Kenai guides... to cap, or not to cap ???

fishNphysician

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That is the question...

Surprised that last weeks Medred-itorial didn't spark some thoughtful discussion on this board. For those who missed it:

Limiting guides on Kenai River would make things worse


CRAIG MEDRED
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Published: November 12, 2006
Last Modified: November 12, 2006 at 04:18 AM

Things are seldom as complicated as they are made out to be, nor as simple as we would like.
Of nothing is the latter more true at the moment than the Kenai River, where the old issues of crowding and pollution have once more reared their troublesome heads.
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Marcus

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The article answered. . .

The article answered. . .

The article, Limiting guides on Kenai River would make things worse (ADN, 11/12/ 06), is disappointing, poorly researched, and more poorly reasoned.

First, the Kenai's impaired status is not an "old issue." Crowding is. Medred claims "some" are reacting to those problems, one old and one new, in a automatic, knee-jerk fashion by advocating limiting guide numbers. Who are these "some" he's accusing? Does he cite an instance of these so-called, knee-jerk reactions to the problems of pollution, erosion, and crowding? I think not. The accusations are baseless.

Second, limiting guide numbers is an old, old issue. Did Medred do any research? The public has long wanted guide numbers limited—see past studies done by Parks and much, much more. The Kenai River Special Management Area board has long wanted guide numbers limited. Many if not most guides themselves want guide numbers limited. Area resident anglers want guide numbers limited. Medred needs better research and documentation before irresponsibly accusing an unnamed "some" of wanting what has long been wanted by many.

Third, the article's first point is dismissible in that it's impossible to build a growth industry on a finite resource. As populations in general increase, it is impossible that a finite resource should keep pace. Points two and three are equally inane in the Kenai River is not the Colorado River as it flows through the Grand Canyon. The public in general and most especially area and Alaska resident anglers have every right to put a private or rented boat on the Kenai. That's freedom.

The fourth point is false, an attempt to perpetuate and promote a special-interest fantasy. Medred refers to "economic studies" but cites none. If Medred is going to make wild claims about this area's economics, he needs to substantiate his assertions by citing specific studies; title, date, and author. The sockeye fishery in all is manifestations, e.g., nonresident sport, resident sport, Personal Use, and the gill-net industry totally dwarfs the nonresident king fishery in comparison.

The article's fifth point is ridiculous. If limiting guide numbers is the right thing to do, it matters not one whit what may or may not follow. We don't "not do right" in order to avoid negative consequences.

Guides are not the problem, but they are a part of the problem and as such, they will be part of the solution.
 

motorboatn

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Kenai guides should stay

Kenai guides should stay

Well we all know limiting the amount of guides will not help the pollution problem. I think the majority of the pollution comes from worn out old motors used by your weekend warriors. I think if any thing we need to worry about the old motors. Guides have new high dollar motors which puts out less pollution.
 

fishNphysician

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It's not about guide numbers, it's about angler demand.

It's not about guide numbers, it's about angler demand.

Medred is onto something here.

What drives the crowding on the river is angler demand.

Guides fill the role of servicing that demand. They are merely a vehicle available to the would-be angler to access the fishery.

Limiting guides does nothing to reduce angler demand.

The same number of folks will still be wanting to access the river, only now in a more chaotic but equally crowded environment. And as Medred concludes, that would only make things worse.

The key to reducing crowding is reducing angler demand... putting the restrictions on the end-user... the angler, not the guide.

That's a tough sell, but it's really the only way to address the crowding issue. The fishery must be made less attractive to discourage would-be participants from taking part in the first place... OR... access to the river by would-be participants must be further restricted... OR... perhaps a combination of both.


Examples of making the fishery less attractive:

1) More drift days... those who can't/refuse to row won't participate.
2) Artificial only... those who want to use bait must fish elsewhere.
3) Slot limit all season.... those who want to kill a big fish won't participate.


Examples of limiting access:

1) Issue only an odd-day or even-day license to would-be participants. That would cut crowding virtually in half overnight.
2) Raise the license/access fees. Those who can't pay are priced out of the fishery.
3) Lottery system to access the river. Could be done month-by-month, week-by-week.

I'm not saying any of these choices will be popular. That's exactly the point. Each of them should be unpopular with a segment of the present day user group because they will be disenfranchised in some way shape or form, forcing them off the river. Let's face it... it's the only way to reduce the number of participants.
 

fishNphysician

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And most important of all..

Once the number of participants has been effectively reduced, betcha those "pesky" guide numbers will take care of themselves.
 

