Saturday, July 21, 2012

More from the governor's press conference

Here are a few quotes from Friday's press conference with Gov. Sean Parnell and Fish and Game Commissioner Cora Campbell.

They discussed the poor Chinook salmon runs in parts of Alaska this season, and what the administration plans to do in response.

Parnell remarks:

I've asked the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to assemble a team of Alaska's top fisheries scientists to develop and implement a comprehensive fisheries research plan.

Just in the last year, we have requested funding in millions of dollars for Chinook salmon research, but this is above and beyond those earlier requests.

The fisheries research plan, to be completed this fall, must first evaluate what we know about Chinook salmon stocks; second, increase our understanding of the reasons behind the recent declines; and third, I want them to make recommendations for improvement.

Campbell remarks:

Some of the rivers in Alaska are experiencing their worst Chinook salmon runs in many years. And we don't expect a sudden, dramatic rebound. We're experiencing a long-term trend of low abundance that's a real hardship for Alaskans who rely on and value Chinook salmon.

And although the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has one of the best salmon management programs in the world, we do have gaps in our knowledge about Chinook salmon, and the causes of this period of low abundance cannot be precisely defined at this time.

The research plan that our scientists are developing is designed to identify indicator stocks that will provide fisheries managers with a statewide index of Chinook salmon stocks that represent a wide range, from Southeast Alaska all the way to Arctic waters.

And the scientists will evaluate all the data that we have about those stocks, against the specific knowledge areas that we know to be important for understanding Chinook salmon abundance, run timing, productivity and health. And they'll identify areas where our knowledge is robust, and areas where there are gaps in our knowledge.

And once they have that assessment of those knowledge gaps, they'll be able to recommend to us research projects that will fill those knowledge gaps and answer these key questions that we have about what's going on with Chinook salmon.

And we're going to be cooperating with federal scientists as we develop this plan.

We've also reached out to hatchery scientists with the goal of determining how additional Chinook salmon enhancement might contribute to a broader plan to address abundance declines. In many areas of Alaska, Chinook salmon stocking and enhancement is an important component of sport and commercial fisheries. And we're interested in exploring how that might represent an additional tool for addressing the current production declines.


Anonymous said...

What the heck are we paying the Fish and Game Biologist for anyway. Have to get Experts to give them recommendations. Let's just lay them all off and start all over.

Take back control of management from Special Interests groups for one would make a big difference. Then we'd have a government truly working for the people.

A case in study is the Norton Sound area. It's all documented right down to the nasties.

Anonymous said...

OMG!!!!! Cora said the H word. She has a lot of explaining to do seeing that the northern most hatchery was hatcheted out of existence in 2010.

But first, they'll have to reorganize the Salmon Planning Teams to make them the ADF&G approved models before they get down to business of making a bigger mess of the mess.

Anonymous said...

Ask Congress to stop the flow of the CDQ funds to the 6 control groups. Allow them to operate with their existing assets along the big guys in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska trawling business.

Reorganize the CDQ allotments to be used to restore the salmon runs to the historical numbers of the 1960's and the people can get on with their lives as culturally and traditionally as it fits for this day and age.

There is enough money to do this if the right people are put in charge. Right now the CDQs are a free for all honey bucket helping the crash of the mighty king salmon.

Anonymous said...

10 years late and 10 million chinooks short.

Anonymous said...

More hatchery salmon?? That's absurd, the existing Chinook hatchery populations are in decline as well due to ocean conditions.

First step, and one that doesn't require additional research, is to reduce the trawler by catch to near zero.

Second step is to halt the Susitna dam project, where the state's 4th largest Chinook stock breeds.

Third step is to halt any further development of Alaska's coal and petroleum resources, which are a major contributor to global warming.

Anonymous said...

What happened to the research plans after the disaster about 10-15 years ago?

If the problem is ocean environment, does ADFG have staff with that expertise?

(C) Historical records show salmon abundance resembles the Pacific Decadal Oscillation pattern. When salmon are abundant in Alaska, there is a decline in the Pacific northwest, and visa versa.

Anonymous said...

Unobserved (unreported, officially obfuscated?) pollock bycatch is a business decision and a law enforcement problem - not a scientific puzzle.

The North Pacific Fisheries Management Council's refusal to study the economic effects of catch shares - or anything else - is the problem.

People who get rich from pollock win, people who rely on Chinook for food or commerce lose. And now the other salmon fisheries are losing because Governor Parnell and Commissioner Campbell got caught with their pants down on the Chinook runs and are scrambling to salvage them (but are they really?). Did they really have no idea how bad it had gotten?

Does Cora pay attention at the NPFMC meetings?

This is how catch shares fisheries management picks economic winners and losers.

Anonymous said...

What would you expect from the two agencies that regulate the fisheries. The council is dominated by the trawl industry and the fish board by commercial fishing interests that make a living on sockeye and not chinooks. And finally our commissioner is a member of the Petersburg commercial fishing community and more interested in protecting the commercial sector than protecting wild stocks of chinook because that fish is not a money fish for her crowd. And the Governor can't seem to understand that she is over her head.

