Win for AK hatcheries



The tangled web of the North Pacific/Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Before a room packed with commercial fishermen angry they might lose profits from catches of hatchery salmon, the Alaska Board of Fisheries on Tuesday turned back a proposal to cap or roll back the state’s industrial aquaculture business.

The 5-2 vote came after Alaska Department of Fish and Game scientist Bill Templin walked board members through an 84-screen Powerpoint presentation explaining the complexities of salmon genetics and even more so the impenetrable tangle that is the ecosystem of the North Pacific Ocean.

State biologists, Templin said, can’t say what will happen once fish disappear into the big black box of the Pacific, and thus can’t say whether adding ever more hatchery pink salmon to the ocean will harm wild fish. They know there is a limit to the carrying of the marine environment, but they don’t know what the limit.

Neither can they say to what extent hundreds of millions of hatchery pink salmon swarming north out of Prince William Sound on the Alaska Coastal Current and lesser numbers of sockeye smolt flooding west from Cook Inlet compete for food in a huge and ecologically productive mixing zone in the gut of the Gulf of Alaska.

The pertinent question that went unanswered as the meeting ended was voiced by the Board’s Israel Payton, who grew up in the remote Yentna River community of Skwentna.

Noting that the state’s hatchery program was begun in the 1970s to rehabilitate the state’s faltering salmon runs, he wanted to know at what level of hatchery production that rehabilitation would be complete.

Ocean-ranched salmon – or what Alaska commercial fishermen prefer to call “wild-caught” fish in an effort to avoid being cast as fish farmers – have been making up an increasingly larger and larger segment of the annual harvest since the late 1980s.

“Private, no-profit (PNP) hatcheries (now) account for a third of the commercial harvest,” Templin noted. As a result, big money is involved.

An economic mainstay

“In 2017, the commercial fleet caught about 47 million hatchery-produced salmon worth an estimated $331 million in first wholesale value,” according to Alaska Salmon Fisheries Enhancement Annual Report. And 2017 was not the best year for hatcheries.

“Hatchery fish contributed 21 percent of the statewide commercial salmon harvest, which is the lowest percentage of hatchery fish in the harvest since 1995, and due largely to an extraordinary wild stock harvest that was the third highest in Alaska history,” the report said.

The hatchery return for 2018 is expected to be back up in percentage but down in fish in a year in which runs of sockeye salmon, one of the state’s most valuable fish, faltered around the north and east Gulf of Alaska coast.

The Kenai River Sportfishing Association has suggested failing sockeye runs on the Kenai, Copper and other rivers are a sign of wild fish losing out in the competition with the hatchery salmon – primarily pinks – raised in Prince William Sound (PWS).

A study of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill found “all (Copper River) sockeye salmon stocks examined exhibited a downward trend in productivity with increasing PWS hatchery pink salmon returns. While there was considerable variation in sockeye salmon productivity across the low- and mid-range of hatchery returns (0–30 million), productivity was particularly impacted at higher levels of hatchery returns.”

There is no evidence to indicate those hatcheries are influencing Cook Inlet sockeye returns, but there is a correlation between the numbers of pink salmon in the Sound and sockeye in the Inlet.

As the Sound’s, hatchery-boosted pink salmon production has climbed since the 1980s, Cook Inlet production has fallen.

“Commercial harvests of sockeye salmon were about 4.5 million fish in the 1980s, 4.1 million fish in the 1990s, and 3.6 million fish since 2000,” a state study reported in 2006.  The 10-year average is now down to 2.8 million.

Average, 10-year PWS pink salmon returns that historically averaged about 15 million fish per year were boosted to 31 million in the 1990s, climbed to 44 million in the 2000s and have remained near 37 million since.

Several studies have suggested that fast-growing pink salmon, which are evolutionarily designed to spend only a year at sea growing from inch-long fry to 18- to 25-inch fish, enjoy a competitive advantage over other species.

