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Some questions and Ideas

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  • Some questions and Ideas

    1. Should Emotion have any influence on how Commercial fishing is managed?
    2. Because Grandpa did it this way, should that method continue to be used when better methods have been invented?
    3. If Commercial fishing is only a few generations old, should it be considered a heritage?

    I say no to #1
    No to #2
    No to #3
    what do you think?

    If Max had the power to pull it off, this is how I would change the commercial fishing in the State of Alaska, and the fish that are from Alaska waters.

    First I would take an accounting of a 10 year average of every permit holder in the state. Then I would give each permit holder a number of shares in the amount to reflect the average of their permit catch.
    this would be just like a stock market Share and would and could be bought and sold.
    Then I would pull every permit and outlaw any drift, or set nets in the waters of Alaska.
    I would outlaw the commercial sale of any Salmon caught in a Net in the United states.
    I would then invest in removable weirs for every substantial river system in Alaska. I mean ( every river with any apprecciable runs ).
    Those that want to continue to work in the commercial harvest would then be hired on a hourly basis to operate the weirs.
    Those that want to still drive their boats would now become tenders and be positioned as needed at the weirs that are active with fish.
    Each weir would be operated in this manner.
    Each river would be given a number of desired escapement by the ADF&G and at least one third party company that would also employ fishery scientists to evaluate what would provide a sustained annual harvest.
    In this way every river would have the opportunity to have a run, unhampered by drift fleet or set nets wipping out an entire run of say a small stream like Bishop creek or anyother of the thousands of small streams that get hit by the openers now.
    Those hired to work at the weirs would count escapement and manage the weir, and help in the vacum process of putting fish on the tenders.
    The Fish would be pulled from the weir never using nets so that there would be no damage to the fish in anyway.
    Fish would only be tendered as the processor was able to process them with no more than a few hours between taken from the weir until fish were on the floor of the processor.
    This would mean that at times fish would have to what for a time at the weir before the call would be made that the processor could actually take them.
    The operators of the tenders would then be able to work under contract in the co-op and be paid to tend.
    What would this do to the Commercial fishing industry of Alaska?
    Change it for the better, because it would use common sense rather than the emotions that dictate its operation now.
    The nice thing about the stock holdings would be that a family that wanted to continue to work in the commercial fishing industry could make even more money than ever before, and those that don't want to work in the industry anylonger would still recieve an annual dividend based on the profits of the Co-op.
    this is my take.
    No more fish sitting for hours and sometimes days dead before processed.
    More control of costs.
    Oh yeah,, everybody loves those net marks on fish in the fish case.
    and yes those of you that have worked in the process business know how poor the quality of fish really is due to the time consuming methods now used and the over handling of fish..
    Just walk into any of the processors and take a look at the lack of quality instead of what it could be if it were done in a more efficient manner..
    Why not do it More effiecient than having thousands of people spreading out over beaches and in drift boats using up expensive and polluting boats bobbing around in rough seas trying to fish the line.... taking many hours to fill the boat then the boat ride to the proccessor and the hours to unload etc.....
    To me, the commercial fishing methods here in Alaska would be considered a joke by anyone that would propose a viable business plan for this industry.
    So.. please poke as many holes as you can in these ideas, because from many may come some good ideas rather than the business as usual..
    Aren't you embarrassed that Farmed fish would even have a little of the market share, when wild Pacific Salmon is such a far superior fish?
    The question is then, " Who's fault is it that Atlantic Farmed Salmon have such a huge part of the share?"Its the prehistoric mentality of the emotional folks in the industry. You could easily wipe out the farmed fish industry if you would all really come together and do it right,,, think about it.. My grandpa used to farm with horses, but one day a tractor showed up and kicked his butt. You guys are still trying to farm with horses, because why?
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years.

  • #2

    Why the tenders? On the major rivers like the Kenai and Kasilof just put the weir right at the cannery and funnel them babies right up on the cleaning table.


    • #3
      A lot of nerve


      You have a lot of nerve!

      Lot at all the nasty personal attacks that I have received on this forum for even hinting at changing the "noble" business of commercial fishing to allow for significant fish up the Kenai for the tens thousands of weekend sport fishermen.

