An Inconvenient Possibility;

Flyfisher for men

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Pressure, pressure on the department of fish and game applied by the tourist industry, by the residential fishermen, by the commercial guides association, all of these culminate in political pressure to keep things going as they have always ran.
The folks who talk to me about this situation seem to be so opposed to this thought that is is obvious. I don't preach it, I make mention that I think we may have over-killed but I don't enter into debates on the topic. I see this like a community with a limited aquifer to draw water from deciding that everyone is entitled to have a swimming pool only when the wells run dry they are desperately searching for someone other than the pool owners to blame for the dry wells.
Ard,

I can't say that I have a solution, but let me point something out. What your writing makes obvious is that the parties involved are competing with each other, but they need to be collaborating. It's also obvious from what you say that whatever the solution is, it will require sacrifice, and on a mass, even global level.

We don't have that kind of culture, and that's where the problem lies. Our culture is driven by capitalism (emphasizing self-interest and immediate gain) and that produces the sort of politics you describe.

We need a cultural outlook that promotes bringing people together in a collaboration of willing sacrifice on a mass level, and that is a very tall order.

Christianity proposes just such a thing. It's universal in that every man, woman, and child, is important and matters and that all must contribute to the universal good. It makes sacrifice central--the sacrifice on the cross on Good Friday is paramount. As I will be telling a group of retreatants on Good Friday, the grain of wheat had to fall to the ground and die to bear fruit. Christianity says that spirit has to be replicated in an individual's own life for salvation.

Imagine if that spirit could be replicated again, again, and again across many people and places. It may just result in the kind and numbers of people who can come together in the sort of mass collaboration and sacrifice that will be necessary to save those precious salmon runs.

Without it, I don't think there's much hope at all. The solution has to overcome a natural inclination in us to be greedy, selfish, and exploitive.

Christianity contains within it that spirit, and especially its Catholic version. The Church is said to be Universal and, for believers, that mandates engaging in a universal effort for the good and love of others in absolutely every dimension of human life. Anything less is a failure in a Christian and a failure for humanity. Imagine if a spirit like that could be brought to bear on the problem of those salmon streams.

I don't think much else offers that kind of spirit. Marx proposed communism, but that's ultimately a system based on force, the results were horrifically bloody, and it became a system of haves vs. have-nots as well.

If you want to see it explained here's a link to Pope Francis's Laudato Si "A Care for our Common Home" http://www.vatican.va/content/franc...-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html

I can give you this much: I will use this example in my retreat talk this Friday. At the very least, a group of mostly college students will hear your story of the salmon and learn that fixing a problem like that is their duty, and they are called to develop in themselves the sense of self-sacrifice and service in themselves so they can do it.
 

ifitswims

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We develop our own ethics and the fisheries managers utilize their best science to balance the entire glob of people. We must have faith on how they regulate. Nothing is stopping any one of us from working in these agencies And typically regulations are based on science and fact not emotion. As predominantly c and r fishermen we also view regulations from a slightly different view point than most people and fishers. Fishing is a form of hunting that allows release. There is still a large school of thought out there that laughs at releasing fish. The fishery managers know what benefits can be brought by regulation and they also understand that the feelings of some are just that. Every agency I have been associated with wants to keep a balance but they still hold the resource as what is most important. We will always have quandaries, like should we kill a fish that was populated by the very fish and game managers who are now trying to stomp out these same populations? How fair is that to the lake trout or rainbows who are now occupying these waters?

I for one am not as supportive of the fish managers as many are, I find it hard to rollover and support all decisions. These are commonly flawed people using flawed judgement and regularly flawed science....of course this is in my judgement, which is inherently flawed. They however do many things well, that I do agree with.

I also know that our lifetimes are but a minuscule portion of history, and that we are a group of feeling over fact peoples on many issues. This battle is long and arduous. Thankfully we still have saveable places not just already gone places...there is still time for many saves.
 

Ard

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The spread sheets I was able to find license sale totals on were archived and indeed the numbers seemed almost artificially low even to me.

Regarding the charter boats that work these rivers I know a little bit about the business. I find it interesting that I had to attend a total of 9 days classroom and take 2 written tests and one oral test in order to obtain the various guiding licenses I have. Then there's that red Cross Certification that I have to attend so that I'm ready to administer First Aid if or when needed to people while fishing........... So what's interesting to me?

