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  • #16
    Originally posted by Cohoangler View Post
    Recall that the Alaska Constitution is the only State constitution that mentions natural resources, beneficial uses, and the concept of sustained yield. A very enlightened document indeed. Also recall that it was written in the late 1950's when the concept of sustained yield was all the rage among natural resource planners. It was a major change from the "slash and burn", "boom and bust" that historically characterized natural resource management (particularly forestry where old growth timber was cut as fast as possible, and then the loggers moved onto find more old growth to cut). It recognized that society can, and should, manage it's natural resources to maximize the benefits to it's citizens over time.

    What has changed since the 1950's is the concept of sustained yield as it relates to the recognition of risk. Harvest levels for salmon that we believe are "sustainable" may not be due to factors beyond our control (e.g., rapidly changing ocean productivity), or other unrelated human activity (e.g., habitat loss due to watershed development). That is, there is an unknown level of risk that we are currently managing our resources in a manner that may not be sustainable. But we just don't know it yet.

    Chinook salmon stocks in the Great Land serve as a great example. Presumably, ADF&G has been managing for "sustained yield" since the beginning of their existence. If so, why have the Chinook salmon stocks declined so precipitously in the past couple years? Wasn't sustained yield supposed to eliminate that? We only thought so. In reality, sustained yield can reduce the booms and busts, but the vagaries of the natural world continue to challenge the concept of sustained yield. Major fluctuations in salmon abundance may always be with us.

    More and better information on the factors that influence salmon productivity (for example) will help immensely but I'm not convinced we will ever have all the answers to basic questions such as: How many salmon are going to return this year? So, while the concept of "sustained yield" is correct, finding it remains a management challenge.
    Just to be clear, the sustained yield principle is a basic tenet of conservation, where principles of conservation are the objective and must govern and trump resource use. So the sustained yield principle is actually a conservation principle. It is a work in progress.

    As I said earlier, sustained yield does not necessarily mean maximum sustained yield. It is only when we have adequate data and historical evidence that we can set a BEG (biological escapement goal) and manage for maximum sustained yield. Otherwise we don't manage for maximum sustained yield with OEG or SEG. Keep in mind not many fisheries in Alaska have adequate historical data to manage to BEG.

    I do not agree that the sustained yield principle has changed in regards to risk. In fact it was designed with foresight for the exact risks our fisheries are experiencing today - changes in ocean conditions, decreased productivity, human activity, habitat loss, etc. Those risks have always been there. And Alaska appears to be reacting accordingly - limited entry, sport fishing closures, increased restrictions and modified regulations, more conservative management models, research and observation programs, studies and data collection, new technologies, etc. We are beginning to acknowledge and even understand those risks now more than ever, and we are using our conservative based sustained yield principle to address them accordingly.

    I believe we have a reasonable handle on what is sustainable. There are many examples of just that. And there are many examples of restricting or not allowing harvest where fisheries are not capable of harvest. Keep in mind a sustainable run can mean two fish. Somewhere after that is sustainable yield. I suppose we could argue about management reaction time, economic-political influences and priorities, allocations, or a tainted management process, etc. but that is a different discussion (and really where our fishery management fails us) - Arg.

    The notion that the sustained yield principle is supposed to eliminate Chinook declines, is incorrect. The sustained yield principle can not possibly be responsible for declines due to unforeseen factors. It can only be responsible for adjusting resource use according to them, in an effort to make them sustainable to harvest. Fluctuating Chinook runs, due to whatever natural reason, can not be eliminated by it. The sustained yield principle simply does not have that kind of connection with God. It is only the best we have in regards to our harvest of the resource.

    Comment


    • #17
      Fun - I don’t disagree, although you and I might see it somewhat differently.

      But I wonder about your statement that we have a "reasonable handle" on what is sustainable. Would the folks in places like Nulato, Kaltag, and Anvik agree with you? That’s an honest question.

      Seems like the recent plight of the Yukon River Chinook was exactly what “sustained yield” was intended to avoid. But, because of factors beyond our control, and some within our control, those folks are talking about ‘the good ol’ days’ - back when they had plenty of YR Chinook salmon to catch.

