lifting the slot on July 1 is like putting on a long sleeve shirt first thing in the morning to prevent a sunburn, then taking it off at two in the afternoon.... you're gonna get burnt! That strategy severely undermines the odds that the slot limit will achieve its intended purpose.... protecting the physically largest quartile of the run from harvest!

    You poo-poo the fact that it only reduces exploitation by 25%..... well duh! That's how the slot-limit was designed. Virtually all of the savings are in the segment of the ER population that needs it most... the large 5-ocean spawners that have become all too rare.... while still allowing ample harvest opportunity on the remaining 75% of the run.

    The flaw in execution is ADFG/BOF's reluctance to keep it in force thru at least peak ER spawning. Seems silly to sacrifice thru all of May and June to save all those big fish.... only to make them available for harvest with bait on July 1 when the slot is lifted.

    Ahh, but I digress....

    Back to gillnets, boys. Carry on....
    "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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    The NTC is aiming high with the #s of proposals and arbitrary harvest #s. It seems if they shoot for the moon they might get something out of the deal. They were hoping Cooper landing and Hope res. would support them but they were wrong. Even Ninilchik res. are divided on a community gill-net. Some of these folks would rather catch their own rather than going to the "food bank".NTC even admitted that they would not be targeting the Kenai if they were allowed some more opportunity close to home. The state will not allow them extra harvest opportunities in Ninilchik, so they are exercising their rights (ANILCA) on federal waters-which only exist outside of their home range.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post

    There is no way that Ninilchik can show a need for 50% of the stocks of the Kenai River

    Just remember theres not a way everyone in Ninilchik needs 1000 extra kings (how bout the huged stocked runs that flow through their town) 6000 extra sockeye, and 2000 extra pinks.
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Charholio View Post

    Do A LOT of people really make a lot of money gillnetting? Really? Or just a small percentage of the Alaska populace and an equal or larger number of Seattle and other Outsiders? Seems to me there are an awful lot of people who come up here only in the summer to make a living. Again, a small group that the managers cater to, but whose own indiscriminant harvest method and the resultant bycatch threatens an industry that brings much more revenue to more people than theirs does. But this isn't the topic.

    I'm starting to feel the commercial sockeye harvestors starting to get defensive in support of this new user group. Why is that?
    Gillnetting is really the only way an independent fisherman can make a living fishing. Gone are the days crabbers could get employed, trawlers could make more than 3 buck an hour seiners take a huge amount of capitol investment.

    Commercial gillnetting in cook inlet has pretty much stopped, remember they were the people who were fishing in 1950 when set net sites dotted the shorelines of upper cook inlet, knik arm, fire island etc. Now good luck getting an opener if you are a permit holder outside of the Kasilof THA. If not for the gillnetters the run size on the keani would probably be ~650,000 fish on good years now we see runs of 3-6 million fish. I'd be willing to bet that most commercial guys are totally against the "subsistence" gillnet fishery, I know I am. Because of gillnets you can catch sockeye pretty much anywhere in the keani river drainage in july without even thinking. The reason there are fewer and fewer resident gillnetters in UCI is because people who have no idea about fisheries management complain and complain causing stoppage in fishing. Without gillnetting the keani would just be another river.

    Back to the origional topic, Gillnets should not be allowed in the flowing kenai river period.

    Maybe we should hold the whole comercial fishery on keani lake so the idiots hearding kings around can catch clean fish and the dipnetters can feel like they have more fish to catch.
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    good stuff fellas... i've been paying a good amount of attention to this issue, but after reading some of your comments, i realize there's a lot i haven't thought of and considered. you'll have a hard time convincing me that gillnets would be ok in the kenai, but at least i understand the issue much better because of you all. thanks
    Mark

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    Thumbs down Childish propoganda. . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    Do you really want more of this carnage in the river?
    Too silly, Francis. The only thing your gory pictures "speak for themselves" is that all harvest of human foodstuffs involves some waste.

    What nonsense. . . .

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    What would we do without Merka and Marcus?

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