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Thread: "informed choice"... compromise Kenai slot plan

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    Default "informed choice"... compromise Kenai slot plan

    In the last BOF cycle for Cook Inlet, ADFG staff opposed a proposal for a river-wide, season-long slot limit. Given the unexpected finding that 45% of late run kings fall within the 44-55” slot, staff cited the following reasons for their opposition:

    1) A lack of conservation concern for large late run kings.
    2) Excessive forgone harvest opportunity on healthy late run stocks.
    3) Disproportionate harvest preferentially targeting the younger age classes.

    As the author of that proposal, I must concede that these are all very valid concerns, yet I am perplexed that staff proposed no alternative plans to secure even some small measure of additional protections for troubled mainstem ER5-o spawners in July.

    I propose for your consideration a compromise slot plan that applies through July 14 in all areas open to king salmon fishing from the river mouth upstream to the outlet of Skilak Lake. Several key features of said plan will effectively address staff’s cited concerns.

    1) Historically only 30% of the late run enters the river by July 14. This plan would not affect the remaining 70% of the return from July 15 forward.

    2) Of the affected portion, only 45% would fall within the 44-55” size range. That means “unharvestable” slot kings would, at most, comprise only 14% of the late run. (0.3 x 0.45 = 0.135)

    3) All of these late run slot kings become available for harvest once again on July 15. That means the sport fleet has an additional 17 days to harvest them. Basically, these kings are only unavailable for harvest 14/31-ths of the month.

    Effectively, a mere 6% (0.30 times 0.45 times 14 divided by 31 = 0.06) of the late run is excluded from harvest under this proposal. It would still enable the fishery to liberally exploit the remaining 94% of this healthy stock. Because nearly the entire late run remains in the harvestable pool of kings, concerns about harvesting equally across all age classes become irrelevant. In essence, ALL of staff’s objections to the original proposal become non-issues.

    In addition, recent entry-pattern trends in the late run make it even less likely that any large late run fish would be affected by this compromise slot plan. In the past 5-6 years, the age-sex composition of the late run fish entering the river in the first 2-3 weeks of July has been predominated by small 1- and 2-ocean males. Very few large fish actually enter the river during this time period. Most of the large fish that are present in the lower river fishing zone at that time are actually mainstem spawners lingering from the early run. Since the bulk of large late run fish do not enter the river until well into the third week of July, extending the slot limit in the lower river during the first two weeks of July actually impacts exceedingly few large late run kings. It would however prevent many large ripening early run kings (all of which were fully protected just days earlier in June) from being mistakenly and irresponsibly harvested as “late run” kings in the lower river.

    By implementing this compromise proposal, the Board stands only to gain in terms of conserving ER5-o mainstem spawners. Conversely, the Board stands to lose almost nothing in terms of forgone harvest opportunity on a healthy late run stock. It is difficult to imagine a conservation plan with a better risk: benefit ratio.
    Last edited by fishNphysician; 02-28-2007 at 02:42.
    "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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    Thumbs down Broken record. . .

    Francis: Five years ago, back in 2002, Salmon Trout Steelheader magazine ran your article, “Giant Kenai River Kings.” In that article you said, “Angling for large trophy gamefish has become the obsession of many sportfishermen. The thrill of hooking and landing that fish of a lifetime,... , is a rush...” Elaborating on that obsession, you claimed, “One is rewarded with a sense of conquest... (...) The sheer elation must be experienced...” Near the end of your STS article, you suggested a catch-and-release derby for the Kenai. On another Internet forum, you confessed to being “seriously addicted” to fishing for big Kenai kings. Now if that’s what turns your crank, that’s fine, but such self-confessed addiction does illustrate where you’re coming from.

    From back in 2002 until now, the only proposal you’ve ever offered regarding management of giant Kenai kings is one form or another of catch-and-release—augmented by the total destruction of the gill-net industry in Cook Inlet. And that’s fine. If you want to let your fish go, that’s your choice, but when catch-and-release becomes regulation, all it does is increase angling opportunity. How much more opportunity can the Kenai stand?

