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Dismal outlook for Yukon river kings...

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  • Dismal outlook for Yukon river kings...

    This past summer I was hoping that many fisherman would be able to get out & do a Yukon king commercial harvest but that wasn't allowed in Y2, Y1 got an opening but not Y2...not many Yukon kings are making it to the upper reaches of the Yukon...many factors, many questions, only limited answers, & tough closures are certain...

    The summer coming up looks even bleaker, still...

  • #2
    Another example of "the best fisheries management in the world?"

    Comment


    • #3
      This one is easy; guides, pike, and beaver. No brainer.

      Comment


      • #4
        net mesh impacts?

        Saw in the newspaper that the lone fish buyer (processor) Virgil Umpenhouser in the Yukon area is claiming that the mesh size on the commercial nets is having an impact on the overall (length) size of king salmon making it upstream past the nets. Seems as if the runts or smaller kings are better able to slip past the nets to make it upstream to spawn so after years of this process the bigger fish and older age class kings are less plentiful than they were previously.
        Seems like Virgil has pretty strong feelings about this theory. I have heard him speak of it several times while he served on the Board of Fisheries. Wonder if the similar types of net mesh would impact other fisheries around the state in the same manner?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by willphish4food
          Another example of "the best fisheries management in the world?"
          If you're going to criticize Alaska fishery managers, you ought to at least try to understand how the Yukon fishery is managed. That fishery is managed under different terms, conditions, and agencies than other Alaskan fisheries, primarily because it involves another country. Alaska managers do not have total control of managing the Yukon fishery.

          Regardless, if you feel Alaska's fisheries are not the best managed in the world, then I would ask you to name where they are better. I realize that will be tough to do because of the extreme mixed-stock, mixed-user group issues unique to Alaska, but you said it, not me. As a sportfisherman who's fished most areas of Alaska, including the Yukon, along with areas around the world, I have not found a more abundent and opportunistic place to fish. Again, if you know of one, please let us know.


          Originally posted by yukon
          This one is easy; guides, pike, and beaver. No brainer.
          I have taken this as yet more sarcasm directed against commercial fishing by a sport fishing guide. If I am wrong I appologize and instead consider the comment misinformed.

          The subsistence fisheries on the Yukon harvest 2 to 1 over the commercial fisheries. Commercial takes over the last few years have been largely restricted, and the lowest in history. Many of the communities on the Yukon rely on commercial fishing as much as they do subsistence. If you study the pollock trawl fishery research with an open mind, you will see that their bycatch of Yukon Chinook does not explain the Yukon's depleted runs, as reiterated by scientists. And in fact scientists and managers do not know what is effecting those runs, or at least making them so unpredictable and volatile. Just as many fingers point to changing ocean conditions and the Chinook's available nutrients. The reduction in size that Yukon residents are noticing could be a result of mesh size, run timing, or simply not as many 7-8 year old fish returning. Again, we need funding to study this more so we can manage on something other than public speculation and assumption (yukon, willphish4food). I would like to see the industries and businesses that profit from fish in this state fund those studies directly, including folks like yukon and willphish4food.

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          • #6
            Right on Grampy!

            You hit the proverbial nail on the head...one thing, I see is that Pink, Chum, & Silver numbers are more abundant than chinkook numbers, & yet pike & beaver aren't picky when it comes to fish...Humans on the other hand, are pickey, & I see far more Kings in smoke houses than I do chums...& you don't see a large chum commercial catch either, as the prices aren't worth the pursuit...

            Likewise if it were bycatch, climate change, etc. don't you think that, Pinks, chums & silvers would be impacted as well as chinooks?

            But I ain't going to be the one to say restrcit the subsistence harvest, as the protest would howl up & down the Yukon far worse than closing a commercial harvest, as many people NEED Kings for future consumption, but this is a catch 22 as if you close the subsistence down, then you don't get the food that you need for the winter but it would save the rest for future growth, should humans be the sole factor of the decline & if not, then it's totally in vain...

            Comment


            • #7
              FYI here's one market for those commercially caught kings.

              http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/dail...river-sal.html


              Anybody gonna feel sorry for 'em?
              "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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              • #8
                Originally posted by Grampyfishes View Post
                And in fact scientists and managers do not know what is effecting those runs, or at least making them so unpredictable and volatile. Just as many fingers point to changing ocean conditions and the Chinook's available nutrients. The reduction in size that Yukon residents are noticing could be a result of mesh size, run timing, or simply not as many 7-8 year old fish returning. Again, we need funding to study this more so we can manage on something other than public speculation and assumption (yukon, willphish4food). I would like to see the industries and businesses that profit from fish in this state fund those studies directly,
                There's an interesting theory here:

                http://www.latimes.com/news/nationwo...164,full.story

                Watch the embedded movie therein for an eye-opening documentary!
                "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

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by willphish4food View Post
                  Another example of "the best fisheries management in the world?"
                  I think most people missed what you were driving at, but apparently you blame chinook bycatch in the Bering Sea pollock fishery for low chinook runs to the Yukon. I wonder what the western Alaska CDQ groups would rather have: large Bering Sea pollock harvests or a large chinook run in the Yukon? Those groups are made up of western Alaska residents right?
                  sigpic

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Keen eye...

