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Humpy invasion

 

pink salmon

The aptly named “humpback salmon” in its spawning glory/John R. McMillan, NOAA photo

While West Coast Americans – Alaskans among them – worry and fret about farmed Atlantic salmon escaping to invade the Pacific Ocean  despite decades of failed stocking efforts aimed at helping them do so, the Norwegians, Scots and other Europeans are facing a real and significant problem with an invasive Pacific salmon – the ubiquitous Alaska humpy.

 

The smallest of the Pacific salmon, the humpy – or pink salmon – is by far the most common species in the 49th state. Of the 224.6 million salmon caught in Alaska last year, 63 percent, some 114.6 million, were pinks, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. 

And Northern Europeans are now worried the highly adaptable and voracious humpy could become a common species in their coastal waters.

Blame the Russians.

They brought pinks from Sakhalin Island in the Pacific Ocean to the White Sea in northwest Russia in late 1950s and stocked them with hopes of creating new salmon runs, writes Odd Terje Sandlund at the website of the NTNU University Museum in Trondheim, Norway.

As with efforts to stock Atlantic salmon in the Pacific – efforts which date back to the early 1900s – the first Russian attempts with pinks were met with the same results: fail, fail, fail.

From 1958 through 1984, Sandlund writes, “the Russian aim of establishing self-sustaining pink populations in White Sea rivers did not succeed. During these years, almost all returning adult pink salmon to both Russian and Norwegian waters were the result of the Russian stocking program, with very few cases of natural reproduction.”

The Russians, however, didn’t give up.

“Further introductions in 1985, 1989 and 1998, based on fish from further north in the Russian Pacific, resulted in the establishment in Russian rivers of quite abundant odd-year stocks and less abundant even-year stocks,” Sandlund reports. “The subsequent appearance of pink salmon in Norwegian waters is a result of natural reproduction in Russian rivers in the White Sea area. Eventually, self-propagating odd-year populations of pink salmon were also established in rivers in eastern Finnmark.”

The successful Russian fish came from the Sea of Okhotsk on the western side of the Bering Sea from Alaska. Early summer spawners, they proved well suited to the White Sea, according to the International Council for Exploration of the Seas (ICES.)

These humpies have since spread as far south as England, Scotland, and Ireland, and swum through the North Sea into the Baltic Sea to invade Sweden and Finland.

A  “single pink salmon egg-transfer from an odd-year population resulted in the establishment of local self-reproducing populations in the White Sea rivers of Murmansk and Archangelsk regions of Russia with the adult returns fluctuating between 60,000 to 700,000 fish during the period 1989 through 2009,” according to a white paper prepared by an ICES working group five years ago.

At that time, humpies were reported to have also established themselves in 11 rivers in northern Norway, but they were clearly not done with their colonization. The fish began showing up in streams all over Northern Europe last year.

“There was a formidable invasion in rivers all along the Norwegian coast with more than 11,000 pink salmon being caught or observed in 272 rivers,” Sandlund wrote. “Spawning was observed in many rivers along the coast. This last winter, fertilized eggs, fry with partly absorbed yolk sac, and fry in the process of smoltification, have been collected as far south as Bergen, and they have also been caught throughout northwestern Europe.”

This is not good news for Atlantic salmon which the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has on its “red list” as “vulnerable, ” a ranking between “near threatened” and “endangered.” 

Colonials

Alaskans are well familiar with the roaming instincts of humpies. Since a serious ocean-ranching program began in Prince William Sound in the late 1970s, hatchery salmon produced there have strayed into most of the streams on most of the many islands and the mainland in that 15,000 square mile area.

“The level of hatchery salmon strays in many areas of PWS are beyond all proposed thresholds (2–10 percent), which confounds wild salmon escapement goals and may harm the productivity, genetic diversity and fitness of wild salmon in this region,” state fisheries biologists warned in a 2012 paper published in Environmental Biology of Fishes. 

Last year, PWS hatchery fish started showing up in significant numbers in the streams of Kachemak Bay and lower Cook Inlet to the north of the Sound, but given that pinks are native to Alaska waters, there has been little concern expressed but for a few citizen activists and, of late, the Kenai River Sportfishing Association and some other non-commercial fishing interests.