Marcus

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Jean-Baptiste Say weighs in. . .

Jean-Baptiste Say weighs in. . .

Say's Law

Jean-Baptiste Say (1767-1832) is well known for Say's Law (or Say's Law of Markets), often summarised as:
"Aggregate supply creates its own aggregate demand",
“Supply creates its own demand”, or
“Supply constitutes its own demand”.

He argued that production and sale of goods in an economy automatically produces an income for the producers of the same value, as production is determined by the supply of goods rather than demand. Unemployment of men, land or other resources would not be possible unless it were by choice, or due to some kind of restraint on trade.

He was also among the first to argue that money was neutral in its effect on the economy. Money is not desired for its own
Say's ideas helped to inspire neoclassical economics which arose later in the 19th century. He wrote Traite d’Economique Politique.
As an interesting conjecture, Say's Law may have culled from Ecclesiastes 5:10 — "As goods increase, so do those who consume them. And what benefit are they to the owner except to feast his eyes on them?" (NIV)
 

yukon

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I must not be as educated as some on this board but I would rather have a lot of guides on the water than a lot of newbies in rental boats or illegal guides in the water. Makes since to me to have an experiened guide fleet to help anglers access the resource, both resident and non-resident.
 

Marcus

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Enlighten us. . .

Enlighten us. . .

. . . I would rather have a lot of guides on the water than a lot of newbies in rental boats or illegal guides in the water. Makes since to me to have an experiened guide fleet to help anglers access the resource, both resident and non-resident.

yukon: Please tell us — how many guides is "a lot"? Please — give us a number. . .

Or does it matter? Is any number of guides okay?

Remember, guides are not the problem, but they are a part of the problem, aren't they? Shouldn't guides be part of a solution?

How many, in your mind, is "a lot"? Thanks. . .

 

yukon

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To tell you the truth, I can't give you a number. Mainly because economics usually takes care of it. Those that think they will get rich bail out after a couple years. I think the latest rise, the first significant rise in 10+ years, is a result of the threat of a cap coming to guides.
Yes, guides should be part of the solution and so should the general public:

Guides have clean burning 4-strokes, most non-guide boats don't,

Guides are regulated and pay a minimun of $750 just for the parks permit, in addition to other permits and insurance, non-guides do not.

Guides have Coast Guard Licenses, non-guides do not

Guides go to the Kenai River Academy, non-guides do not

Guides are only allowed a total of 5 people in July to reduce weight and wake, non-guides are allowed 6

Guides only fish 5 days a week 12 hours per day, non-guides in motorized boats have 6 days 24 hours per day

Guides donate their time for a Kids fishing day and Take a Vet fishing day, provide assistance at the Johnson lake fishing day, need I go on....

What has the non-guided angler done for their part??

Go ahead and limit the guides, but first change the State Constitution, and whatevery % you limit the guide numbers by you must also reduce the non-guide boat traffice by the same percentage. Then all user groups are part of the solution.
 

fishNphysician

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Gentlemen,

"Crowding" is a relative term, and while it may be difficult to pinpoint a specific number, I think everyone can tell when enough is just enough. Without invoking any guide/non-guide discrimination, how many boats is too many boats?

Clearly, 1000 boats in the lower river is overkill, but that used to happen in the late 1980s.

I believe the busiest day in 2006 was 700-plus, with about 85 of those below the Warren Ames Bridge... territory that went unexploited in the 1980's.

So what is an ideal number?

300?

400?

500?

600?

700?

800?

900?

1000?
 

Marcus

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Disappointment and applause. . .

Disappointment and applause. . .

1) To tell you the truth, I can't give you a number.

2) Guides donate their time for a Kids fishing day and Take a Vet fishing day, provide assistance at the Johnson lake fishing day, need I go on....

1) Well, I'm disappointed. Let's put it another way: are 400 guides okay? 500? 600? Is there, in your mind, any limit to guide numbers?

2) Yes, you need to go on. You forgot the "Return of the Salmon Celebration" held annually in the spring at Heritage Place nursing home in Soldotna where numbers of KRPGA guides and their wives furnish much of the fish, help cook, provide service, and generally assist in the effort to feed Heritage Place residents, staff, their families, Soldotna Seniors, and Kenaitze elders. I know, I've been part of the Return of the Salmon Celebration since its inception about five years ago. My hat's off to the guides for their giving spirit!

