All posts by cmgeddes

What it takes to Guide in Alaska.

The thought of making a living from being a fishing guide in the beautiful state of Alaska is one that makes many people think of how amazing the oppurtunity would be. Who wouldn’t want to take people fishing all day to make money? You cant just make a customer base and go crazy out there though, there are many steps to acquiring a liccense to guide here. You got to think of a lot more safer approach when your facing alaska’s deadly water systems. Which is why the state as set laws to make sure people don’t get sent out in the field unprepared. The permits are costly, $750 for residents and $1,650 for non-residents annually. That isnt the end   of it either, you will also need to be certified in first aid, and pick up another license from the fish and game office to even get papers in order. There are many steps that must be completed before you can start guiding. So as you can see there is a long list of technical stuff to be completed, but thats not including the skill it takes to be a valuable guide. Many guides have spent thier whole lives learning the water systems to get where they are at. It might take a lot of work, but that doesnt mean it is not worth is, many people have very succesfull guide related businessess. Another thing that troubles me about life as a guide is the failing king fishery in alaska. There is no doubt that the kings are rapidly dissapearing, and it effects a number of peoples livlihood. Including people who make a living off of river guides for king salmon. This has been a great concern for the guide community, and many people are not planning on fishing for kings at all for a while. The market is just not worth it, and many guides have trouble with the ever changing laws that wreck havoc with customers flying in from around the world to fish. fly-fishing-alaska-kings

Regulating All Fisheries

 

For the year 2012 in an effort to ensure our fisheries survival for the next few decades the United States was the first country to ever set annual catch limits for every single fishery. From the Pacific to the Atlantic and all the way down to the gulf of mexico all 528 fish species under federal regulation are being surveyed and regulated like never before. No longer in support of the business and money making aspect of our fisheries government has finally decided to put an end to the overfishing regardless of loss of income for the country. For some it might already be too late, but better late than never. This policy is proving difficult and expensive due to the struggle in finding out how many fish are available for each species and how much can be caught to still have maximum yeild. Other countries like europe are considering adopting the plan, but some still refuse to waiver their fishing rate. But the changes have not come without a fight, and an array of critics are seeking to undo them. Some commercial and recreational operators, along with their congressional allies, argue that regulators lack the scientific data to justify the restrictions. And they suggest that the ambitious goals the law prescribes, including a mandate to rebuild any depleted fish stock within a decade, are arbitrary and rigid. Only time will tell if this revolution of fisheries will work, and until then the future of fisheries may be a litlle shady.overfishing

Fishing in Crude Oil

Mining crude oil and fishing are both the leaders in sustaining alaskas economy, but they dont mix together very well at all. Oil spills are a detriment to the oceans all over the world, and unfortunately they occur quite often. A single oil tanker can dump millions of gallons of oil into the ocean in a short amount of time and the damage is devastating to the communities that an oil spill effects. Fortunatly there is hope, after twenty years the small town of Cordova, Alaska, situated on the eastern shore of Prince William Sound is being able to see a light at the end of the tunnel.   On the 25 of march 25 years ago the oil tanker exxon valdez crashed on a reef outside of cordova. No human life was lost but the lives of an enire ecosystem and the lifeblood of the 2200 citezens that lived there. The oil spill covered eleven thousand square miles. Exxon in attempt to clean up the mess and get the good graces of the fisherman who’s livlihood was just demolished hired them for clean up crews . The spill ended up costing exxon over four billion dollars. The herring fishing has not returned back to normal and the whales have not returned to the waters, but there is still hope. Salmon, Halibut, and cod are still available for the fishermen, and the town now has one of the best oil spill response teams in the world. After a long 25 years Cordova, Alaska has gotten back on its feet and is ready to return to the waters and begin where they left off.

Works Cited: https://www.npr.org/2014/03/24/292411071/25-years-after-spill-alaska-town-struggles-back-from-dead-zone390-eh_ev001-standalone-prod_affiliate-7

Shark-Finning The West Coast

Shark FInning is the practice of slicing off the shark’s fins while the shark is still alive and throwing the rest of its body back into the ocean where it can take days to die what must be an agonising death. Some sharks starve to death, others are slowly eaten by other fish, and some drown, because sharks need to keep moving to force water through their gills for oxygen. Shark fins are used as the principal ingredient of Shark fin soup an Asian “delicacy’. Demand for shark fin soup has rocketed in recent years due to the increased prosperity of China and other countries in the Far East. Shark fin soup, which can easily cost $100 a bowl, is often served at wedding celebrations so that the hosts can impress their guests with their affluence. It seems pretty messed up right, to just waste thousands of pounds of meat? In California there is many people that are working to even ban shark fin sale, but of couse there are others that oppose. Certain sectors of the Chinese-American community, such as those that opposed California’s ban on the sale, trade and possession of Shark Fins claim that a ban is an attack on Chinese culture. Is this the case? Although shark-fin soup dates back hundreds of years in China, it is a delicacy that has only been available to the wealthy and is by no means a representation of Chinese culture as a whole. Because shark-fin soup has traditionally been a luxury item, the rising middle-class will order it for their guests simply to prove that they can. I would not consider myself the tree hugger type and i enjoy substinence hunting and fishing, but that makes me even more mad to see these animals being wasted. I am not against fishing for sharks as long as the population is balanced but the waste of food just pisses me off.   Why not at least sell the carcases to a cannery so the meat could be used? images shark SharkFinning

