Full 22/23 closure for king and snow crab

33outdoorsman

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Here’s an article reporting on the small size of Bristol bay sockeye in 2021: https://alaskapublic.org/2021/08/10...istol-bay-sockeye-are-abundant-but-shrinking/

A paragraph from the article that caught my eye:

“There are also more salmon in the North Pacific ocean now than there have been in over a century due to an increase in hatchery pink and chum salmon.”

Remember that there is a difference between average size of an entire run and average size of an age class. Slight declines in average size at age for most salmon - even Chinook and sockeye - but more substantial size declines when taking the average size of an entire run. Fish are returning younger and this is shifting the average size. The 6 and 7 year old Chinook and sockeye are struggling to make it back.

In the paper IOT linked, take a look at the Figure 2 graphs for Chinook. Astonishing the way those lines are plunging.
 

cdubbin

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Are fish returning younger, thus shifting the average size? Or is the ecological reality dictating a diminished maximum achievable size, thus forcing an earlier return, lest they not return at all?
Yes. And yes. And also, we're not really sure...humans have a very Dunning-Kruger relationship with the oceans...😁
 

33outdoorsman

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Are fish returning younger, thus shifting the average size? Or is the ecological reality dictating a diminished maximum achievable size, thus forcing an earlier return, lest they not return at all?
Great question. Good research is occurring looking into it right now. My gut leans toward the latter, that the ecological reality is favoring fish that spend less time out in the ocean and return sooner. We know that run timing and age structure are genetic traits and there have been cases where we have overfished a portion of a salmon run and caused a shift in run timing or were too proficient at size selection and shifted a run towards smaller average adult size, typically this is a result of an age structure shift.

The reason why we are likely seeing bigger impacts to Chinook than sockeye or pinks at this time, is spawning in the main stem of rivers with larger gravel has caused the most successful Chinook females to be larger 5 and 6 year old fish. What happens when 5 and 6 year old fish are no longer selected to return and we lose the females most reproductively fit to successfully spawn? We are now finding out the answer to this question, much sooner than we’d like.
 

iofthetaiga

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Great question. Good research is occurring looking into it right now. My gut leans toward the latter, that the ecological reality is favoring fish that spend less time out in the ocean and return sooner. We know that run timing and age structure are genetic traits and there have been cases where we have overfished a portion of a salmon run and caused a shift in run timing or were too proficient at size selection and shifted a run towards smaller average adult size, typically this is a result of an age structure shift.

The reason why we are likely seeing bigger impacts to Chinook than sockeye or pinks at this time, is spawning in the main stem of rivers with larger gravel has caused the most successful Chinook females to be larger 5 and 6 year old fish. What happens when 5 and 6 year old fish are no longer selected to return and we lose the females most reproductively fit to successfully spawn? We are now finding out the answer to this question, much sooner than we’d like.
My money says it's not so much that the ecological reality is "favoring" fish that spend less time in the ocean. Stating it that way gives the distinct impression that some other (perhaps instream, or whatever) driver is selecting for smaller/earlier fish, regardless of what is going on in the ocean. Rather, my money says the primary driver is an ocean ecosystem issue, specifically food availability, which is limiting growth potential. The fish return earlier and smaller because they're hitting maximum achievable size. In terms of return timing, their internal genetic switch is telling them "our growth rate is too slow and has hit a wall; there's insufficient abundance of food to grow significantly larger if we spend two more years at sea; doing so won't gain us anything except 2 more years exposure to predators...so it's now or never". It's not that the overall ecological situation is saying smaller fish are the genetically superior evolutionary model for future survival, it's that fish are slowly being starved out of existence. We're witnessing a downward spiral.
 

33outdoorsman

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It's not that the overall ecological situation is saying smaller fish are the genetically superior evolutionary model for future survival, it's that fish are slowly being starved out of existence. We're witnessing a downward spiral.
Completely reasonable explanation. It’s interesting to ponder, say a female Chinook salmon, where natural selection has favored larger size for spawning in bigger gravel in the main stems of large rivers, can have a ‘switch’ to change their body chemistry to return earlier than thousands of years of selective forces would dictate. I have not heard or read of a large shift to younger female Chinook salmon, the older females simply aren’t returning in enough numbers to sustain or grow a population, let alone produce a surplus for harvest.
 

