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Date Posted: 23:14:56 03/06/13 Wed
Author: Don Johnson
Subject: Where Have All The Kings Gone?

North Pacific King Salmon

Our marine ecosystems are suffering from a loss of biodiversity due to the destruction of our marine food chains and habitats.

Alaska's Once Great Salmon Runs

Many people are asking where our once great populations of king salmon have gone. Few people have any idea what may have happened to these once great salmon runs but if you ask the Alaska Department of Fish & Game they will announce a new catch-all term called (Lack Of King Salmon Abundance). This term is offered in an attempt to convince the public that there isn't a real known cause for the missing salmon. The ADF&G would prefer that you believe abundance issues are like the rain falling out of the sky, uncontrollable and therefore you take what you get. Well I beg to differ with this Lack Of Abundance Theory. There are known causes for Lack Of Abundance Issues but along with identifying a problem like this you need to also locate the possible causes of the problem. Our ADF&G has identified a (Lack Of King Abundance Problem) but are unable to locate the possible causes of that problem. It is my purpose to list possible reasons Alaska is currently seeing fewer and smaller king salmon, silver salmon and halibut today than observed historically.

The Differences Between King & Sockeye Salmon

The king salmon abundance issue begins with a simple and very practical question. Why the dramatic difference between king and sockeye salmon abundance in Cook Inlet? Cook Inlet annually has a great abundance of sockeye salmon along with a low abundance of king salmon. Since these salmon migrate side-by-side there is a reasonable assumption that our king salmon problems may not be happening while kings and sockeyes migrate together. Commercial and sport fisheries are significantly impacting our king salmon but these fisheries have been operating for many years and we have not seen today's kind of dramatic king salmon decreases while these Cook Inlet fisheries have been active. Because of the Cook Inlet abundance of sockeye's and its lack of kings, this problem appears to be happening while these salmon are apart in the ocean. Because we have not seen this kind of king reduction in the past thirty years, the problem appears to be pointing towards (something) happening outside our standard Cook Inlet fisheries. Because king and sockeye salmon feed on different foods in the ocean, this king salmon problem appears to be directing our attentions towards the ocean food chain.

King Salmon and Sockeye Salmon Ocean Feeding

To explore this possible marine food chain problem, the differences between king and sockeye salmon need to be investigated. King and sockeye salmon have many things in common along with some significant differences when it comes to how they live and feed. To find the differences you need to investigate what these salmon feed on. King and sockeye salmon both begin feeding on much the same things. Both salmon begin their lives by feeding on zooplankton like euphausiids (crab larvae). Juvenal kings feed on euphausiids until they reach about (16 inches) in length but these older euphausiids need to be greater than 17 mm in size. Sockeyes feed on younger euphausiids which are less than 5 mm in sizes. After juvenal kings reach (16 inches) they begin exclusively feeding on things which eat plankton like euphausiids like herring and capelin. Adult kings salmon diets switch to things like herring, capelin (small fish), sand lances, pollock and lanterfish. Sockeye however continue feeding mainly on very small (3-5 mm) plankton and zooplankton like euphausiids, while juvenal kings are feeding mainly on (>17 mm, greater than) euphausiids. After reaching (16 inches) kings make a feeding shift to herring and capelin. It is this king salmon dietary leap which allows kings to then grow to their much greater size. These king salmon feeding characteristics then become the focus of this investigation.

With sockeye salmon exclusively feeding on (3-5 mm) euphausiids and juvenal king salmon exclusively feed on (>17 mm) euphausiids, one may assume a lack of feeding conflict. Unfortunately a conflict can be created when fisheries managements manipulate stock numbers. As the fisheries managers begins to manage for (only maximum sockeye production), this action can set into motion an unusual but intense feeding factor within our ocean. This sockeye feeding factor then specifically targets (3-5 mm T. spinifera, euphausiids 'crab larva'). These are in fact the same crab larva which juvenal king salmon will seek out later but after they have reach a length greater than 17 mm . Juvenal kings less than 16 inches in length need euphausiids greater than 17 mm in length OR THEY WILL STARVE TO DEATH. This is the primary marine feed these juvenal kings survive on during this early time in their life. The unfortunate part is that when sockeye salmon populations are expanded enough by fisheries managers, they begin to operate as a supreme feeding machine along with billions of pollock living in the same waters. Together these vastly superior numbers of (small crab larva feeders) then sweep the ocean for all euphausiid larva near the (3-5 mm) length, thus leaving little (if any) larva to grow larger for juvenal king salmon to feed on while building reserves to allow them to make their jump to feeding on herring or capelin. Because this strategic (>17 mm) euphausiid elements is therefore missing, many of these juvenal king salmon then (starve to death) and therefore never become adults. 95% of a sockeye salmons diet focuses on these young 3-5 mm T. spinifera, euphausiids. 95% of a juvenal king salmon's diet focuses on the older (>17 mm) euphausiids after they have managed to escape massive sockeye and pollock feedings. King salmons diets eventually switch over to small fish but the question is how do these juvenal kings get to that switch-over point if they cannot forage enough crab larva larger than 17 mm, so they may become adults? Our latest marine science's are now showing a dramatic reduction in the North Pacific marine production crab larva. This science is telling us that we are now seeing that our (>17 mm) production of euphausiids is currently about 1% of what it used to be historically. We still have good production levels of smaller (3-5 mm) euphausiids, which are feeding our sockeye and pollock resource but 99% of the main diet of juvenal king salmon is now completely missing. These missing (>17 mm) crab larva should have shocked our ADF&G fisheries managers but it has not.

