What happened to all the big kings?

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Wildfish

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The article also said this, so no, it wasn't a rogue "one-off." The prevailing species were chum that time (and I can pretty much guarantee you there were other species in that 80 tons), but this isn't an uncommon practice, and we first noticed declining king stocks about the same time these trawlers came under our radar. You can't really blame Alaska commercial fishermen for this, or the sports fishermen, for that matter, when the kings aren't reaching Alaska waters in the first place. Keep in mind that one pass from one of these huge trawlers can equal the amount an average fishing boat catches in a year.

No condemnation of the Chinese illegal fishing that is rampant on the high seas.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-30/china-super-trawlers-overfishing-world-oceans/10317394
China's super trawlers are targeting the seas in North West Pacific, South America and Western Africa.

https://e360.yale.edu/features/how-chinas-expanding-fishing-fleet-is-depleting-worlds-oceans
And as I mentioned before, there are likely multiple causes, ocean acidification among them. There's probably more bycatch than there should be in the Bering Sea and even in the gulf by pollock/whitefish factory vessels. But the giant trawlers are out there, and whatever's happening to the majority of the king salmon is happening somewhere in the deep waters between here and Asia.
 
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Shaun Solomon

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Chinese poaching is pervasive globally. It is well known and well documented. I don’t know enough about the situation in Alaska to comment, but it can’t be helping matters. The Chinese seem to have even fewer scruples than we do. We sure did create a monster there.

For all offended parties, please note I have no animosity towards individuals of any ethnic or cultural background. I do, however, object strenuously to egregious behavior.
 
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gfisher2003

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The article also said this, so no, it wasn't a rogue "one-off." The prevailing species were chum that time (and I can pretty much guarantee you there were other species in that 80 tons), but this isn't an uncommon practice, and we first noticed declining king stocks about the same time these trawlers came under our radar. You can't really blame Alaska commercial fishermen for this when the kings aren't reaching Alaska waters in the first place. Keep in mind that one pass from one of these huge trawlers can equal the amount an average fishing boat catches in a year.
Neither of those sources talks about Alaska or salmon, they mainly focus on squid and south American forage fish. I'm not objecting to saying that China overfishes in general but in relation to salmon and Chinook in particular it does not seem like they do. None of the articles that you link show any kind of trend towards illegal fishing in pursuit of salmon.
 
DOKF

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Overfishing squid and forage fish will also decimate salmon stocks.

Salmon stocks collapsed around Vancouver Island in the early 90's, and at least one major cause was linked to overfishing of herring by local fishermen supplying the Japanese herring roe (sushi) market.

Local "problems" with seal and sea lions has also been linked to overfishing of forage fish causing the pinnepeds to target salmonids.

Another troubling issue is related to the giant dead zone off the Oregon ~ BC coast. That can't be good for any species.
 
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Wildfish

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Neither of those sources talks about Alaska or salmon, they mainly focus on squid and south American forage fish. I'm not objecting to saying that China overfishes in general but specifically in relation to salmon and Chinook in particular it does not seem like they do. None of the articles that you link show any kind of trend towards illegal fishing in pursuit of salmon.
They really weren't meant to do anything more than explain to you that Chinese overfishing is a problem all over the globe and that no place is exempt, let alone the Northwest Pacific; it contains the most productive fishing grounds on the planet, after all. And they don't have to go anywhere near Alaska to trawl for the salmon that would normally return to the Pacific Coast to spawn. The Run Da was detected closer to Japan than to Alaska. The Albacore tuna vessels that saw the Ru Da reported several other similar boats in the immediate vicinity that turned tail and ran when they saw the cutter.

The "one-off" you mentioned was likely just the smoke of a much bigger fire. It's nothing new; it's been going for years. As far back as 1987, trawling in the Sea of Japan was believed to be significantly decreasing the number of kings returning to the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.

