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Salmon ceasefire

hatchery

Salmon eggs being fertilized before heading for the incubators in an Alaska private, nonprofit hatchery/ADF&G photo

Alaska’s salmon farmers and their critics have come to an agreement that the almost 2 billion hatchery fish the 49th state dumps in the Pacific Ocean each year at warrant an annual state review.

The meeting of minds came Friday after a day-long meeting of a committee of the state Board of Fisheries to discuss how little is known about the potential consequences of what the state prefers to call its “ocean ranching” industry.

Alaska in 1990 banned net-pen rearing of salmon to marketable size – the now established means for farming salmon. But Alaska allowed private, nonprofit (PNP) aquaculture associations – a couple run by private companies but most under the control of regional aquaculture associations controlled by commercial fishermen – to raise salmon to be sent to sea to fatten and return to be harvested.

Twenty-four of those PNPs released about 1.8 billion young fish into the Pacific last year, a new state record, Sam Rabung, the director of the state’s Division of Commercial Fisheries told the Board.

The Kenai  River Sportfishing Association, the state’s biggest and most active recreational organization, and the Fairbanks advisory committee to the Board have charged the state knows way too little about the consequences to wild fish of this massive hatchery release.

But it is learning daily.

Most of Friday was devoted to the minutiae of identifying hatchery salmon by their genes and by the markings on the otoliths, small bones in the inner ear. Using Information Age science, Fish and Game has been able to document salmon straying up to hundreds of miles from hatcheries to look for new homes in wild streams and rivers and sometimes mate with wild fish.

Preliminary data from genetic studies indicates the survival of the offspring of the hatchery fish mated with wild fish is lower than for the pairing of wild fish. But some commercial fishermen attending the hearing said that’s OK; the more fish in Alaska streams the better, no matter their origins.

The big unknown

Far less time was devoted to the ocean interactions between wild fish and hatchery fish which now comprise a quarter to a third of the annual, statewide salmon harvest.

Scientists Greg Ruggerone from Seattle and Jennifer Nielsen from Anchorage 15 years ago authored an oft-cited paper offering evidence that pink salmon – a main stay of Alaska hatcheries – have gained a competitive advantage in the North Pacific and could threaten to depress populations of sockeye, coho and Chinook salmon.

Twenty years ago, former Board member Virgil Umpenhour testified to the Board, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game was asked to deliver a report on the interactions of hatchery and wild fish, but that never happened. Umpenhour is now a spokesman for the Fairbanks advisory committee to the Board.

He thought it was about time for some answers on what biologists often call “density dependent interaction.” He didn’t get them this time either.  The day-long meeting dominated by testimony by state Fish and Game biologists was heavy on straying, which might or might not mean anything in the views of many who testified during the brief public comment period, and short on any discussion of interactions.

Bill Templin, the state’s chief fishery scientist, quickly skimmed over the topic.

“That’s been proposed in the literature,” he said. “The verdict is still out.”

Scientists from the northwest Fisheries Science Center of the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) College of Fisheries and Oceans, the University of California Santa Barbara, the U.S. Forest Service Fisheries Program, the University of Washington, and Fish and Game in 2017 reported discovering Prince William Sound hatcheries linked to wild Copper River sockeye by “a negative relationship between adult hatchery pink salmon returns on sockeye salmon productivity.”

The scientists were looking for lingering damage from Exxon Valdez oil spill in the Sound when they stumbled on the connection. It was reported in peer-reviewed study at PLOS One titled “Evaluating signals of oil spill impacts, climate, and species interactions in Pacific herring and Pacific salmon populations in Prince William Sound and Copper River, Alaska.”

The scientists found no significant, long-term damage from the oil spill, but concluded their were clear, annual implications to the continuing spills of hatchery fish.

“All sockeye salmon stocks examined exhibited a downward trend in productivity with increasing PWS hatchery pink salmon returns,” they wrote. “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.

