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Thread: KR Slot. Should I stay or should I go?

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    Member MRFISH's Avatar
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    Default KR Slot. Should I stay or should I go?

    So, what about that slot limit thingy? [blows someone a kiss]

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    Quote Originally Posted by MRFISH View Post
    So, what about that slot limit thingy? [blows someone a kiss]
    Is there any science/data at all that supports it or is it feel good biology?

    I have mixed feelings about it. I could argue it either way, and have done so with some of my peers. I am still debating it in my own mind.

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    What is the Department likely to say about proposals to either do away with it or expand it? That's a big factor...but not the deciding factor, of course.

    btw, this thread was started at the request of a friend and fellow frequenter of the forum who just had to rub my nose in the fact that he went fishing the other day...and found fish. You know who you are. You're welcome.

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    I think F&G is likely to support the current slot at the upcoming BoF but they won't have any supporting data for the slot. It will be an intersting debate. I don't think F&G will support it in the Late Run or any expansion due to lost opportunity on a healthy stock. JMO

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    Well, there are 4 (right?) new BOF members who have never dealt with the slot limit before...you never know how they'll want to put their mark on things.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MRFISH View Post
    Well, there are 4 (right?) new BOF members who have never dealt with the slot limit before...you never know how they'll want to put their mark on things.
    That is very true. So far it seems they like feel good biology, they supported the closure of the Anchor River in after November.

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    Mr Fish, seeing how you started this thread and the fact that you were a prominent figure on the BOF I am curious to what your thoughts are on the slot limit?

    I have not heard the offical Department stance on the slot for the upcoming UCI BOF meetings myself.

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    Below is a link to the latest report on the stock assessment of early-run king salmon in the Kenai River, 2002-2006. This should provide you with the information that F&G knows or doesn't know.

    http://www.sf.adfg.state.ak.us/FedAidPDFs/FDS10-19.pdf

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    Default Here to stay.... for now.

    Page 41 of the ER stock assessment.... "bottom line" is actually about 6 lines up from the bottom.

    ".... we DO NOT recommend rescinding the slot limit at this time."
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
    http://www.piscatorialpursuits.com/uploads/UP12710.jpg
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    It goes on to say that the first ER5-o return from the years affected by the slot limit (brood years 2003 forward) comes back in 2010... this past summer.

    Seems they would need to observe at least one full life cycle of ER5-o returns before any meaningful conclusions could be drawn about whether the slot limit is actually doing anything worthwhile.

    The only things we know for sure is that it has done is:

    1) for all intents and purposes eliminated the harvest of ER5-o kings
    2) reduced the harvest of ER4-o kings
    3) increased the harvest of ER3-o kings

    Well.... at least through May and June.

    Of course all of that changed when we laxed up the bottom end to 46" in 2008.

    BIG mistake.....
    "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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    In case anyone forgot, the actual slot proposals on the books for consideration can be found here....

    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...imit-proposals

    But be mindful that once the topic is out on the table for discussion as an action item, the final recommendation made by the board may not look anything like the actual proposal(s) in the book.
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
    http://www.piscatorialpursuits.com/uploads/UP12710.jpg
    The KeenEye MD

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    Wake up folks... The slot limit is the only conservation mechanism we have in place to try to get more larger fish back in the river. We should also take into account that the ADF&G counters are a mess. They are sticking to their guns that there were about 13,500 ER kings past the counter this year. Hard to believe when they run a weekly disclaimer, "This summary is likely biased high because of sockeye passage". The 2010 harvest was way down and everyone was reporting a general lack of ER fish in the river. We'd be lucky if we had half as many as they are saying.

    Some of the ER fish are available for harvest for 60 days or more verses 30 days for the second run. They are much more vulnerable to over-harvest and require additional protection if we truly value this resource component. So we protect some of them up until July 15 above the Soldotna bridge, but then we open it up and target those exact larger fish on their spawning grounds in the last two weeks of July.

    We need to do more.....the larger fish in this run are dissapearing and if we sit by and let that happen then we can say goodby to the tourism industry that helps diversify our economical stability here on the Peninsula. Nobody will want to come here and pay big bucks to catch 20-25 pound kings.

    We need to expand the slot limit to 42" -55". This would then protect about 50% of the 1.4 females as well as most 1.4 males and all 1.5 fish. This slot limit needs to remain in effect throughout the entire King season above the Soldotna Bridge where most of the ER spawning occurs. This year we had high and dirty water down low so more anglers than normal moved upriver and fished on these ER spawners. Data tells us that ER spawning normally starts around July 20 so this scenareo was the worst possible for this spawning component.

    Waiting to take meaningfull measures to get more of our bigger fish back in the system is not an option. The upcoming UCI BOF meeting is going to be the fork in the road on this issue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKPacman View Post
    Wake up folks... The slot limit is the only conservation mechanism we have in place to try to get more larger fish back in the river. . .

    We need to do more.....the larger fish in this run are dissapearing and if we sit by and let that happen then we can say goodby to the tourism industry that helps diversify our economical stability here on the Peninsula. Nobody will want to come here and pay big bucks to catch 20-25 pound kings. . .
    Good point, Pacman, though probably a bit overstated. It's the sockeye fishery—sport and commercial—that is the area's bread-and-butter by far.

    That said, the king fishery does broaden and diversify our appeal to tourists and should be considered a very valuable part of our marketing effort.

    While I don't fish the Kenai for kings or anything else, the folks who do pursue sportfishing for kings and who depend on such fishermen for income should take Pacman's warning seriously and do whatever necessary to preserve the large fish for which the Kenai is famous. Don't be complacent—it isn't that it might happen, it is happening. When the premier salmon fishing magazine out there—Salmon & Steelhead Journal—publishes an article like "The Collapsing Kenai," you may be sure our client base is hearing the message. Too many opportunities elsewhere, closer and cheaper.