These fisheries mangers continue to manage our fisheries as if we still have sufficient euphausiid resources to feed our current juvenal king salmon. Because these mangers do not understand the needs of our juvenal kings, these mangers then claim that the resulting lack of returning adult kings salmon is a "natural" Lack Of King Salmon Abundance. This is not a lack of king salmon abundance, it is a lack of greater than 17 mm crab larva, which is the result of ADF&G fisheries mis-management. If we just assume that these juvenal kings somehow find enough (>17 mm) crab larva to survive on to adulthood, then you must consider their chances of finding enough herring or capelin to survive on as adults. Unfortunately these smaller fish also feed exclusively on the same (>17 mm) T. spinifera, euphausiids and because we now have 1% of what we used to have in euphausiids, these small fish are also now faced with the same dramatic lack of feed like the juvenal king salmon. This dramatic lack of adequately sized euphausiids for juvenal kings, herring and capelin then demands closer examination. That examination needs to focus on (the ocean production of plankton, euphausiids, herring and capelin).

NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS F/NWC-91, Salmon Stomach Contents, From the Alaska Troll Logbook Program 1977-84, By Bruce L. Wing , October 1985. Type, Quantity, And Size Of Food Of Pacific Salmon (Oncorhynchus) In The Strait Of Juan De Fuca, British Columbia, Terry D. Beachami.

Plankton, Phytoplankton and Zooplankton like Crab Larvae

Our North Pacific marine food chain begins with (plankton). These plankton drift with ocean currents because most of them cannot swim. The name plankton comes from the Latin term for (wanderer). Phytoplankton are single celled organisms which absorb energy from the sun and diatoms from the water as they retain carbon so it can be used as fuel to survive. That carbon then plays a fundamental part within the (carbon cycle) as it and the (oxygen cycle) work together to produce about half of the oxygen we breath everyday. This oxygen results from photosynthesis actions between ocean nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus. These plankton live within this cycle expelling oxygen, absorbing carbon, dying and then sinking to the bottom of our oceans. This results in a planet-wide cycle which removes millions of tons of carbon from the atmosphere and replaces it with oxygen. This is an (Anti Global Warming) cycle. That is not all plankton do before they die; they also make up the foundation of our ocean marine food chain. Phytoplankton are then eaten by the more complex zooplankton animals which are marine life like crab larva. At night, zooplankton like crab larva sneak up to the surface and snack on phytoplankton in relative safely. Once these crabs become adults they will go on to basically feed just about everything in our ocean with their resulting crab larva. These zooplankton crab larva then becomes the focus of this investigation as they live and feed within the phytoplankton.

Female crabs release their larvae during a spring high tide. They do this in an attempt to limit predation by salmon. As the tide peaks out the larvae swim to the surface and are carried away from the hatch site by the tide to the main ocean. As the tide reaches its low and starts to flood again, the larvae then swim towards the bottom, where the water moves slower. As the tide then again ebbs, the larvae swim to the surface and resume their journey to the ocean. This predator dodging procedure may take days or weeks but will eventually allow most of the larvae to reach the main ocean. These crab larva are called meroplankton because they spend part of their life living and growing within the plankton after they exhaust the yolk sack they are carrying from the egg they hatched from. These crab larva spend varying amounts of time within the plankton. That time may be minutes or over a year before graduating to their adult benthic (seabed) existence. These young crab rapidly adapt to a deep-water pressurized existence and cannot survive the upper parts of the water column. Life at this pressurized existence carries one atmosphere for every (10 metres) of water. Sunlight rarely penetrates these depths therefore the main energy source for these deep benthic ecosystems is most often dead and decaying matter like rotting salmon carcasses, which sinks from the higher water column.