They have asked for a Board of Fisheries review of plans to add more hatchery pink salmon to the Sound. Commissioner of Fish and Game Sam Cotten, a former commercial fisherman whose sons now make money fishing pinks, ruled the request unfounded.

“From the beginning of Alaska’s salmon fishery enhancement program, it was recognized that salmon stray and that hatchery stocks would stray,” he wrote in defending his position.

The state’s “regional planning teams” for hatcheries have already discussed the issue, Cotten said, and “furthermore, while there were relatively high numbers of PWS hatchery-produced salmon found in several recent sampling events in lower Cook Inlet streams, not enough information is currently available to determine whether their presence threatens a fish or game resource.”

The Norwegians – faced with an invasion by a non-native species – take the straying of pink salmon differently. At the moment, they are encouraging Norwegian fishermen to catch every pink salmon they can and studying how they might kill pink eggs and alevins in river gravels.

As Sandlund notes, Norway is faced with what is likely to be a continuing problem because of the Russian created “pool of potential invaders in the Barents Sea and the North Atlantic. The history of pink salmon in this region has demonstrated quite poor homing to the river where they were hatched.”

The full concerns for the North Atlantic are unknown, and Norwegian fears have so far focused on rivers and streams where the fish compete with native Atlantic salmon and trout for room on the spawning grounds and might compete for food.

Pinks are “aggressive on the spawning grounds and may stress and chase away the native spawners,” Sandlund wrote. “All pink salmon die after spawning, and whilst their decaying carcasses may contribute to fertilizing the river and cause increased production, it may also cause unfavourable oxygen conditions for the incubating eggs and alter entire ecosystems in unpredictable ways.”

Pink salmon fry are usually quick to exit the spawning streams, which should minimize food competition with other fish, Sandlund said, but “Russian scientists claim that pink salmon fry may remain in the river for longer periods, up to weeks, and that high densities of pink salmon fry do have a substantial negative effect on the density of Atlantic salmon juveniles.”

Problems at sea?

Europeans have yet to determine whether the pink-salmon boom of 2017 was an oddity or a warning of more to come, and thus the potential for significant ecological changes brought by the introduction of a new species are hardly worth discussion in Europe at this time.

U.S. researchers Gregory Ruggerone and Jennifer Nielsen have, however,  warned of the “competitive dominance” of pink salmon in the ocean environment.

When they looked at a broad range of salmon studies in the early 2000s, they found that the “research consistently indicated that pink salmon significantly altered prey abundance of other salmon species (e.g., zooplankton, squid), leading to altered diet, reduced total prey consumption and growth, delayed maturation, and reduced survival, depending on species and locale.”

In a paper published in Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries, they warned “that pink salmon may be the dominant competitor among salmon in marine waters.”

In Scandinavia and the countries of the United Kingdom, where Atlantic salmon are already struggling to maintain themselves,  that could be a major concern. In Alaska, where salmon populations in general have grown significantly since ocean waters in the North Pacific warmed around the start of the 1980s, food competition between salmon has not as yet attracted much discussion.

Hillstrand, a Homer-area woman whose family has been in the commercial fishing business for decades, said her efforts to try to get state officials to even talk about the possibilities of competition between salmon species and the risks of straying fish have been dismissed.

The regional planning teams (RPT) that Cotten promoted as the hatchery pink-salmon watchdog wouldn’t even consider the inter-regional straying of PWS hatchery pinks into Cook Inlet, she said.

Hillstrand provided emails showing she asked to have the topic added to the agendas of both the PWS RPT and the Cook Inlet RPT. It made neither. Her efforts to find out exactly what sort of hatchery reviews the RPTs have undertaken also proved difficult, she added.

“Unless a member of the public physically attends these meetings, this ‘open public process’ originally designed to disseminate information to the interested public so they can understand, comment or take action, is essentially a closed process with only the aquaculture boards and the processors present with access to the documents under review,” she said in an email.

All of the latter entities are primarily interested in producing more pink salmon in Alaska. The processors are on record saying they would like to see a harvest of 70 million humpies per year from the Sound alone – up from the 33- to 56-million per year now.

