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  • #31
    You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to Cohoangler again.
    "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 KeenEye MD

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    • #32
      Things that make ya go HMMMMMMMM?

      I wonder if anyone's position changes if we made a few substitutions in this scenario...

      Susitna sockeye becomes Kenai ER kings... another stock of concern.
      Central District drift fleet becomes Kenai River guide fleet.... the primary harvesters of said stock
      Poor producing subsystems becomes Beaver, Slikok, and Soldotna Creeks
      Healthy producing subsystems becomes Funny, Killey, Benjamin
      "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
      sigpic
      The KeenEye MD

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      • #33
        Originally posted by Cohoangler View Post
        As a scientist, I can and do provide scientific information to resolve policy differences. And that scientific information is given deference in scientific discussions. However, if I make statements that touch upon socio-economic issues, my opinions are no more valuable than an opinion from a used car salesman. Or a housewife. Or a college kid. My background as a scientist does not provide me with any more deference in the public policy debate on if, how and when we decide to harvest salmon . You and Nerka have presented one side of the issue. And Bfish and Willfish are presenting the other side. Neither side is wrong. They are just advocating for their policy perspectives on the issues.
        Buuut, not all scientists are so constrained with their arguments as you, and this issue of risk is often used disengenuously to win the socio-economic and allocative public policy debates by "scientists" and others. We all know that a simple sport fish terminal area restriction in one system due to low abundance triggers a call for broader restriction in downstream fisheries, and the arguments are based in "parity", not risk. I understand your points Coho, but believe that the risk factor is sometimes overplayed to win the argument. Many of the Northern District arguments on this forum have been over the need to restrict fisheries to achieve goals, not over systems which are not making goals.

        I am no authority, but I would bet that the systems in the Northern District which are now devoid of fish would be that way regardless of UCI drift harvest. Much like Slikok kings, localized issues are likely the root cause. Further restrictions to downstream fisheries is often a cry for the broadsword when a scalpel is much more practical - fairness aside. At some point, we have to ask ourselves how much we are willing to sacrifice for one small system or another which simply don't produce any longer, or what lengths we are willing to go to to help them. Everyone's answer is different, for many different reasons.

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        • #34
          Susitna Sockeye

          Excellent discussion


          Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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          • #35
            Originally posted by smithtb View Post
            Buuut, not all scientists are so constrained with their arguments as you, and this issue of risk is often used disengenuously to win the socio-economic and allocative public policy debates by "scientists" and others. We all know that a simple sport fish terminal area restriction in one system due to low abundance triggers a call for broader restriction in downstream fisheries, and the arguments are based in "parity", not risk. I understand your points Coho, but believe that the risk factor is sometimes overplayed to win the argument. Many of the Northern District arguments on this forum have been over the need to restrict fisheries to achieve goals, not over systems which are not making goals.

            I am no authority, but I would bet that the systems in the Northern District which are now devoid of fish would be that way regardless of UCI drift harvest. Much like Slikok kings, localized issues are likely the root cause. Further restrictions to downstream fisheries is often a cry for the broadsword when a scalpel is much more practical - fairness aside. At some point, we have to ask ourselves how much we are willing to sacrifice for one small system or another which simply don't produce any longer, or what lengths we are willing to go to to help them. Everyone's answer is different, for many different reasons.
            Alaska constitution says that the fisheries resource is be managed on the principal of sustained yield subject to preferences between beneficial users. Not an exact quote but from memory and probably pretty close. Does that suggest that managing for the greater good at the expense of a species that is not serving the people of Alaska is constitutionally acceptable?

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            • #36
              Originally posted by Bfish View Post
              Hmmm, the problem with this orchard is that populations without a harvestable surplus that are harvested at a significant rate will be functionally extirpated by the fishery where they otherwise might have squeaked by in marginal habitat with lesser harvest.

              Is that a price we are willing to pay? How does that reconcile with a fish come first, conservation priority? Is the economic value of continued access to the more productive sockeye runs (e.g. Kenai and Kasilof) worth the cost of the loss of unique but depleted Susitna populations? How many populations might we be willing to write off before it gets to be an issue?
              But of course your scenario is not the case at all.

              First, we are not losing Susitna sockeye populations.

