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Kenai Sockeye Failure Discussion

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  • Marcus
    replied
    Glad to help. . .

    Originally posted by SockeyOrange
    How serious does the board take proposals submitted by the public? Is it a common occurace (do they get flooded with them), have you ever submitted one? What was your experience with the process? Thanks for your help!
    It's my understanding that BoF takes all proposals seriously and that many, many proposals come from the public. Have never submitted one myself so don't have any personal experience with that aspect of the process. However, I know many folks who have submitted proposals, and their opinion seems to be that Alaska's regulatory process is outstanding in its open-door policy to public input. Give it a try. If you tell us where you live, maybe someone on the forum could steer you to your area ADF&G Advisory Committee where you could get lots more information. Glad to help. . .

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  • SockeyOrange
    replied
    Loaded for bear..

    How serious does the board take proposals submitted by the public? Is it a common occurace (do they get flooded with them), have you ever submitted one? What was your experience with the process? Thanks for your help!

    Leave a comment:


  • Marcus
    replied
    The right people. . .

    Originally posted by SockeyOrange
    I'm sure Marcus can get you into contact with the right people, . . . Going back to the 1999 plan sounds good . . .
    SockeyOrange: If you'd like to submit a proposal to return to the 1999 plan at the next Board of Fisheries cycle for Cook Inlet, I'd be happy to steer you to the right people at ADF&G who can help you in writing and submitting it. Let me know if I can be of help. Glad to do it. . .

    Leave a comment:


  • SockeyOrange
    replied
    well said..

    Thanks Nerka, sounds solid. I'm sure Marcus can get you into contact with the right people, what am I saying, you already know how. Would you suggest any change to the goal 0f 500,000 to 800,000 fish considering the impact of water turbidty. Going back to the 1999 plan sounds good but if conditions are different now does it need to be adjusted? I'm assuming the change was made to satisfy the guides on the river, fell free to correct me on this if I'm wrong. One thing I do know, if we have a few years like this in a row heads will roll and the state will be forced to change policy. What was the count today?

    Leave a comment:


  • Nerka
    replied
    plan of action

    First, in response to the request for information on my background. I tend not to answer those type of questions on the internet as a general security procedure. I will say I was trained as a scientist in the lower 48 and have a passion for sockeye salmon biology. Therefore, I read lots of reports.

    I am not trying to decieve anyone but I just do not like the internet because of the wide distribution. The other factor is that as a scientist I like to make arguements based on merit and rationale thoughts not authority of position. I hate it when a scientist say I know more than you because I am a scientist. It may give the individual more training, better tools to make his or her case, but just having a degree does not mean much to me. In addition,that way personalities and intimidation do not enter the discussion. We can evaluate each others comments in a more pure sense. Hope that helps answer your question.

    As far as a plan the Board of Fish in 1999 had a fairly good one which was altered in 2002 and 2005. Those changes made the plan fail. First, keeping the escapment levels between 500,000 and 800,000 in the long term will provide very high sustained yields with low chance of run failure. Second, we must live with the reduced turbidity so local governments, businesses, and the State should start to plan for the downturn in production if this continues. Third, the State should fund a significant program of monitoring Skilak,Kenai and Tustumena Lakes so that data are available for decision makers - whether this is to forecast the return or to better understand how sockeye salmon are produced. It may be that with the change in turbidity that other factors on production will become more or less significant. Finally, the Board of Fish needs to go back to 1999 plan and allow ADF&G more flexibility in managment. I firmly believe more chinook are being caught with the 2005 plan than the 1999 plan.

    Leave a comment:


  • SockeyOrange
    replied
    so now what..

    I was wondering what is the use of all the science if we have no idea how to use it? I have been quite impressed with Nerka's knowledge of the ecosystem but I have yet to see any real plan come from it. My question is can all the factors be controlled (my guess is no)? If they can not than what should we do, can we predict the turbidity or the EDZ, can we gauge the amount of food availible? Should the model be adjusted to account for factors like the one Nerka has laid out, is that even possible?

    Nerka
    I have been wondering for awhile and even asked, where you learned all this? Do you have formal training as a scientist because I'm very impressed with your knowledge. Send me a PM if you prefer.

    Leave a comment:


  • yukon
    replied
    Thanks Nerka, very helpful. It looks like there is still a lot of work that needs to be done, this year, even though dismal, may give some good data for future management.

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  • Nerka
    replied
    some answers

    The sonar counts in the oil spill year of 1987 and 1989 was about 1.6 million. In 1988 it was 1 million. The return from these years started the whole discussion of interaction between years. The return from 1987 was 9.5 million, from 1988 2.1 million, and 1989 3.6 million. Interestingly the 1987 record return came of 600,000 sonar counts. So biologist ask the question why the range and how does Skilak Lake produce sockeye?

    Here are some data from the simulation model that was developed from this work of what escapements can do. If you fixed the escapement at these levels this is what the model says about the probability of harvesting less than 1 million fish.

    At 500,000 to 800,000 spawners and a euphotic zone depth (EZD light penetration of 1% of surface) of 8 meters 5 percent of the time the return will bring a harvest of less than 1 million. At a EZD of 4 meters it is 20%. In contrast, at escapements of 1.5 million the probability of a harvest of less than 1 million is 90% if the EZD is 4 meters. If it 8 meters the probablity is still 60% that the harvest will be below 1 million. I think anyone can see why ADF&G is nervous about the glacial melt impacting Skilak Lake and the impact of large escapements.

