Interesting read on Kenai sockeye escapement

Nerka

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With July madness just around the corner, this makes for some interesting reading on Sockeye escapement....

https://www.researchgate.net/public..._of_the_Kenai_Sockeye_Salmon_Simulation_Model

https://www.researchgate.net/public...nt_of_Sockeye_Salmon_in_the_Kenai_River_Basin[/QU

OTE]

Not really - I guess you do not know the history. In 1999 ADFG Research staff set the Kenai Sockeye Salmon Escapement Goal and developed the brood year interaction model. We also did a risk analysis on harvest when one went over the goal by varying amounts. At the time the Bendix count would have been 1 million fish before a significant risk to yield came into play. That is 1.4 million fish today. Here we are 18 years latter and the goals are the same because the brood interaction model is still the best fit to the data.

At the 1999 Board meeting Kramer presented these papers out of the blue without any review. ADF&G research staff wrote responses showing that the assumptions in these papers were significantly flawed and those were presented to the Board as an RC. If you want to read them go to ADFG web site and Board of Fish and see if they are listed for the 1999 meeting in Soldotna.

So this is old news and unfortunately not correct information. There was an agenda at the 1999 meeting by Kenai River Sport Fishing to raise the sockeye goals to 2 million or more fish so more chinook would come into the river. So that is what Kramer tried to do as a consultant to them but the conclusions he made failed on review by not only the staff at the time but staff for the last 18 years.

One problem with Kramer was that we opened up our files to him for more than a month preceding the Board meeting and were total transparent with him and yet he did not give us any consideration before dropping this on the Board with a big news event. Bob Penney had the press there to broadcast his testimony and he made these wild claims. Staff had to work all night to prepare a written and oral response. Then our Director at the time after reading our response said could not submit them as the Board did not want to get into a science fight. Coffey was on the Board and leading the charge for Kenai River Sport Fishing Association. We were pissed to say the least. So when the commercial users found out they requested our written statements as a Freedom of Information Act request. We honored that and they submitted them as an RC. Then all heck broke loose and then Coffey wanted to drill us for two hours in open testimony. The statistical staff, limnology, and myself took on his questions and the rest of the Board basically dismissed Kramer's position. In fact, the Sport Fish staff took a strong position that the sockeye escapement should not go over 1 million spawning fish. At that point Coffey and I got together and came up with the three tiers and the upper tier had the 1 million number. That was because our risk analysis showed that on runs over 4 million at the time staff could not keep the escapement goals at lower levels because of other mixed stock concerns in UCI.

Hope this helps clear up the history of why we are where we are today. Every Board meeting the goals are reviewed and adjusted if needed. I am frankly surprised the models have held up. Models have assumptions and as time goes on those assumptions get tested and are refined. That is happening with Kenai River sockeye data and as climate changes and other factors change we may see new goals. For now the goals appear to be working.
 

Arcticwildman

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I'm not even remotely familiar with the politics of KRSA and this person. I didn't even realize their involvement till after I posted the link and saw it was sponsored by them at the top of the report.

To be honest, I don't consider it either proving or disproving much of anything. Does it offer alternative theory? Sure, but nothing in the fishery management world is set in stone and people should always be willing to listen to new ideas. Some of what the report suggests (mainly the Cyclops abundance theory) makes very good sense and should be looked at again as additional studies are never a bad thing in any science. The one thing it does challenge that IMO is worth further discussion and study is the Ricker curve and it's application to the Kenai. I know others have pointed out similar studies that call into question the Ricker curve so it's not like this is some crank going off on a wild flyer or trying to put forth an idea solely for the benefit of a certain group. Like you say yourself...you are surprised the models have held up. Is that because the models are incomplete and not indicative of what the watershed can actually carry?
 

Nerka

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I'm not even remotely familiar with the politics of KRSA and this person. I didn't even realize their involvement till after I posted the link and saw it was sponsored by them at the top of the report.

To be honest, I don't consider it either proving or disproving much of anything. Does it offer alternative theory? Sure, but nothing in the fishery management world is set in stone and people should always be willing to listen to new ideas. Some of what the report suggests (mainly the Cyclops abundance theory) makes very good sense and should be looked at again as additional studies are never a bad thing in any science. The one thing it does challenge that IMO is worth further discussion and study is the Ricker curve and it's application to the Kenai. I know others have pointed out similar studies that call into question the Ricker curve so it's not like this is some crank going off on a wild flyer or trying to put forth an idea solely for the benefit of a certain group. Like you say yourself...you are surprised the models have held up. Is that because the models are incomplete and not indicative of what the watershed can actually carry?

I think you need a little more history. Every year as new data comes in the models are rerun. There are numerous variations examined and at last count there were 12 or so. These are Ricker curve and other types of models. As I pointed out these reports were read and found lacking in substance. The reports discussing the various issues were written by staff experts in their fields. So this is just old news. The Department has used the last 17 years to move forward not backwards. We started the rearing lake studies in the 80's and have over 30 years od data and reports. You need to read those before saying or sugesting no one has looked at these issues. The models have held up because they still reflect the best fit to the data year after year.
 

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