              Enumerations at the three weir sites on the Yentna (2006 -2014) show Chelatna Lk met goals 7 of the 9 years (78%) and even exceeded them 3 years. Judd Lk (to 2015) met goals 6 of 10 years (60%) and exceeded goals 1 year. Larson Lk met goals 7 of the 9 years (78%), exceeding them 1 year. Prior to these weirs the Yentna sonar had been grossly undercounting (ADFG).

              Yes, some Susitna systems have shown declines and inconsistencies. All are knowingly infested with Pike and other known productivity problems. Because of this, the fluctuation and unpredictability of returns is exacerbated, just like other systems with productivity problems. Thus the wide-range goal. A stock of yield concern is not even close to a loss of the run. It is simply an inability to supply specific yields.

              Perhaps if these systems can not produce enough for current yields, and no recovery for their production problems is in sight, we should lower goals? I see no reason to keep putting water in a bucket with holes.

              "Several factors are likely involved in the decline, one of which has alarmed biologists. Invasive northern pike, which prey on juvenile salmon, have been found in 14 of the drainage's sockeye-producing lakes. Susitna sockeye salmon have not developed defenses to protect themselves from northern pike predation. Also, northern pike most effectively prey on sockeye juveniles in drainages with shallow lake systems, such as the Susitna drainage."
              - ADFG


              Second, there is no evidence supporting your assumption that Susitna sockeye are depleted because of access to the Kenai/Kasilof runs (you are welcome to reference any). Yes, of course the Kenai/Kasilof commercial fisheries harvest some Susitna-bound sockeye. But when you look at the number of sockeye systems in the Susitna, run timing, corridor restrictions, etc., the numbers just don't add up. When the third largest run of sockeye in Cook Inlet can't sustain 5% of the harvest, something more obvious is responsible - productivity.

              "Susitna sockeye salmon represent about 5.2% of the Upper Cook Inlet sockeye harvest, which averages about 2.9 million fish"
              - ADFG


              Finally, there can always be a balance between harvest and conservation: a "fish first conservation priority". That is exactly what our Management Plans set out to do. Where the Susitna sockeye runs are concerned, a mountain of heavy restrictions on the century-old limited commercial fisheries have already been instituted, along with a host of other efforts like a Sustainable Salmon Fisheries Policy (SSFP), Sockeye Salmon Research and Recovery Plan (SSRRP), and so on.

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              • #37
                Originally posted by Funstastic View Post
                When the third largest run of sockeye in Cook Inlet can't sustain 5% of the harvest, something more obvious is responsible - productivity.

                "Susitna sockeye salmon represent about 5.2% of the Upper Cook Inlet sockeye harvest, which averages about 2.9 million fish"
                - ADFG
                Percentage of total UCI harvest isn't the whole story. The more significant number to focus on is the actual exploitation rate on Susitna stocks. The 5% number is much less relevant.

                Think about the pollock draggers.... relatively speaking, kings make up a tiny percentage of that harvest, less than 1%. They still take a $h!t-pile of kings.

                Anybody have a best estimate of exploitation rate for Susitna sox?
                "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 KeenEye MD

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by Cohoangler View Post
                  If this were true, and consistently true, your argument would be spot-on. But this rarely happens. Fish are not harvested in proportion to their abundance. They travel in schools, and sometimes those schools represent a very large proportion of a small/weak stock of fish. So with one scoop of a net, they're all harvested. That risk increases with increasing harvest.
                  Oops. I did not expect my use of "proportionate" to be taken so literally. My bad. Perhaps I should've said a proportionate opportunity to harvest. My point was that the harvestable return is made up from a conglomeration of UCI systems, totaling a whopping 6.3 million sockeye (2015). The Susitna's Chelatna, Judd, and Larson stocks make up a very small portion of that return, and thus make up a very small portion of what's available to harvest. In a 6.1 million return, those Susitna systems combined need only 60,000 sockeye to meet goals (sometimes missing goals by just a couple thousand).

                  I realize you're from Vancouver and perhaps not familiar with the details of how it works up here. But given the Management Plans, run timing, corridor restrictions, and so on, the idea that Susitna sockeye can all be harvested in one scoop of the net is, well...Vancouver-ish. Our policies make sure that doesn't happen.