“Pink salmon have been found to negatively affect sockeye salmon productivity and growth from British Columbia and Southeast Alaska, Bristol Bay, Kodiak, and Russia. Pink and sockeye salmon compete in the marine environment due to a high degree of similarity in diets, including similarities in diets of adult pink salmon and juvenile sockeye salmon.

“Our analysis was primary designed to test drivers in the nearshore environment, which is why we stopped at a lag of two (brood) years—when the majority of juvenile sockeye salmon out-migrate from the nearshore environment as adult pink salmon are returning to spawn. We do not know if possible deleterious interactions between hatchery pink salmon and wild sockeye salmon in this study are from predation or competition, or whether they occur in nearshore or offshore areas.

“Pink salmon feeding may cause a general depletion of prey availability that could impact sockeye salmon without tight spatial overlap of these two species. In this regard, the apparent impact to sockeye productivity may reflect a general increase in pink salmon abundance across the NE Pacific rather than increased abundance of hatchery pink salmon to PWS in particular. However, adult pink salmon are known to feed on a broad diversity of prey items within PWS prior to spawning, including a variety of zooplankton; and therefore have the potential to compete with juvenile sockeye salmon in PWS for the same prey.

“For example, Martinson et al. showed decreased growth of sockeye salmon out-migrating from the Karluk River (Kodiak, AK) during years when large numbers of adult pink salmon returned to the same area. Competitive interactions in nearshore and offshore environments deserve greater attention in future research in the face of general increase in the abundance of pink salmon in the North Pacific.”

Hidden mortality

Templin failed to acknowledge the study when he appeared before the Board last October to testify on a proposal to cap hatchery production, and he made no mention of the study on Friday.

Neither did he suggest how the state might obtain more and better data, if the Exxon Valdez study is flawed, or help to resolve the unsettled verdict on ocean interactions between pink and sockeye and other salmon. Ken Tarbox, the former commercial fisheries biologist for Cook Inlet, among others has suggested that increased PWS hatchery production could have played a role in decreasing Inlet sockeye returns that fell substantially from the record numbers of the late 1980s to today. .

Correlation is not causation, Templin rightly observed in October, echoing a well-known scientific truth. But the Department has made no attempt to explore the correlation despite Templin lecturing the Board on the scientific method Friday.

It begins, he noted, with observations and questions followed by investigations, data gathering and proof or dismissal of hypothesis. Fish and Game has made no attempt to sort out the observations and questions surrounding density dependent interactions between hatchery and wild fish in Alaska.

Templin did say his agency is closely watching a joint project sponsored by NOAA, Canada and the Russians to try to sort out salmon movements and food in the Gulf of Alaska. But Alaska has no participation in the program.

NOAA has billed the project as an international effort to “unravel mysteries of Pacific salmon survival.”  The project is focused on the Southeast Gulf.

“This is where most of the salmon that stream out of Northwest and Alaska rivers each year disappear, most never to be seen again,” a NOAA press release said.”Now the science team is headed into the remote Gulf of Alaska to try to find out which fish survive and why.”

The press release was wrong about Alaska salmon stocks – most of them disappear north and west of the study area – but right about how little is known.

Templin said most of the data collected to date has been “really interesting.”

Fisheries science?

But the state’s chief fisheries scientist, in his multiple appearances before the board during the day, spent as much time or more lecturing on the Alaska Constitution, the economic and political importance of Alaska commercial fisheries, the United Nations’ definition of sustainability and the media’s decidedly bad reporting on science before announcing that what he was about to say shouldn’t be viewed as an “attack on my colleagues in the scientific community.”

After that, he launched into an attack on a Ruggerone hypothesis on the problems plaguing the killer whales of the Salish Sea more than 1,000 miles south of Anchorage.

Templin did not mention Ruggerone by name, but Templin did specifically identify a paper on which Ruggerone was lead author. The paper suggested pink salmon could play a role in the high death rates and low birth rates discovered in the critically endangered southern resident killer whales inhabiting the waters of Washington State, and British Columbia, Canada.

