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  • Strong Stock Management

    The new counting method announced for Yentna looks like another example of strong stock management. Counting fish returning to the most abundant systems does nothing to conserve stocks in systems of lower abundance, but it does ensure maximum harvest of available stocks. Any thoughts?

  • #2
    Single Stock Management has proven to be the downfall of salmon throughout the Pacific Northwest. Management Plans that give little or no protection to smaller substocks while targeting a harvestable surplus in nearby systems or rivers leaves little doubt at what the eventual outcome will be for that area if history is a reliable indication.

    Sad to think that we cannot seem to learn from our mistakes. But here we go again. Lets get every last salmon heading to Upper Cook Inlet that we possibly can no matter if some of the rivers in that area are in big trouble. That first weekend of Commercial Fishing in Upper Cook Inlet is targeting mainly Susitna River Stocks. Only a few Alexander Creek Kings will get caught in these openers. Never mind that there are only a handful of them left from the once Crown Jewel of the Susitna King Salmon Rivers. Yes, it is pike that are causing most of the blame here. But does that mean we throw the Alexander under the bus to catch a few thousand surplus UCI kings?

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    • #3
      Sadly, the historical record will show that weak-stock management generally only gets lip service until that weak stock has either been exterminated or depleted to ESA levels.

      Not sure that the "new and improved" accounting method for Susitna sockeye is just another example of lowering the bar to magically transform a stock of concern to a "healthy" run... or if it really does have merit. Only time will tell.

      I would sure hate to look back 25-30 years from now and have to say OOPS.
      "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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      • #4
        Originally posted by iceblue View Post
        Single Stock Management has proven to be the downfall of salmon throughout the Pacific Northwest. Management Plans that give little or no protection to smaller substocks while targeting a harvestable surplus in nearby systems or rivers leaves little doubt at what the eventual outcome will be for that area if history is a reliable indication.

        Sad to think that we cannot seem to learn from our mistakes. But here we go again. Lets get every last salmon heading to Upper Cook Inlet that we possibly can no matter if some of the rivers in that area are in big trouble. That first weekend of Commercial Fishing in Upper Cook Inlet is targeting mainly Susitna River Stocks. Only a few Alexander Creek Kings will get caught in these openers. Never mind that there are only a handful of them left from the once Crown Jewel of the Susitna King Salmon Rivers. Yes, it is pike that are causing most of the blame here. But does that mean we throw the Alexander under the bus to catch a few thousand surplus UCI kings?
        Iceblue - should we manage early run chinook salmon for the substocks - Slikok Creek, mainstem spawners - I do not think you would be in the guide business if we did this on the Kenai or is your concern only for sockeye to make an allocation point?

        Doc, ADF&G does not do strong stock management as you and Will imply. In fact, escapement goal management in UCI is for a multiple of stocks and in the mixed stock fishery there are numerous examples of closures for weaker stocks. The Susitna sockeye being a prime example. Look at the e.o's on Susitna and tell me I am wrong while at the same time look at Kenai River sockeye escapements and see that most of the time the goal is exceeded. If it is strong stock management the Kenai goal would be made more than what it is.

        Willphish4food has shown a total lack of understanding of UCI fishery management and the escapement goals for the Susitna. They were picked because the data set was long enough to make a goal not because they are producing at a higher rate than other Susitna systems. So again Willphish4food is wrong and leading this forum down a path of misdierection.

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        • #5
          Yes, I would like to see the Kenai managed per tributary and not for an escapement goal for the whole system with Kings and sockeye (not just the Russian River). For that matter a "goal" should be set on coho for both early and late run fish in the various Kenai tributaries.

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          • #6
            long live the coho

            Originally posted by iceblue View Post
            For that matter a "goal" should be set on coho for both early and late run fish in the various Kenai tributaries.
            Amen to that.

            Coho seem to be the forgotten fish. I suppose it's all tied to funding and when there's not enough of it prioritization occurs.

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            • #7
              ADF&G choice

              Originally posted by tcman View Post
              Amen to that.

              Coho seem to be the forgotten fish. I suppose it's all tied to funding and when there's not enough of it prioritization occurs.
              Maybe Aktally can tell us why the coho program in the Kenai was stopped. I know there were technical issues with the fishwheel catch and tagging at Moose River.

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              • #8
                My understanding is that once the coho program stopped, the funds were diverted to the late run Kasilof chinook stock assessment project.

                Not implying cause and effect. Just saying there is only so much dough to go around. And lord only knows how the late run Kasilof kings were long overdue for some much needed attention.