These immature crab larvae pass through a number of stages as they move from hatching to adult. Each crab will go through many molts as their very hard exoskeleton is shed away over and over to allow the crab to grow larger. If some how these crab larvae metamorphose (change to different physical form) too far from a suitable settlement site, they will perish. Once they locate a suitable site, these crab larvae will feed on plankton for several months, while molting many times. These larvae will then change their body forms over and over until they finally sink to the bottom and become the (non-swimmers) that live on the seafloor and look like crabs, but they are still smaller than a penny in size. Our fisheries managers need to determine where these crab settlements are, this will help us understand what ocean habitats encourage crab population growth and eventually locate which areas of Alaska's ocean bottom should be considered (essential habitat for crabs). In general it has been found that crabs prefer to settle on structurally complex substrate, such as algae or plant-like growths. Increased structures like this will increase the total number of suitable crab settlements

Marine Energy / Crab Production

These crabs must molt their shells in order to grow but females crabs must also molt their shells in order to mate. These shell moltings require a huge amount of energy and that energy is expected to come from ocean nitrogen, phosphorus nutrient levels. While maturing, these crab will prey on a variety of things which include: sea urchins, snails brittle stars, worms, clams, mussels, other crabs, algae, sand dollars, barnacles, other crustaceans, fish, sponges, and sea stars. Adult crab and their larvae are directly affected by a decrease in ocean nitrogen, phosphorus and nutrient levels, but also indirectly when their prey also suffer from the same lack of nutrients. If these crab do not have sufficient nutrient rich waters they will not molt properly due to low nutrient energy levels. This will affect their maturing, growing and mating processes and result in the eventual death of the crab.

Salmon Escapement, Spawning, Death, Rotting, Nutrients, Planktons and Euphausiids Production

One major way to increase the survival of all forms of plankton and therefore also crabs is by allowing salmon to escape, spawn and die in their native fresh water rivers and streams. This is basic gardening 101 and can be directly applied to plankton and ocean crab production. The death and rotting of a salmon is as much a part of this cycle of life as any other part. Spawned-out salmon carcasses are a vital link between freshwater and saltwater marine ecosystems. Without these decomposing salmon carcasses it is impossible for nursery lakes to maintain adequate nutrient levels thus also causing the ocean they flow into to become nutrient impoverished. A nutrient impoverished ocean works to prevent increased phytoplankton, which works to prevent increased zooplankton like crabs. The reason for this connection is because young crabs feed on the phytoplankton, which is currently at a 50 year low in the North Pacific. Reduced salmon escapement levels have resulted in reduced biogenic fertilization, which has resulted in reduced juvenile and adult crabs. Phytoplankton enhancement is at least as important as sockeye enhancement but we see little to no ocean phytoplankton enhancement while millions of dollars are spent on sockeye enhancements. What is the purpose of spending millions of dollars on sockeye fisheries enhancement and nothing on what those millions of salmon are going to feed on? It is not coincidental that the North Pacific is currently also at a 50 year low in king salmon, crab and herring production. It is also not a coincidence that Alaska has been escaping minimal numbers of salmon for about 50 years. The commercial removal of these salmon carcasses from our waters has resulted in dramatically lowering our ocean nitrogen, phosphorus and nutrient water ratio levels. The removal of these rotting salmon from our ocean waters has effectively removed the main building blocks necessary for ocean planktons to build on within our marine food chain. This removal has resulted in our ocean waters becoming nutrient depleated and unable to produce maximum levels of planktons along with euphausiids, which would have fed all the salmon, herring, sea lions and whales.

North Pacific Commercial Crab Over-Harvest

It is shocking to discover that our North Pacific Ocean has 99% less euphausiids today (which are greater than 17 mm. in length) than we have had 50 years ago. This unfortunate fact quickly generates a desire to discover why these (>17 mm) euphausiids have disappeared from the North Pacific marine environment. A quick review of Alaska commercial crab fisheries harvest can shed much light on these missing euphausiids.

Tanner crab peak commercial harvest was in 1978 at 66.6 million pounds. In 1979 tanner crab populations (crashed) because of commercial over-harvest. By 1984 the commercial tanner harvest (crashed) again because of over-harvest and went down to just 1.2 million pounds annually. Both Bering Sea (tanner and snow crab stocks) were officially declared (crashed) and commercially over-harvested in 1999. This fishery went from 66 million pounds in 1979 to 22 million pounds in 2004 because of commercial over-harvest. (22 million is 33% of 66 million). The North Pacific Fishery Management Council, National Marine Fisheries Service, and Alaska Department of Fish and Game came together and drafted a crab rebuilding plan in 2000, to try to clean up the over-harvest mess. Unfortunately these crab populations still refuse to rebound because they lack the necessary ocean nutrient energy levels to fuel a rebound.