Patsfan54

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Yes. And yes. And also, we're not really sure...humans have a very Dunning-Kruger relationship with the oceans...😁
I love Dunning-Kruger references, I'm not sure it's the correct usage here but I suppose with a horseshoes and hand grenades reference it works.
 

Patsfan54

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In terms of return timing, their internal genetic switch is telling them "our growth rate is too slow and has hit a wall; there's insufficient abundance of food to grow significantly larger if we spend two more years at sea; doing so won't gain us anything except 2 more years exposure to predators...so it's now or never". It's not that the overall ecological situation is saying smaller fish are the genetically superior evolutionary model for future survival, it's that fish are slowly being starved out of existence.
Your statements here are diametrically opposed, and absurd. First you say "their internal genetic switch is telling them" and then you say "It's not that the overall ecological situation is saying smaller fish are the genetically superior evolutionary model for future survival" which is it? Are they genetically and evolutionary predisposed to future survival or are they not? Being starved out of existence...hyperbole much? By most, if not all measures the salmon biomass is as large as has ever been measured...which might explain why the crab biomass has dropped but is measured in the metric ton level, something that most would find incomprehensible.

Nature is cyclical. Salmon runs are cyclical. Salmon have adapted over millennia to survive. They stray to other streams or rivers, which helps with genetics, and to help colonize or recolonize areas. The Surprise Lake sockeye along with numerous other volcanic landscape fish waters show this. We know that fish size changes over time, the average caught halibut were smaller in the early 1900's before becoming larger, salmon have also shown variation in body size over time. Relative abundance in overall stock size also fluctuates with time. Do man made obstacles have an impact, no doubt. But it's worth remembering that these fish and crab genetically know how to survive. Throwing around statements like "being starved out of existence" only shows a lack of understanding.
 

iofthetaiga

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Completely reasonable explanation. It’s interesting to ponder, say a female Chinook salmon, where natural selection has favored larger size for spawning in bigger gravel in the main stems of large rivers, can have a ‘switch’ to change their body chemistry to return earlier than thousands of years of selective forces would dictate. I have not heard or read of a large shift to younger female Chinook salmon, the older females simply aren’t returning in enough numbers to sustain or grow a population, let alone produce a surplus for harvest.
I think the research (previously linked paper as one example) is implicating an ocean ecology issue at the heart of reduced returnee size. Again, I don't think they're returning early and smaller irrespective of growing conditions at sea, but precisely because of growing conditions at sea. And as you've hit upon, the in-stream implications are "interesting" to ponder. If the at sea ecology is compromised, thus not allowing fish to grow to and return at optimal size/age/physiological condition, there are going to be significant in-stream implications. A physiologically smaller fish potentially carries fewer and/or smaller eggs, has a reduced ability to utilize the same stream bed aggregate size as a larger fish, less caloric capacity/vigor to execute the required upstream migration distance, perhape produces less vigorous offspring, returns fewer nutrients to the upstream ecosystem, etc., etc.
 

Chez

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The change in size is most likely due to normal cyclical changes. Whether those cycles happen in the lifespan of a human or over 100's if not thousands of years is unknown and never has been studied.

I look at it as similar to the normal cycles in the climate which take us in and out of ice ages every few hundred thousand years or so, regardless of human activity...
 

Patsfan54

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It's clear that some people do not understand what the Dunning-Kruger effect is.
 

iofthetaiga

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Dunning-Kruger is the only explanation for those that deny climate change
I dunno. Don't things like greed, utter lack of caring, willful ignorance, etc. fall outside the scope of Dunning-Kruger? Many people know, but just don't give a sh*t.
 

Patsfan54

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I dunno. Don't things like greed, utter lack of caring, willful ignorance, etc. fall outside the scope of Dunning-Kruger? Many people know, but just don't give a sh*t.
There's also things like falsified data, history, greed...oh you already mentioned that, actual real world data, political bias, blind obedience, etc. that also fall outside the scope of Dunning-Kruger.
 

iofthetaiga

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I look at it as similar to the normal cycles in the climate which take us in and out of ice ages every few hundred thousand years or so, regardless of human activity...

Of course you do. The only question: is such ignorance voluntary or involuntary?
 