      If I want something to eat, I can go to Freddie's to buy a steak. They can’t. In that sense, “sustained yield” becomes a matter of eating or not eating. Again, I don’t disagree with you, but I wonder how far that agreement extends……

      Comment


      • #18
        Cohoangler, the folks of Nulato, Kaltag, and Anvik face allocation issues and social issues with regard to subsistence. But I think they would all agree the Chinook run is sustained - just not in a way that supports their lifestyle the way they want.

        Run abundance is cyclic and constantly fluctuating. The sustained yield principle works to adapt to those patterns and allows us to manage fish accordingly, even in times of decline, even for subsistence. Sustained yield doesn't always mean the same number of salmon can be harvested each season, or that all periods in time are supposed to be like the "the good ol' days." In times of low abundance, sustained yields might mean very little harvest. Or, in following the sustained yield principle's primary objective to conserve, it might mean the stock cannot support any harvest.

        Sustained runs, reductions in allocation, along with conservation efforts recently implemented are pure evidence that we do have a "reasonable handle" on sustainability - otherwise we would not be taking action. More evidence of a "reasonable handle" on sustainability is born out in Alaska's fishery policy regarding OEG's, BEG's, and SEG's - all biological justifications for sustainability - working in most cases. Are our sustainable yield practices perfect? Of course not. But I have yet to see anything better anywhere else in the world.

        Lets be honest. The people of Nulato, Kaltag, and Anvik are not starving, nor will they starve without Chinook. I've been to two of those villages and I can tell you they have amenities, subsidies, opportunities, and special privileges that I don't. They are wonderful people and I don't begrudge that, but they choose their lifestyle, and in fact they can most certainly go to Freddies to buy a steak if they choose. In my experience, they eat and drink more packaged grocery store foods than most folks living in urban areas, and tend to be obese because of it. It is not unusual for them to order pizza, fast food, and specialty items to be shipped in. My only point being that finding alternatives to Chinook is not the end of the world for them, as I get the idea you are trying to portray.

        Comment


        • #19
          No arguments from me. However, at times I get the sense that 'sustained yield' has set up unrealistic expectations, particularly for the folks who rely on those fish stocks for sustenance and economic support. Indeed, the concept of 'sustained yield' implies that yields will be sustained. Perhaps at a level that (pick a user group - commercial, recreational, PU, subsistence, etc) expects to continue into the future.

          We would both agree that this may not be realistic. But the perception remains.

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by Cohoangler View Post
            If I want something to eat, I can go to Freddie's to buy a steak. They can’t. In that sense, “sustained yield” becomes a matter of eating or not eating. Again, I don’t disagree with you, but I wonder how far that agreement extends……
            Not to pick, but they can indeed go to Freddie's if they so desire. In fact, they can buy a ticket out of the bush and find a job and a place to live relatively easily if they cannot sustain a life there - I've heard the cost of living in the bush is outrageous. Or they can get a job on the slope and commute while having their steaks flown in from Freddies. They can even find help in doing this, whether it be through gov't financial or educational assistance or the preferential hire programs that many AK contractors have.

            While I don't pretend to know the reasons for the Yukon declines, I feel that that the priority we put on subsistence harvest is at times a little ridiculous. Yes, it is a matter of culture and tradition for many people - I respect that very much. But it is disingenuous to allow traditional liberal subsistence harvest rights when they are applied with modern means and methods. I can't help but think that unwillingness to ruffle feathers by limiting subsistence harvest has at times led to these problems. While I think it's appropriate that subsistence harvest take priority over commercial or sport so long as it is reasonable, many in the "conservation" crowd are quick to shut down sport/commercial activity while stopping at nothing to keep "traditional" subsistence harvest open.

            Cook Inlet Belugas come to mind. No one's ancestors had cell phones, outboards, or 30-06's. 200 years ago there were less people and they were less effective at harvesting our resources. We have to remember that.

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by Cohoangler View Post
              No arguments from me. However, at times I get the sense that 'sustained yield' has set up unrealistic expectations, particularly for the folks who rely on those fish stocks for sustenance and economic support. Indeed, the concept of 'sustained yield' implies that yields will be sustained. Perhaps at a level that (pick a user group - commercial, recreational, PU, subsistence, etc) expects to continue into the future.

