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KRSA distracts from real issues

Posted: November 26, 2013 - 4:29pm

The Kenai River Sportfishing Association is currently pursuing an aggressive campaign to “Save our Kenai Kings.” Perhaps you have heard their radio ads or seen their networking on social media. KRSA is using an interesting deception here. They seek to drive people to their website so that they can sign up to “Save our Kenai Kings.” But, when you get to the website, you are funneled into sending the Board of Fish your comments in support of KRSA’s favorite board proposals. 

Interestingly enough, the board proposals you may support for the purpose of “Saving our Kenai Kings” will actually serve to “Save our Kenai River Guides” rather than the stressed kings. The proposals do nothing to address habitat issues in the Kenai River, which are critical to resolving the king problem. 

I believe that the KRSA attempt to “Save our Kings” is a calculated distraction from the “Big Truths,” because the following are not mentioned in their deceptive appeal to “Save our Kings”: 

1. Thirty-five years of heavy boat traffic have caused big wakes that constantly erode the riverbank and add to turbidity, thus degrading the spawning environment for Kenai kings. The accompanying engine noise, turbulence and exhaust a foot above a spawning bed cannot provide much comfort to king salmon who might like to spawn in peace. 

2. Thirty-five years of overfishing on spawning beds.  Up to 600 boats per day seek “the big one” in the summer. 

3. Thirty-five years of thousands of hooks per day clawing through spawing beds. 

4. Thirty-five years of targeting “the big one” have left a population of small kings. For the most part, “the big ones” are gone. 

There are other issues that KRSA leaves out of their campaign to Save the Kenai Kings. Catch and release mortality is a huge one. There is currently no sanctuary for kings, no place that they can spawn in comfort. Why not provide this?  

The issues KRSA wants you to support on their website are self serving, short sighted and a real distraction from what many believe to be the issues of priority for really improving the habitat degredations in the river, and thus really saving the Kenai king. 

Frank Mullen

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Seafarer 11/28/13 - 01:25 pm
On The Money

I'll help in getting this word out. I am so sick of the KRSA thinking they (He being Bob Penney) own the river. I am so tired of allocation issues, year after year after year. I am weary and it needs to end.

Too much in-river effort is the problem, exactly as you describe. Too many guides. Too much ego. Too many hooks.

Delaney 12/04/13 - 05:34 pm
Mr. Mullen’s “Big Truths” are

Mr. Mullen’s “Big Truths” are little more than the talking points from the UCIDA Board of Fish playbook. There is precious little real science to support statements like, “king salmon who might like to spawn in peace”. It is hard to know what to think when a member of UCIDA publicly makes the claim that there has been thirty-five years of overfishing of late-run king salmon when UCIDA is, at-the-same-time, claiming that, “the escapement goal for late-run Kenai River King Salmon has never been missed”. I am still trying to picture those thousands of 5/0 hooks, “clawing through spawning beds”. In spite of what UCIDA claims, mortality from catch and release in areas of the Inlet where it is not already addressed in management plans, is not substantial. The Department of Fish and Game will be giving a report on this subject at both the Lower and Upper Cook Inlet meetings of the Board of Fish, go listen to the science.

What there is substantial science to support is that the recent total runs of Kenai River late-run king salmon have been the smallest on record and that in an effort to manage around these small numbers every major fishery that takes place in the Central District of Upper Cook Inlet or the rivers and streams that flow into it have been dramatically affected. 2014 promises to be more of the same.

For those who wish to look at the three proposals that KRSA has submitted to address management of late-run king salmon especially during these times of record low numbers, the proposals, with brief supporting narrative, are included below.

PROPOSAL 207 - 5 AAC 21.359. Kenai River Late-Run King Salmon Management Plan. Establish an optimal escapement goal (OEG) of 20,000-40,000 Kenai River late-run king salmon, as follows:
Establish an Optimum Escapement Goal (OEG) of 20,000-40,000. The proposed goal includes the department's model-derived estimates of MSY and MSP and thus recognizes both the commercial and sport fishery significance of Kenai kings. A voiding very low escapements under 20,000 pr ovides a precautionary reduction relative to the lowest historical escapement where returns have been estimated. The proposed upper goal of 40,000 includes the historical average escapement and maintains high production and yield according the Department's recent escapement goal analysis.

PROPOSAL 209 - 5 AAC 21.359. Kenai River Late-Run King Salmon Management Plan. Establish paired restrictions in sport, personal use, and commercial fisheries to meet sustainable escapement goal (SEG) and modify sport fishing liberalizations when goal is projected to be exceeded, as follows:
Incorporate provisions in the Kenai Late-Run Kenai King Salmon Management plan to:
• Pair restrictions in the sport, personal use, and commercial fisheries when necessary to meet the established escapement goal.
• Clarify sport fishing alternatives when the sustainable escapement goal is projected to be exceeded.

PROPOSAL 211 - 5 AAC 21.359. Kenai River Late-Run King Salmon Management Plan. Establish certain set gillnet gear restrictions implemented by department to meet escapement goal, as follows:
Add a provision to the Kenai late-run king salmon management plan allowing the department to adopt gear restrictions they deem appropriate to provide fishing opportunity while also meeting established escapement goals:
The department may also restrict the limit of set gillnet gear two set gillnets that are not more than 70 fathoms in aggregate length; one gillnet that is not more than 35 fathoms in length; of set gillnets that are not more than 29 meshes in depth, when restrictions are deemed necessary based on projected escapement of king salmon in order to meet escapement goals identified in 5 AAC 21.359(b).

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