The newly created Operation North Pacific Guard is showing promise. This article acknowledges that illegal salmon fishing is a problem in the North Pacific. It's from Canada, and doesn't mention Alaska specifically, but the salmon were here before we drew lines on the land. The organization recently intercepted quite a few foreign vessels; they were able to board three and found a number of violations, but the remaining 13 or so turned and ran before they could get to them. Yeah, nothing to see there.

https://www.canada.ca/en/fisheries-...-guard-to-combat-global-illegal-fishing3.html
Results from the operation include the detection of prohibited gear, failure to maintain records of catch, improper vessel markings and illegal retention of salmon.

The next article doesn't mention salmon, and it doesn't mention Alaska. But it does mention the Sea of Japan, which is where many Pacific coast king salmon spend their ocean stage. The Sea of Japan is also among the most poorly monitored waters on the planet. Juveline king salmon has long been a delicacy in Asian cuisine and commands a high price, so I'm pretty sure those 1,000 or so Chinese vessels illegally fishing the Sea of Japan aren't throwing the kings out of their five-mile-long nets.

In the Yamatotai area of the Sea of Japan, continuing from 2020, more than 1,000 large Chinese fishing boats have continued poaching in the area.

Enforcement has long been an issue in the North Pacific. It's just too vast of a region and there are too few resources to be able to catch these guys. So I guess it's easy to get the impression it's not a problem because Google doesn't have much to say about it.


And my point remains that the kings are disappearing before they even make it to Alaska waters. Disclaimer: I've been in the industry pretty much all of my life and serve on the state salmon advisory board. But believe what you want.
 
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gfisher2003

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An article from the 80's is not really relevant in a discussion about today especially considering the changes in technology and monitoring over 35-ish years.

The article about the Operation North Guard doesn't mention the number of ships anywhere just the number of violations so I don't know where you are getting your numbers from.

And as per most studies of salmon movement in the open ocean American salmon don't spend time in the sea of japan
https://www.researchgate.net/public...erannual_changes_and_oceanographic_conditions
I'm not trying to deny that Chinese overfishing is a problem in the world, but for our salmon stocks, it does not seem like it is. None of the articles you have linked have proved that it is in any way.

If you are having trouble finding evidence towards your points on google, it could be that the evidence is not there, not that it's just too hard to find. Especially given that it is fairly easy to find evidence to the contrary.
 
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“In 2013, Columbia River fish accounted for 53 percent of all chinook salmon caught in Southeast Alaska. Taking in coastal, wild, and Washington-hatched stocks, too, Oregon and Washington chinooks accounted for two-thirds of the southeast Alaska catch.”

Just so you know, SE Alaska kings are fished with trolling vessels (hook-and-line catch, one fish at a time), so the king harvest is pretty low. A lot of guys don't even go out for them anymore. This past year, though, saw a 4x increase in returns.
We need to limit the commercial guys first. Sport fishermen do some damage but nothing like commercial.
Here's how allocation typically works in Alaska: the troll vessels are given the largest share of predicted kings. Then come the sportfishers, and the gillnetters/set netters get the least amount. So it's really kind of in the middle about who does the most damage. If it were my call, I'd close it all except Native subsistence and see if the stocks rebuild.

By the way, Oregon doesn't have the best track record of holding up their end of the bargain when it comes to salmon pacts.

https://www.nationalfisherman.com/northeast/oregon-breaks-from-columbia-river-salmon-pact
 
O. mykiss

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Wildfish,
I 100% agree with you that Oregon has made some terrible decisions also. The decision by the ODFW commission to continue to allow gill netting on the Columbia was an absolute b.s. move. They broke a promise with Washington, who is a co-manager of the Columbia. In addition, ODFW collected millions from sport fisherman to create off-channel fisheries and transition gill netters out of the main stem Columbia.
 
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Wildfish

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An article from the 80's is not really relevant in a discussion about today especially considering the changes in technology and monitoring over 35-ish years.

The article about the Operation North Guard doesn't mention the number of ships anywhere just the number of violations so I don't know where you are getting your numbers from.

And as per most studies of salmon movement in the open ocean American salmon don't spend time in the sea of japan
https://www.researchgate.net/public...erannual_changes_and_oceanographic_conditions
I'm not trying to deny that Chinese overfishing is a problem in the world, but for our salmon stocks, it does not seem like it is. None of the articles you have linked have proved that it is in any way.