    You don’t live here in Alaska. You come up every year for what, a week in late July to indulge your addiction? You don’t have to live here and deal with the social, environmental, and biological issues, day in and day out, that the over-stressed Kenai River sportfishery demands of resident Alaskans.

    Rather than offering another, tired and worn out, broken-record proposal, which amounts to nothing more than creeping catch-and-release, how about thinking outside the box defined by your addiction? How about some proposals that would consider the impact of increased opportunity and corresponding increased negative impact on an already stressed resource?


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    Lay a plan out for us Marcus....

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    Default Hey Doc...question for ya

    Francis,

    I wasn't aware our Board of Fisheries accepted proposals from non-residents. Is this true, that a non-resident can send in a proposal to our BOF and that the Board must consider it? Or was this something you submitted via an Alaskan org?

    I'm real curious about this, because I know the Boards are swamped with a lot of proposals, but I didn't know they had to consider any from non-residents as well. Would appreciate learning more on that, thanks.

    I was subtly hinting in my post on the ten commandments thread that if guys like yourself put half as much time into advocating for healthy habitat as you do for allocation and opportunity issues, I think anglers would get a better grasp of what we really should concern ouselves with. I applaud your advocacy over the years on allocation concerns, and your genuine concern for a sustainable fishery, so don't get me wrong there. But maximum opportunity may not be the best management scheme to promote, dont you think?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bushrat View Post
    Is this true, that a non-resident can send in a proposal to our BOF and that the Board must consider it?
    Anyone, regardless of residency, can submit a proposal to the BOF or BOG.

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    Default What do you have to lose?

    Quote Originally Posted by bushrat View Post
    ...maximum opportunity may not be the best management scheme to promote
    This is a bit confusing, how does releasing large fish add to angling opportunity? It's the ADFG Board wanting to maximize opportunity, all fishNphysician is proposing is an extension of the protection already in place so that that it might actually accomplish the goal it was established for, i.e. allowing the large ER5-o kings to spawn.

    It seems rediculous to mandate release of these fish all the way up to their spawning grounds, and then effectively release the hounds upon them simply because the calendar kicked over a day. Finish the job!

    Why is this proposal being received so negatively? It makes perfect sense to me... what do you have to lose? You think MORE people are going to come fishing because they have to release large fish?
    Last edited by LoweDown; 02-28-2007 at 10:02. Reason: spelling

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    Default Alaskan point of view. . .

    Quote Originally Posted by LoweDown View Post
    Why is this proposal being received so negatively? It makes perfect sense to me...


    We have a saying up here, "We don't give a d**n how they do it outside."

    Just joking, but we who live here do have a tendency to view these kinds of matters differently than do you guys down in the state of Washington. It's just part of being an Alaskan.

    Be patient with us. . .


  8. #8

    Default Increased opportunity doesn't equal pressure

    I really would love to see the correlation between catch and release, i.e. slot limits, to increased pressure.

    I don't think in this case that increased opportunity will amount to increased pressure. Actually I think it will have the reverse affect of less pressure.

    Doc's residency is irrelevant, and if it is relevant I would galdly step up and submit the proposal as a resident on his behalf.

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by LoweDown
    This is a bit confusing, how does releasing large fish add to angling opportunity? It's the ADFG Board wanting to maximize opportunity, all fishNphysician is proposing is an extension of the protection already in place so that that it might actually accomplish the goal it was established for, i.e. allowing the large ER5-o kings to spawn.
    Just being allowed to fish for trophy kings via C&R adds to angling opportunity. The way I see it, the increasing demand on the fisheries by anglers is causing some strange "conservation" measures to take place. Basically, there aren't enough fish to "kill," so we change the regs to C&R only for certain slots. As C&R fishing itself becomes more popular, and acceptable, and evermore anglers far and wide want to catch a trophy king, we aren't really considering that maybe, just maybe, some of the answer lies in less boats, less people, less pollution, and less greed among certain user-groups.