Unknown causes

As Templin noted in his Powerpoint, and as all scientists know, “correlation is not causation.” The interactions between juvenile salmon from the Inlet, the Sound, and to some extent Kodiak Island and Chignik remain an unknown.

But the value of the hatchery fish is well documented, and both commercial fishermen and processors have lobbied hard against any reduction in hatchery stocking efforts. Ageless wonder Sen. Clem Tillion from Halibut Cove, Alaska’s “fisheries czar” under the late Gov. Wally Hickel, was at the hearing to back the hatcheries along with hatchery managers from across the state.

“The hatchery program has been a success,” the 92-year-old Tillion said. “Don’t mess around with what works.

“This idea that we’re over-stressing the North Pacific? What we’re doing is chicken feed.”

He pointed to unknown North Korean hatchery production and high Russian production as the possible cause if the Pacific is over-stressed, although neither country would be involved if the real issue is with near-shore competition in the Alaska Coastal Current running from Southeast Alaska past the Sound around Kodiak and on to the Bering Sea.

Hatchery advocates called the KRSA proposal a thinly veiled attack on commercial fishermen and pointed to more than 1,000 comments to the Board in favor of hatcheries verses less than 100 opposed.

The accusation was a mischaracterization with a grain of truth.

Age-old disagreement

At its root, the Alaska hatchery issue is an argument between technocrats, who think man can improve on anything done by nature, and naturalists, who would prefer to let nature function naturally.

A debate almost identical to the one in Alaska is now raging in Scotland where the only difference is that the salmon in question are farmed in pens instead of being ranched into the seas. As salmon farming has exploded in Scotland, wild Atlantic salmon returns have gone down.

“Pro-aquaculture interests, such as the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organization (SSPO)….contend that “any potential impacts on wild fish are not understood, and the science is particularly lacking for Scotland,” NPR reported. 

While salmon advocates have called for “moratoriums on fish farm expansions until the environmental impacts are better understood,” government reports have not backed that idea,  SSPO General Manager David Sandison told NPR.

A “parliamentary committee is expected to publish its findings (on this issue) sometime this fall, but the release of those findings has already been delayed several times, likely because of the challenge of reconciling environmental and economic interests,” wrote NPR’s Eileen Guo.

The economics have historically tilted these arguments over wild versus farmed in favor of the technocrats.

The buffalo that once roamed the Great Plains the way the salmon still roam the sea are long gone. They were replaced first by free-ranged livestock (the equivalent of hatchery fish) and then by fields of wheat and corn that, in large part, serve to grow cattle in feed lots, the now dominant source of beef. 

An estimated 60 percent of the corn grown in the U.S. is used to feed livestock these days. But there are still places where farmers ranch cows as Alaskans ranch salmon. There is nowhere left in America where anyone hunts bison for sale in the market or, for that matter, hunts ducks or geese or deer or Dall sheep in a country where market hunting once flourished.

It was brought to an end by President Theodore Roosevelt after he was heavily lobbied by sport hunters who witnessed the decimation of moose, caribou and sheep populations for profit.

Alaska was like any other part of the country in that regard more than a century ago.

Roosevelt’s forestry chief, Gifford Pinchot, sent a young forester named William A. Langille to the Kenai Peninsula in 1904 to investigate reports that market hunters were over hunting moose, caribou and Dall sheep populations,” according to a history of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.

Langille recommended creation of the Chugach National Forest, which once “extended from the Copper River on the east to Cook Inlet on the west, to Kachemak Bay on the south, and included all the Chugach Mountains to the north,” according to the history.

“Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, hunters and conservationists continued to press Congress to designate part of this land specifically as a wildlife preserve, without logging, mining and other forms of development. Congress finally recognized these voices, and a second President Roosevelt — FDR — signed the enabling legislation for the Kenai National Moose Range on Dec. 16, 1941, just nine days after Pearl Harbor.”

The damage done to wildlife populations by over hunting was obvious. The fishery issue now facing the state of Alaska is a whole lot more complicated.