The peer-reviewed study was published in January in the Marine Ecology Progress Series. It concluded that big schools of pink salmon could be interfering with the whales’ hunt for larger, more nutritious Columbia River king salmon and argued that could be one of the issues leading toward the population’s continuing slide toward extinction.

Templin claimed the paper and ensuing news coverage had led everyone to believe pink salmon were the cause of the decline of the killer whales although any member of the public who read the scientific paper would see problems with the analysis.

He offered the Board lessons in critical analysis, and the said the paper illustrated why Board members and the public should be skeptical of anything they read in the media.

After cautioning the Board to be skeptical, he added that “it shouldn’t be your job to try to read between the lines.”

Finally, he lit into fellow scientists.

“This also highlights for us that the peer review process is not perfect,” he said. He suggested the peer reviewers might have done a poor job on the Ruggerone paper, or maybe a good one, and “the editor might have decided to publish it anyway.”

Ruggerone was not immediately available for comment.

Just because a document was peer-reviewed, Templin said, doesn’t mean anyone paid attention to those reviews. Some scientific journals today just want the “splash factor,” he said.

There is some evidence the “splash factor” has become contagious in the U.S.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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31 replies »

  1. James,

    Concerning your statement that there has been no decrease in wild sockeye salmon returns in Prince William Sound:

    The famous Copper River drainage is considered part of the Prince William Sound Region, and I recall the 2018 Copper River sockeye salmon return with all user groups having a dismal opportunity to harvest sockeye salmon. Yes, ADF&G may have ended up with sockeye salmon escapement high into the escapement range very late in the season, but that escapement was only achieved with extremely restrictive emergency fishing regulations for the subsistence fishery, commercial fishery, personal use fishery, and sport fishery. I understand that a portion of the Copper River sockeye production comes from hatchery fish, but I seriously doubt only hatchery sockeye returned in low numbers during 2018. Certainly we are only talking about the most recent year — but why would the 2018 Copper River return NOT qualify as a much lower than normal “wild’ sockeye return possibly caused by high hatchery pink salmon production within the Prince William Sound region?

    Please enlighten if I am wrong, but isn’t the Copper River sockeye return the largest sockeye return within the Prince William Sound Region?

    Would your answer be any different if Copper River sockeye salmon were to experience a similar “dismal” return in the next year or two?

    Like

    • While I’m sure James can answer himself, I’ll just weigh in here with your confusing PWS with PWS Region. James’ comment clearly referred to PWS.
      Copper River is another story.

      Like

  2. Exxon scientists came to their conclusions, on PWS salmon, that Exxon wanted. I do not believe or read any of their junk science papers. They were bought and paid for by the oil spiller, that desecrated PWS, and wrote off all their expenses as a business write off. Good for them. Corporate capitalism alive and well in America. Why am I not surprised?

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    • James, that Exxon elephant left the room years ago…. I am going to say that while I do not have any relationship to Exxon, I do know they take safeguarding the environment seriously. I have seen it first hand and people fired over it. Of course “corporate capitalism” is alive and well. Maybe not for long, if the Socialist Democrats get their way but, it is what made America great and created the middle and upper class. Try saying government run socialism, Marxism, or communism like a bad thing from now on. Might hold more weight.

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  3. David Mc,
    I do not agree with your supposition. If you factor in the value of roe, oil & fleshi, extracted from the millions of pink salmon, harvested, processed and sold, in South Central in 2018, it was only second to the value of the largest return of sockeye ever to BB in the 2028 season.
    The issue here is monetary value to the residents and the State of AK. BB processors need to get onboard with the cold pressed oil extraction, that Trident and Ocean Beauty have already instituted and are running in Cordova.
    Instead of 73% of fish recovery in BB, they could do 97-98%, like what processors in Cordova are doing. No more grinding up the carcass and flushing it down the drain. Roe & Oil is the future, not the flesh, for export. Does not matter which of the 5 species of Pacific salmon you are using. Pink salmon are easy to raise, cheaper and their mortality is low.
    I am not saying to give up on sockeye, king, coho or even chum. They all have their own attributes. Even if we did away with pink salmon hatcheries, Japan, Russia and China will just up the game.
    How many of the roe skeins were dumped by the sports, pu or subsistence user groups? Salmon roe is a commodity, that will only increase in value. Everyone wants the eggs. Roe value is now worth 50% of one pink salmon. Ikura and salted roe are a much wanted product in Japan, Russia & China.
    It will all be about the roe, in less than 5 years.