              We would both agree that this may not be realistic. But the perception remains.
              The bottom line is that the sustained yield principle does not require a specific level of yield for the stock. Obviously if it did, we could easily deplete stocks when there are declines.

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by smithtb View Post
                But it is disingenuous to allow traditional liberal subsistence harvest rights when they are applied with modern means and methods. I can't help but think that unwillingness to ruffle feathers by limiting subsistence harvest has at times led to these problems. While I think it's appropriate that subsistence harvest take priority over commercial or sport so long as it is reasonable, many in the "conservation" crowd are quick to shut down sport/commercial activity while stopping at nothing to keep "traditional" subsistence harvest open.

                Cook Inlet Belugas come to mind. No one's ancestors had cell phones, outboards, or 30-06's. 200 years ago there were less people and they were less effective at harvesting our resources. We have to remember that.
                What a ridiculous premise. Yes, technology can certainly lead to more efficient harvest...but, you'd have only subsistence users hobbled with old methods and means while everyone else (yourself included) gets to use the new stuff? Perhaps all setnets should be intertidal only...or use only sail and oars for your skiffs. Non-synthetic gillnet mesh, perhaps? Sheesh.

                These kinds of comments aren't likely to generate much sympathy for your initiative fight.
                "Fishing relaxes me. It's like yoga, except I still get to kill something." --Ron Swanson

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by MRFISH View Post
                  What a ridiculous premise. Yes, technology can certainly lead to more efficient harvest...but, you'd have only subsistence users hobbled with old methods and means while everyone else (yourself included) gets to use the new stuff? Perhaps all setnets should be intertidal only...or use only sail and oars for your skiffs. Non-synthetic gillnet mesh, perhaps? Sheesh.

                  These kinds of comments aren't likely to generate much sympathy for your initiative fight.
                  How ironic considering that the premise of the proposed initiative is that setnets are an "antiquated" method of harvest.

                  I would be a fool not to take all of those restrictions if it meant I could go out fishing any time I darn well pleased and had priority over all other users

                  Quite the contrary Mr. Fish. I believe that with increased participation/efficiency and subsequent harvest comes decreased opportunity. Not suggesting that subsistence user shouldn't be able to use newer/safer/more efficient equipment, only that increased efficiency and participation must be accounted for. It is a concept that the commercial fishery has understood and accepted for many years - quotas, escapement goal management, and limited entry are perfect examples. I feel this concept is not so popular in the subsistence camp and quite frankly a point that the commercial guide/charter industry has missed altogether. JFC I can get actual images of the bottom with a basic Garmin Chartplotter now, and then send all my buddies the GPS coordinates on my smartphone so they can buzz over and mop up too.

                  Lastly, I am sick and tired of people warning me against speaking my mind or the truth just because some rich old Grinch with a team of lawyers has it in for my industry. That's why we have laws, oversight, and a constitution - to prevent this EXACT thing from happening. I'm not looking for sympathy. Any Alaskan with an IQ above room temperature knows that this thing is a bad plan for Alaska and stems from the exact kind of corruption and special interest that the ballot initiative process was intended to combat.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by smithtb View Post
                    How ironic considering that the premise of the proposed initiative is that setnets are an "antiquated" method of harvest.

                    I would be a fool not to take all of those restrictions if it meant I could go out fishing any time I darn well pleased and had priority over all other users

                    Quite the contrary Mr. Fish. I believe that with increased participation/efficiency and subsequent harvest comes decreased opportunity. Not suggesting that subsistence user shouldn't be able to use newer/safer/more efficient equipment, only that increased efficiency and participation must be accounted for. It is a concept that the commercial fishery has understood and accepted for many years - quotas, escapement goal management, and limited entry are perfect examples. I feel this concept is not so popular in the subsistence camp and quite frankly a point that the commercial guide/charter industry has missed altogether. JFC I can get actual images of the bottom with a basic Garmin Chartplotter now, and then send all my buddies the GPS coordinates on my smartphone so they can buzz over and mop up too.