Though the Board refused to address it Tuesday, some Board members said later it is obvious there is a need to cap hatchery production at some level, and even most hatchery supporters concede there is a limit to the carrying capacity of the North Pacific.

It remains to be seen whether the Fish Board is willing to address that issue.

Following on the success of the Prince William Aquaculture Association and similar PNP hatcheries in Southeast Alaska and on Kodiak Island, other communities and or regions in Alaska want to jump into the hatchery game.

Hatcheries seem to many fishermen the magic bullet, and opposition in Alaska has so far been muted.

There is a “Stand for Salmon” initiative on the Alaska ballot this fall aimed at sharply restricting, possibly in some cases shutting down, any sort of development to preserve state salmon waters.

But there was no one at the Fish Board meeting on Tuesday Standing for Salmon, or at least Standing for Wild Salmon. The only standing came when Tillion made his plea for continuing hatchery expansion. He got a standing ovation.

To paraphrase Ed Asner in an old, Saturday Night Live skit, you can’t put too many salmon in the ocean.

This story is revised from an earlier version which did not note the debate in Scotland over conflicts between hatchery fish and wild fish.












67 replies »

  1. A time-honored weasel ploy. “We know what we are doing is wrong, but we are going to keep doing the wrong thing until you can prove it’s wrong.” Same thing with smoking on airplanes back in the day. Anyone with half a brain knew it was wrong. But airlines defiantly denied it was wrong until the proof against smoking was overwhelming. Same defiant denial corruption with hatcheries that overload the North Pacific.

    • James, oftentimes the simple solution to a complex problem is wrong.
      You have suggested several times on Craig’s blog that these hatchery pinks are the reason for the common murre collapses of recent. Anyway, the murre population experienced a collapse similar in the Barents Sea back in the winter of 86-87-now in case you don’t know, that area of Northern Atlantic does not have pink salmon so what would you suggest?
      Your “We know what we are doing is wrong” doesn’t pass the smell test here IMO.

  2. Why are the hatcheries raising pinks instead of higher value salmon like kings or reds? If over escapement is a reality for fresh water. Can there not be an equivalent for the ocean?

    • In a nutshell Jeff, its because pinks return so quick and they are easier to raise. That along with the volume makes them extremely economic.

      • Bill, how does that pencil out? Raising pinks does work for a quick buck, but in the long run would not kings pay off in the future with bigger profits?

      • Well Al, my own experience with PWSAC was that they started with pinks (for the quick return) and chums while dabbling with kings and sockeyes and cohos. The pinks were wildly successful and reds were kept separate to disease problems with them. Chums have done reasonably well, too and Main Bay sockeyes have been successful in most years. Only a few kings have ever been raised by them and then only for mostly remote releases for sport fishermen. I just am not privy to their reasonings but as far as I know nobody is raising kings for commercial fishermen (only sportsmen).
        I suspect that any attempt to market red kings from any hatchery recovery would not bring much demand-they only are in demand by sportsmen (heheh) who feel the need to catch them, take a photo and then release them.

  3. Fish and water related. Lots of Lies from advertiser “Stand for Alaska” paid for in part by polluting out of state mines – also obviously oil companies which we need . Easy example, major lie “Ballot measure 1 could prevent vital pipeline maintenance” Tom Barrett . That’s a bald lie becouse ballot measure 1 makes allowance for projects in existence and details are yet to be hammered out . Per the ballot measure one . It’s also a lie because there are two separate permits- one for large projects and one for small projects- such as maintenance or low impact items . That’s how I read it anyway. I think this is very important issue becouse stand for Alaska is not standing for Alaska they are lying and confusing the voters by stretching the truth. Our waters need detailed protection with teeth . This is major concern that can’t just be left to epa or various other entities. Our water is vital resource that needs cared for to assure good stewardship of our land . IMO

    • “That’s a bald lie becouse ballot measure 1 makes allowance for projects in existence and details are yet to be hammered out .”

      When you underline ‘yet to be’ – that, right there is the problem. Yet to be, implies FOREVER to me.