I'm fully aware that any attempt to educate the public with regard to the identification of fish would be at best a hit or miss undertaking. However, given that the charter boat guides do or did have to meet certain training requirements in order to get those permits I would think that they would be a good starting point. One idea that has crossed my mind seems pretty simple. Stop killing the female / hen salmon. In the opening post I touched on the subject of salmon eggs being harvested from ripe hens then treated to be used as bait. I believe that stopping this practice could have a positive affect on all of the heavily used fisheries. How to do this is the problem? It can be difficult to identify a fresh sea run salmon but it is far from impossible. I believe that the taking of female salmon should be made unlawful and an effort should be undertaken by the department to test charter boat guides to ascertain their ability to recognize differences between sex of the fish their clients may catch. The Alaska department of fish and game has a very active news letter as well as an expansive website that could both be utilized for educating the residential fishermen and women with regard to the current threatened status of the fisheries in the Matanuska Susitna drainage. To make people aware that this situation we face is not a 'one off' sort of thing but the result of over harvest of the brood stock fish most notably the hens. [A single female salmon can lay 1,000 to 17,000 eggs, very few of those eggs actually survive from fertilization to maturity. An average of 3 fish returning for every parent fish that spawns would be considered good production.] Those numbers are supplied by the USF&W.

Would such an effort bear fruit? It could be said that unless this were given a try there will be no way of knowing. I am not anti harvest of salmon, I like eating salmon. The situation during the past ten years has changed to such a degree that I have taken only 2 male silver salmon each year because they are so scarce. I have not killed a king salmon for ten years. There are so many intrinsic pieces to this puzzle that I simply don't have the time to share all of what I have seen or all of my thoughts but this resurrection of this blog post will keep me writing and thinking.

What good will all this thought and opinion do? I will use excerpts from all of what I have written to compose a letter, a document if you please and then I can deliver it by hand to the director of fisheries for this entire area. We are acquainted although I seldom share my observations and I will tell you why. I believe he will read whatever I leave him with and then tell me that I should attend the next Board of Fisheries Public Conference and there present any motions to the Board. Can you see where this is going? Unless I were allied with some larger group of anti fishing activists I may very well be the only person in that hall who would speak such ideas and make such claims. This is a bureaucracy plain and simple. The meetings are basically attended by lobbyists of the charter fishing industry and this is an uphill fight, perhaps an unwinnable fight.

Forty years ago I was an activist, I was in for the good fight and now at age 66 nearing 67 I have a rear view mirror in which I can see that the changes I hoped to see within my lifetime remain unsettled, still caught up in dogma between parties, those for and those against. I'm not so sure I want to pick up my banner and enter into another seemingly hopeless endeavor. Perhaps this will end like some other ailments in that things will have to hit the bottom. Hit the absolute bottom so that all parties can clearly see that there is an end of the line. Currently we are still on the tracks but I do seriously believe that the end of this line may come within my lifetime.

Thanks for all your comments.
 

Hayden Creek

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I have been told that CO was up over 30k in license sales last year. I'm guessing sales were regional as opposed to traveling licenses.

As a side note, Taos was great. Hondo is prime.
 

Ard

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I would like to add that I regret that conditions prevailed which led to the thoughts and observations that then manifested into the original writing on this post. If I could wish things better none of this would have been said.

Please remember that I only address conditions in the area in which I live and that there are parts of Alaska that have not yet been so adversely affected.
 

fatbillybob

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Forty years ago I was an activist, I was in for the good fight and now at age 66 nearing 67 I have a rear view mirror in which I can see that the changes I hoped to see within my lifetime remain unsettled, still caught up in dogma between parties, those for and those against. I'm not so sure I want to pick up my banner and enter into another seemingly hopeless endeavor.
Progress is too slow for some too fast for others. 50 years ago huge stringers of fish were held up as a banner of conquest. We don't see that today. Progress. Our cars don't smell like a 65 mustang and diesels don't roll coal down the street. Progress. There is no end to new laws and countless people willing to educate you about their agenda. AKA progress...
 
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