                    Lastly, I am sick and tired of people warning me against speaking my mind or the truth just because some rich old Grinch with a team of lawyers has it in for my industry. That's why we have laws, oversight, and a constitution - to prevent this EXACT thing from happening. I'm not looking for sympathy. Any Alaskan with an IQ above room temperature knows that this thing is a bad plan for Alaska and stems from the exact kind of corruption and special interest that the ballot initiative process was intended to combat.
                    fire and then aim - smithtb -sometimes it is best to keep silent if you do not know the subject well. In fact, your comments border on racism which I know you are not but written words can be read only from the viewer perspective. No body language to help get to the meat of the conversation.

                    The issue is not methods with subsistence. There is a harvest surplus and when that is taken so be it. Whether you do it fast with efficient means or slower is not really the issue. I also do not agree with you in generalizing about a whole user group. I have heard commercial fisherman portrayed as greedy and selfish and all types of general comments - most of which are wrong when applied to a whole user group.

                    Subsistence has a priority for a reason - have you ever walked in a Yukon River village shoes on this issue. Maybe a local visit with Alan Boras will help you put the subsistence issue in perspective. It is not just about food. Also, the people of the State of Alaska voted to support this allocation and priority which is their right with resource use.

                    Just one comment - off the shelf sonar that some use is not what you think it is. Sonar used to find fish is way over-rated for the average off the shelf units that people have. People think they are seeing fish when in fact most of the time they are just seeing false signals or air bubbles or noise. Most people do not have the expert training to adjust the units and the units themselves are not precise. I used scientific quality sonar systems to count juvenile sockeye in lakes and rivers and I can tell you that even with the best equipment one has to be well trained not to get false impressions of what is happening. I love it when drift fisherman tell me the fish are running deep from their sonar unit. They have no idea what they are looking at - salmon, cod, halibut, air bubbles, density layers (especially in UCI), debris, false bottoms, gain set too high or too low, and the list goes on.

                    You can speak your mind - just be precise in what you mean because if one thinks you are being racist or generalize a whole user group falsely you lose the argument whether your point is valid or not. Mr. Fish reacted like I did when I first read you post. Knowing you I knew you are better than your words imply.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Nerka View Post
                      fire and then aim - smithtb -sometimes it is best to keep silent if you do not know the subject well. In fact, your comments border on racism which I know you are not but written words can be read only from the viewer perspective. No body language to help get to the meat of the conversation.

                      The issue is not methods with subsistence. There is a harvest surplus and when that is taken so be it. Whether you do it fast with efficient means or slower is not really the issue. I also do not agree with you in generalizing about a whole user group. I have heard commercial fisherman portrayed as greedy and selfish and all types of general comments - most of which are wrong when applied to a whole user group.

                      Subsistence has a priority for a reason - have you ever walked in a Yukon River village shoes on this issue. Maybe a local visit with Alan Boras will help you put the subsistence issue in perspective. It is not just about food. Also, the people of the State of Alaska voted to support this allocation and priority which is their right with resource use.

                      Just one comment - off the shelf sonar that some use is not what you think it is. Sonar used to find fish is way over-rated for the average off the shelf units that people have. People think they are seeing fish when in fact most of the time they are just seeing false signals or air bubbles or noise. Most people do not have the expert training to adjust the units and the units themselves are not precise. I used scientific quality sonar systems to count juvenile sockeye in lakes and rivers and I can tell you that even with the best equipment one has to be well trained not to get false impressions of what is happening. I love it when drift fisherman tell me the fish are running deep from their sonar unit. They have no idea what they are looking at - salmon, cod, halibut, air bubbles, density layers (especially in UCI), debris, false bottoms, gain set too high or too low, and the list goes on.

                      You can speak your mind - just be precise in what you mean because if one thinks you are being racist or generalize a whole user group falsely you lose the argument whether your point is valid or not. Mr. Fish reacted like I did when I first read you post. Knowing you I knew you are better than your words imply.
                      Thanks Nerka, but remember you were the one who was upset when all users except the educational fishery were closed. I take exception to your considering my post borderline racist. Give me a break - that's not what it's about at all. Let me state it again. Cut and pasted from my previous post:

                      "Yes, it is a matter of culture and tradition for many people - I respect that very much. But it is disingenuous to allow traditional liberal subsistence harvest rights when they are applied with modern means and methods." ... "While I think it's appropriate that subsistence harvest take priority over commercial or sport so long as it is reasonable, many in the "conservation" crowd are quick to shut down sport/commercial activity while stopping at nothing to keep "traditional" subsistence harvest open."