      • Monk ,Please explain your thought? Do you see ballot one good or bad and why ? When I said yet to be hammered out that’s not exact wordage . I put that in . It means there appears to be space left for resonability in ballot one . To make it functional and workable with other laws and practical to work with. Correct me if I’m wrong. I think ballot one is important for . Alaska . Pertinent to our upcoming voting. Thanks

      • Opinion, what I mean is what exactly what you say. There is way too much reliance on what will be ‘hashed out’ in its implementation. Do you really think that our legislative body will do that? Mind you, I’m all for preservation but as it is written, #1 fails because of it’s open ended broadness. Alaska cannot live on salmon alone, that’s too obvious. This, from a former commercial fisherman, retired. I fully believe we must have a mix of well examined development along with preserving what works in our fisheries. In this venue, what works seems to be a contrarian view. Medred only thinly veils his dislike of commercial fishers. On the other hand he unwittingly, in his attempt to appear unbiased, provides great data.

    • All I have, in relation to Stand for Alaska, is that there was numerous opportunities for Legislature to compromise to fix any outstanding issues that are only now being brought up. Not a single effort was made, apparently thinking it would be thrown out by Supreme Court or as a last resort do what it is they are doing now. Complain how it’s not what they would like.
      Tough noogies, I say!

    • Opinion,
      Just remember that Mark Begich is the only one running for governor who supports the “Stand for Salmon” ballot measure , so hopefully he gets some support on November 6th.

    • The permits can be required at any time AFTER a project has been in operation if either the ADF&G Commissioner or any court can determine there has been damage to any flowing waters that salmon spawn in or are connected to any flowing waters salmon can spawn in. Expect a blizzard of lawsuits all alleging ongoing damage to hit state courts.

      Second point: Nobody can point to something the current permitting system missed. Something the State screwed up. Something that kills fish or has killed fish. Where was it? When was it? How many fish got killed? How many runs were damaged?

      If you can’t point to something, and I haven’t seen anything yet, Prop 1 fixes a non-existent problem. It is a heat-seeking missile aimed at every single job here in the state. Cheers –

      • How about all the drilling in cook inlet for oil and gas development??
        Oh, don’t say that in AK….we love the gad industry…they can do NO wrong….frack the hell out of that water…the fish love it!
        Funny how Russians believe 1) fish poaching and 2) oil and gas development are two biggest threats to natural salmon runs, but in the “Colonies” those threats do not even make it on state data sheets?
        We blame the “blob”?
        Seems fishy, no pun intended.

      • Interesting agimarc . I can certainly point to problems for fish . Trout for sure and young salmon . When culverts are improperly installed ( to high ect) they restrict water flow this makes it harder for fish to travel changes the level but what I noticed most is over time the congested water ( stagnant )on one side and lack of water on other side causes different vegetation to grow congesting the creek and eventually stoping flow which reduces salmon , trout ability to reach spawning areas and up stream lakes . Not sure if a state permitting system would help but it might create more accountability. Also like Steve says fracking is a huge concern for our water statewide , ground water , surface water and tidal water . I say because our planet is not replaceable and our ( Alaska’s) economy will more and more as time goes on depend on tourism and fresh clean water it’s imperative we can more easily have direct oversite of our resource development. I’m all for resource development but only if it is responsible and protects the future environment. We are smartest creatures on planet, that gives us the direct responsibility to be good stewards . Does ballot measure one give Alaskans more tools to accomplish this ? I think so .

      • Steve Stine – We’ve been fracing here in Cook Inlet since the first well was drilled over half a century ago. North Slope also. Fracing is an old technique. The recent technological improvement is to frac shale beds. Not a lot of shale in either Cook Inlet or the Slope. If fracing was dangerous to salmon, we would have seen it decades ago. And we haven’t. Cheers –

      • Opinion – Familiar with arguments against culverts. But I have seen nothing tying them to destruction of a salmon run. I fish a lot of culverts and the fish seem to be quite happy above and below them. Still, my question remains. Can anyone, anywhere point to a specific run destroyed by development, point to the number of fish involved, and give a date that it happened.