                    That's a good theory and all, that climate change could be affecting the chinooks, but you don't see that with other fish that swim the Yukon, like Shee, silvers, pinks or chum...so that begs the question, is Climate change just affecting the Chinook now, & will impact the rest of the salmonoid family later? Or are they affected & we just don't know it yet?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      need for studies

                      How do we know the chinook bycatch in the pollock fishery is NOT affecting the Yukon? Without genetic sampling, it is all speculation. I have said it before, and will continue to say it. Whatever the proportion of human caused mortality is to a fishery, it is the most easily managed cause of mortality. We need studies to be able to find what proportion of overall mortality each segment causes- but to say that because there are factors other than direct or indirect, human caused mortality, we can't restrict any of the human activity, is insane. Also, to say that a fish stock is in trouble, so we must restrict only one component, be it sport, commercial drift, setnet, or subsistence, is also assinine. If it truly is in trouble, then a gloves off approach to all users is necessary.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        willphish4food, there was some preliminary sampling done and scientists estimated that only about 20% of the Pollock Chinook bycatch was bound for the Yukon. They determined that this quantity was not significant enough to cause the problem on the Yukon. More sampling and DNA studies were done in 2008.

                        I would agree that eliminating the Chinook bycatch in the commercial Pollock fishery would be the easiest way to manage mortality rates. However, it would be short-sighted to think it would solve the Yukon's problems, or restore the Chinook run. This would be especially true if, as per other studies, much more was going on...disease, poor river production, warm water, changing ice-flow, lack of nutrition, and so on. So you would be sacraficing one of the biggest fisheries in the world based on a hunch that was a futile attempt in the first place.

                        There is one group that despises the Chinook bycatch more than any other...the commercial Pollock fishery itself. These guys know that every Chinook that comes on their boat jeopordizes the existence of their Pollock fishery. They don't try to catch the Chinook, they get nothing for them, and they have absolutely no incentive to catch them. In fact the Pollock fishery is working hard to reduce Chinook bycatch. They are the "cleanest" Chinook bycatch fishery in the world. They have adopted fishing areas and times to avoid them (some believe these regulations actually moved them closer to the Chinook). They have adopted ways of excluding Chinook from their gear, and continue to research and try salmon exclusionary devices. And much of the bycatch is donated to charity groups like SeaShare that help feed needy Americans. I don't know...maybe the bycatch should be distributed to subsistence and commercial fishermen along the Yukon to help reduce their pressure on those Chinooks that we know are in the river?

                        The solutions to the Yukon's problems lie in finding the cause. And we can only do that by adequately funding new and better research, science, and technology. Using a process of elimination, starting with the commercial Pollock fishery, is a scapegoat approach that I fear will exacerbate the problem by masking it, or at best do nothing more than prolong it.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          pollack

                          Not sure if they affect the king fry so much, but pollack are believed to be a heavy predator of pink salmon fry around Prince William Sound.
                          An opinion should be the result of thought, not a substitute for it.
                          - Jef Mallett

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                          • #14
                            Questions..

                            Do we have any idea on exploitation of kings in the spawning grounds?

                            The Yukon system is huge, and there are hundreds of tribs that could be spawning areas, but do we have any idea on how much of the spawning is taking place in Canada, and how much they are harvested there?

                            Without doing my own research, I just thought I would pose this question here as there seems to be some very knowledgeable folks that may have some numbers.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Grampyfishes View Post
                              willphish4food, there was some preliminary sampling done and scientists estimated that only about 20% of the Pollock Chinook bycatch was bound for the Yukon. They determined that this quantity was not significant enough to cause the problem on the Yukon. More sampling and DNA studies were done in 2008.

                              I would agree that eliminating the Chinook bycatch in the commercial Pollock fishery would be the easiest way to manage mortality rates. However, it would be short-sighted to think it would solve the Yukon's problems, or restore the Chinook run. This would be especially true if, as per other studies, much more was going on...disease, poor river production, warm water, changing ice-flow, lack of nutrition, and so on. So you would be sacraficing one of the biggest fisheries in the world based on a hunch that was a futile attempt in the first place.

                              There is one group that despises the Chinook bycatch more than any other...the commercial Pollock fishery itself. These guys know that every Chinook that comes on their boat jeopordizes the existence of their Pollock fishery. They don't try to catch the Chinook, they get nothing for them, and they have absolutely no incentive to catch them. In fact the Pollock fishery is working hard to reduce Chinook bycatch. They are the "cleanest" Chinook bycatch fishery in the world. They have adopted fishing areas and times to avoid them (some believe these regulations actually moved them closer to the Chinook). They have adopted ways of excluding Chinook from their gear, and continue to research and try salmon exclusionary devices. And much of the bycatch is donated to charity groups like SeaShare that help feed needy Americans. I don't know...maybe the bycatch should be distributed to subsistence and commercial fishermen along the Yukon to help reduce their pressure on those Chinooks that we know are in the river?

                              The solutions to the Yukon's problems lie in finding the cause. And we can only do that by adequately funding new and better research, science, and technology. Using a process of elimination, starting with the commercial Pollock fishery, is a scapegoat approach that I fear will exacerbate the problem by masking it, or at best do nothing more than prolong it.
                              Gramps, even if you go with the 20% estimate for the Yukon component of the bycatch, that still means over 24,000 Yukon kings were taken as bycatch in 2007 (total chinook bycatch in the pollock fishery that year: 121,638). FURTHER, using the total western Alaska Chinook component of the bycatch at between 50% and 60%, that's a heck of a lot of kings, which are already fully allocated everywhere. Now, I'll certainly agree that those numbers don't add up to all the "missing" fish, there are other productivity issues at play, but it's still something that needs to be prevented in the future. I think the Council is headed in the right direction though, but I feel the hard cap being discussed currently (appx 68K) is still too high. Ever since they've had (semi-) reliable estimates of the Chinook bycatch, they've only exceeded that amount in two years...and those were the really obscene bycatch years of 2006 and 2007.

                              I was at the Council meetings last week, and based on the comments from some of the Council members, I think they may be feeling the same way. April is when they'll take final action on the matter.
                              "Fishing relaxes me. It's like yoga, except I still get to kill something." --Ron Swanson

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