                      Nerka, while I don't consider you or Mr. Fish to be in the extreme "conservation crowd", I think that your jumping at my posts illustrates my point. I respect the culture, knowledge, and heritage of the people who were here before me - for God's sake I try to learn as much from them as I can - but I also respect the premise that our country now abides by that we are all created equal and should all experience equal opportunity. That does not make me racist - anything but.

                      Question - because I admittedly don't know the subject very well - has overharvest (on a local level) been ruled out for all of these systems in the AYK?

                      As for sonar - yes, the off-the-shelf models may not be all that, but a $10K Garmin system with CHIRP or VUE technology (like most commercial and charter operators have on their boats) will undoubtedly increase one's harvest efficiency, just like cell phones and gps...

                      I won't go any further down the rabbit trail on this one - I get it. I think you do too...

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        At this point, an apology would be appropriate. My apologies for bringing those small fishing villages along the Yukon River into the discussion (Nulato, Kaltag, and Anvik) since the issue of 'subsistence' is never far away; and has a habit of diverting an otherwise productive discussion down the wrong (rabbit) trail. That wasn't my intent. I was using them to illustrate a point.

                        But I should know better.....

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Cohoangler View Post
                          At this point, an apology would be appropriate. My apologies for bringing those small fishing villages along the Yukon River into the discussion (Nulato, Kaltag, and Anvik) since the issue of 'subsistence' is never far away; and has a habit of diverting an otherwise productive discussion down the wrong (rabbit) trail. That wasn't my intent. I was using them to illustrate a point.

                          But I should know better.....
                          If there is an apology needed, it should be mine, not yours. I'm the one who diverted the thread. Yes, I don't know the issues all that well. Yes, I would probably feel different if I spent a little more time in those remote villages or if that was my heritage. But yes, the discussion of subsistence rights are VERY relevant to sustainability and fisheries management, and we have to be able to discuss it without getting too emotional. I tried to be respectful in my posts while still speaking my mind. I hope that sentiment made it through.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Nothing deserves an apology. Someone is always going to jump in and cry "racism." And the subsistence issue is a huge part of this allocation mess.

                            The fact is, allowing certain races to have special fishing privileges and preferences that others do not, is racism by it's own making. So lets not act like racism doesn't exist, or that it's taboo to talk about. It's alive and well - always will be. In fact it's not only a big part of our fisheries, but subsistence is a perfect example of racism. Where I live in Alaska white man is excluded from fishing the way the Kenaitzie's are allowed, just because of race. Funny thing is, I grew up with the Kenaitzie's here dating back before Statehood, and most of them knew nothing about fishing or subsistence until my father and I (white man) took them and taught them. Forget the free money, free land, free medical assistance, scholarships, hiring preferences, etc...all based on their race.

                            So smithtb makes a good point. Lets call a spade a spade. This traditional lifestyle that subsistence is supposed to preserve, has transformed into anything but traditional. There is nothing traditional about the new modern day technology and easy access methods. We can't consider subsistence harvests traditional when the means is not traditional. So IMO, within traditional subsistence exists a double-standard; a cake-and-eat-it-too scenario. And really, from the way I read smithtb's post, he just thinks management of the subsistence allocations should reflect that. Nothing to do with racism.

                            Nerka, I must correct your perception of sonar. With a little experience using today's technology, there is no problem identifying fish, bait balls, shrimp balls, structure, thermoclines, etc. The various frequencies and features available are remarkable. It's actually quite easy to decipher bubbles and noise. I bought a very powerful Furuno fishfinder off e-bay with a depth range of 9,000 feet and adjustable frequencies. Next to it I run both a lesser Garmin and a Lowrance. Between the three views and the three different frequencies, about the only thing I can't consistently determine is species. But knowing the habits and locations of fish, I can nail that down too. Sonar has increased my efficiency exponentially. I have no doubt some of those drift fishermen you make fun of know exactly what the salmon are doing, thanks to their sonar.