        Remember, Prop 1 allows new permitting to be levied by either the ADF&G Commissioner or any court ANY time AFTER something is planned, under construction, or complete. I don’t know how that is going to benefit anyone or anything other than the lawyers. Cheers –

    • As i read this ballot measure. From the eyes of a trapper and guide.I see that i will have to comply with this if passed to get trapline cabins and for structures for guide operations. The system now is cumbersome, time consuming, and expensive. There are enough laws and regulations in place to protect habitat. Where were stand for salmon people at the BOF meeting?

      • Good concerns Al . I agree with your concerns. Perhaps some research oriented person can show the true pros and cons of Ballot 1 . That said Leaving the transfer of info to voters by oil and mining companies is unlikely to bring out the truth of what’s needed. It’s clear the Pac “Stand for Alaska” is pushing misinformation for their own purposes. Not good .

      • yeep. kinda of hard to avoid “wetlands” around here. But on another note i have been working with trappers and their frustration with the new trap line cabin permits. when i permitted my cabins it was one page and took a few days and was free to get the permit. Now it is several pages of documents and could take a year and cost alot of money.

      • You can’t be serious Al-you are worried about showing your trapline cabins are not causing grief for anadromous fish?
        You certainly aren’t thinking of filling in wetlands with heavy equipment for your cabins. Now if said wetlands were used by anadromous fish, why would you be thinking such??
        The old dog is reluctant to learn new tricks but you aren’t making any sense, here IMO.

      • Just how i read it Bill. Wetlands as define, includes most of alaska lands. yes my cabins are on as defined wetlands, next to fish streams. They are structures, habitat has been removed and disturbed. Some used to erect cabins and for heat. Not mention all the habitat i cleared for the trails i use.

      • Your concerns may be real if you are talking about crossing anadromous streams-how are you going about it? My guess is you are traveling on ice and no harm done during winter. If you are talking about traveling up anadromous streams in Summer while building said cabins, you could be in trouble. You think you should be able to do what you want, in this case?
        I find it impossible to read into it that trails across wetlands are a problem with fish habitat. Give us your specific reading that is the problem, since you are the one determining its meaning!

      • Bill, i used the language from Ballot 1.Interpretive language, first sentence “potential” to harm fish habitat. 3th sentence,” the act would create “wildlife” habitat-protection standards”. 4th.sentence at the end of it, “and more”. 5th.sentence, “ADF&G would be allowed to apply all law to all habitat.
        So you can see Bill it is not only about fish and fish habitat. I don not know if ADF&G habitat division has policing authority now, but if they don’t, this act would give that also. Not good.

      • You are the expert on your opinion, Al.
        I find your concerns an overreaction to any sort of change. Were anything of the sort actually to happen it would take a New York minute for Legislature (and Governor) to straighten things out. Note: Governor Murkowski’s destroying habitat division some years ago.

      • Bill i don’t want to vote to pass it. Then see what happens or what it really is. I don’t want to wait for a politician to fix something that is not broke now. Vote NO!

      • You, of course, can vote however you like-however my position has been all along that the folks that had legitimate concerns could have fixed those concerns legislatively and replaced the ballot with their law (they didn’t).
        I’m going to cancel out your no vote. Heheh!

      • What is voting Chicago style? Is that getting some dead folks to cast ballots?

  4. What we are seeing in the “AK Fish Ranch Industry” is the State has too much invested through millions and millions of dollars of debt that is lent to various folks who own permits, boats, etc.
    The State has also heavily subsidized the hatcheries and all the civil servants who perdict runs, enforce fisheries, manage data sets, field biologists, etc….that they cannot walk away from this paradigm, hence true “fish farms” are illegal by state statue.
    What corporation will be the first to challenge these laws in U.S. Court?
    Will the new technology like closed system onland salmon farms just bypass AK for the warmer locations?
    Will this antiquated fossil fuel intense salmon ranching eventually just burden out State budget further and further into debt?
    What is the real cumulative cost of the hatchery/ranching/ management business in AK?