    You have to remember, that the AK FRED (Fisheries rehabilitation and enhancement division) was started by our state in the early ‘70s. Three hatcheries Gulkana, Main Bay & Cannery Creek, were built by and run with state funds. So, do not blame all the PNPs, they just took over when the state got out of the business.
    What do you think has happened in WA & OR? , hatcheries are producing majority of salmon, due to habitat loss, pollution and too many humans.
    We have destroyed the entire wild stocks of CA, OR, WA & BC, not a pretty picture.

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      • James,
        All good points, and I agree, but your talking about retail price to the cannery, with regards to Roe & Oil.
        Most people dont know that the coast from aleutians to BC are littered with abandoned oil rendering plants.There was a time up till about WW2 that cod livers were packed in wooden kegs as well.
        Pinks in my mind are the lowest common denominator, easiest to raise, quickest to return.As far as value to the actual persons delivering fish, this link doesn’t quite match up with the canneries new found product wealth, that you point out
        http://www.alaskafishradio.com/alaska-salmon-season-summaries-by-region-2018/

        I remember fishing out of Cordova in jan 1989 on the FV Bergen out of Seattle.
        We were targeting P cod at Middleton Island,a very lonely spot in the Gulf in january I assure you.The way I remember it we were payed 2 bits/lb for dressed/iced fish.BUT .50/lb for roe packed in buckets.kTo my knowledge this was the only time that such a program was ever offered in the gulf.
        Normally fish were delivered bled only in the round, from Dutch to yakutat(perhaps occasionally farther south).Prices for decades had a hard time getting above .20/lb.Even during the East Coast/Scandinavian cod droughts.
        Another words the Roe was free(to the cannery),boats generally made wages.And so it is for pinks, the miracle that is the markets has a way of bringing out supply, and it most likely won’t be ours.
        Nevertheless,get it while you can, the fisheries need to evolve.What exactly that looks like of course is up to speculation.

        Good luck, full boats, stay out of the water

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  4. Thanks Bill for the latest out of our Capital. I guess the Gov’s strategy was to start at the bottom and work up. If AK had followed Norway’s plan, we would not be in this situation. The PFD should only give out a minimum amount each year, his proposal for $3K, while our education takes a hit is beyond comprehension. He probably did it to get everyone’s attention. It worked.
    What we need is new revenue, what his is doing about that?
    I am not real impressed with what our Gov has done so far. Maybe he has a master plan, that has not been rolled out yet. I am still waiting!

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    • So far, Dunleavy’s plan has been to cut the budget enough to be able to pay out those huge PFDs and he has stalled coming out with his budget until the very last day allowed and further another 2 weeks for his economics guy (Ed King) to produce a bunch of “smoke and mirrors.” He has gotten everyone’s attention but nobody is impressed IMO.
      The ISER folks have testified that his budget proposal will prolong our present recession and it is my opinion that this Legislature has no intention of doing that in order to pay a larger PFD. If I were a betting man I would not expect a PFD any larger than last years ($1600) and it very well may be smaller (there was some objections to someone’s thinking about a $500 PFD would balance the budget). Nobody wants to stick their finger into this govs. eye, since he does have a line item veto that is waiting in the wings. So………………..gov. doesn’t get his big PFD, so what? That doesn’t mean he still can’t push for it in better financial times (say higher oil prices) but, for now, Arduin is pissing into the wind IMO.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Bill,
        I hate to be the bearer of bad news, though I might as well say, the bench mark price of ANS is not going to go any higher, anytime soon. The world is awash in oil, and the oil fracking business in the lower 48, is booming.
        We can also forget about any LNG pipeline dream, ain’t gonna happen, Other countries can produce gas cheaper than AK. Big oil knew this 30 years ago, they just let Palin run with it. Good publicity at the time.
        Getting back to out state budget: we have no reserves, no extra money and our state credit rating is down. With all that the Gov wants to payout $3K PFD pet person, I do not get it. What am I missing here?