    ADFG managers are having to maximize opportunity because the fishing public demands it. They are now having to maximize C&R opportunity. We are trading "harvest" for C&R, but is this making the river more or less crowded, and impacting the health of the river less or more? Is "obsession" for anything ever a good thing? And does an obsession to catch giant kenai kings among anglers mean that they are more concerned with the fisheries on the whole (big picture aspect) or only concerned that they get their "fair" share of angling in?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post

    Be patient with us. . .
    Will do, thanks.

    However, to view an idea with disdain based upon the residency of it's originator seems, at best, unproductive. Look beyond that and the logic and reasoning are sound. Let's give fishNphysician's plan itself some thought and toss the ball around, rather than simply dismissing it. Again, it makes perfect sense to me.. what do You have to lose?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bushrat View Post
    Just being allowed to fish for trophy kings via C&R adds to angling opportunity.
    Yes but presently the opportunity already exists as a kill fishery, so extending the protective slot limit doesn't seem to add to it.

    I agree with you completely that crowding and habitat degredation issues need to to be a part of the picture. Let's add them to the equation rather than brushing off this option because it doesn't address those concerns as well.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by bushrat View Post
    And does an obsession to catch giant kenai kings among anglers mean that they are more concerned with the fisheries on the whole (big picture aspect) or only concerned that they get their "fair" share of angling in?
    BOTH!

    Of course we want to preserve what we love to do, that's why we are passionate about it. But on the same note to preserve that pursuit, we realize we have to preserve the resource.

    I do see your point however, don't get me wrong. But it is my opinion that we should look to avenues that can conserve or preserve the resource w/o limiting access, first.

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    Angry Too far down the wrong road. . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Sockeye Charlie View Post
    I really would love to see the correlation between catch and release, i.e. slot limits, to increased pressure.

    Well, ask and ye shall receive. . . here it is, in big, bold letters, from the mouth of ADF&G:

    "It (catch-and-release/slot limit) is a tool which enables managers to continue maximizing the opportunity to participate in recreational fisheries while reducing mortality to what can be termed 'catch-and-release mortality.' In this way, the economic value of recreational fishing is not jeopardized as the opportunity to participate is not reduced." — Doug Vincent-Lang, et al, "Mortality of coho salmon caught and released using sport tackle in the Little Susitna River, Alaska, 1992"

    Moreover, SC, "access," opportunity, call-it-what-you-will, is not an open-ended proposition. Sooner or later, in the case of resources, and some say sooner in the case of the Kenai River/sportfishery/ecosystem/fish resource/etc., etc., we reach limits. One simply cannot build a growth industry on a finite resource. It's time, it's past time to rein things in.

    What do we have to lose? We can lose even more of what we've already lost by going too far down the wrong d**n road.


  14. #14

    Default Explain further please...

    So please explain to me how a season long slot limit is going to increase the amount of anglers on the river??

    I really don't see it.

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    Smile Hope this helps. . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Sockeye Charlie View Post
    So please explain to me how a season long slot limit is going to increase the amount of anglers on the river??

    I really don't see it.
    A certain number of fish are being killed. Supposedly too many. If that's true, it behooves us to cut back on the number of fish being killed.

    There are two ways to do that: 1) restrict opportunity, and 2) restrict mortality by means of catch-and-release, or, in other words, a slot limit.

    If we introduce a season-long slot limit, we have cut back on the present mortality, leaving room for even more opportunity.

    And, yes, supply creates its own demand.

    We can't build a growth industry on a finite resource, nor can we continue to subsidize and pander to an obsession with catching big fish by increasing the stress on the Kenai's already-at-risk ecosystem.

    We've come way too far down the wrong road.

    Does that help?


  16. #16

    Default Partial agreement

    I do understand where your coming from Marcus, please don't think I am arguing just for the sake of arguement.

    This is where I am still confused on your stance....

    "If we introduce a season-long slot limit, we have cut back on the present mortality, leaving room for even more opportunity." ~~~Marcus

    How does this equate to "leave more room for opportunity"?

    The season is what it is, a finite time. How does protecting a number of fish during a set time period from being killed equate to more opportunity?