If you are having trouble finding evidence towards your points on google, it could be that the evidence is not there, not that it's just too hard to find. Especially given that it is fairly easy to find evidence to the contrary.
Yeah, I knew that even as I was posting that you'd say that. But as I already stated, I posted it to provide a historical perspective and to establish that illegal fishing for salmon has indeed been a "trend," as you called it previously, for a number of decades. It hasn't stopped, although evidence suggests that China's emerging aquaculture industry may prove to be a more lucrative and less dangerous option, resulting in a decrease in IUU activity.

I don't believe I claimed that most "American salmon spend time in the Sea of Japan," that's just not how salmon migration works, but at least one of the king runs in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta spent their ocean phase in that region, and illegal/overfishing in the Sea of Japan pretty much decimated it. It was simply an example. Multiply that by a thousand or more other areas where "our" salmon are spending their ocean phase and the preponderance of illegal fishing in these areas, and you've got a lot of smoke.

It's really easy to find where I'm getting my numbers from via Google, by the way. Most of the vessels turned and ran, and a few refused to allow boarding, but I'm sure everything was on the up and up, right? The listed violations included shark fins, but they didn't list all of the violations, and who knows what were on the others that ran away or refused to allow officials to board. But the thing is, when you're bottom trawling with 5+ mile nets in the North Pacific, you're going to bring up salmon; there's just no way not to.

https://www.kinyradio.com/news/news...ls-find-multiple-violations-in-north-pacific/
Since the beginning of September, the team had boarded 15 fishing vessels registered to fish within the Pacific.

Among those 15 vessels, boarding teams identified 32 potential violations of The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention and North Pacific Fisheries Commission conservation and management measures, including the use of prohibited gear, failure to maintain records of catch, and improper vessel markings. The Coast Guard said that Sixteen of the violations are considered serious violations.

And oh look, another unfortunate "one-off." Must have been a silly misunderstanding, right? You do realize that for every one of these that are caught, numerous others very likely exist undetected?

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/art...se-boat-accused-illegal-fishing-north-pacific

Probably not a good idea, though, to think that just because something is tough to find on Google means it doesn't exist, especially where international matters involving remote parts of the planet are concerned. Most of this activity isn't even caught (the usual strategy is to turn off the vessel's transponders to avoid detection, and although satellite surveillance can still catch some of it, it's pretty much a needle-in-a-haystack scenario), and enforcement is typically left to the flag country per international law. You're not going to find much on Google out of China; they've even got their own maritime enforcement ships cruising the North Pacific, but their IUU prosecutions don't make it to Google. Nonetheless, wild salmon is among the

Again, my point remains that whatever's diminishing the king salmon stocks is happening before the fish even reach Alaska waters, and that something is happening in the areas where they live out their ocean stage. All salmon species spend this stage in deep waters, but king salmon go deeper than others, which raises questions about the ocean acidification theory at this point in time, at least. As the oceans continue to heat up, who knows.

But if you want to believe that although China is pillaging the planet's seas, including the North Pacific, they're somehow leaving the salmon in international waters alone, be my guest. But that's not how these mega-trawlers work.
 
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gfisher2003

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Yeah, I knew that even as I was posting that you'd say that. But as I already stated, I posted it to provide a historical perspective and to establish that illegal fishing for salmon has indeed been a "trend," as you called it previously, for a number of decades. It hasn't stopped, although evidence suggests that China's emerging aquaculture industry may prove to be a more lucrative and less dangerous option, resulting in a decrease in IUU activity.

I don't believe I claimed that most "American salmon spend time in the Sea of Japan," that's just not how salmon migration works, but at least one of the king runs in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta spent their ocean phase in that region, and illegal/overfishing in the Sea of Japan pretty much decimated it. It was simply an example. Multiply that by a thousand or more other areas where "our" salmon are spending their ocean phase and the preponderance of illegal fishing in these areas, and you've got a lot of smoke.