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    Iceblue, I'll try to come up with some more thoughts on the viabliity of the slot limit. It's been quite a while since I've looked at the data and I haven't stayed up to date with it, either. It's not a simple one, to be sure.

    Beside the vaild arguments in favor of preserving all size/age components of the run, an additional argument can be made for saving more of the big fish (females) simply because of their large difference in reproductive potential (fecundity). Productivity is often simplified to a return per "spawner" level...and that usually works fine when the characteristics of a stock are stable over time...but productivity really comes down to return per fertilized egg. I don't know if a fecundity function has been developed for Kenai kings (based on size), but the difference can be quite significant. If you have significant shifts in the size of the fish, or the m:f ratios on the spawning grounds, the return per spawner approach isn;t going to work nearly as well and perhaps some kind of fecundity-based approach to escapement goals could (should?) be evaluated. I believe there is some early work being done on the matter (in general), but I haven't seen the paper, yet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MRFISH View Post
    Iceblue, I'll try to come up with some more thoughts on the viabliity of the slot limit. It's been quite a while since I've looked at the data and I haven't stayed up to date with it, either. It's not a simple one, to be sure.

    Beside the vaild arguments in favor of preserving all size/age components of the run, an additional argument can be made for saving more of the big fish (females) simply because of their large difference in reproductive potential (fecundity). Productivity is often simplified to a return per "spawner" level...and that usually works fine when the characteristics of a stock are stable over time...but productivity really comes down to return per fertilized egg. I don't know if a fecundity function has been developed for Kenai kings (based on size), but the difference can be quite significant. If you have significant shifts in the size of the fish, or the m:f ratios on the spawning grounds, the return per spawner approach isn;t going to work nearly as well and perhaps some kind of fecundity-based approach to escapement goals could (should?) be evaluated. I believe there is some early work being done on the matter (in general), but I haven't seen the paper, yet.
    Mr. Fish I think you know this but with size of fish being both genetic and environmental one has to be careful when doing a large river goal and ignoring the individual components of the run. For example, large fish would not make it up Slikok Creek. Therefore, it is important to look at the distribution of spawners and the size/sex ratios in the individual streams.

    One thought is that larger fish from the early run spawned in the mainstem and that they were exploited at a higher rate than tributary spawners. This is probably true as larger fish can handle the mainstem currents but have little data since ADF&G just treats the system as one big fish factory. If that is the case the slot limit would reduce exploitation rate on that component.

    What we cannot factor out is the marine environment and fish staying out longer or shorter based on environmental reasons. This is a very complex question but the slot limit is probably a good thing given the uncertainity in the data and size selectivity of the fishery.

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    Good points, Nerka.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKPacman View Post
    Wake up folks... The slot limit is the only conservation mechanism we have in place to try to get more larger fish back in the river.

    .
    .
    .

    Some of the ER fish are available for harvest for 60 days or more verses 30 days for the second run. They are much more vulnerable to over-harvest and require additional protection if we truly value this resource component. So we protect some of them up until July 15 above the Soldotna bridge, but then we open it up and target those exact larger fish on their spawning grounds in the last two weeks of July.

    .
    .
    .

    We need to do more.....the larger fish in this run are dissapearing and if we sit by and let that happen then we can say goodby to the tourism industry that helps diversify our economical stability here on the Peninsula. Nobody will want to come here and pay big bucks to catch 20-25 pound kings.

    .
    .
    .
    We need to expand the slot limit to 42" -55". This would then protect about 50% of the 1.4 females as well as most 1.4 males and all 1.5 fish. This slot limit needs to remain in effect throughout the entire King season above the Soldotna Bridge where most of the ER spawning occurs.

    Waiting to take meaningful measures to get more of our bigger fish back in the system is not an option. The upcoming UCI BOF meeting is going to be the fork in the road on this issue.
    Amen brother, Amen!

    An end to the carnage on BIG over-ripe spawners is LONG overdue.

    Let's just git 'er dun.
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
    http://www.piscatorialpursuits.com/uploads/UP12710.jpg
    The KeenEye MD

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    bigger kings are more viable spawners, we should do everything we can to make sure the most, spawners with the highest viability successfully spawn while still maintaining the uniqueness of the Kenai fishery. Thats why I support a slot limit.
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MRFISH View Post
    ...but productivity really comes down to return per fertilized egg. .
    Mr. Fish, whether you measure return per spawner or return per smolt out or return per eggs laid they all measure productivity - no one is better than the other depending on the question you are trying to answer.

    One thing people should remember is that productivity varies with the number of spawners. Low numbers and the return is greater per spawner - at high escapements the return is lower. This is the basis of productivity curves for salmon. Also, on ascending side the impact on returns is due to density independent factors and on the descending side of the production curves it is due to density dependent factors.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    Mr. Fish, whether you measure return per spawner or return per smolt out or return per eggs laid they all measure productivity - no one is better than the other depending on the question you are trying to answer.

    One thing people should remember is that productivity varies with the number of spawners. Low numbers and the return is greater per spawner - at high escapements the return is lower. This is the basis of productivity curves for salmon. Also, on ascending side the impact on returns is due to density independent factors and on the descending side of the production curves it is due to density dependent factors.
    You're right, they will all measure productivity...but my point was that simply examining the number of spawners (as a measure of escapement) misses the real driving factor in future returns (the number of fertilized eggs) if the quality of escapement in terms of female proportion and fecundity (as a function of size) has declined.

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