    So even with escapements in the 500,000-800,000 range you have some poor years.

    Further data from the Kenai shows this. The best average return for the last 25 years of data come from escapements in the 500,000 to 800,000 range and that is why ADF&G set the biological escapement goal at this level.

    Hope this helps the discussion. All of these figures are in ADF&G reports. The best report is the final report to the EVOS council.

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  • yukon
    replied
    Does anyone know what the returns were of the huge spawning year of the oil spill?

    Leave a comment:


  • shipbum
    replied
    Why great production of fry/fish

    So on the low escapement years that have high production of fry what has happened? Why more fry/spawning fish? Better water temps? Less flooding? More flooding? Mild winters? An unknown variable such as inactivation of egg DNA or proteins when spawning competition/spawning fish crowding is greatest?? Are there far more buffers in the system than we realize? Is fry production always better on years with less escapement? I think my brain just blew a gasket.

    Leave a comment:


  • Nerka
    replied
    like to see you confused Marcus

    Just kidding. This year's return is in my humble opinion due to a combination of factors all of which combine into one story. First, the number of fry in the lake followed two large escapement - when this happens the number of fry that survive in the second or third year is usually low. Second, those that did survive were only 1g which is on the small side. Small fish means poor survival overwinter - smaller fish have less body fat and that is what they live on overwinter. Smaller fish also means smaller smolt that go out to sea which can also mean lower survival.

    Now as to your question. Large escapements in the Kenai can produce large numbers of fry which can start the above pattern. So overescapement is a valid term. However, in some years even relatively small escapements can produce large numbers of fry. It is a game of averages and probabilities.

    This is very complex as I mentioned in earlier post so do not feel bad about being confused -

    Leave a comment:


  • Marcus
    replied
    Confused. . .

    Originally posted by Nerka
    This year's return is not directly related to escapements being high. The models ADF&G uses really focus on fry numbers in the lake. In some years escapements in the range cited by akkona can produce lots of fry. In the two rearing years prior to this year return there was 20 million fry in the lake each year. So the issue is how many years in row there are high fry numbers.

    If one did a risk analysis there is a higher risk of large fry production and then failure with large escapements than with smaller escapements but you still can get the pattern with smaller escapements - just not as frequent.

    A second test is in the system right now. There have been large escapements back to back in recent years. We will have to see how they do. Back in the 80's they did not produce as well as lower escapement years.
    Well, if I wasn't confused before, I am now. If this year's dismal return is not related to or the result of "overescapement," what is it related to or the result of? Is "overescapement" an issue at all? Is management for sustained yield even possible?

    Leave a comment:


  • Nerka
    replied
    escapement discussion

    akkona is correct. This year's return is not directly related to escapements being high. The models ADF&G uses really focus on fry numbers in the lake. In some years escapements in the range cited by akkona can produce lots of fry. In the two rearing years prior to this year return there was 20 million fry in the lake each year. So the issue is how many years in row there are high fry numbers.

    If one did a risk analysis there is a higher risk of large fry production and then failure with large escapements than with smaller escapements but you still can get the pattern with smaller escapements - just not as frequent.

    A second test is in the system right now. There have been large escapements back to back in recent years. We will have to see how they do. Back in the 80's they did not produce as well as lower escapement years.

    Leave a comment:


  • akkona
    replied
    Parent year escapements

    Here are the escapement numbers for those years that are primarily responsible for producing this year's return as well as a couple of years for which we have already seen the return. These are the final escapement numbers that are a result of subtracting inriver harvest (above the sonar) from the sonar passage estimate:

    1998: 551,891
    1999: 582,907
    2000: 393,276
    2001: 457,927

    All of these years are at the low end or below the current sustainable escapement goal of 500,000 to 800,000 sockeye salmon. It is difficult for me to see how overescapement played a role in this year's poor return.

    Leave a comment:


  • Marcus
    replied
    Why?

    To my mind — and maybe Nerka can comment — this year's run failure has occurred because the Board of Fisheries, under pressure from interests that want more second run kings in the Kenai, has raised the upper end of escapement goals beyond what are scientifically supportable while restricting the ability of the gill-net industry to intercept the run to the point where too many sockeye are spawning, willfully putting sustained yield at risk. Until the Kenai's second run of sockeye are managed scientifically according to Alaska's constitution, we have no way to rationally pursue sustained yield from that fishery.

    While such mismanagement might sit well with the special interests who'd like to see all gill-netting cease in Cook Inlet so that 100% instead of the present 75% of second run kings can enter the river for the sole exploitation of commercial sport/private sport interests, it decimates the area's economy by destabilizing the sockeye yield — up one year, wildly down the next. The area's and state's economies need sustained yield, not wildly erratic yields that are so undependable they furnish no stable economic base upon which to build any sort of industry, e.g., tourism, etc.

    BoF and ADF&G must resist politcal pressure to manage Alaska's fisheries any other way than scientifically in pursuit of sustained yield. Putting any one fishery at risk for the sake of special interests in another fishery is deplorable. The loss to area businesses by this year's run failure will have to run in the millions of dollars as restaurants, tackle shops, processors, campgrounds, B&Bs, gas stations, quik-stops and more stand by and watch a steady stream of traffic leaving the area.

    Leave a comment:

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