    • I think power is to costly for onshore farming,the one bright spot is our location on The Great Circle Route (if the market is westerly).
      I had a good friend who worked for a bit at a Hawaiian onshore farm.
      But this operation had a submerged offshore pipeline bringing cold nutrient rich water from the deeps to onshore pens.
      I distinctly remember him telling me that they raised chinooks(among other things).
      So things are evolving to a more cost effective solution.
      Not what X thousands od individual boat owners want to hear.

  5. I’m an Alaskan commercial gillnet fisherman and Alaskan resident-I got into commercial fishing because of the draw of independence, fishing in the wild for wild fish, working for myself, where the outcome is unknown.

    I choose not to catch hatchery fish. To me, ocean ranching is not fishing-its standing outside of the corral with hundreds of other ranchers, in a small area, in crowded conditions, waiting for the domesticated livestock to come back.

    The reluctance of the hatchery proponents to look into the effects of dumping billions of fry annually into the “PWSAC feedlot” (aka PWS/GOA) is predictable-lets just come out and call the PWS hatchery program for what it is: a subsidized program to create jobs for fishermen-if it wasnt, why not just have seiners net-up the hatchery fish? Three seiners could net-up the fish that 500 gillnetters get in one day-the fish will be in better shape than gillnetted fish, processed faster, and be in better shape for the consumers.

    How long will we continue to allow corporations to operate with impunity? Isnt that the same question we asked of Exxon or Pebble?

    • Overdone, while it sounds nice how do you go about not catching hatchery fish? Can you tell the difference when picking them out of your net? Heheh!

      • Not all runs in AK are hatchery runs…yet, – and i stay far away from hatcheries

      • Bill,
        He could be a BB fisherman….NO hatcheries on the west side and those are some of the strongest runs left in the state…go figure!

      • Sounds like you think that hatchery fish only run near hatcheries, Overdone!
        Like I said, sounds nice but doesn’t compute IMO. About the only gillnet fisheries that don’t harvest hatchery fish are False Pass and BB. So, did you choose one of those? Heheh!

  6. James-
    You don’t think the BOF and BOG processes are not politicized in this case? How can that be? Please, follow the money.

    • Bob, let’s assume you are correct here. How would you remove such politicizing?
      And do you have a better system-take your time!

      • I would start by attempting to amend the constitution and have a portion of these BOF/BOG positions elected rather than all appointed. Give the sitting Governor a few appointments and elect the rest. Any solution has to be about representing all user groups. That is simply not happening.

      • Well Bob, your system is no less political than the one we have IMO. Our elected reps. are clearly involved in the confirmation of any Board nominations. And all user groups are represented-just that some user groups don’t warrant much representation if they can’t get their reps. off the dime.
        None of this is discounting that some user groups will band together to make their representations stronger and how would you keep this from happening? This is just how our system has always worked and some don’t like it and whine about it.
        As I see it, the issue hasn’t become upsetting enough to get some user groups to put their money where their mouth is. Just my opinion.

  7. After listing to the 4 hour dissertation by the Department on hatcheries. Which only lead to more unanswered questions and how to interpret all the data they they collected. What a lay person can conclude is there is an issue. Since an issue does exist, a precautionary approach should be enacted.It is easier to prevent a problem than it is to fix one. I remember the five BOF members who voted against the ACRs going through conformation hearings stating they all “wanted to protect the resources now and for future generations”. That statement must have been code for. Protecting their and their future family members to the resource and flipping the finger to the rest of the users.

    • Here’s my take on your analysis, Al. You’ve stated: “What a lay person can conclude is there is an issue. Since an issue does exist,….” but you’ve gone from an opinion of a conclusion (by a lay person) to stating “and issue does exist.”
      Such logic certainly escapes me here Al.
      By the way, I also believe that and issue does exist, namely unusually large hatchery straying is causing problems for other stocks.

      • Sorry Bill for the confusion. I do not get my thoughts on paper the same way they are in my head.