                  Originally posted by Cohoangler View Post
                  But you're also touching upon a very important socio-economic argument. That is, should we continue to harvest on strong stocks (for socio-economic reasons) while increasing the risk to weak stocks? Or should we lay off the weak stocks (for conservation reasons) and in doing so, we forgo substantial harvest opportunities, at great socio-economic cost? It's a legitimate question, but it is NOT a scientific question. It's a policy/social/economic question.

                  As a scientist, I can and do provide scientific information to resolve policy differences. And that scientific information is given deference in scientific discussions. However, if I make statements that touch upon socio-economic issues, my opinions are no more valuable than an opinion from a used car salesman. Or a housewife. Or a college kid. My background as a scientist does not provide me with any more deference in the public policy debate on if, how and when we decide to harvest salmon . You and Nerka have presented one side of the issue. And Bfish and Willfish are presenting the other side. Neither side is wrong. They are just advocating for their policy perspectives on the issues.
                  I have to disagree with you. This is certainly a biological and scientific issue. The problem has not been identified as socio-economic or commercial fishing, any more than the solution has been identified as that. The problem is in-river productivity, and there lies the solution. Again, you can not continue to fill a bucket with holes, or pound a square peg in a round hole.

                  "...unless the impacts from Pike predation, disease and beaver dams can be significantly reduced, the total sockeye salmon production in the Susitna River drainage will continue to suffer, regardless of the amount of restrictions placed on commercial fisheries"
                  - ADF&G Upper Cook Inlet Management Report 2012.

                  "The cause of declining salmon numbers in the Mat-Su Basin is linked to the decreasing ability of the salmon to successfully reproduce in its freshwater systems. It doesn't matter how many fish return to the Mat-Su rivers if they can't spawn or the young salmon can't survive there long enough to migrate out to sea. Invasive Northern Pike, beaver dams, rising water temperatures, over-escapement, parasites, pollution, improperly constructed culverts and other unmitigated effects of urbanization are slowly but surely chipping away at the future of salmon in the valley. Harvestable surpluses of sockeye, king, and coho salmon in the Mat-Su Basin cannon be sustained without addressing the serious problems within the river systems." - A Watershed Perspective of Salmon Production in the Mat-Su Basin.

                  I am not willing to forego huge, strong and healthy runs of sockeye throughout UCI for the sake of a handful of production-plagued, pike infested systems in the Susitna - some lacking only a couple thousand sockeye to meet goals. I am willing to address their production problems individually, as the sub-systems they are, realizing that perhaps if their in-river issues can't be tackled then those systems will never again be big producers with high goals. Perhaps the cost of a sport fisherman introducing Pike to the Susitna.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by fishNphysician View Post
                    Anybody have a best estimate of exploitation rate for Susitna sox?
                    ADFG generally estimates 30-50% since the late 90s. Rates were 50-70% prior to that.

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Originally posted by fishNphysician View Post
                      Things that make ya go HMMMMMMMM?

                      I wonder if anyone's position changes if we made a few substitutions in this scenario...

                      Susitna sockeye becomes Kenai ER kings... another stock of concern.
                      Central District drift fleet becomes Kenai River guide fleet.... the primary harvesters of said stock
                      Poor producing subsystems becomes Beaver, Slikok, and Soldotna Creeks
                      Healthy producing subsystems becomes Funny, Killey, Benjamin
                      Not even close. Beaver, Slikok, and Soldotna Creeks are not poor producing systems. Unlike the Susitna, those systems would thrive, if allowed the chance. There runs have been decimated by in-river sport fishing, primarily at their staging areas - exactly why sanctuary areas were established, albeit poor ones too little too late. Also, the Funny, Killey, and Benjamin are not always the holy grail of productivity you might think- they have some production problems of their own (usually water conditions) which are evidenced in their inconsistencies and inabilities to sustain yields.

                      I think your analogy is poor. The handful of Susitna systems in trouble need to be evaluated individually, for their own unique problems, as the individual sub-systems they are.

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Bfish View Post
                        Originally posted by fishNphysician
                        Anybody have a best estimate of exploitation rate for Susitna sox?
                        ADFG generally estimates 30-50% since the late 90s. Rates were 50-70% prior to that.
                        Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe those exploitation rates are for the entire Susitna run, not those systems with problems. Also I believe the Yentna sonar was grossly undercounting escapements until 2006, which would show a higher exploitation rate.