                Just wonder how the data can be used as "baseline" when it was collected at a time when chinook entry patterns were being heavily skewed by the special Kasilof terminal commercial fishery. Talk about throwing a monkey wrench into the database!
                "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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                • #9
                  the meeting

                  Just got back from the meeting with department personnel in Wasilla where they explained the reasoning behind the new Yentna/Su management system. There are still a lot of unanswered questions. Here is the one huge glaring one that was left: The last three years sonar counts, counted by Didson, were at the bottom end of all escapements since '82. Only three other years, in the "didson adjusted bendix," in that whole time frame were as low or lower. Yet the upper end goal for the lakes chosen as the targets are only slightly above the counted numbers these last 3 years. So in effect, the fish and game department has reset the goals for Yentna and Susitna reds so the lowest escapements in a 28 year period will be the upper threshold, leaving the low end of the threshold far lower than the current escapement threshold.

                  It is strong stock management. The weir counts give the department hard numbers, which they attempted to say gave them a better count for the entire system than the sonars provide. BUT. It APPLIES TO THE LAKES THAT HAVE WEIRS TO COUNT FISH. The rest of the system is still counted by estimate. Non weired lakes, and the sloughs and streams which accounted for a large percentage of the Susitna and Yentna red run, are still estimated by pit tagging and mark/recapture studies. There will be no in season indicators of run abundance to direct in season fisheries management actions.

                  This action by the Department blindsided everyone outside the Department. It is a huge shift away from historic enumeration techniques, and changes the OEG for Yentna out of cycle. There was no public process. Whether it is better science or not is debatable- but the debate was not allowed to take place. I am very dissappointed that the Department chose to implement this outside of the Board cycle and process, excluding the AC's, the public, and the BOF from the discussion.

                  Deshka kings: Cutting bait should cut the effectiveness of sport fishermen by 50% or less, and cutting the days of fishing should chop off another 50% or more, so the impact on the kings will be far less while still allowing fishing. Decision will be made by June 12 whether to totally close, maintain current restrictions, or drop the restrictions on the Deshka. Regulatory restrictions on sport fishing in the rest of the valley should be enough to ensure escapements in the rest of the Su, but they'll be monitored closely.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by willphish4food View Post
                    The last three years sonar counts, counted by Didson, were at the bottom end of all escapements since '82. Only three other years, in the "didson adjusted bendix," in that whole time frame were as low or lower. Yet the upper end goal for the lakes chosen as the targets are only slightly above the counted numbers these last 3 years. So in effect, the fish and game department has reset the goals for Yentna and Susitna reds so the lowest escapements in a 28 year period will be the upper threshold, leaving the low end of the threshold far lower than the current escapement threshold.
                    :eek:

                    Say it ain't so!

                    "Stock of concern" instantly transformed to "healthy" with the stroke of a pen. Sounds all too much like what happened with the Kenai's troubled early run kings!

                    Simple... just lower the bar that defines the performance standard. Anything to prop up HARVEST HARVEST HARVEST.
                    "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


                    • #11
                      do not buy willphish4food line

                      Originally posted by fishNphysician View Post
                      :eek:

                      Say it ain't so!

                      "Stock of concern" instantly transformed to "healthy" with the stroke of a pen. Sounds all too much like what happened with the Kenai's troubled early run kings!

                      Simple... just lower the bar that defines the performance standard. Anything to prop up HARVEST HARVEST HARVEST.
                      Willphish4food understanding of the situation is so far off on this that it would be cruel to point out all of his errors. I would suggest one just read the report and remember the Didson adjusted Bendix counts were rejected by the Department for use - yet Willphish4food tries to use them in his post to make a point that is not defendable.

                      He also does not know what strong stock management is relative to the Susitna or understand the limitations of the present data set. In short - he is a fish out of water on this one.

                      So read the report, understand ADF&G announced over a year ago they were going to do this review, that anyone who made a phone call a couple of months ago knew this was coming as the report was written and in draft form, and that this is the best course of action at this point in time. ADF&G was honest on this one - at the 2008 BOF meeting they said they were going to weirs as the sonar program was misleading. How they were going to weirs was subject to further study. They have indicated two months before the season what they are doing.

                      What begs the question here is even if ADF&G informed the public three months ago what would change the approach? Political crying from the valley - threats to ADF&G budget, what? A technical outside review was done on this report so it was not just an internal review and decision.

                      Lets bring the hype of Willphish4food and others in the valley down. They have no bullets in their allocation gun and they are upset about it. Data always will prevail over emotion if given a chance.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Nerka View Post
                        Data always will prevail over emotion if given a chance.
                        Yeah, I used to believe in that one too!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Yup, I'm a liar

                          Its there on page 24 of the report. "Didson adjusted Bendix". According to Nerka, I'm lying, the fish and game didnt' use that number. Sadly, though, Nerka is wrong on this one. Its in black and white, in the document issued by the Department. I love it when eye witness accounts are called lies by one who was not present.

