Thursday, November 8, 2012

Cook Inlet's feast and famine

At least the drifters had fun. Deckboss photo

Upper Cook Inlet yielded a lucrative 2012 salmon season, despite dreadful Chinook returns that shut down setnetters.

The commercial catch of nearly 4 million salmon ranked as the ninth largest in 20 years, and the estimated $34.2 million payout to fishermen was the 11th best since 1960.

That's according to this season summary from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Sockeye salmon account for most of the fishery value.


Anonymous said...

That is what everyone knew, but to talk with the UCIDA crowd you would think their season was a disaster. Another remarkable thing that occurred was the record number of citations members of UCIDA received last season. For an organization that often claims that others are breaking federal laws or that the ADF&G manage contrary to federal laws it is so hypocritical for them to engage in such a large volume of illegal fishing themselves. To the fishers in the northern district of the inlet, the UCI central district drifters are the main reason that stocks of cohos and sockeyes no longer provide harvestable surpluses and why so many rivers are being declared stocks of concern. This group's greed has no end and unless it is checked, there will come a day when the Valley and Anchorage will see no more cohos and there will never be a sustainable sockeye fishery again.

Anonymous said...

More than likely due to in river sport fishing at a time crucial to spawning

Anonymous said...

What in-river fishing? The rivers have been closed or severely restricted for the last few years because there are so few fish getting into the rivers. No, the problem is getting fish up north. last season the ADF&G opened theUCIDA drifters to district wide fishing on several occasions, knowing that northern bound sockeyes and cohos would be intercepted, all because of its insane need to prevent a small over escapement of sockeyes into the Kenai. Instead of managing for the minimums as they claimed they would do, they managed to keep from exceeding the maximum goals on the Kenai, all at the expense of the northern district. And where is the Fish Board during all this insanity: just ignoring the hand writing on the wall and letting the Dept. run the show. Disgraceful!

Anonymous said...

40 years of in-river pressure including jet boats on spawning beds. a huge increase in Pike and resultant salmon degredation. No ecosystem can withstand this. The problems are in-river!! Anonymous above is clearly an uninformed axe grinder.

Anonymous said...

anon above says:

all because of its insane need to prevent a small over escapement of sockeyes into the Kenai

I guess he or she did not click on the "season summary" that deckboss provided a link to. The Kenai was dramatically overescaped AGAIN this year despite the fact that the BOF has been artificially jacking up escapement goals beyond what good science calls for.

This person is simply denying the facts.

Anonymous said...

Well, you know, those that don't make a living off of the fish rarely make sense until they utter the words, 'I'll get the beer'.

Anonymous said...

Save a King Salmon in Division 2, just go out-river like any Division 2 District.

2400 Kings since 1966, and was approximately 95% less than the previous 10-year average annual harvest of nearly 12,000 fish...

Save a King Salmon, sack a set net.

Cry us a river. Like it's any different anywhere?

When river conditions allow the deployment of the Miles Lake sonar, the attainment of the desired inriver escapement range for the upper Copper River becomes the main factor in deciding management strategy.
During the 2005 board meeting, the board amended the Copper River Chinook Salmon Management Plan to limit fishing in most waters inside of the barrier islands to one fishing period per week during statistical weeks 20 and 21. The closed area is defined in 5AAC 24.350(1)(B) and extends from the Steamboat Anchorage to the west side of Big Softuk Channel at Coffee Creek.

2400 Kings since 1966, and was approximately 95% less than the previous 10-year average annual harvest of nearly 12,000 fish...

Save a King Salmon, sack a set net, as defined best on the extinct King Salmon, in District 2, on the King Salmon River.

The widows and orphans love it!

Anonymous said...

Why, you aren't trying to bring up that old fact that the Territory of Alaska only allowed setnetting for widows and orphans because they had no other means to collect survival food for the winter, are you?

Anonymous said...

Appears as if no one has a clue. The real enemy are those trawlers in Kodiak who are dumping salmon thru use of sorting conveyors on deck, while pollock fishing. We see it here in Kodiak and fight at the council to stop the insanity. Restrict net size, limit horsepower, and 200% observer coverage on mobile gear.
All the gaps in trawler gamemanship of the observer hoax will then be closed.

Anonymous said...

To the persons who continue claim that the Kenai River had an over escapement of sockeye this year - get a fricking clue - once again the Kenai River DID NOT HAVE A SPAWNING ESCAPEMENT ABOVE THE UPPER END OF THE ESCAPEMENT GOAL for sockeye.

The Kenai River sockeye sonar counted 1. 5million. Once the in-river harvest above the mile 20 sonar counter is subtracted, the final escapement of spawners can be calculated. Last year the in-river harvest of sockeyes was about 300,000, and this year will have similar numbers. Subtract 300,000 from 1. 5million, and that gives you 1.2 million sockeye as spawners. The SEG is 700,000 to 1.2 million spawners.

Give the non-sense about over escapement of sockeyes on the Kenai River a break.

2011 had a fantastic return - based on spawners from brood years that had 1.7 to 2 million spawners - more fish begat more fish - the Kenai has NEVER failed to replace itself for sockeyes.

If you claim you want science based decision making, learn how to read and understand the science based reports from the Department.

Anonymous said...