Alaska officials, unlike those in Norway, do not seem at all concerned about any possible downside to increased  numbers of humpies. Hillstrand was concerned about it enough, however, to take three days of her time and, at a cost of $1,200, make a trip to Cordova where she stayed for two days to attend the Prince William Sound RPT meeting earlier this year.

“I was allowed 5 minutes to speak…,” she said. “I brought up the straying issue we were having in Cook Inlet and explained why this needed to be addressed. Not a word was mentioned about this issue during the meeting.

“There were no other members of the public present, and no one else spoke.

“Later, I was talking to a lady member of the Chamber of Commerce who was sitting with Sam Rabung (of Fish and Game) in a bar. She mentioned the RPT members told her that ‘some lady’ had been to the meeting ‘causing trouble.”’

Hillstrand confessed to being the lady, but said she wasn’t and isn’t trying to cause trouble.

She went to Cordova, she said, “in hopes this would be an agenda item taken seriously by the powers designed to comprehensively plan our Alaska salmon resources with a wild fish priority.”

Hillstrand believes the process for protecting wild salmon in Alaska is broken.  Sound fishermen making money off hatchery fish think otherwise. Aside from a few state biologists who talk quietly about “density dependent” population problems, state officials seem unconcerned.

They are more worried about a possible invasion of Atlantic salmon, not a hint of which has ever happened in Alaska.

“Our concern is that Atlantic salmon could compete with native salmon and trout for spawning and rearing habitat,” the state of Alaska warns, echoing the fears Norway has about pink salmon. “Juvenile Atlantic salmon are notably more aggressive than Pacific salmon; this characteristic could enable them to outcompete Pacific salmon for food, but may also force native salmon off their natal rearing habitat.”

So far, Alaska; British Columbia, Canada; and the rest of the U.S. West Coast has been blessed by the fact Atlantic salmon have proven incapable of successfully colonizing the Pacific. The Norwegians can only wish they were so lucky with humpies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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31 replies »

  1. By the way: The author of this blog, states that Nancy Hillstrand spent $1,200 in expenses, to attend and make public omment at the PWS RPT Zmtg? What does she want, a brownie button?
    Give me a break! Guess how much time, energy and money, I have spent, in expenses going to BOF, RPT and NPFMC meetings in Fairbanks, Anchorage, Valdez, Cordova and Seattle, since 1980.
    I also do not own numerous corporations based out of Homer and have a vessel, that is featured on the highly successful reality show “deadliest catch”.
    Thank you Nancy for your donation to the Cordova community, I am sure you can afford it.

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  2. Somehow the United Planet Federation authorized the release of a planet terra-forming agent that Spock was consumed by and reborn.Why can’t that happen here?

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  3. James M: I hope you are correct when you say Alaska salmon will not be included in the China increased tariffs. Can you direct us to a reliable source for this statement? From all I have read, Alaska fish exported to China will be so charged. Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hal Bernton (Seattle Times (6/15/18), quotes article from SeafoodNews.com, concerning what Alaskan seafood products will be affected by Chinese tariffs, on July 6th.
      Yes, it does mention sockeye and pink salmon, though there is a caveat. Seafood product, that is reprocessed in China, then exported, will be excluded from tariffs. China purchased mostly frozen pink and chum from Alaska, last 5 years, not so much sockeye. The frozen product is taken to a Chinese factory, where North Korean laborers work 12 hour shifts, pulling pin bones, by hand, out of salmon fillets. $1 per day wage.
      The Chinese buy ie: $1 million worth of pink and chum, convert into value added product (salmon burgers sold in Costco), make 3 million on their investment. Multiple that by 5-10 billion. The Chinese are making too much money on our less expensive salmon products.
      Another case in point:
      Remember, when US & EU put economic sanctions on Russia (think Crimea)? Before that happened, Alaska had been exporting salmon roe to Russia, after the sanctions were put in place, the Chinese seafood companies stepped in, purchased the roe. When the transport vessel was passed the US territorial line, the ship was then issued new orders, diverted to seaports on the Kamchatka Peninsula, roe still ended up in the hands of the Russian importers. The Chinese companies, paid less for roe from US processors and charged Russians higher price. They are better at business than we are. This roe business is still going on. China never signed onto the sanctions. A whole lot of good that did, we got less dollars for our roe, and China made a butt load of money. And we think we are going to win the “Trade War”?This $50 billion in tariffs, our President last is putting in place, first week in July, drop in the bucket, where China is concerned. They will ship their products somewhere else. We need them more than they need us. Who else will buy all of our junk Treasury bonds?
      The joke is on the US blue collar worker, who always takes it up the rear, when the politicians make nonsensical decisions.