Anonymous said...

No one has a clue what King salmon, or halibut, king or tanner crab bycatch truly is in the Gulf of Alaska.

The 30% observer coverage is worse than none at all. Trawlers game the system and generate bad data which is extrapolated to their fishing without observers when they behave totally different.

Trawlers aren't to blame, they are just following the rules the corrupt council system made.

Anonymous said...

What do we have to do to get the big voting population of Western Alaska in the state of Alaska on board - kill off the King Salmon and maybe they'll WTFU!

Some blogger on another site mentioned the brain drain of rural Alaska. I live in Rural Alaska and I'm not brain dead so that's not the problem. The problem is that the bullies are entrenched and have been for 100 years, since the gold rush days when the outside influence hit the outback of Alaska. It's tough enough to live out here without having to deal with the bullies so most people survive by looking the other way and they are silent.

Guess we'll have to see the King Salmon become extinct before people WTFU. It's sad that the government officials are going along with the ignorance.

Anonymous said...

Trawlers are human, humans have emotion, therefore the trawlers are to blame because they can see what they are doing to the King Salmon.

Regulators are human, regulators have emotion, therefore the regulators are to blame because they can see what is being done to the King Salmon.

It's all about money. Easy money. CDQ money. Billions and billions of unregulated dollars in the hands of greedy, incompetent, selfish, self-serving handful getting power from the peoples monies.

Anonymous said...

Cora is not qualified for the job. We need to get rid of her, like stat! I guess somebody thought that a cute, young white lady would be non-threatening to the old fart controllers and the men who don't like anybody telling them what to do. It's not working. It's killing off the King Salmon, therefore creating a bigger problem then we started with. The job is over her head.

The atmosphere here in Alaska is very similar to pre-Civil War South and the Wild, Wild West of the Western Movement. History repeating itself.

Anonymous said...

"knowledge gaps" on King Salmon stocks.

"Cora's crowd" don't fish for King Salmon. If they did, there would have been some butt slapping years ago when the big 70 pound King Salmon stopped showing up in the Alaskan rivers.

In other words, the crowd in control don't give a toot on what use to be the big dollar fish in Western Alaska.

"knowledge gaps" comes from those days out in the sea where the trawler fishers don't have observers on the clock.

"knowledge gaps" - simple language for the dumb and dumber?

I guess if you don't expect much from your managers, you don't get much in return. Lots of "knowledge gaps" are okay.

Anonymous said...

Blogger @ 3:05 PM on July 24 said:

"Trawlers game the system and generate bad data....." followed by "Trawlers aren't to blame...".

Trawlers play the "game" therefore they are to "blame". Hogging the whole cake and eating it too.

Anonymous said...

Why is it that the 194,000 Chinook salmon quota set for South East Trollers has not come under scrutiny? There isn't a river system in south east alaska that produces that quantity of fish. This is nothing more than an intercept fishery of feeder kings.

If trawler bycatch is such an issue, then why is it when the bycath peaked a few years ago at 120,000 kings we still had good returns to Alaska rivers? Now bycatch is limited to what, 60,000, and our chinook have not returned. The trollers catch significantly more chinook yet their local rivers do not even support that resource.

Anonymous said...

Trawler bycatch is an "issue" because they kill the king salmon out in the sea before they return to the rivers to spawn.

When the bycatch "peaked a few years ago at 120,000 kings" we didn't have "good returns to Alaska rivers?"

The Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers haven't had good returns and the returns have been in a downward spiral for at least 10 years. It must have to do with the population of the people in Western Alaska. Uncle Sam will take care of them.

Anonymous said...

Quit pooping in your rivers

Anonymous said...

Trolling permits are state wide permits. If you want it to be that way again, keep whineing! I know lots of trollers that would love to go west.

Anonymous said...

Trawlers or trollers? Both types of fishing are destructive to non-targeted species.

The high cost of fuel in the "west" will eventually make it hard for the little troller to make any money fishing that way.

But maybe they are not trolling to make money. Trolling for tax breaks most likely.

Anonymous said...

This comprehensive review is nothing more than a stall tactic.

The governor can take a stand against the pollock fishery salmon bycatch. Make salmon bycatch a zero tolerance factor and watch the returns rebound. Common sense.

Anonymous said...

Quit pooping in the rivers and watch the returns rebound. Common sense...... Right

Anonymous said...

Is there any scientific evidence that "pooping in the river" has any negative impact on salmon?

If there isn't, then it is nothing more than an unfounded hypothesis that may or may not deserve study.

If you can't come up with a reasonably probable mechanism that would result in negative impacts from the relatively small amounts to human poop in the large amount of water in the river, then it might be time to STFU about it. Common Sense.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know what, specifically, they are doing? Is there a team at ADF&G that is devoted to this? Any new hires, or is it a matter of just existing people holding a meeting or two? Any new research?