Two thirds of the commercial fishery permit holders in Upper Cook Inlet (the east side set net fishery) sat mostly idle this summer, and the remaining one third of permit holders - the drift fleet - harvest nearly 4 million salmon, ranking the year as the 11 th best payout since 1960.

If this does not meet the definition of an over capitalized commercial fishery, I don't know what would qualify then.

Anonymous said...

@6:20 am. Nobody in the "UCIDA crowd" that I know ever claimed their 2012 season was a disaster. This about as stupid a statement as the rest of your post, troll.

Anonymous said...

Is that right, and what's "IS" a troller?

The U.S. Department of Commerce issued a resource disaster designation for the Yukon River, Kuskokwim River and Cook Inlet king salmon fisheries Sept. 13.

The Yukon River designation was made for 2010, 2011 and 2012; the Kuskokwim River commercial failure was declared for 2011 and 2012; and the 2012 declaration was made for Cook Inlet, according to a letter from Rebecca Blank, acting Secretary of Commerce, to Gov. Sean Parnell. Runs on each of those rivers were well below average.

“Some Cook Inlet salmon fisheries have experienced revenue losses of up to 90 percent of their historical average during the 2012 season, seriously hurting local economies that are dependent on fishing,” said Blank in her announcement.

Although the declarations are for commercial fishery failures, Blank’s letter confirms that the commercial failures can also involve economic impacts for subsistence and sport fisheries, as were felt on the Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers and in Cook Inlet.

Anonymous said...

For the 3:41 post: The Kenai River has a great capacity such that even if there was over escapement it has not and would not pose any threat. Fact is that there was not over escapement.You are plain wrong about that claim. It was at its upper range. Remember when the entire fishery was shut down after the oil spill. No harm done and the fish returned at very high levels. The model that is used to determining escapement levels is outdated and simply needs to be changed. What needs to be kept in mind all of the time is the need to get minimum levels of escapement. Making a mistake there can cost a fishery big time, as the Dept is discovering. and for the poster at 11:20, more than one person heard UCIDA members complain that their season was not that good. Where were you? Hopefully this task force thing that the impotent BOF came up will provide some solutions where the ESSN group will have some opportunity with out killing the Chinooks. If they do not come up with something the ESSN fishers may well find themselves looking out to sea and seeing the UCIDA group continue to harvest while they sit on their hands. Next there has to be something done to get more fish to the Northern district. Think that UCIDA will be a help there? Sure they will. Wrong!

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 11:20 commenting on anon @ 6:20
"Nobody in the "UCIDA crowd" that I know ever claimed their 2012 season was a disaster. This about as stupid a statement as the rest of your post, troll."

Guess 11:20 doesn't listen to that trolling sound of KSRM radio -

Radio Kenai from August 6, 2012: Roland Maw, executive director of UCIDA, states that Good Red Salmon Fishing Season Never Happened. He said the large red salmon return never took place...

95% of the salmon harvested in Cook Inlet this year was sockeye salmon, harvested by the members of UCIDA. It was the ninth largest harvest in 20 years, and the 11th highest payouts for CFEC permit holders in Cook Inlet in the last 50 years. It is one of the highest payouts to UCIDA members ever in their history.

Yet Roland Maw, executive director of UCIDA, states that what you thought just happened didn't happen. Now exactly who is the biggest troll in Alaskan fisheries???

No disrespect to the Troll family.

Jake E said...

I am amazed that this has not followed the trend of nearly every other Deckboss Blog. That is - there has been no mention of CDQs and corporate oligarchy/racial discrimination. Well, not yet anyways.

However, we have seen one of the "big evil trawlers" comments. Yes, it's a little known fact that those trawlers actually have conveyors specifically designed to sort King Salmon.

It can't be an incredibly over-capitalized fishery, massive recreational effort, or simply cyclical stock fluctuations. "It's those fuckin' draggers."

I'm already bracing myself for the veritable shit storm that will ensue as a result of this post. However, quite frankly - I don't care. I'm not expecting to have a logical dialogue on here. Wesley, I enjoy your work; you do a good job.

Oh, and another little known fact: by catch doesn't exist on boats 58' and under.

Trawlers are the biggest boats engaged in fishing the North Pacific. They're also the easiest target for blame when fish stock levels fluctuate. "Blame the fuckin' draggers!".

Anonymous said...

The trawl fleet for pollock is a $2 billion industry in the Bering Sea. It has a bycatch harvest hard cap of 62,000 kings and an effective soft cap of 47,000 kings.

In the Gulf of Alaska, the pollock fleets are a $20 million industry with a bycatch harvest hard cap of 25,000 kings.

The Gulf of Alaska pollock fishery is 1/100th of the size of the Bering Sea pollock fishery, yet uses 1/2 times as many kings.

That is the true shit storm - an open harvest system in the Gulf of Alaska with no real method to effectively reduce bycatch of kings while harvesting pollock.

Anonymous said...

Gulf rationalization is the answer. CDQs don't fish they just collect royalty checks. Catcher vessels that deliver to inshore plants kill most of the salmon. Hatchery chums and pinks are killing off the wild salmon stocks.

Anonymous said...


Jake E said...

November 11, 2012 4:19 AM...

Yes, I agree with you. I think that rationalization of the Gulf has the true potential to create accountability throughout most members of the trawl fleet.

Trawlers have the tools and technology to mitigate salmon bycatch; now what we need is accountability.

Thanks for keeping this somewhat (with a few exceptions) intelligent.