      Liked by 1 person

      • James: I pulled up the Seattle Times Article you referenced and it does NOT say that seafood purchased by China for reprocessing will not be subject to the tariff. In fact it quotes Sackton, editor for the Seafood News, who indicated that these products would be subject to the tariffs, “they (China) were quite explicit in how this was going to work”.
        Seafood reps from Seattle said they were uncertain whether the tariffs would apply but made it clear that if they did it would be a very serious and damaging thing. So at the very best it seems unknown at this time whether the tariffs will apply, but if the source of your post, Sackton is correct they will indeed apply.

        Liked by 1 person

    • TFC,
      Oh, I forgot add Pollock (think Trident Seafoods). Lots of Pollock going to China. Reprocessed in Chinese factories, comes back as the fast food giant’s filet of fish, that our President loves to eat. Supposedly he scarfs down 2-3 at a time. Frozen Pollock, mashed all up, add a few things ingredients, comes back as a frozen square patty. Fits right on the Mickey D’s bun. Gotta love it, no tariffs on that product, China makes way too much money on that.
      There are ways around our imposed tariffs, and they will, impact middle America, the most. American blue collar worker will end up paying more and supposed trade war will not achieve what it is intended to do. Reduce our trade deficit. Guess what? Tariffs will not reduce our trade imbalance, you can bet on it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • James: I understand that you are standing by your word. And that is your right. But, I still would like to get any reliable source that supports your statement. So far the only one you referenced did just the opposite. Are there others you are aware of? If so I really would like to access them, as I am sure would others. Thanks

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Bill,
    You gotta love the start of that 2012 study you quote:
    “The straying of hatchery stocks into wild stock streams may harm the health”.
    That is the key word “may”, which means they have no factual scientific proof, that any harm is done. It is a guess, and not worthy of my time, to dispute this.
    It actually means they cannot prove, that any harm at all to wild stocks is occurring, with the introduction of hatchery stocks into natal streams.
    Also, they throw in errors of management of returns. Oh, that is real rocket science. Was this the study, that the state used to caution Pwsac and the straying of chums in PWS? Totally been discredited!
    That BOF mtg, scheduled for July 17th, to take up the emergency petition by the KRSA, trying to prove scientific facts, should be interesting. Let all the fish pundits weigh in. What a load of horse shit!

    Liked by 1 person

    • James, I didn’t post that as some scientific study showing straying is a problem, just that it could be a problem. You keep saying it isn’t-not that it may not be, either. If you, in your biased opinion, think that’s the case and don’t also have your own studies to back it up just say so. Nothing wrong with an opinion, even a biased one, but you have to admit that it was pretty hard to swallow the tobacco industries telling us for years that there was no harm in smoking.
      You are certainly the expert authority on your opinion but, like I said before if you have some reason, other than it pays your bills, please give us your information (I suspect you have none). If you could dispute it, you would-that is just BS about not being worthy of your time. Are saying this study was discredited or are you asking if it’s the same (I have no idea of what study the State used to discredit anything).
      It’s a reasonable question, in my opinion and I have no horse in the race. Frankly, I can see nothing good coming from the amount of straying that’s occurring in PWS hatchery fish-you think there is no problem. Reasonable people can certainly disagree but no reason to get upset unless you are not that convinced of your position IMO.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Bill,
        I am not upset, I only believe it is a waste of time and money, for the BOF, to have a mtg, to make a decision on an emergency petition, that has no factual science behind it.
        It is a political football, and the KRSA, the author of this blog and other so called fish pundits are kicking down the field, hoping for a goal. That is my point.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well James, you may be right that there is no science behind the idea of all those pinks eating the food that is available in the ocean but what I’m talking about is “straying.”
        You say it doesn’t matter but you haven’t given a sliver of information to back your position up. While you may, in fact, believe your position you surely have to know that nobody else does. Just the fact that all that straying makes it virtually impossible to determine the amount of wild fish returning to those streams. You call that rocket science and laugh it off but its a real problem IMO. I hope that you are not going to suggest that those strays are not going to spawn with those native fish (and disrupt their genetics).
        Anyway, back to folks concerned with increased pink releases without the knowledge that there is no problem. Frankly, they have a point that is not at all unreasonable. With all the sockeyes returning in the neighborhood of 4 lbs, I would think you might be on board with a look into why that is. When you find yourself in a hole-the first thing is you stop digging. And that’s what these guys want-State to stop allowing the increased releases until such time as there is information that shows there is no problem.
        You aren’t producing such information, just your biased opinions.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Scientific reports cited in the KRSA emergency petition regarding the impacts of increased food competition and hatchery straying on wild salmon and other species in the North Pacific Ocean.