But that said, why should the ordinary citizen, who owns the resource, be subject to the same requirments and rules as the guides who are, after all, a commercial enterprise making money off a public resource?
 

yukon

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So the truth is coming out, the guided angler, those visiting our area, family of residents, local anglers without a boat (the ordinaly citizen) should take all the restrictions and the privileged anglers with a boat should not see any restrictions at all. By limiting and taking away businesses from guides you are limiting access to the "ordinay citizen".

What else do you want the guides to do? What will make you happy? You asked what the guides have done and I have you a list, are you not willing to give any options for the non'guided fishermen/boater?

Personally Marcus, I don't think there is an over-crowding problem, yes indeed there are a few days a year for a few hours that I would consider there a lot of boats on the water, but that is only a few days in July and the increase is non-guide boats on those days becauses the guide fleet is pretty stable in July.
May, June, Early July, August, September and in Late July in the afternoons and evenings there are not many boats on the water. Yes, the third Tuesday in July there are a lot of boats on the water, my guess is we are only talking 6 days in July, Tuesday's and Saturdays, not to mention Sundays which are very crowded.

BTW, what do you considered over-crowded, what is your experience of actually being on the water with 500 verses 700 boats and a high tide at 7:00 am?
 

yukon

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Good call doc, the guide fleet is fishing previously unfished water, from Cunningham to and a mile or so below the Warren Ames bridge. Talk about a lot of room for boats! This leaves a lot more room for other anglers, both guides and non-guides to fish other well known holes.
 

Marcus

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Didn't say that. . .

Didn't say that. . .

So the truth is coming out, the guided angler, those visiting our area, family of residents, local anglers without a boat (the ordinaly citizen) should take all the restrictions and the privileged anglers with a boat should not see any restrictions at all. . .

What else do you want the guides to do? What will make you happy?

BTW, what do you considered over-crowded, what is your experience of actually being on the water with 500 verses 700 boats and a high tide at 7:00 am?

yukon: Don't put words in my mouth. I have said nothing about who should do what nor have I said what the guides should or shouldn't do! I asked you a simple question. . . answer it or not, but don't ascribe to me what I haven't said!

I have no opinion whatsoever about what constitutes overcrowding, nor have I any experience being on the water with any number of boats. . . not my cup of tea, nor is it the subject of my conversation. Please don't put words in my mouth! Thank you.
 

fishNphysician

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Fairness? Does it actually exist in real life? Nonetheless, it is an ideal to strive for.

Whatever restrictions are put on the fishery, it should apply to ALL participants. That way the burden is shared in proportion to each faction's current impact on the resource.

If we are gonna change the methods/means/bag/slot limits... they should apply to all. Same for any measures to limit temporal/spatial/fiscal access to the fishery.

We all know how the measure to take 12 hours a day from non-residents backfired a few years back... locals found themselves in a predicament of being severely limited in their ability to entertain their out-of-state guests on the river....who'da'thunk it?

Once non-discriminatory limits are placed on users as a whole, the percentage of those using guides (or conversely, going it alone) is unlikely to change. The existing number of guides would now be competing for fewer available clients. It would be a buyers market, with guides being evaluated by prospective clients based on their percieved performance and value. The laws of supply and demand would dictate that the guides who are unable to reliably and predictably fill their empty seats would evetually exit the industry.

Fishery managers will have to come to grips with the reality that relieving crowding will mean diminishing the economic value of the fishery. Everything has a price.
 

yukon

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My apologies, I inferred from your question "But that said, why should the ordinary citizen, who owns the resource, be subject to the same requirments and rules as the guides who are, after all, a commercial enterprise making money off a public resource?" and from your lack of an answer to what non-guides have done or should do, to mean that you think they should have no restrictions.

Well then, what should the non-guided angler do for their part?

Over crowding is not my cup of tea either, I was just wondering what your experiences have been that were leading to your questons about what I think the number of guides should be.
 

Marcus

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Moving on. . .

Moving on. . .

My apologies, I inferred from your question "But that said, why should the ordinary citizen, who owns the resource, be subject to the same requirments and rules as the guides who are, after all, a commercial enterprise making money off a public resource?" and from your lack of an answer to what non-guides have done or should do, to mean that you think they should have no restrictions.

Well then, what should the non-guided angler do for their part?

Over crowding is not my cup of tea either, I was just wondering what your experiences have been that were leading to your questons about what I think the number of guides should be.

Thanks. This thread got started with Medred's column about capping guide numbers. I thought the column poorly reasoned, badly researched, and inaccurate on several accounts. What with growing populations, pollution, crowding, and habitat destruction it would seem obvious at some point, maybe now, use of the river is going to have be done within some kind of limits—however defined.