      • Well Al, we can certainly agree that the issues are important to be considering. While the Department’s position was pretty-well laid out and accepted by BofF, I don’t expect things to go away. Just the straying issue is IMO enough to bring this up again and again. The other issue is more difficult to prove and the Department has stated they clearly don’t know the answer to how many pinks is too many.
        Just the idea that we may have already put too many into the ocean is something that also will keep rearing its head IMO.

    • Al: Was the problem the Board or the format?

      It was sort of the Scopes Monkey Trial without Clarence Darrow or Williams Jennings Bryant.

      Instead, Templin came in, dumped a bunch of the data on evolution on the table, and said, “Well boys, have at it!”

      I, personally, thought his presentation was excellent, but I was also trained as a scientist which provided basis for interpretation. We don’t know what’s going on in the ocean. We do know we’ve added a lot of salmon to an ecosystem that has a carrying capacity.

      All indications are that there are now more salmon in the ocean that at anytime in history, especially pink salmon if you actually read the Ruggerone paper Templin complimented. I’ve read that paper several times.

      It leaves me uncomfortable. If we haven’t hit the limit of carrying capacity with hatcheries and our much better management of wild stocks (which has also significantly boosted production), we would seem to be getting damn close.

      and as the Game Board learned the hard way, just because you want to manage for a moose behind every tree doesn’t mean you can manage for a moose behind every tree without derailing the ecosystem.

      as a general rule, trying to squeeze the absolute maximum productivity out of natural ecosystems always turns out to be a dance with the devil, and at some point the devil usually wins.

      • Craig,
        It seems like Russia is also seeing declines in returning salmon after they too have “amped up” hatchery output.

        The only difference is they point to two different factors effecting returns: 1) Pirate Fishing 2) Oil and Gas development in the region.

        “As the source of 40% of global wild salmon production, the Russian Far East hosts some of the most prolific salmon runs on the planet…
        But Sakhalin Island is now in the midst of its sixth year of low salmon returns, according to data from the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission. Sakhalin fishermen have only been able to harvest 28,600 metric tons of pink salmon so far this year.
        While it’s difficult to pinpoint the reasons for declining returns, poaching and oil and gas development are the two most commonly cited causes.
        Russia, like many parts of the salmon world, has turned to hatcheries as a way to boost depressed salmon runs. Russian authorities rapidly expanded hatchery releases from 573.8 million pink and chum juveniles in 2000 to 904.4 million juveniles in 2010, roughly a 40 percent increase over 10 years. Hatchery production of chum and pink salmon in the Russian Far East is primarily concentrated on Sakhalin Island and Iturup, on the Kuril Islands to Sakhalin’s east.”

      • Thanks Craig,I did also believe the presentation was great. i learn alot. But what fustraights me the most. Is the BOF unwillingness to wait on results on what is really going on, and the cause and effect.. Neither ACR was asking to stop hatchery production, but to stop the increase and or increases. Till we get a handle on what is going on in the blue water. Is this unreasonable for either side?

    • Al and Bill- To the users of the resource an elected official representing constituents seems far less political than an appointed one representing special interests, especially in the case where one user group sends lots of cash to Juneau. We might be arguing semantics.

      • Well Bob, it may seem that way to you but all things considered it’s not going to happen in our lifetimes. The idea of BoFish or Game members being elected (statewide) is pretty far fetched IMO. Especially when the argument for such is only relative to Cook Inlet fish and their allocation.
        Perhaps you might think that the Board needs certain representation and that say CI might want to elect theirs locally, otherwise there would be nothing like constituents if a statewide election were held. Further, how would persons get on the ballot?
        You are dreaming IMO.

      • Can anyone elected truly represent all their constituents or just the majority that got them elected?

  8. Market hunting does exist in America, just not as it once did. Hunters are allow to harvest alligators and wild swine and sell their meat in several states. One could also debate trapping/hunting fur bears and selling the skins is market hunting. Also a handful of states allow the sale of bear gall bladders. Furthermore our neighbor Canada has increasingly passed regulations to allowed the sale of bison, caribou,moose, musk ox and deer meat for sale in many provinces History does repeat itself.