      Indeed there are a "million fish in the river" - not just scraps - giving all of use weekend fishermen "ample opportunities" to fill our freezers with the fish that escaped the nets.

      Indeed an "extra 100,000 fish in the river this year would have lead to a massive "over escapement" , "loss of resources" and the complete collapse of the entire sockeye run in the Kenai.

      According to the supporters of commercial fishing you are "lazy", a "whinner", "make "poor life choices", and don't even know how to catch fish.

      Shame on you for even suggesting any change at all!
      Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
      ".. ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" JFK


      • #4
        Hey Max

        Hi Max,

        Inre #1, don't think emotion should play a role in ANY mgmt, whether it is commercial, sport, or PU.

        Inre #2, ways of the past aren't necessarily what we want to do now (like fishtraps), but doesn't mean all ways of the past are bad.

        Inre #3, I'd say that commercial fishing in general is a "tradition" that has fed much of the world; often stocks were over-exploited however, and we've learned from that. As far as a "heritage," and being passed down from generation to generation, that sometimes happens and I see no problem with that happening.

        Many have asked that fishtraps be made legal again to do what you are basically saying with weirs. There are several problems with your idea though when we are talking about five different stocks of salmon, some of which enter the rivers at the same time, in the many thousands. Some commercial fisheries utilize gill nets inriver in the interior (when runs allow), and weirs would not be possible. I don't know why you'd want to outlaw that practice really. Weirs are very costly and also would not be practical in all areas.

        Overall, I think our fisheries mgmt plans use good science (what you may refer to as "common sense") over emotion. They aren't perfect, but it's a very complex thing trying to manage mixed-stock fisheries for maximum sustained yield (according to our laws), along with attempting to allocate stocks to differing user groups.

        As far as being embarrassed about farmed fish having a market share, that is really stretching things Max; why would anyone be embarrassed? People like to eat fish; they tend to want to pay lower is what it is. Farmed fish market is not going to go away no matter what anyone does imo. Certainly the "quality" of our wild fish could be better in many cases and we have some problems with getting fish to the processors quickly and all that. I think many are starting to realize now how to improve quality and market a higher quality wild salmon.

        As to your last about grandpa farming with horses and the analogy of that to current commercial fishing using nets, that doesn't wash in my mind. The vast improvements made to boats, motors, gear etc have really changed how fishing is done, so the fleet in general has already gone to "tractors" as it were. We've fished with gill nets out here inriver on a Yukon tributary for over a quarter would you have us change how we do it?

        I respect your points and all, but the irony here for me is that I think much of your post is (subconciously) based on emotion. Not sure if you see that or not. When you talk about "marks" on fish from nets, and outlawing all commercial sale of any salmon caught in a net anywhere in the U.S., those are wholly emotional opinions imo.

        Anyway, just my opinion. We have some problems for I said our mgmt isn't perfect. We can work to solve those problems I think without trying to eliminate commercial fishing with nets.
        Best, (ps, tvf, you posted while I was writing; that kind of response is unwarranted and doesn't serve any good purpose here.)
        Mark Richards