Guides are a part of that mix, those problems, and as such, they'll have to be part of a solution. That's all. At this point, I have no idea who is going to have to do what. Even if commercial use of the river ends up needing to be capped, non-commericial use can't continue to increase unchecked either or we'll be right back where we are now or worse.

Finally, yukon, I don't fish the Kenai and have no interest in doing so. . . not my cup of tea on several counts.

 

Nerka

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Craig's answer

Craig's answer

I wrote Craig and asked him some questions. He was kind enough to respond and was honest in his opinion. I have read some of these comments in his column so I do not think I am giving anything away here. Just thought you would like to read this as a follow up. I did remove one person's name as that was personal - it is noted with a .... I hope no one jumps on Craig for his views here. He is putting out options just like everyone else and I took the option of sharing. However, I will not do that again if he receives any negative feedback from this. I think he was trying to point out the complexity of the situation in his column - not that he was protecting guides from restrictions.

What I wrote about was limiting (or in the minds of some 'eliminating') guides as a quick and easy fix to all Kenai problems.
I don't know what the "street'' rumble is down there, but the above is an idea you hear suggested with some regularlity around Anchorage. In fact, the column was sparked in part by a discussion with the state park's director who said it's about the main thing he's been hearing:
"Get rid of the guides. Problem solved. Yadda, yadda, yadda.''
I don't have any problem with restricting guides as part of a bigger package that attempts to control all use, but there seem to be a lot of anglers opposed to anything that restricts THEM, as you might have noticed if .... sent you his note ranting about his "right'' to be on the river.
It's sort of the old Alaska problem of wanting the fences put up the day after they get here.
Personally, I think you and I are probably in agreement that the easiest, and argubly best, solution to any problems -- real or percieved -- is to throw in a drift-only day or two and make everyone live with it. You and I know that will create problems, too, but they're not insolveable, and the change might in fact reopen the lower river to some low-budget anglers.
You'd have to be crazy, for instance, to take a one-man cat into the midst of the fishery now in July, but on a quieter river absent all those powerboats that would be an option. And you can launch or take-out a little cat almost anywhere, even from one of those steel boardwalks so as to eliminate any concerns about habitat destruction.
The little people might actually be able to get on the water while the wealthier folk and the guides were jockeying for position with their drift boat trailers at the ramps. I have, no doubt, either that this change wouldn't force some hardships on guides, but I think that in the long-term it might work economically better for them, too. I think the new, quieter experience could be priced at a premium.
As for the personal-use fishery, well, I think that whole things needs a closer look in terms of economic management of the fishery. Too many of the fish caught there, I am convinced, end up in the Anchorage landfill. I think a strong argument can be made that some (many?) of those fish are worth more in some sort of commercial fishery, whether it's in the Inlet (which as you know better than anyone has problems) or whether Bob Penney's long-envisioned weir/fish trap were built upriver to crop off over-escapement when necessary, as say, this year, or some sort of upriver personal-use fishery were permitted in years of oversized escapements (PU setnets in Skilak Lake? drifted dipnets at the outlet of the Kenai into the lake?)
I'm not sure we're in disagreement on the concepet of economic management of the fisheries, though maybe we are. I don't know.
I do know I'm getting a little tired of the allocation of a common property resource being largely decided by a handful of people who harvest the resource, ie. sports, commies and subsistence advocates. The state, as I tried to point out in the column, is full of people who get nothing from the Kenai but the ripple of its larger economic returns be they from the commercial fishery or the tourism related to the sport fishery. Unfortunately, the benefit of economic returns to these people are seldom considered.
I'm personally struck by that everytime I drive to Kenai for my own quick and dirty participation in the PU fishery. About all we ever end up buying down there is ice and, maybe, lunch. The Kenai benefits far more, for crying out loud, if I come down to watch Rachael Scdoris is a dog race.
Anyway, thanks for the thoughtful note. I'm hopeful we're not done with this isssue, though I can't guarantee anything. I'm lobbying the ADN to do a full blown story on the hydrocarbon matter alone, seeking to better discuss where exactly the pollution comes from, how good or bad the federal standard is, and what all the options are for reducing hydrocarbons in the river. But it's kind of an uphill push.
Particularly given that one of our best science reporters quit to go wildlife watching with former ADF&G personnel.
Cheerio.
Craig
 

fishook

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Craig should have reported first about the hydrocadon problem on the river before he wrote his article limiting guides on the Kenai river would make things worse. But with that said he is good at what he does. The Kenai being a big pot and him with a stick. We really need to reduce.
 

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