Rethinking Selective Fishing

It is now new news that the fish population of the world has been slowly depleting, even worse is that we do not know how to stop it. The Fish Management Officials have acted to the steady decline of fishery stocks with a plethora of regulations and rules. Many of those regulations are forcing fishing operators to be more selective in their harvest. This is done by thre different ways. First   is by targeting certain species and regional populations and not exactly paying attention to some less know species. Second is by mandating size or gender restrictions on catches for both commercial and sport fishermen. Third and last is by defining open and closed seasons for fishing based on a seasonal calendar. An example for those of you who are familiar with the fish in Alaska would be the heavy regulating of our native King Salmon. At first it would make sense that the only way to help the fish is to regulate it but does selective fishing have long term effects that should be more thought through. By targeting specific parts of the fishing waters for removal, regulations intended to preserve fish populations can instead push a delicate ecosystem out of balance. Posted below is an image of the Cod and how they’re average species is begininning to slowly get smaller as the years go by. Lead study author Shiji Zhao says, “Simply speaking, a balanced exploitation aims to maintain, to the extent possible, natural ecosystem structure to support sustainable fisheries and conserve biodiversity. His concept is to seek balance relationships both among different species and among subpopulations of a given species like age, gender groups or different schools. research shows that selectively targeting some sizes of a species can drive unwanted population shifts. That drastically reducing the number of males relative to females with selective fishing pertaining t gender. Setting a minimum catch size, applies selection pressure that may not normally favor smaller individuals, and that would drive down the size of the perticular species over long periods of time like the picture of the Cod. Another theory is that the establishment of legal fishing seasons can affect when salmon runs occur by selectively killing late or early fish.

Another concept of Selective Fishing is the by catch that happens when fishing trawlers catch fish other than their targeted species.   The big problem is that fish caught as by catch are usually not utilized, and because by catch is almost always unnavoidable we need to find a use for them if they are caught. Instead of continuing the way we are fishing it would make sense to be able to find a market for the fish caught as by catch. Even with some fish that you could not use as a food product for people can find some use, fish oil as well as feed for livestock or even for fish farms cultivating more desirable species are just a few ways that by catch can be utilized.

fish sizebycatch

They call me Burbot

My common name is Burbot, Sceintist call me Lota Lota. I go by alot of names like lushfish, lobster fish, and some call me   a link.

Sexual tendency:   As broadcast spawners, burbot do not have an explicit nesting site, but rather release eggs and sperm into the water column to drift and settle. When spawning, many male burbot will gather around one or two females, forming a spawning ball. Writhing in the open water, males and females will simultaneous release sperm and eggs.

Eating Habits: As adults, burbot are primarily piscivoir, preying on Lamprey, whitefish and grayling, young northern pike, sucker and trout also are part of its diet.

Habitat: Freshwater lakes and rivers. usually found in colder climates. Burbot like slow water so any deep pool in a river or lake they are happy.

Primary activities: the snakelike body makes it hardto move around in fast currents so they like slow water. They act like catfish in that they build burrows under the water.

Interests: they are not a very active fish, and sometimes they move around in large schools. They can also grow to be over forty years old!!!

Random facts:. In finland, its roe is sold as caviar. The skin of the fish is very tough like a catfish and the meat is of very high quality despite its ugly countenance, it is sometime called Poor mans Lobster because of how delicate the meat is. I consider it some of the best fish i have ever eaten.

burbot1 burot

 

Where in the heck are the Kings?

The King salmon, also called the Chinook salmon is the largest type of salmon in the ocean. Historically, the native species of Chinook salmon ranged from all the way down to California and north to Alaska. Elsewhere, distribution is patchy, but occurs from northern Japan in the south to the Arctic Ocean and some parts of Russia.   Their populations have disappeared from large areas where they used to be many, shrinking by as much as 40 percent.In North America, their inland range has been cut off, mainly by dams and habitat alterations. A study commissioned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on a small river in north Alaska, estimated 75,000 smolts left that one little stream in 2011. If Alaska was witnessing the sort of ocean survival seen back in the 1990s, about 4,500 of those smolts would be expected to return as adults. State fisheries biologists figure they need a minimum of 3,800 spawners to seed the river that was being studied. A return of 4,500 would provide about 700 fish for anglers. A return of 8,000 and anglers would be in fat city. But 8,000 doesn’t seem likely. The river closed to fishing almost as soon as it opened this year. Only 3,455 kings reached the river’s spawning grounds in 2009. The next year was better with 4,417, but there were only 3,547 last year despite the early closure of the stream to all fishing. Instead of a 6 or 7 percent return adults to smolts, there was a return of less than 5 percent. This year could be worse. So the big question is what happened to all the salmon? Back when people first started making an attempt to help the salmon returns, there were bounties on Dolly Varden char and eagles because both were known to eat salmon. And fishermen were encouraged to shoot bears and seals, two well-known salmon predators. Eventually, scientists concluded that none of these wild predators were really killing enough salmon to make a difference at the population level. So the bounties came to an end . One theory is that the bycatch of fishing trawlers hunting out other fish but also cathing salmon are responsible. Many state officials were angry when the bycatch of kings hit a peak of 122,000 in the Bering Sea in 2007. After numerous complaints the government soon bowed to public pressure to do something. Trawlers were in 2009 put under a bycatch cap of 60,000 kings in the Bering Sea. They are required to quit fishing if that cap is reached. The problem is that the only way to report what the bycatch acutually is is by asking the captains and the crews for a count of the Kings they accidentally catch. So when they have the chance of their fishing season getting cut short they tend to not be so truthful. some of the crewmembers interveiwed about the goings on for the fishing trawlers say that only thirty percent of Kings caught are reported. In high hopes we will soon once again see an abundance of Kings, there have been reports clear back into the 1800’s about shortages in salmon, so the recent lack thereof has a chance of making a comeback. coral-crew seining-fun-jpSources Cited:

https://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/biologists-look-ocean-clues-alaska-king-salmon-collapse

www.Wikipedia.com