It's really easy to find where I'm getting my numbers from via Google, by the way. Most of the vessels turned and ran, and a few refused to allow boarding, but I'm sure everything was on the up and up, right? The listed violations included shark fins, but they didn't list all of the violations, and who knows what were on the others that ran away or refused to allow officials to board. But the thing is, when you're bottom trawling with 5+ mile nets in the North Pacific, you're going to bring up salmon; there's just no way not to.

https://www.kinyradio.com/news/news...ls-find-multiple-violations-in-north-pacific/


And oh look, another unfortunate "one-off." Must have been a silly misunderstanding, right? You do realize that for every one of these that are caught, numerous others very likely exist undetected?

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/art...se-boat-accused-illegal-fishing-north-pacific

Probably not a good idea, though, to think that just because something is tough to find on Google means it doesn't exist, especially where international matters involving remote parts of the planet are concerned. Most of this activity isn't even caught (the usual strategy is to turn off the vessel's transponders to avoid detection, and although satellite surveillance can still catch some of it, it's pretty much a needle-in-a-haystack scenario), and enforcement is typically left to the flag country per international law. You're not going to find much on Google out of China; they've even got their own maritime enforcement ships cruising the North Pacific, but their IUU prosecutions don't make it to Google. Nonetheless, wild salmon is among the

Again, my point remains that whatever's diminishing the king salmon stocks is happening before the fish even reach Alaska waters, and that something is happening in the areas where they live out their ocean stage. All salmon species spend this stage in deep waters, but king salmon go deeper than others, which raises questions about the ocean acidification theory at this point in time, at least. As the oceans continue to heat up, who knows.

But if you want to believe that although China is pillaging the planet's seas, including the North Pacific, they're somehow leaving the salmon in international waters alone, be my guest. But that's not how these mega-trawlers work.
By trend I mean you would have to demonstrate that the pursuit of salmon has been a sustained and rising effort, considering none of these articles mention salmon it is safe to assume they are not the target fish. I know that bycatch happens but it does not seem like you have evidence it is happening at a high enough level to be more than background mortality.

If you have a link demonstrating that a run of Alaskan Kings decided to live in the sea of Japan, where no other salmon stocks live including Asian salmon stocks, I would be happy to read it but you just saying it is not enough.

https://npafc.org/wp-content/uploads/Public-Documents/2020/AR2020.pdf
This document from the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission says this

"The coordinated enforcement efforts of the NPAFC member countries in 2020 covered significant portions of the NPAFC Convention Area with over 390 hours of aircraft patrols and 136 ship-days, to deter and interrupt IUU fishing activity. These combined multilateral efforts identified multiple violations of Conservation and Management Measures established by regional fisheries management organizations in the North Pacific Ocean; however, none involved high-seas driftnet activity or illegal retention of salmon"

Their report from 2019 mentions the Run Da, as well as how much illegal salmon fishing has happened historically.
https://npafc.org/wp-content/uploads/Public-Documents/2019/AR2019.pdf
"The list of apprehended illegal salmon fishing vessels (22 vessels including F/V Run Da) in the NPAFC Convention Area has been updated as of July 3, 2018. From 1993–2019"

Less than 1 vessel Illegally fishing for salmon per year on average is not a significant trend, nor is it likely to have a significant effect on salmon stocks.

I agree there is something happening in the ocean, but the changes are within the ecosystem and likely linked to climate change, reports from high seas research vessels have found that many salmon in the ocean are starving or undernourished, showing a more likely link between poor foraging conditions and low salmon survival.
 
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Wildfish

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By trend I mean you would have to demonstrate that the pursuit of salmon has been a sustained and rising effort, considering none of these articles mention salmon it is safe to assume they are not the target fish. I know that bycatch happens but it does not seem like you have evidence it is happening at a high enough level to be more than background mortality.

