Sunday, December 30, 2012

Chinook salmon catch a break

Deckboss was reviewing a recent federal fisheries report and found a very interesting chart (below) on Chinook salmon bycatch in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands trawl fisheries.

As you can see, it shows bycatch has been much reduced in recent seasons. Use the tools in the lower right corner to enlarge the chart.


Anonymous said...

"There are lies, damned lies, and then there are statistics." Mark Twain.

The chart is analogous to saying hunters are killing far fewer passenger pigeons today. Probably an extremely large harvest preceeded their demise.

The chart illustrates increasing, unsustainable bycatch, followed by a population crash. One that will be felt at the polls next election if the Kenai remains in the dumpster.

Anonymous said...

A long time ago when I was on the AP to the NPFMC and when I worked for AMCC I tried to make sense of trawl by-catch figures. The previous post pulled the best quote and described the situation better than I could ever articulate.
Basically, to me, you have to have better control of your trawl fisheries if you are going to sustain any semblance of an ecosystem that will support the halibut and salmon abundance we value so much.

Anonymous said...

...... and we have proven that any resource subject to a federal management regime complete with all the associated personal agendas and political trappings is a resource doomed to a fate of certain decline.

Anonymous said...

if we did the same bar graph for the seine and gill net fleets bycatch of king salmon here in southeast,it would pretty much follow the same lines.also put this same bar graph next to a decline of the king salmon on the yukon river and you will probably find that they mirror each other.the only reason the bycatch of king salmon is declining is because they have been allowed to be descemated by big money influence on the managers of our fisheries by the seine and gill net lobby's here in southeat and also the trawl and drag lobby's up north!now enter the kinai sport fish lobby,this should be interesting?

Anonymous said...

Deckboss, why is it that you keep fanning the flames of the Chinook salmon bycatch controversy, instead of looking at all bycatch issues? We have heard over and over again on this blog that (1) chinook salmon is much less than it used to be, and (2) many commenters say that's because the AFA trawlers already caught them all. So this is not news at all.

But look at the pretty pictures in the document provided from your web link - there are other stories to investigate.

Crabbers take note: Over 420,000 opilio crab caught in the yellowfin sole and flatfish fisheries! Over 330,000 bairdi in the YFS and flatfish fisheries! Over 26,000 red king crab in these fisheries, more than 99% of the total bycatch!

Really, the H&G Amendment 80 trawlers ought to cut a check to the crab IFQ owners for their continued devastation. It wasn't that long ago that we had much larger crab quotas. Those damn bottom draggers keep messing us up.

Anonymous said...

Chinook Salmon Rules. More Alaskans have access to the resource then the opilio or king crab industry.

Thank Wes for your great coverage of all things fisheries related, even the CDQs!

Anonymous said...

Back in the shelikov JV's there were codends with over 100 dead sea lions. Now there is no sea lion bycatch.

Did the fleet get better or did they kill off the bycatch species???

Who plays Dean on the Dean Martin show?

Anonymous said...

Birds flock, fish school, caribou herd up, muskox group, people form towns & cities. at the core it's behavior that ensures reproductive success and less predation. It optimizes the possibilities of genetic combination. Passenger pigeons bred in flocks. Hunting them to the point that they became isolated individuals extinguished their procreation. Salmon have strong schooling instincts
& behavior. By reducing king salmon to scattered individuals and decimated schools their reproductive success ratio declines and exposure to predation increases. A negative feedback loop that is self perpetuating. Getting the numbers back is the key to stability. Fudging statistics to create an artificially low norm for management purposes is delusional.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for keeping the bycatch issues out in the open Wes. Some companion graphs showing subsistence and commercial king harvests on the Yukon would be interesting. The commercial harvest for middle Yukon district 4BC is pretty simple, flat line zero since 1999. Any subsistence harvest effort for 2012 probably averaged 3 fish/household, 20 kings would be the pre 1990 average. Escapement goals not met 4 of last 6 years. Ugly ugly situation!

Anonymous said...

These statistics are fairly easy to comprehend and explain.

First the bycatch numbers are estimates, and wildly inaccurate.

NOAA/NMFS has know for years that their "observers" were harassed and intimidated. Some of these files were finally released, but only with a lawsuit. These reports reveal that harassment and intimidation were widespread and systemic. Second, nobody paid a price for this harassment.

Harass away. Second, many of the bycatch numbers were intentionally skewed by boats with observers fishing areas that they would normally not fish, and this is why the NMFS will not release these numbers to the public.

The fishing boat with the observor altered the fishing methods and caught little bycatch, and then this clean bycatch number was estimated or the whole fleet.

The trawl industry gamed the bycatch system, and only and idiot or someone who has been politically bought off would not see this.

NOAA was blind as long as NOAA Alaska continued to have more and more generous funding. Look at the Taj Mahal they built in Juneau.

Do not assume that the early bycatch numbers are accurate without investigating the data and testing its' veracity and integrity.

What did happen is that as the Observer program and lawsuits by observers to protect themselves in a decidedly hostile work environment began to have its' effect we started to see the "real" bycatch and the rates started increasing at a rapid rate until in 2007 the real bycatch rate became apparent to all including the industry, which often only knows their personal bycatch, but not the rest of the industry.

Panic set in, and today the decrease in bycatch totals are real, but they are still illusionary as these bycatch totals have to be calculated as a percentage of the Chinook runs to get an accurate picture of what is happening.

If the Chinook runs are reduced or become extinct, the bycatch numbers will fall off dramatically as they have done, but the drop in bycatch is predominantly because of the Chinook stock shrinkage, and not the "caring concern of the trawl industry"

The cause of the Chinook run decline, is easy, it was killed years ago, and we are just now feeling the delayed decline.

The trawl industry could have decreased their Chinook bycatch years ago, but did not. Now they want full credit for their bycatch efforts, but no responsibility for their prior actions and the harassment of observers for over a decade now.

These observers are still alive and can give testimony to these facts, but nobody is asking because one of the most interesting graphs is the explosive growth in NOAA/NMFS, that has taken place during this time period, that if the pollock quotas were cut, would eliminate many government positions.

Anonymous said...

the same has been happening here in southeast.for years the seine and gill net fleets have been under reporting the catch of king salmon.a friend worked on tender for the seine fleet and witnessed the dumping of king salmon!the king runs on the taku stikine and chilkat rivers are way below the historical levels!

Anonymous said...

It's never too late to right a wrong. We have to insist on it.

Giving Western Alaska the CDQs did not right the wrong. It just made wrong more wrong. Slap dash fixing does nothing positive in the long run.