      a. “Numbers and Biomass of Natural- and Hatchery-Origin Pink Salmon, Chum Salmon, and Sockeye Salmon in the North Pacific Ocean, 1925-2015” Gregory T. Ruggerone and James R. Irvine 2018.
      b. “Population Viability Improves Following Termination of Coho Salmon Hatchery Releases” Kim K. Jones, Trevan J. Cornwell, Daniel L. Bottom, Staci Stein, and Kara J. Anlauf-Dunn 2018.
      c. “Transhemispheric Ecosystem Disservices of Pink Salmon in a Pacific Ocean Macrosystem” Alan M. Singer, Gus B van Vliet, Natalie Bool, Mike Crowley, Peter Fullagar, Mary-Anne Lea, Ross Monash, Cassandra Price, Caitlin Vertifan, and Eric J. Woehler 2018.
      d. “Pink Salmon Induce a Trophic Cascade in Plankton Populations in Southern Bering Sea and Around the Aleutian Islands” Sonia Batten, Greg Ruggerone and Ivonne Ortiz 2018.
      e. “Effects of Climate and Competition for Offshore Prey on Growth, Survival, and Reproduction Potential of Coho Salmon in Southeast Alaska” Leon D. Shaul and Harold J. Geiger 2016.
      f. “Changes in Body Size of Canadian Pacific Salmon over Six Decades” Kyla M Jeffrey, Isabelle M. Cote, James R. Irvine, and John D. Reynolds 2016.
      g. “Changes in Size and Age of Chinook Salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha Returning to Alaska” Bert Lewis, W. Steward Grant, Richard E. Brenner, and Toshihide Hamazaki 2015.
      h. “Alaska Department of Fish and Game Internal Review of Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corporation” Bert Lewis, Jeremy Botz, Steve Moffitt, Glenn Hollowell, Dan Gray, Jeff Regnart, Sean Palmer, Craig Farrington, and Bruce White 2009.
      i. “Diet Overlap and Potential Feeding Competition Between Yukon River Chum Salmon and Hatchery Salmon in the Gulf of Alaska in Summer” Katherine W. Myers, Robert V. Walker, Nancy D. Davis, and Janet L Armstrong 2004.
      j. “Feeding Ecology of Pacific Salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) in the Central North Pacific Ocean and Central Bering Sea, 1991-2000” Nancy Davis 2003.
      k. “Evaluating Alaska’s Ocean-Ranching Salmon Hatcheries: Biologic and Management Issues” Environment and Natural Resources Institute, UAA 2001.
      l. “Trophic Feedback and Carrying Capacity of Pacific Salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) on the High Seas of the Gulf of Alaska” Kerim Y. Aydin 2000.

      To state that KRSA, the nine other Alaska outdoor sporting groups, and ten other concerned citizens from Homer, which includes commercial set netters, drifters and seafood processors, as well as water taxi operators and sport anglers, did not cite scientific evidence as it relates to the concerns for increasing industrial levels of hatchery pink salmon production in Prince William Sound is simply not accurate.