If you have a link demonstrating that a run of Alaskan Kings decided to live in the sea of Japan, where no other salmon stocks live including Asian salmon stocks, I would be happy to read it but you just saying it is not enough.

https://npafc.org/wp-content/uploads/Public-Documents/2020/AR2020.pdf
This document from the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission says this

"The coordinated enforcement efforts of the NPAFC member countries in 2020 covered significant portions of the NPAFC Convention Area with over 390 hours of aircraft patrols and 136 ship-days, to deter and interrupt IUU fishing activity. These combined multilateral efforts identified multiple violations of Conservation and Management Measures established by regional fisheries management organizations in the North Pacific Ocean; however, none involved high-seas driftnet activity or illegal retention of salmon"

Their report from 2019 mentions the Run Da, as well as how much illegal salmon fishing has happened historically.
https://npafc.org/wp-content/uploads/Public-Documents/2019/AR2019.pdf
"The list of apprehended illegal salmon fishing vessels (22 vessels including F/V Run Da) in the NPAFC Convention Area has been updated as of July 3, 2018. From 1993–2019"

Less than 1 vessel Illegally fishing for salmon per year on average is not a significant trend, nor is it likely to have a significant effect on salmon stocks.

I agree there is something happening in the ocean, but the changes are within the ecosystem and likely linked to climate change, reports from high seas research vessels have found that many salmon in the ocean are starving or undernourished, showing a more likely link between poor foraging conditions and low salmon survival.

Most of the trawler activity is undetected and that we'll never hear from Google what happens with enforcement on China's end. The trawlers are out there and have been for decades. As far as salmon not being the "target fish," I guess you don't know how this type of trawling even works.

I got this far. No more time to waste today:

http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=chinook.printerfriendly
  • Distribution/Range
    North America "– Monterey Bay, CA' to the Chukchi Sea. Asia – Hokkaido, Japan to Anadyr River, Siberia
https://www.fws.gov/fisheries/freshwater-fish-of-america/chinook_salmon.html
RANGE: The range of Chinook salmon extends from the Arctic, northwest to northern Pacific: drainages from Point Hope, Alaska down to Ventura River, California. They are also found in Honshu Japan, the Sea of Japan, the Bering Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk
 
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gfisher2003

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I guess you can't understand that the ships are out there, hardly any of them are detected, a



Most of the trawler activity is undetected and that we'll never hear from Google what happens with enforcement on China's end. The trawlers are out there and have been for decades. As far as salmon not being the "target fish," I guess you don't know how this type of trawling even works.

I got this far. No more time to waste today:

http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=chinook.printerfriendly
https://www.fws.gov/fisheries/freshwater-fish-of-america/chinook_salmon.html
Those are Japanese Chinook Salmon, not American ones.

The full quote that you edited to suit your point says
"In North America, Chinook salmon range from the Monterey Bay area of California to the Chukchi Sea area of Alaska. On the Asian coast, Chinook salmon occur from the Anadyr River area of Siberia southward to Hokkaido, Japan"

your fleets of imaginary ships eating up salmon in the middle of the ocean don't exist, and there is ample evidence to prove they don't. We actually can know what is happening on China's end with enforcement many of the articles that you linked mention how China has been making efforts to reign in their fleets.
 
jamisonace

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Golly. Must be midwinter or something.
I was enjoying the discussion of conjecture, assumption and anecdotal evidence. Then the real bull#&*% started flying.
 
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Wildfish

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sea of Japan, where no other salmon stocks live including Asian salmon stocks,,

That was fast. You must be sitting here waiting for me to post so you can pounce. I posted that to refute this ^ statement on your part. And like I already told you, I made no claim that most king salmon migrate to the Sea of Japan, simply that there was an issue at one time with a particular run. We know that most of them spend their ocean phase farther out.

Your imaginary world of "target fish" when 5-mile nets are part of the picture and "if it's not on a U.S.-centric search engine, it doesn't happen" just shows that you don't know how certain things work. There are no "target fish" in these cases; they throw down huge nets and take whatever comes up. Near the bottom of the North Pacific, that's very likely to include a sizeable number of juvenile kings.

I don't think you understand that when I said that Google can't tell you about China's enforcement efforts, I was referencing individual instances; the kind of thing that might be on their state media, not the fact that they have patrols. We don't know specifics about when/if they've boarded boats and what punitive measures they've taken. You won't find that info on Google.