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      • Well James, that’s how it’s turned out but when Palin was attempting her gas line we were in the process of trying to import gas to lower 48-that all changed quickly once fracking took over and gas prices went into the toilet. The big money was always in the oil and, I suspect, big oil wasn’t willing to risk their golden goose (oil) to any gas line running alongside it.
        I just have no idea what is making this gov. wanting to give away the farm other than he ran on giving away those PFDs-sort of like Don Trump wanting his Wall.

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      • Bill, it isn’t Trump’s wall. It is America’s wall and answer to slowing the invading, disease infested, druggie, violent gangs, and 3rd World disorder. Shame you invite this invasion. Pathetic really. Ah yes, CNN again, always saying “Trump’s wall”. So stoopid….

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      • Bryan, it is Trump’s Wall since the Legislature refused to fund it. And it will always be his Wall-this is altogether different from border security (that most support) IMO. You seem to think they are one and the same but Congress is on a different page, also IMO.
        Regardless, this will be a battle between two arms of govt. and it will go on to eventually be decided in the Courts. It will be fun to watch IMO.

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  5. Craig,

    I was unable to attend the Board of Fisheries meeting on hatchery salmon and the state’s research on them, however, I much appreciate your continued reporting on this subject.

    It should be noted that in Alaska the management of wild salmon stocks is SUPPOSED to take precedent over the management of hatchery salmon stocks. Concerning the question of whether increased production of hatchery pink salmon released into Alaska waters may be causing the decline in numbers of wild sockeye salmon? as voiced by former Department of FIsh and Game biologist Ken Tarbox and others — Why is the state of Alaska and chief scientist Bill Templin NOT answering this critical question before allowing high numbers of hatchery pink salmon — to not just continue — but to increase?

    The identified correlation between high hatchery pink salmon production from Prince William Sound and Kodiak Island and corresponding declining returns of wild sockeye salmon production in Prince William Sound, Cook Inlet, and Kodiak Island only serve to underscore the importance of answering this critical question — unless Alaska’s science has something to hide. Failure to answer this basic question is a failure to follow sound science.

    It is not just sockeye salmon and Pacific Northwest king salmon returns that may be negatively impacted by high releases of hatchery pink salmon. How is the Alasak-wide decade-long decline in both return numbers and fish size of wild Alaska king salmon (the official state fish) also correlated to large releases and competition from hatchery pink salmon? What are the impacts on wild chum salmon and coho salmon stocks?

    If huge Alaskan releases of hatchery pink salmon are causing significant declines in wild Alaska sockeye salmon, wild Alaska king salmon, wild Alaska chum salmon, and wild Alaska coho salmon would a majority of Alaskans be in favor of such management?

    I am one Alaska resident who cherishes and benefits from the opportunities to harvest wild Alaska sockeye salmon, king salmon, coho salmon, and chum salmon much more than a distant opportunity to harvest hatchery pink salmon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There has been no decrease in “wild” stock sockeye returns in PWS. Case in point:
      The Coghill Lake sockeye return has seen returns, above the 20 average, last couple of years.
      What data a you pulling from?

      Like

      • The Alaska Department of Fish and Game would appear to disagree with your assessment, James.