NorcalBob

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Welp, my view on climate change is pretty simple. There is no doubt in my mind that our climate is rapidly changing right now, becoming much warmer at a very significant rate. The ultimate question is, is it a "voluntary" change (ie caused by man and his activities) or "involuntary" change (caused my mother nature). No doubt many people want to discuss the "voluntary" vs "involuntary" causes, but for me that is a red herring argument. Because it doesn't matter which it is, as if we expect to continue on this earth as a species we have to deal with it from any causes, either "voluntary" or "involuntary".
 

kasilofchrisn

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Welp, my view on climate change is pretty simple. There is no doubt in my mind that our climate is rapidly changing right now, becoming much warmer at a very significant rate. The ultimate question is, is it a "voluntary" change (ie caused by man and his activities) or "involuntary" change (caused my mother nature). No doubt many people want to discuss the "voluntary" vs "involuntary" causes, but for me that is a red herring argument. Because it doesn't matter which it is, as if we expect to continue on this earth as a species we have to deal with it from any causes, either "voluntary" or "involuntary".


You see Norcalbob that's where you are wrong!
It does make a difference. It makes a huge difference!
Most climate deniers are not denying that the climate is changing, though, there probably are a few.
Most climate deniers look at the scientific evidence from Ocean core sampling and other sources that show there were at least seven ice ages in the earths past. And of course the subsequent warming spells. So those people believe that mother nature has cyclical changes that go from cold to warming. This is also evidenced by geological data that shows fossils of tropical plants being found in the Alaskan Arctic.
So while the science does show that the Earth's temperature is warming the real question becomes is man exacerbating the problem or not?
Because mother nature doesn't have a giant thermostat that we can just turn down.
If the evidence shows that man is the problem and we are accelerating climate change by burning fossil fuels, release of excessive volumes of CO2, and other things then maybe we can change in order to slow the rate of global warming.
For instance in the past we have banned the use of certain freon chemicals as we know they are greenhouse gases that were exacerbating the hole in the ozone layer.
But if this global warming is all part of mother nature's grand plan then what do you propose we do to fix the problem?
How do we make Winters last longer and more snow to accumulate so that the glaciers don't melt as fast?
How do we cool the oceans temperatures so that the crabs don't die off in Alaska's bearing Sea?
Are you a believer that the governments of the world should continue to work on ways to control mother nature so that at some point we can throw magic chemicals in the air or by some other means cool the Earth?
If man is proven to be a leading cause in the current climate change scenario there are definitely things we can do to help with that problem.
But if this is all part mother nature's grand plan so to speak what are we to do about that?
It's not exactly like we have a climate change repair shop!
 

NorcalBob

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You see Norcalbob that's where you are wrong!
It does make a difference. It makes a huge difference!
Most climate deniers are not denying that the climate is changing, though, there probably are a few.
Most climate deniers look at the scientific evidence from Ocean core sampling and other sources that show there were at least seven ice ages in the earths past. And of course the subsequent warming spells. So those people believe that mother nature has cyclical changes that go from cold to warming. This is also evidenced by geological data that shows fossils of tropical plants being found in the Alaskan Arctic.
So while the science does show that the Earth's temperature is warming the real question becomes is man exacerbating the problem or not?
Because mother nature doesn't have a giant thermostat that we can just turn down.
If the evidence shows that man is the problem and we are accelerating climate change by burning fossil fuels, release of excessive volumes of CO2, and other things then maybe we can change in order to slow the rate of global warming.
For instance in the past we have banned the use of certain freon chemicals as we know they are greenhouse gases that were exacerbating the hole in the ozone layer.
But if this global warming is all part of mother nature's grand plan then what do you propose we do to fix the problem?
How do we make Winters last longer and more snow to accumulate so that the glaciers don't melt as fast?
How do we cool the oceans temperatures so that the crabs don't die off in Alaska's bearing Sea?
Are you a believer that the governments of the world should continue to work on ways to control mother nature so that at some point we can throw magic chemicals in the air or by some other means cool the Earth?
If man is proven to be a leading cause in the current climate change scenario there are definitely things we can do to help with that problem.
But if this is all part mother nature's grand plan so to speak what are we to do about that?
It's not exactly like we have a climate change repair shop!
I think you completely missed my point. Let me restate it.
No matter the cause of climate change, ultimately mankind must deal with it in order to survive, regardless of the cause. So, it's useless to debate the causes as an excuse to not do anything, IMNSHO.
There are things mankind can do right now to help slow down those changes (or not), so it's up to mankind to decide what to do.
What happened in prior ice ages or warming didn't matter much to mankind because there weren't around 8 billion people around to suffer the effects back then.
 

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