And I made no claims that there's some huge fleet marauding the oceans and sucking up all the salmon; what I said was I think that IUU is a contributory factor in declining king stocks. Even leading experts don't know exactly what's going but agree that there's more than one factor; there's even a train of thought that says that overproduction of hatchery fish in your Columbia River is contributing to the demise of wild kings. Personally, I think that ocean acidification is more of a long-term threat to the existence of all salmon species, but I also think it's likely that IUU is taking a toll on ocean phase kings. The vessels have a long, established history of being out there; the North Pacific Guard obviously thinks ample evidence exists that IUU is still an issue or they wouldn't be spending all this time and money trying to stop it.

But my main point is that the kings aren't reaching Alaska, so anyway, Oregon, I guess Alaska makes a good scapegoat for your disappearing kings, but since you can't even manage to keep your word with Washington or stop yourself from trashing your own salmon habitat, you might do better to point your finger at the mirror.
 
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gfisher2003

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That was fast. You must be sitting here waiting for me to post so you can pounce. I posted that to refute this ^ statement on your part. And like I already told you, I made no claim that most king salmon migrate to the Sea of Japan, simply that there was an issue at one time with a particular run. We know that most of them spend their ocean phase farther out.

Your imaginary world of "target fish" when 5-mile nets are part of the picture and "if it's not on a U.S.-centric search engine, it doesn't happen" just shows that you don't know how certain things work. There are no "target fish" in these cases; they throw down huge nets and take whatever comes up. Near the bottom of the North Pacific, that's very likely to include a sizeable number of juvenile kings.

I don't think you understand that when I said that Google can't tell you about China's enforcement efforts, I was referencing individual instances; the kind of thing that might be on their state media, not the fact that they have patrols. We don't know specifics about when/if they've boarded boats and what punitive measures they've taken. You won't find that info on Google.

And I made no claims that there's some huge fleet marauding the oceans and sucking up all the salmon; what I said was I think that IUU is a contributory factor in declining king stocks. Even leading experts don't know exactly what's going but agree that there's more than one factor; there's even a train of thought that says that overproduction of hatchery fish in your Columbia River is contributing to the demise of wild kings. Personally, I think that ocean acidification is more of a long-term threat to the existence of all salmon species, but I also think it's likely that IUU is taking a toll on ocean phase kings. The vessels have a long, established history of being out there; the North Pacific Guard obviously thinks ample evidence exists that IUU is still an issue or they wouldn't be spending all this time and money trying to stop it.

But my main point is that the kings aren't reaching Alaska, so anyway, Oregon, I guess Alaska makes a good scapegoat for your disappearing kings, but since you can't even manage to keep your word with Washington or stop yourself from trashing your own salmon habitat, you might do better to point your finger at the mirror.
Yeah, you make a fair point I was wrong, there are Asian salmon stocks in the sea of Japan. It still does not seem like the Sea of Japan is a major growth area, the sea of Japan is on the very very southern and western edge of salmons oceanic range.

You still have not shown that any American salmon stocks go there though besides you saying it? And even if a single Alaskan salmon stock did that would not explain a decrease across their entire range.

The ocean is a huge place a five-mile net in the wrong part of the ocean won't take any salmon. Especially given that ships that are specifically pursuing salmon are having trouble finding them (2020 had the lowest commercial catch of salmon on record) I find it hard to believe that ships not pursuing them are having a significant amount of bycatch.

I don't think that you have backed up that IUU is a large enough factor to be appreciable in changes to Chinook stocks. I know that organizations take IUU seriously, I am aware that there are enforcement efforts that happen every year and that every year we find IUU fishing. No organizations or articles you have linked have said though that IUU fishing is a statistically significant factor in Chinook salmon stocks.

You keep saying you think that IUU is a contributing factor in Chinook decline, but you don't have any academic sources or organizations that back you up there.
 
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Wildfish

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That was fast.