                            MRFISH, I don't think the initiative to ban set netting needs "sympathy." No reasonable person would condone managing our fisheries and exterminating users via emotion at the ballot box - exactly why doing it is unconstitutional. If fisheries management by public initiative - to exterminate one user for the benefit of another - is the direction we are taking, then I will be the first one putting forth an initiative to ban King fishing on the Kenai River.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by smithtb View Post
                              Not to pick, but they can indeed go to Freddie's if they so desire. In fact, they can buy a ticket out of the bush and find a job and a place to live relatively easily if they cannot sustain a life there - I've heard the cost of living in the bush is outrageous. Or they can get a job on the slope and commute while having their steaks flown in from Freddies. They can even find help in doing this, whether it be through gov't financial or educational assistance or the preferential hire programs that many AK contractors have.
                              .
                              The above is what I was referencing smithtb. Saying they ( whoever they are) can buy a ticket out, find a job, and order food from Freddies is typical comments that demean a people as a group. Saying you respect them in the next paragraph does not absolve you of the above comment. Not sure why you would even write it. People are saying the same thing about commercial eastside set net fisherman - they can get a new job, give up their family history, goes elsewhere, and all the other stuff one says to demean a group. If you cannot see this as a problem so be it. But do not expect people to support your position for commercial fishing in UCI on values that you and others have expressed about families and commercial fishing.

                              Funstatistic, newer sonar has improved but a 10,000 dollar unit is a far cry from a 100,000 dollar scientific sonar system. Just wondering what target strength you use to separate fish from noise and what the signal to noise ratio is on your sounder. Also what is the beam angle? Is it a single beam system, dual beam, split beam, or multibeam. Does it echo count or echo integrate the returning signal in the processor and what criteria does the processor use to separate single targets from multiple targets? Just for the record I published on counting salmon with sonar in UCI at an international conference. Our estimates of what were in the inlet were about half of what was actually there. Detection issues were very serious and noise was a major part of the problem.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Nerka View Post
                                The above is what I was referencing smithtb. Saying they ( whoever they are) can buy a ticket out, find a job, and order food from Freddies is typical comments that demean a people as a group. Saying you respect them in the next paragraph does not absolve you of the above comment. Not sure why you would even write it. People are saying the same thing about commercial eastside set net fisherman - they can get a new job, give up their family history, goes elsewhere, and all the other stuff one says to demean a group. If you cannot see this as a problem so be it. But do not expect people to support your position for commercial fishing in UCI on values that you and others have expressed about families and commercial fishing.

                                Funstatistic, newer sonar has improved but a 10,000 dollar unit is a far cry from a 100,000 dollar scientific sonar system. Just wondering what target strength you use to separate fish from noise and what the signal to noise ratio is on your sounder. Also what is the beam angle? Is it a single beam system, dual beam, split beam, or multibeam. Does it echo count or echo integrate the returning signal in the processor and what criteria does the processor use to separate single targets from multiple targets? Just for the record I published on counting salmon with sonar in UCI at an international conference. Our estimates of what were in the inlet were about half of what was actually there. Detection issues were very serious and noise was a major part of the problem.
                                "They" was a direct reference to the residents of the villages which Coho referenced in his post, which I quoted in mine. Nothing in my post was untrue - the cost of living is high and education and employment opportunities are scarce in these regions, which are highly subsidized by state and local government. I happen to think it is not demeaning but rather empowering to remind someone that if they don't like their situation they can change it. In fact I bet plenty of residents in these communities encourage young people to seek education and employment elsewhere. Big difference between what I said and what others are saying/doing about the ESSN's. I merely stated that they could leave or have access to other opportunities if they wanted to. No one is trying to force them out or suggest they watch what they say or that might happen. I would never dream of it.

                                As for sonar... I use a 1kw Airmar SS175 thru-hull 0 degree mid-range variable frequency 85-135khz (and all points in between) CHIRP transducer and it works like a wet dream. As for my Chartplotter settings, I'll admit I don't know them off the top of my head but it sounds like I need to have you over for a beer to dial it in

                                Comment

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