        From the 2017 escapement review:

        “…recent study suggests productivity of wild sockeye for the Coghill and
        Eshamy stocks might be tied to a combination of interactions, including the density-dependence of adult or juvenile Coghill Lake sockeye salmon and competition from adult hatchery pink salmon in the marine environment (Ward et al. 2017). The authors of that study found that the performance (fit) of the Ricker model was significantly improved by adding a covariate for
        returning adult hatchery pink salmon during the year that sockeye salmon enter the marine environment.”
        https://www.arlis.org/docs/vol1/L/1023812055.pdf

        there are indications of interactions in the marine environment. just because Templin doesn’t seem concerned about them doesn’t mean others should ignore them.

        if you listened to him at the Board meeting, he also testified significant numbers of PWS pinks showing up for five years in a row in Kachemak Bay could be a random event simply recurring again and again over five consecutive years.

        and that certainly could be the case.

        you could put five bullets in your six-shooter, spin the cylinder, play Russian roulette and get five consecutive hits on an empty chamber, too.

        the question is, are you feeling lucky?

        we could turn this into a fun math exercise. there is a 1 in 6 chance of surviving the first spin of the cylinder in the scenario above. since nature spins the cylinder again every year and you get a fresh chance of living with every spin, what are the odds you would survive five spins in the above situation?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Craig,
        Whether or not wild stock sockeye originating from the Coghill & Eshamy Lakes inside PWS, are being negatively impacted by hatchery pink salmon, still remains to be seen, no matter what that pdf doc states.
        I stated before, the escapement goals at the Coghill Lake wier are being reached each season.
        On Templin:
        During public testimony on hatchery straying yesterday, a number of lower CI fishers and residents stated that the area in question, Kachemak Bay, is on the pathway of pink salmon headed home to PWS to spawn. Some of these streams have not been inhabited by any Pacific salmon in years.
        So, what is the problem? At least they are not sterile farmed fish. They have roe! I am not worried or concerned about pink salmon strayers, cause due to their very nature, they do not actually care what stream they come back to, as long as they can mate. CI residents should celebrate that fish are coming back to previously barren streams.
        As AK First said, we will be getting some new BOF members, appointed by the Gov, remember they also have to be confirmed by our legislators.
        On another note:
        The Gov brought in an out of state budget axer (he could not hire an Alaskan?), who proceeded to gut everything. He wants to ramp up the PFD to $3K, talk about irresponsible, and this is the best we have. What a joke! I cannot wait to see what the AK House comes up with!

        Like

      • James, here is Dermot Cole’s take on latest attempt of Dunleavy’s people trying to BS the Senate Finance Committee: https://www.dermotcole.com/reportingfromalaska/2019/3/9/no-mr-revenue-commissioner-iser-did-not-back-away-from-job-loss-estimate
        State economist (Ed King) has had his hands full attempting to answer jobs questions of this committee with Revenue Commissioner and Arduin right at his side (maybe not holding handguns on him but you get the idea). King’s problem is that his earlier published numbers conflict with his latest stuff at the request of administration and is looking like Senate Finance will be using ISER numbers to avoid prolonging our recent recession. I suspect House will follow suit.

        Liked by 1 person

      • James,
        Basically the state,perhaps inadvertently has given up on high $ value fish for low $ value fish (gulf wide).And that seems to be a bullish market stance view to you?

        Like

      • King and silver fishing in PWS for the last decade has been awful. Almost not worth going any more. Pinks OTOH, are easy to find.

        Templin like the two fired API docs forgets who he works for. He believes he works for Alaska commercial fishermen rather than the people of the State of Alaska. He will end up just like the two API docs if he isn’t careful. Cheers –

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  6. Yes, the state’s chief fish science god spoke yesterday to the unwashed masses. We good science, them bad science. Listen to us good science, close your eyes to those other fish science gods – for they speak idolatry.

    What is clear from yesterday’s fish science god sermon is that there are no wild pink remaining in Prince William Sound, and no wild chum in either Prince William Sound and Southeast Alaska.

    The major smoke and mirrors state fish god science project, a jointly funded department and hatchery congregational funded “genetics” now reaching into its second decade, basically said PWS rivers are now stocked with more spawning hatchery fish each year than wild stock fish. And this breeding pattern has been going on for so long now for pinks and chums that are now called “naturalized” instead of wild.