  9. This meeting was taken over by the Dept and thereafter not run by the Board of Fisheries. The Dept took advantage of the newly elected Chairman who was presiding over his first meeting. Instead of helping him they abused him. He will not forget and will not let that happen again. The Dept showed just how biased it has become under Commissioner Cotten and Gov Walker. What ever credibility it had is now gone. The only way to restore confidence in the process of making fishery policy is to appoint several new members to the Board of Fisheries, and hire new people in the ADF&G. All the bad decisions made at this meeting can be easily overturned beginning early December of this year under a Dunleavy administration.

    • TFC,
      What a load of BS! The poor and bedazzled BOF chair, cowed by the dreaded ADF&G? Hogwash!
      Bill Templin (from the State genetics lab), hit it out of the ballpark with his report to the BOF. John Jensen (longest serving BOF member, and past chair), remarked, after Bill finished up, that it was the most comprehensive report, he had ever heard, in all his years on the BOF.
      TFC, you evidently were not listening to the same report, that I listened to. Or maybe you had already made up your mind, either way you are wrong!
      KRSA & Virgil U. ACRs, were a no call/no show right out of the gate. The department had it’s ducks in order, their opponents did not. The BOF is an impartial entity, that takes all info from the public, state agencies and various fish pundits and then makes a decision.
      No matter who is Governor, the BOF & BOG process will and should not become politicized, as much as you would like it to become.

      • Mykland: if you really believe that the BOF is an impartial entity then there is little hope that you will ever get it. Do you think that Jensen who is on the Council which opposes increasing State water Cod fishing is impartial? Or that Fritz Johnson who is from Dillingham and a board member of ASMI and who is closely associated with B.B. economic development Corpis impartial
        when it comes to deciding State waters cod increases or issues between commercial fishing interests and other users. Or how about Cain who works for the Dept on seasonal jobs and who has to my knowledge had never voted against a Dept proposal or position. That all sound “impartial” to you? Your hostility of others who are not hard over for the Commercial sector might be clouding your judgment.

    • TFC,
      Jensen is the longest serving BOF member, and has been reappointed by different governors. Our State legislature, has also confirmed these appointments.
      If you believe, that Jensen, Johnson & Cain are not serving the Alaskan people in an impartial way, as BOF members. Simple solution! Convince your state reps, to not vote for confirmation. The power is in the hands of the public.
      The BOF & BOG and the process, that is set in place, is still loads better than any other alternative, that I have heard.

  10. Just as Teddy Roosevelt walked away from the Republicans, so too are many current Americans who are concerned with recent degradation to our natural environment.
    Maybe it is time to bring back the “Bull Moose” party in America?
    Walker’s croonies need to go, November 6th cannot come quick enough…

    • Ya, the Democrats do such a good job as we witnessed during the Kavanaigh hearing. Democrats care about the environment about as much as they do about the children (Planned.Parenthood) and women (Bill Clinton).

      • Bryan,
        Maybe you should look to the current Green Party’s view of our Ecosystem?
        Funny how both Teddy Roosevelt’s “Bull Moose” party and today’s Green Party are/were for the protection of the natural environment (true conservation) and against the over harvest of our animals by commercial thropy hunting??
        Funny, No One would dare call Teddy Roosevelt and his fellow Rough Riders “Leftys”??
        How did those who care about conservation and environmental issues get labeled on the left?

      • Bryan, the difference between Teddy and his idea and leftys of today is, Teddy and his group were conservations and not the preservations of the leftys of today. Leftys (your term) abandoned the term perservations long ago when it wasn’t working for and adopted and call themselves conservations.Which worked much better for them in their fund raising campaigns. It was used to confuse the knowledgeable public to their real agendas.
        Now what is commercial trophy hunting? Where in the last 50 years has this group over harvested or what game animal has been over harvested?

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