      The reports show an inverse relationship between even and odd years in terms of high and low pink salmon abundance and abundance of prey, such as plankton, in the North Pacific Ocean. There are as many salmon in the ocean feeding grounds than anytime in the last hundred years. One third of those fish are hatchery salmon. Data analysis shows all species of salmon across Alaska over the past fifteen years have shown a decrease in size by 10 to 20 percent, and early overall age at maturity. This is not a statewide “over” escapement issue, this is not statewide selective harvest of large fish issue, this is not a statewide oh the Orca whales or salmon sharks are eating all the big salmon issue – this is a food competition issue in the ocean and there is solid scientific evidence to support it.

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      • Okay, Ricky that works!
        Send it all in again, with all of the KRSA and other concerned stakeholder’s public comments, by 7/19,
        since no public comment or testimony will be heard, at the 7/19 BOF mtg.
        May the best Pacific salmon win!
        Wow, it is amazing to me, that the lowly pink, on the bottom of the five species of Pacific Salmon could cause such havoc. Who would have known?

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  5. Thanks Nancy, you wear many hats, but the main hat you wear is to protect Alaskan wild resources.
    If pink salmon were not enhanced by hatchery production, would it still be the most abundant fish caught by the commercial fleet?

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    • Pinks have always had large numbers even when only wild pinks were available. They (pinks) were exclusively marketed in cans with British the big user and prices tended to stay high as long as only 40-50 million were caught (after that the price dropped quickly).
      Anyway, to answer your question Al, SE pinks always tended to dominate with every other year a big one for pinks. Nowadays, were hatchery pinks removed, it may well be that hatchery chums would be the most abundant fish commercially caught. Extremely large years of BB reds can boost red catches, of course, and tend to dominate other salmon numbers (except for pinks).

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      • So how does the math work out Bill? a person who fishes less time/effort/overhead makes x amount of dollars per pound. But if he/she spends more time/effort/overhead to catch more fish at a very reduced price per pound. where is the break point to make? Time/effort/overhead vs. price per pound?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well Al, the answer you want will depend on how the fishing occurs IMO. In general, wild salmon fishing, can be in terminal harvest areas or not (some interception fishing still occurs).
        The hatchery fishing for pinks (in PWS) tends to be very energy efficient as very little effort is expended and often those seiners are put on limits due to processing limits. The old pink fishing that took place before hatcheries was entirely different and the permit values showed that difference. The old seiners tended to be family-run operations that were nothing like that fishery, today.
        Alaska F & G has tended to gear its fisheries towards terminal harvest areas but as I said there are still interception fisheries that have been difficult to change. Troll fishery in SE is one and False Pass gillnet and seine is another.
        Basically, your question is a hard one to answer and probably has different answers for different fisheries.

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      • Bill even at a terminal fishery there are fixed costs for that year. Fuel, maintenance, wages ect. I assume there is a price quoted based on supply/demand, the market. I will also assume a fisherman only want to fish the least amount of days to make the best profit, for pounds of fish harvested. At some point, the boat is still catching fish, but the price per pound is only breaking even, or is losing money.
        Can the commercial fleet make any kind of money (beside wages), if as stated in the article, harvesting 70 million pinks?
        Doesn’t seem realistic to me. If i have to fish twice as long to make the same money.

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      • You have stated the reasons those PWS hatchery fisheries are so popular-namely that the profits for the seine fleet tend to be high.
        And price tends to reflect market considerations which makes the latest China Tariffs on US seafood so concerning to the industry (and fishermen). Prices are stated and some fisheries can make money at those prices and presumably some cannot with those often stopping their fishing and going home. However, some fishermen continue fishing, even at a loss, because of the cash flow issues they need to make payments. This was prevalent back in the days of 10 cent chums and when pinks were 3-4 cents/lb.

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      • Chinese tariffs will not include Alaska salmon exports.
        No factual science on any negative impacts to “wild” salmon, by hatchery straying. All PWS hatchery pink salmon stocks, came from natal streams, within PWS. No issue there, does not matter, since pink salmon are notorious strayers. Pink salmon that came back to Eastern PWS are now returning to Western PWS, 100 years later. Natural cycle.
        The amount of pink and chum straying into CI streams, are not enough to worry about. The mountain water runoff on the Kenai Pennisula, besides flowing into CI, also flows into Western PWS. Not an issue, pick something else to gripe about!