    And whereas before in the department’s last really big genetic study for chum salmon – the first whassup salmon study – where the fish science gods of the past could identify discreet stocks to a scientifically valid 90 percent confidence interval – the current leaders revealed that they can’t identify this latest version, fondly referred to as whassup east, to that scientific standard.

    Why? Because all the east of whassup chum salmon are basically indistinguishable to that level of scientific certainty.

    So say the department’s latest fish science gods. It’s now all one big indiatinguishable mash of hatchery, wild spawning orgy each and every year. You should all be happy to know we can track all this debauchery, but we can no longer ID it wild but be happy cause now we can baptize them all Naturalized.

    And the commercial harvester said hallelujah, lord, we beg your forgiveness but bless our sins because now without our hatchery blessings those wild begotten salmon cannot thrive – so pass the hat as we ask donations and salves from the state – please lord make sure this sub-dee money never dies lest these now formerly wild salmon become endangered. For now we were are all truly fish gods, and the cycle truly now depends on us.

    So said the departments fish science gods. And their followers cheered and said amen to that, brothers and sisters, amen to that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I beg your pardon?
      Two of the largest wild stock pink salmon returns to PWS, have occurred during last seven years.
      All wild salmon stocks in PWS, are sustainable and in good shape.
      Evidently you were listening to someone else’s presentation yesterday!

      Like

    • Amen… In a nut shell
      Amen The precautionary principle for sustainable salmon spawned shallow flattened out genetics that have more probability of failure when times get rough… Not enough diverse grandparents and great grandparents

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  7. There were many people representing commercial sector stakeholders at this meeting. And of the 120 or so written public comments all but a couple advocated for the continuation of the release of more and more of the hundreds of millions hatchery fish into the ocean. The chief hatchery scientist did not inform the BOF. He lectured them in a patronizing way. Instead of relying on the people who have created this potential problem for solutions there should be oversight from experts who are independent and who do not benefit from the harcheries. I thought it was interesting that when Virgil Umpenhour tried to point out How the Dept has never followed up in its obligation to investigate hatchery impacts he was cut off by BOF member Jensen who himself and family have for many years benefited from hatcheries.
    Instead of taking a conservative approach to this potentially devastating issue the Dept wants to continue its “balls to the wall” approach by increasing releases. All in the face of data showing that so much is at stake. So long as the commercial side of the Dept is staffed by current people, like Templin, who have a personal stake in the decisions to increase releases there will be no changes or accountability.

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    • Bill Templin hit it out of the ball park yesterday.
      Virgil and his old tired ideas were not effective yesterday, just like 25 years ago.
      The BOF workshop was a good start, and will continue on an annual basis in March.
      The BOF public testimony on statewide proposals, so far this am are predominately opposed to KRSA’s #171.

      Like

      • Yep, 171 will undoubtedly fail this time with the current make up of the BOF James. But I would not be surprised to see it raised again in a regional BOF meeting. And with new members on the Board, who knows what will happen. And there will be new members James, don’t you think? Maybe pretty soon too, huh?

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      • AK First,
        Yes, BOF members do come and go. Ruffner & Payton terms expire 6/19. Jensen, Johnson & Morisky 6/20. So, our new Gov can appoint 2 new members this year and 3 next year. I have been involved in the BOF process, since ‘82 and I have found, that whosoever is on the board, I am confident they will vote for the good of the state and it’s people.

        Like

      • Virgil was instrumental in the State of Alaska even having a Sustainable Salmon Policy Five years in the making. Virgil’s comment about the net pens outside of the Taku drawing in predators into wild salmon territory hanging out our competing everything in sight, hatchery fish released first to feed on ocean groceries then when the wild salmon outmigrate there is nothing left to eat. Every rancher knows how much ground is needed for each cow. Hmm guess we forgot that part

        Like

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