I've said repeatedly throughout this thread that my opinion is based on a lot of smoke throughout the years; an established history and enough sightings during the past decade or so to indicate that the IUU fire that first came to light during the 1980s is still burning. Their distant fleet has been increasing for the past five years or so, which is concerning as well. It's an opinion many share, some don't because it's not well-represented on surface Google searches, while some on the climate change denial camp elevate it to conspiracy theory level. Somewhere in the middle, probably. It's nice to think that it's not occurring because enforcement efforts would be catching them right and left, but detection is really difficult for reasons I've mentioned.

Nonetheless, according to a 2019 report by the International Trade Commission, which you won't find on Google without some deep digging, IUU Pacific king catch makes up an estimated 8.4% of overall import value, which is less than some species but nonetheless significant enough to make a dent. Edited to add that I need to clarify that this is only specific to what's entered the U.S. supply chain; there's really no way of knowing how much was sold in other countries, but because the demand for it in Asia is substantial, it's reasonable to surmise that this only tells a partial story.

Especially given that ships that are specifically pursuing salmon are having trouble finding them

This isn't really how it works. The low catch rates for kings are caused by constant restrictions and closures, which I'm all for, by the way. To make it as clear as I can, catches are only going to be as big as the allowable harvest. Commercial fishing openings/closures are closely regulated by Alaska Fish & Game; you likely won't know until hours before a scheduled opening if you'll be allowed to catch kings, so nobody's really specifically pursuing them except for SE Alaska trollers. They're also specific to individual districts rather than statewide. The commercial guys make their money on pinks and reds; sometimes chums and coho. If they're allowed to catch kings, it's just a temporary bonus. One exception might be out in Copper River, but if escapement goals aren't met, they'll close down kings just like that.

Kings are mostly a specialty fishery anymore, as I stated previously, with the majority of kings in Alaska being allocated to vessels that use old-school hook-and-line trolling and catch one fish at a time. I'm pretty sure all of our troll vessels met their allocations this year. I should make it clear that these vessels are different than the ones up in Copper River/Bristol Bay/Prince William Sound. They're generally small, one-two person outfits that are primarily used in SE Alaska.

BTW, these gigantic trawlers use a vastly different method than legal commercial fishing; it makes it much easier to catch large amounts of salmon or anything of any type, so it's a false equivalency to compare them to legit salmon vessels, which are typically under 60 feet. Because juvenile kings are a high-money fish in Asia, I doubt they're acting like boy scouts and avoiding them, especially since the crab fishery out there is pretty much gone. Salmon bring far higher prices than groundfish whether it's a legit or illegitimate market, so I have a lot of trouble buying that they're "targeting" pollock or cod.

2020 had the lowest commercial catch of salmon on record

The lowest since 1982. 2021 was yet another record year for Alaska reds, though. Next year won't be so great; salmon runs are cyclical. But you won't see anything but low commercial catches for kings in coming years except for maybe in Oregon where they've chosen to violate the salmon pact with Washington; kings have been restricted throughout Alaska and allowable harvests are very likely to continue to be low. ETA I really should have included freshwater factors; I guess I thought that was a given, as well as the elephant in the room known as British Columbia's salmon farming industry.
 
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Wildfish

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Anyway, it would seem impolite to continue this discussion because a couple of the comments in this thread indicate that it's not really appreciated. For that reason, I'm not comfortable carrying on with this, so you can have the last word. I likely won't be back to read it, though. I would encourage those of you who want to point fingers at Alaska to take a closer look at your own state. Alaska's been regulating kings for years and will continue to do so, and Oregon can't even honor a pact designed to promote healthier king stocks. Greed indeed.
 
G

gfisher2003

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That was fast.

I've said repeatedly throughout this thread that my opinion is based on a lot of smoke throughout the years; an established history and enough sightings during the past decade or so to indicate that the IUU fire that first came to light during the 1980s is still burning. Their distant fleet has been increasing for the past five years or so, which is concerning as well. It's an opinion many share, some don't because it's not well-represented on surface Google searches, while some on the climate change denial camp elevate it to conspiracy theory level. Somewhere in the middle, probably. It's nice to think that it's not occurring because enforcement efforts would be catching them right and left, but detection is really difficult for reasons I've mentioned.