                        Regardless, exploitation rates don't necessarily determine if goals are met. A run could have high exploitation and still meet goals, and likewise have low exploitation and not meet goals.

                        As I posted above, the Susitna's enumerations at Chelatna, Judd, and Larson show goals are met more times than not (60-78% of time), sometimes even exceeding those goals. I believe occasional inconsistencies and underescapements can be expected in systems with several known productivity problems.

                        Looking at commercial fishing exploitation rates doesn't make much sense to me, unless the objective is to condone poor production and feed Pike. In trying to fill a bucket with holes, the amount of water becomes moot. You gotta plug the holes.

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by Funstastic View Post
                          I am not willing to forego huge, strong and healthy runs of sockeye throughout UCI for the sake of a handful of production-plagued, pike infested systems in the Susitna - some lacking only a couple thousand sockeye to meet goals. I am willing to address their production problems individually, as the sub-systems they are, realizing that perhaps if their in-river issues can't be tackled then those systems will never again be big producers with high goals. Perhaps the cost of a sport fisherman introducing Pike to the Susitna.
                          That's your very direct answer to the public policy question. Nothing wrong with that. Go for it.

                          But it is not a scientific question, so it's not a scientific answer. Science does not care which societal priorities are most important. Science does not care if pike or sockeye inhabit those lakes. People care. People make those decisions. Everybody can provide their view points on a "level playing field". As a scientist, my views are no more important than anyone else, since the debate is about public policy, not science.

                          My overall point is that, on issues related to public policy, the opinions of the folks on this BB who do not have a science background are equally as important as those of us who do. Some of us can contribute to the scientific debate with some authority (some more than others), but when the conversation switches to the public policy questions, those of us with a science background ought to respond with a measure of humility since our views are no more important than a used car salesman (to repeat my earlier example).

                          I also agree with TB's comments that the "risk factor" is often used by scientists as a means to assert their moral superiority in public policy debates. That is, they (we) pretend to better understand the scientific risks, therefore we are in a better position to make public policy decisions. On that score, TB is exactly correct. I see that alot. And I call "BS" whenever I do.....

                          Thanks to all for a very productive discussion!

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                          • #43
                            I'm going to have to disagree, at least in the context of this discussion. Our Constitution sets out to manage our fisheries using the best scientific and biological information available. It is tasked with prioritizing science and biology over societal whims, in order to sustain and conserve runs. I think if you want to digress down the rabbit trail of non-scientific and societal management, we should start a new thread. It can be all about shutting down the commercial fishery based on non-scientific reasons.

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                            • #44
                              I agree that all fisheries should be managed on a solid scientific basis. The Alaska Constitution spells that out nicely. But it does not tell Alaska residents what their policy preferences should be. I see the mandate in the Alaska Constitution as direction to the decision-makers, including BoF and ADF&G. It does not state what the societal end points should be. Alaska residents can decide what the policy priorities should be (non-scientific answer), and then it's up to the scientists to decide how to get there.

                              Let's use an absurd example. Let's say that Alaska residents decided, collectively and individually, that northern pike were more important than sockeye salmon for the rivers and lakes in the Mat-Su valley. It would be the task of BoF and ADF&G to make that happen. It would NOT be the task of BoF and ADF&G to tell the Alaskan people they're wrong. BoF/ADF&G can identify the long- and short-term risks. They can tell them that stocking pike may result significant local and regional socio-economic changes. They can tell them that relying on an invasive species is not likely to result in long-term benefits. And they might even try to convince the public to do something differently (thru the politicians). But they can't unilaterally decide to do something else because they, presumably, know better.

                              Policy preferences belong to the public. The means to achieve those ends is the task of the scientist/biologist. That's why I believe the opinions of the non-scientists amongst us are just as important as mine and yours (in the public policy arena).

                              Enjoy the weekend!

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by Bfish View Post
                                ADFG generally estimates 30-50% since the late 90s. Rates were 50-70% prior to that.
                                Please provide a reference for the 50-70% on Susitna Sockeye and what that included - all users, just commercial .....? Also did this estimate use adjusted escapement estimates because of Bendix undercounting?

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