                          The two board of fish members I spoke with were not aware that Fish and Game was going to abandon the Bendix out of cycle. I'm not the only one who was blindsided. The AC which I represent was not issued any notice of the discussion of this method, and no public comment was sought.

                          I can be accused of misrepresenting what I see. So be it. Let the facts speak for themselves.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            O.K I will lay it out

                            Originally posted by willphish4food View Post
                            Its there on page 24 of the report. "Didson adjusted Bendix". According to Nerka, I'm lying, the fish and game didnt' use that number. Sadly, though, Nerka is wrong on this one. Its in black and white, in the document issued by the Department. I love it when eye witness accounts are called lies by one who was not present.

                            The two board of fish members I spoke with were not aware that Fish and Game was going to abandon the Bendix out of cycle. I'm not the only one who was blindsided. The AC which I represent was not issued any notice of the discussion of this method, and no public comment was sought.

                            I can be accused of misrepresenting what I see. So be it. Let the facts speak for themselves.
                            Willphish4food, you get yourself in trouble with this stuff because you do not understand the technical report. The Department looked at the option of adjusting the Bendix counts with the Didson so they presented the adjustments so one can see it. However, if you read the report there was significant problems with this approach. Let me quote from page 4 of the report " The poor performance of the Bendix sonar estimates as an index in years of high pink salmon abundance is likely a consequence of fish wheel species apportionment."

                            As another example that fish wheel selectivity is likely a major source of error in the estimation of sockeye salmon abundance past the sonar site, we compared total unapprotioned Didson counts to mark/recapture estimates.... the proportion of sockeye salmon in fish wheel catches, shows that fish wheels are underestimating the sockeye salmon production by a factor of 2.4 on average.

                            Finally they say " Concerns regarding sonar as a reliable index of abundance lead us t believe it would be inappropriate to use the historical Bendix estimates to establish a new escapement goal.

                            In short Willphish4food - the relationship between the Didson and Bendix is not useful as an index and therefore the relationship should not be used for setting escapement goals. That is the long and short of it Willphish4food.

                            Finally, I did not say you lied. I said you misled. That is because it is obvious you do not understand this report and what it means.

                            Relative to your AC and BOF members not knowing about this approach - sound like they are not doing their job. User groups down here knew about it and what the recommendation was going to be as the technical committee had made their recommendation. We did not have the report but we understood the approach. You just needed to make a phone call as an adviory committee member.

                            Also, who cares what the public thinks on this one - it is a technical question within ADF&G on meeting their mission and responsibilities. Having you, as demostrated by your lack of technical skills, making recommendations on counting fish in the Susitna would be foolish.

                            If there is a technical problem then professionals in the field could comment. The report is out for that to happen if such an error exists. However, holding hearings so a bunch of lay public can say they want a system that is proven to be a failure does not do much for science or ADF&G. Willphish4food, the bottom line is that you and others still refuse to believe that more sockeye salmon are going into the Susitna River. That takes away from your sockeye are failing in the Susitna River from commercial overharvest and that is the rub for you. You cannot make that dog hunt anymore.

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                            • #15
                              This current "dialogue" between Nerka and myself is a classic example of what is wrong with our fisheries management. Though no longer employed by the department, the same tone comes from the area manager. You can do what ever you want with numbers, verify that, villify this, and come up with whatever results you need, but it still is very difficult to make a person disbelieve what that person has seen with his own eyes. Especially when the person refuting the eye witness account has never experienced what he is trying to debunk in the eye witness.

                              The department has created a very neat little bundle to show how there really is no stock of concern status for reds in the Yentna and Susitna, as they have really been making goals all along, as shown by their new goals. The problem with saying that there is very little to no difference in red runs when the bendix counted low, than when the bendix counted high, is that fishermen in the streams and lakes with red runs noted the same correlation: the bendix counts high, we saw more fish in the stream than when the bendix counted low. And vise versa. The other problem in doing this is that myself and people in the valley who spend an inordinate amount of time fishing these systems HAVE seen a big downturn in runs. Stock of concern is not about closing fisheries: it may cause restrictions to all fisheries affecting the stock, but more importantly it makes the department address all causes of stock depreciation. Study them, yes. Actually do something about it, hopefully yes, as well. This report is a blow to those of us who have seen fisheries we love steadily decline, over exploited by a drift fleet run amock, reduced in areas by invasive pike, returning in far lower numbers in systems that have no pike or beaver dams, and now we see that the major problem in the system is a "faulty counting method." But the fish and game has fixed that, by throwing out 30 years of data and replacing it with 3 years of data from 3 weirs in a system far larger in area than the Kenai Peninsula. Where does that leave the fishery and the fishermen in the valley that depend on that fishery for a livelihood and sustenance?

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