Homer Alaska - Letters

Story last updated at 3:38 PM on Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Can king counter be trusted?

I find it difficult to accept the whining from setnetters about their perceived fiscal peril this year. Last year about 400 halibut charter captains had their livelihoods ruined when NOAA/NMFS eliminated about a third of the charter fleet. That makes for more than just a bad year more like a change in career paths. I havent heard of any charter businesses calling for disaster relief or bailouts from the government.

I do, however, support the setnetters discontent with the Alaska Department of Fish and Games decision to shut down their season based on ADF&Gs chinook return estimates of a dismal year. As of 25 July, ADF&G guestimates that 9,082 chinook passed their counters compared to 13,241 in 2010 and 16,616 in 2011. That puts 2012 at 61 percent of the average return for the past two years not really dismal.

According to ADF&G, the chinook numbers dropped significantly after 2009. Note that in 2010, ADF&G started using their newfangled DIDSON sonar system and hark, we now have a guestimated drastic decline in the chinook numbers.

Maybe what were experiencing is not declining numbers in the chinook return but the result of ADF&G buying into an expensive and possibly bogus new sonar system.

John Kuklis