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      • James, here is conclusion from a 2012 study: “The straying of hatchery salmon into wild stock streams may harm the health and productivity of wild salmon through ecological and genetic mechanisms, and can hinder management through errors in estimating wild salmon escapement and recruitment potential. Wild salmon will likely experience variable amounts of introgression with hatchery strays due to genetic and life history differences (Utter 2000, 2003) and temporal patterns of straying. Thus, the use of a single threshold proportion of hatchery strays in a stream is unlikely to be useful from a genetic perspective. The consequences of genetic (e.g., loss of genetic diversity and fitness) and ecological (e.g., competition by adults and juveniles in marine and freshwater environments) interactions are unknown. Research into these topics should be of considerable importance for sustaining wild populations in PWS and other regions with large hatchery programs, and a precautionary approach (e.g., Pearsons 2008) should be used to manage hatchery salmon production.”
        That’s from this study, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10641-012-9975-7
        None of that study has a thing to do with water similar to PWS, or only genetics. You can dismiss such studies but you also have to admit that you are biased because of your economical interest in being biased. That’s all well and good but you haven’t produced a single study that supports your opinion, either.
        We’d love to hear your side from some reputable scientists!

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    • The answer to your question Allen is: maybe yes every two years and a definite no the years in between. Maybe yes every two years if the Sockeye numbers were down. Probably no if BB numbers continue as they have recently.
      Bill Y suggests that if Pinks are no longer enhanced that hatchery Chums might harvested the most, but I would like more info before accepting that could happen. Interesting possibility however.
      Another factor might be the return of a robust harvest of Chums from AYK.

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    • Commercial fishers, in PWS, will receive the highest price per lb for pink salmon, since 1988.
      The ex-vessel value, by mostly Alaskan residents, will also multiply by a factor of 4, throughout the many Alaskan municipalities, villages, communities and cities, that surround PWS. Cordova, Valdez, Tatitlek, Chenaga, Whittier, Seward, Homer and even Anchorage, all benefit financially, from this seafood bounty.
      Their are two PWS processors, that have facilities in Anchorage.
      One of the main processors, in Valdez, sells majority of these salmon to China (which will not be part of the tariff war).
      Let them eat pinks! Great subtle flavor, good for the BBQ and plenty of opportunity for all fish user groups, to get involved.
      Anyone been to “Winnebago point” in Valdez from July-Sept?
      Lots for tourists, lots of fish caught (pink & coho) and lots of dollars left in Valdez. Probably more money in fish tax, that is generated, than any amount from oil.
      We squandered our oil money, get rid of the PDF & balance the budget. Quit whining about hatcheries or the fry that is released. It is good for the financial standing of our state.
      There is also no negative impact, by the straying of pink and chum salmon on any Alaskan salmon stream or river. Get over it!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Glad to hear price of pinks are not only high but that they will not be subject to China tariffs. How did you hear of that tariff information?
        Also, while you may indeed be correct about “no negative impact on any Alaskan salmon stream or river” but what about the impact of large hatchery fish inundating the natural genetics of the wild salmon natural to those streams and rivers. In other words, if those wild stocks are lost are you suggesting this is not a negative impact??

        Liked by 1 person

  6. The arrogance of Commissioner Cotten is striking. The BOF made a big mistake in delegating their responsibility to determine whether an emaergency exists when a petition is filed alleging one, is catching up with them. Thank goodness two members decided that this petition needed a hearing. Even then the Commissioner and his hired hand, the Excutive director of the BOF, tried to set the hearing during the 4th of July week when they knew that at least one member of the Board who might be favorable to the petition would not be available. And that just about every member of the public would have already made holiday plans.
    Thankfully, Walker who is in the pocket of the commercial sector fishers, will regret his bias come November. And Cotten, who has a family, including his father in law, that has a bias against sport and PU fishing, will find himself out of work. My hat is also off to Hillstrand. And speaking of hats, it’s also time to hand Walker and Cotten theirs and show them the door.

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  7. She should have a spot on board of fish. Her only concern is for wild stocks and habitat. That would shake things up a bit.

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