Nonetheless, according to a 2019 report by the International Trade Commission, which you won't find on Google without some deep digging, IUU Pacific king catch makes up an estimated 8.4% of overall import value, which is less than some species but nonetheless significant enough to make a dent. Edited to add that I need to clarify that this is only specific to what's entered the U.S. supply chain; there's really no way of knowing how much was sold in other countries, but because the demand for it in Asia is substantial, it's reasonable to surmise that this only tells a partial story.



This isn't really how it works. The low catch rates for kings are caused by constant restrictions and closures, which I'm all for, by the way. To make it as clear as I can, catches are only going to be as big as the allowable harvest. Commercial fishing openings/closures are closely regulated by Alaska Fish & Game; you likely won't know until hours before a scheduled opening if you'll be allowed to catch kings, so nobody's really specifically pursuing them except for SE Alaska trollers. They're also specific to individual districts rather than statewide. The commercial guys make their money on pinks and reds; sometimes chums and coho. If they're allowed to catch kings, it's just a temporary bonus. One exception might be out in Copper River, but if escapement goals aren't met, they'll close down kings just like that.

Kings are mostly a specialty fishery anymore, as I stated previously, with the majority of kings in Alaska being allocated to vessels that use old-school hook-and-line trolling and catch one fish at a time. I'm pretty sure all of our troll vessels met their allocations this year. I should make it clear that these vessels are different than the ones up in Copper River/Bristol Bay/Prince William Sound. They're generally small, one-two person outfits that are primarily used in SE Alaska.

BTW, these gigantic trawlers use a vastly different method than legal commercial fishing; it makes it much easier to catch large amounts of salmon or anything of any type. Because juvenile kings are a high-money fish in Asia, I doubt they're acting like boy scouts and avoiding them, especially since the crab fishery out there is pretty much gone. Salmon bring far higher prices than groundfish whether it's a legit or illegitimate market, so I have a lot of trouble buying that they're "targeting" pollock or cod.



The lowest since 1982. 2021 was yet another record year for Alaska reds, though. Next year won't be so great; salmon runs are cyclical. But you won't see anything but low commercial catches for kings in coming years except for maybe in Oregon where they've chosen to violate the salmon pact with Washington; kings have been restricted throughout Alaska and allowable harvests are very likely to continue to be low. ETA I really should have included freshwater factors; I guess I thought that was a given, as well as the elephant in the room known as British Columbia's salmon farming industry.
Can you please cite anything? Everything you say comes off like an opinion, at the very least link to the articles/reports/studies you mention.

A measure of the percent of imports has nothing to do with the ecological effect of fishing, I found a similar report from the international trade commission, that had similar numbers https://www.usitc.govions/332/pub5168.pdf. The fisheries in this report also include aquaculture rendering a lot of the data in it bunk. When you take away aquaculture from IUU fishing for Chinook salmon it accounts for a measly 3.9 percent of imports.

The report also targets Russia as historically being the main source of IUU fishing while also mentioning that increased regulation and control over its commercial sector has substantially decreased it over the past two decades. As well as saying about other countries ". There was limited evidence of IUU fishing in the primary capture fisheries outside the RFE that supplied U.S. imports of Pacific salmon. The largest source country of Pacific salmon imports was the United States itself. The Alaska salmon fishery is by far the largest MSC-certified Pacific salmon fishing operation in the world, with tonnage of 520,523 mt in 2017"

I'm not arguing against a lot of the other potential causes of salmon reduction in the ocean. I just think that specifically targeting foreign IUU fishing when there is little to no evidence for it, and ample evidence for other causes, comes off as weird and as though you are leading people in an odd and unproductive direction.

I'm happy to continue this conversation over dms if you feel like we are bothering other members. I am genuinely open to learning more.
 
Last edited:
Shaun Solomon

Shaun Solomon

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376
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I’m sorry if I came off as flippant.

Truth be told, I am a bit flippant. But it wasn’t directed at anyone, and it is an open forum.

Cheers all.
 

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