        • #5

          I was talking about commercial fishing as a business unit.
          Making Commercial fishing of Alaska Fish better.
          All of these thoughts came years ago when I worked in Kenai 20 years ago and witnessed how horrible the fishing systems really worked.
          Here is the emotion.
          If you personally caught salmon and then left it in a tote for over 24 hrs. uncleaned and un bled. would you serve it to your family?
          ( If so, don't get your feelings hurt If I decline your offer to come over to your house for a fish dinner)
          Why would you think that it is fine to sell such a fish to someone else?
          If you think this is an isolated incident, then you have not been around the proccessors.... Just go down to a proccessor now and ask any young lad working there if he takes fish home for dinner?... He will tell you no way.
          In Dillingham this year, the processors limited 2,000 lbs of fish per fishing permit once every 24 hrs. This was due to the inability of the proccessor to handle the amounts of fish that were waiting to be processed.
          How many fish went to waste that were caught in the nets and then thrown away because they had more than the 2,000 lb limit?
          I was in Dillingham on July 4th and talked to commercial fishermen that were dragging up because it just was not worth it, and if they continued to fish.. were forced into wanton waste of commercially caught Salmon. No where to peddle your over catch of fish,, so toss the dead fish back into the river.....
          Pretty poor business in my opinion and wasting the resource.
          Years ago I used to fly in a plane over to the west side of cook inlet and also on Kalgin Island. these were beach landings and had to be done when the tides allowed. We picked up totes of fish and flew them back to Kenai to be processed,, the stink in the plane was overwhelming and yet the fish were past on to be proccessed and checks were cut to those folks that sent over the fish...
          those fish that were in the totes, were many many many hours over due to be processed properly,, and of course,, no ice etc.
          Waste, and also quality gone... and yet the proccessors packaged and sent them out to unsuspecting folks throughout the world to eat....
          They sent out fish that you and I would not eat unless starvation was the only other option.. and yet,,, it goes on today, like yesterday.. all driven by personel greed, and the inability to change to a system that would actually work to send out fish that are indeed processed in a decent manner. Now,, if you go to the fish counter in New York City and buy a sockeye Salmon, you are taking the chance that it was one of those many fish that sat in the sun and or in a tote or the hold of a boat longer than what would be resonable.
          So yes,, we should be embarrassed... that kind of business dealings is prehistoric, and needless..
          You say that the weirs are expensive?
          Not compared to the amounts of waste in fuel and current infrastructure of the burdensome system we are now using. Think of all the waste in Fuel, over labor and even enforcement... ,,Not even a contest...
          Put a grade A specimen of a Sockeye or King, or Silver in a display case next to a Atlantic Farm raised Salmon and let a knowlegable fish salesman help you pick a fish for your hungry family.... With out the added Red food color enhancements to the Atlantic Salmon, it would seldom be purchased.
          So.. some would say.. " but I want to catch my subsistance fish in a net".
          Knock yourself out,, but don't try and peddle your Net marked up fish commercially..
          When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

          Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years.


          • #6
            I don't think what you describe really happens still today, Max. Yes, I am aware of the situation this year in Bristol Bay. That was due to poor decisions made on whether to allow additional offshore processing vessels to come into the Bay. The land-based processors assured the state that they had the capacity to handle the catch. They were wrong, and blatantly so. If we increase processing capacity out there, large catches become a non-issue.

            As for the rest of the state, much has changed in the past 20 years. Many areas have formed their own marketing organizations and as a part of that have dramatically improved fish handling standards. Salmon in many fisheries are now bled immediately and iced, processed, and preserved in a far shorter time than in the past. Gone are the days of fish sitting uniced and unbled in totes for many long hours. Farmed salmon will always have a niche, as they are inexpensive and thus within the financial reach of some consumers, but it is that very price difference that shows what a difference there currently is between a wild product and farmed salmon. Banning nets is not necessary (nor is it feasible in some river systems), but instead we need to do an even better job of educatint the public on the health, ecological, and culinary superiority of wild fish that are well taken care of (as they indeed are).


            • #7
              Cheap Salmon

              Why does a Wild Salmon cost more than a farm raised Salmon.?
              Seems to me that Wild Salmon should be cheaper at the store.
              No one had to pay for that feed, and the cages that they were raised in.
              All you gotta do, is wait for them to come back and make sure enough make it up the river they came from so you can get a harvest later.
              So tell me why are they more expensive?
              And why do they need to be?
              Well, I can answer the why do they need to be part,,,
              because the cost of catching them and proccessing them is more, and they are better table fare.
              Now... here is the reason I would commission the coast guard to sink every vessel that got caught with a commercial fishing net, and have the Army drive over every set net site with a tank....
              Because you cannot be for sure where the fish are headed, and Fish run in schools, and because Salmon not only return to their birth stream, they go and lay eggs within feet of where they were born....
              and yet,, you just wiped out Bishop Creeks entire run and did not know it, other than you said to your self as you picked your net,," Hey this bunch of fish look a lot smaller than the ones on the last tide"....
              Congratulations mr Commercial fisherman.. now a 100 fish made it up the little stream rather than the 2,500 that were needed to fulfill proper escapement for Bishop Creek, Silver Creek, and the hundreds and thousands of little streams that could produce enough fish to actually become good enough producers to annually stage a weir and be tended a few times...
              So,, that is why your Set nets and Drift boats need to go..
              it was only a few years ago that claims were made the almost the entire run of Salmon for a certain river were caught near Kodiak Island by commercial boats.....
              Canada claims that many of its rivers fish are also caught in the open sea and River runs ruined in the same way.... Law suits etc... All because you really don't know where the fish you are harvesting are trying to get to.. It may be a big old river like the Nushagak, or the Kenai , or it may be the entire run for No name river,, that can now be officially called No Fish river.
              So we just need to get you and your nets out of the Salt water, and concentrate on each river systems run and then harvest the overages..
              When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

              Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years.


              • #8
                Max- I think I understand where you are coming from. Among other things, you're proposing a better way to process commercially caught salmon because you have seen poor handling of these beautiful fish. As familiar as you are with Cook Inlet, you've probably heard of the Kenai Wild brand. Here is their website . The sole processor of the Kenai Wild brand is Kenai River Seafoods . Dan Thompson is the president of Kenai River seafoods. He is extremely serious about raising the quality of Cook Inlet salmon delivered to customers. I've talked with him many times about what they are doing and he seems passionate about it. They have a prescribed method of handling fish. No dropping, instant bleeding, icing, use of brailer bags, limiting weight per brailer, quick delivery. It's definitely not how things were done even 5 years ago, let alone 20 years ago. You said "Commercial fishing is only a few generations old"; it's older than that, but even if it were only 2 generations, it becomes a part of a family's way of life. I hear what you are suggesting, but I'm for alternative measures (like the Kenai Wild brand and others) that retain the ability for fisherman to get in their boats and catch fish. It seems to me that management does a good job juggling all the different runs, rivers, and users (you probably disagree).
                Last edited by Powderpro; 08-09-2008, 19:37. Reason: additions


                • #9
                  I don't disagree

                  Kenai Wild is what we are talking about.. Great stuff...
                  I may have met or seen many of you at last years fish symposium held in Soldotna.
                  My grind is that anyone that harvests a fish has a responsibility to that fish to do everything in their power to make it the finest table fare in the world, and to make sure that beautiful strain of fish continues to sustain.
                  Those that fish off shore or on shore are not positive that the fish they catch that day did not wipe out a run destined for a certain little stream.
                  Its not rocket science, nor does it need to be.
                  In 1976 I was excited to see and hear about the advances in heart transplants for humans.
                  Many machines were created and all of them failed.
                  These heart machines were engineered and designed by the best scientists in the world, and yet, they did not work. Not even long enough to keep a human alive for a few hours while the attempt at tranplanting a donated heart.
                  Then came along a young man named Jarvik. He was working @ Utah University and was very interested in the mechanical heart research, because his own father was in need of a transplant.
                  He looked at all of the designs, all the moving parts, all the scientists and engineered designs,,, and then realized that they were all over engineered.
                  He came up with a very simple design with very few moving parts.
                  It was very simple and was put down by the medical science community until it was tested on a cow that survived for a record number of hours. Many many more hours than any of the massive and engineered machines could deliver.
                  The Jarvik 7 was born and used.
                  Dr. Jarvik has stated many times that over complication is what kills most projects.
                  It seems amazing that Dr. Jarvik was not accepted into medical school and had to do the end around in order to finally get where he wanted to do.
                  Turned Down by Medical Schools
                  But, in the meantime, Jarvik was having some trouble realizing his immediate dreams. After he graduated in 1968 with a bachelor's degree in zoology, his medical plans were thwarted by his grades, which were inadequate for acceptance in an American medical school. By Jarvik's own admission, he was rejected by about 25 different medical schools in the United States.
                  I see a similar situation with one of our States greatest resources.
                  People that think dealing with Alaskas fish has to be complicated,, are like the losers in the heart machine race. They think that science gives them a bigger voice, but really that is what convolutes it all..
                  Keep it Simple Stupid .. was the driving force in the advancement of Dr. Jarviks inventions.
                  Maybe we should not be so intimidated by the science.
                  It has its place, but it is not always the correct answer to the problem.