    Are you saying that if an angler must kill or harvest his fish then the river would be less crowded?

    The supply and demand statement is a credible arguement, but in this case I believe that it would actually decrease the amount of anglers who participate, having the desired affect of protecting the resource as well as reducing angler effort.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post

    If we introduce a season-long slot limit, we have cut back on the present mortality, leaving room for even more opportunity.
    Again, the opportunity already exists. You said it yourself: "Season-long." The season already exists. The fishing is already taking place, the only change being recommended is to stop the killing of slot-sized fish that have already been protected for the early part of the season. This doesn't increase opportunity no matter how you slice it, unless you mean the future opportunity that results from these fish spawning and having their offspring return to be fished for, hopefully 5 years later and 50 inches longer.

    I've never heard anyone say "cut back on present mortality" like it's a bad thing... especially in the context of an overexploited fish stock.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sockeye Charlie View Post
    I do understand where your coming from Marcus, please don't think I am arguing just for the sake of arguement.

    This is where I am still confused on your stance....

    "If we introduce a season-long slot limit, we have cut back on the present mortality, leaving room for even more opportunity." ~~~Marcus

    How does this equate to "leave more room for opportunity"?

    The season is what it is, a finite time. How does protecting a number of fish during a set time period from being killed equate to more opportunity?

    Are you saying that if an angler must kill or harvest his fish then the river would be less crowded?

    The supply and demand statement is a credible arguement, but in this case I believe that it would actually decrease the amount of anglers who participate, having the desired affect of protecting the resource as well as reducing angler effort.
    If we go to c&r in any form, slot limit or whatever, we will lower but not eliminate present mortality thus leaving a surplus of fish that can then be killed by additional c&r fishing. I don't think you're arguing just to argue, but I don't understand why you can't grasp the concept. Vincent-Lang's quote above says it quite plainly.

    Take the upper Kenai: As pressure increased over the years, bag limits were cut year by year, ending with total c&r, which didn't stop the killing but merely made room for more anglers to accomplish the same amount of killing that had been taking place previously.

    And don't kid yourself about additional slot limits not accomplishing additional fishing pressure. Probably the biggest impetus behind the drive to make the entire first run c&r a few years back was predictability, which translates into salability.

    What I am saying, in the end analysis, is that we cannot further increase opportunity, creating more pressure on a stressed resource. We must rather begin looking for ways to restrict and perhaps even cut back slightly on opportunity.


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    Default yes

    Are you saying that if an angler must kill or harvest his fish then the river would be less crowded?

    I do believe they are....and it's correct. See I'm a "normal" fisherman. I like to fish for kings, but don't actually catch that many. Last year I had 3. We can only harvest 5 kings in the fresh, and then only 1 per day. So if folks could (and do) just keep catching kings all day then they do crowd the river, they do pollute it, they do damage the kenai. Now me on a good day I catch my one fish and that's it. I'm done. If I want more fishing action I leave the kenai and go fish dollies at the Anchor. Or trout in quartz or a lake. See how it could work.

    We are now looking at various proposal about the Kenai. Most have to do with simple overuse. From 4 strokes vs two strokes. To slot limits, to catch limits to all sorts of things. There are other rivers people....you ever fished the gulkana for kings? Or deshka? (or god forbid...Ship creek) And other species. I think catching a King is awesome and don't think anyone should be totally limited out of the picture, but sometimes to much of a good thing is just that....to much.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post

    What I am saying, in the end analysis, is that we cannot further increase opportunity, creating more pressure on a stressed resource. We must rather begin looking for ways to restrict and perhaps even cut back slightly on opportunity.
    I agree!!!! But why can't this be done in conjunction with the extended slot limit protection for the ER5-o kings? They're not mutually exclusive!

    Sockeye we were typing the same thing at the same time..

    "Are you saying that if an angler must kill or harvest his fish then the river would be less crowded?"

    That's what it sounded like to me as well. So Marcus are you proposing mandatory harvest regulations? "If you catch a fish, you must kill it immediately and then Get Out of Alaska."

    Just kidding.

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