                  Last edited by Alaskacanoe; 08-09-2008, 20:31.
                  When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

                  Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years.


                  • #10
                    not quite...

                    Originally posted by Brian M View Post
                    Yes, I am aware of the situation this year in Bristol Bay. That was due to poor decisions made on whether to allow additional offshore processing vessels to come into the Bay. The land-based processors assured the state that they had the capacity to handle the catch. They were wrong, and blatantly so. If we increase processing capacity out there, large catches become a non-issue.
                    Brian, nothing is stopping any domestic processor (onshore or offshore) from entering the Bristol Bay fishery...and nothing ever has. Under the M-S Act, the Governor has the authority to allow foreign processors in...but the Russian-owned floater that was interested a few years ago didn't even apply for entry this year.

                    ADFG did a preseason survey of the BB processing capacity and came up with 1.7 million fish/day as the max capacity...but the July 2 catch was 2.5 million fish! And that followed a few days of well over a million fish/day harvest. I can certainly understand the fishermen's frustration with the idle time...but even if you look at the total escapements, there weren't a whole lot of fish that went "unharvested" (above escapement goals).

                    Yes, more processing capacity in the Bay would be a good thing for years like this. But overall, the Bay had a great year. Perhaps it could have been a little better...but no processor was denied entry.

                    BTW Brian, nice avatar, congrats.
                    "Fishing relaxes me. It's like yoga, except I still get to kill something." --Ron Swanson


                    • #11
                      Thanks for the clarification, MRFISH. I was under the impression that the Russian processors applied again this year, but I guess I was mistaken. One has to wonder if they didn't apply because they were summarily rejected previously, but that's a moot point now.

                      Thanks for the note on the avatar. Having a little one is nothing but a blessing thus far!


                      • #12
                        Why are we discussing this as reasonable

                        The proposal is not reasonable for a variety of reasons and I therefore questions why one would even discuss it. Here are a few areas -

                        It would pay someone not to work - hardly the American way.

                        It would make the State the harvester of the fish and distributing money - this is more in line with a Russia or socialist country than America.

                        Fish quality would not improve - fish quality at sea is much better than in rivers. The volume of fish entering the Kenai or Kasilof would not be able to be handled by the processors.

                        Cost of weirs would not be efficient - the mixed stock and mixed species nature of the UCI fishery is more efficient that a weir based harvest method.

                        Farmed fish were cheaper because of government funding helping keep production up but in truth Alaska wild salmon are cheaper when that helping hand goes away - which is happening in a number of countries.

                        What are we fixing? The system is not broken - it is a great management system and this proposal has many more flaws than listed above.

                        I do not think we should waste anymore time on it.


                        • #13
                          Governments roll

                          The only Government contribution would be in the form of helping determine the escapement of individual rivers.
                          everything else would be free enterprise and loosen the bonds of Government controls.
                          The Co-op would be similar to Farming Co-ops in the lower 48 where Farmers come together.
                          just trying to get some new and old thoughts
                          When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

                          Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years.


                          • #14

                            I hope you didn't take my comments the wrong way. I agree with you on the waste and quality stuff 100%. Where we can do better with those issues we should strive to do so. I think in future with the genetics studies the Dept is doing now (I'm taking samples here) that we will get a much better handle on things too in terms of determining where salmon caught in the open ocean and mainstems are from, and how to better control any overfishing (inriver and ocean) to ensure stocks make it where they need to go in sufficient numbers.
                            Mark Richards


                            • #15
                              genetic studies

                              I have talked with a few biologists lately and more than one has mentioned we need genetic studies on more than what is being done now, on salmon. Funding is the key!!! Up here in the valley, I am bugging the upper cook inlet task force members to throw more funds at that. Interception and in river totals ( intertwined) might be more spelled out and not so much as a guessing game as it is now. So much finger pointing and fighting over allocation gets old quick and I have been involved for only three years.
                              I made it a point this summer by inviting a couple of politicians to go dipnetting with me and once they were in my boat, I had a captive audience!!! You guys should do the same.
                              If a dipnetter dips a fish and there is no one around to see/hear it, Did he really dip? ALASKADIPNETTING.NET


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