In 1980 Bering Sea, (red king crab) commercial harvests peaked at 130 million pounds. That commercial over-harvest then caused a red king crab (crash) from then on until today where we now expect about a 15 million pound harvest. (15 million is 11% of 130 million)

The above commercial crab fisheries have crashed over and over until finally settling at annual harvest levels which are around 11% - 33% of what they used to be historically. Within all this commercial crab over-harvest, millions of undersized female crabs have been brought up as by-catch and thrown back into the ocean. Many of these female crabs die anyway and result in a great reduction in the total crab biomass. These crab have adapted to a deep-water pressured existence, when trapped by commercial fisheries and instantly jerked to the surface, many are not able to survive the nitrogen bubbles which buildup in their bodies. Many of these crab therefore die unseen on the way back down to the bottom. With all this frenzied commercial activity taking place year after year, is it any wonder that in general Alaska crab populations are officially on the decline? With this commercial over-harvest fact finally realized, is it any wonder that we currently lack the euphausiids necessary to feed our juvenal king salmon?

So as we watch "The Deadliest Catch" on television, we now see the actual truth of just how deadly these commercial crab fisheries are. These commercial fisheries are not currently in the best interests of our marine eco-systems. They are also not in the best interest of the Alaskan public who expect the State of Alaska and the U.S. Federal Government to manage these marine resources in way which allows them to co-exist and not destroy each other. These fisheries are being mis-managed by the ADF&G and the U.S. Federal Government to promote only sockeye salmon and pollock production. This kind of unbalanced fisheries management has led to the soaring and crashing of many of our fisheries resources. Our marine ecosystems are suffering from a loss of biodiversity due to the destruction of our marine food chains and habitats.

The North Pacific Climate Shift And Commercial Over- Harvest The history of Alaska North Pacific herring, capelin, crab and sand lance production has varied from feast to famine over time. Most of these changes or abnormal events are the result of more than one cause. Some of these causes are related to large-scale climatic shifts, human influences and even the increase of natural predators in the ocean. There are a great many scientists who believe that the reason for these climatic shift may lie in large-scale shifts in climatic and oceanic conditions in the Bering Sea and eastern North Pacific Ocean. These (climate regime shifts) appear to have also happened in 1925, 1947, 1977, 1989 and 1998. A 1996 report by the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), shows that from 1977 on, climate shift resulted in concert (with human influences) to bring about the profound changes in and around the Bering Sea and North Pacific. This report refers to a (cascade hypothesis) which claims that large scale reductions of herring, capelin and crabs resulted from over-fishing by commercial fisheries. This commercial fisherery over-harvest then resulted in increased levels of food available to pollock and invertebrates up to around 1980. The North Pacific marine ecosystem was then changed from being dominated by herring and capelin, which was previously everywhere during the 1970s, to being basically wiped out from the western Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea. After that destrustion the ecosystem was only dominated by pollock This was a FORCED commercial fishing over-harvest ecosystem change, within a natural climate regime shift. Together these two forces combined to produce more pollock and fewer king salmon; thus commercial over-harvest exacerbated a king salmon climate reduction change into a complete (commercial fisheries caused king salmon disaster). This (commercial fisheries dominate species conversion scenario) has been played out over and over off the coast of Alaska and results in more pollock and fewer herring, capelin and crabs. http://www.seaweb.org/resources/briefings/bering.php

Commercial pollock fishing in Alaska was non-existent from 1947 - 1965. This was basically because pollock populations had been commercially over-harvested and devastated previous to that. That changed as pollock populations again swelled by 1965. As soon as commercial pollock fisheries spotted this they immediately expanded their fishing efforts from 1965 to 1970 and were catching about 2,000,000 metric tons of pollock annually until they killed off the pollock fishery again thus causing the harvest to crash back down to around 1,000,000 metric tons annually. While this commercial pollock fishery was catching pollock they were also accidentally catching, killing and dumping (four king salmon per ton of pollock) as by-catch. This accidental king by-catch carries the potential of killing millions of adult kings each year. Commercial king by-catch, climate regime shifts and the excess commercial harvest of herring and capelin then resulted in the direct destruction of much of our North Pacific king salmon.

Commercial pollock harvest levels remained at around 1,000,000 metric tons annually until around 1998 when climate regime shift again began expanding pollock populations, thus causing commercial pollock fishermen to again take notice. Pollock catches then went up again to 1,400,000 metric tons annually until about 2008 when commercial fisheries again wiped these pollock populations back down to their previous 1,000,000 metric ton level again. After 2008 these commercial pollock fisheries then collapsed again from all the commercial over-fishing and were never able to recover. So after these North Pacific Commercial Fisheries helped wipe-out our North Pacific herring and capelin resources, they then also went onto deplete their own pollock fisheries below 50% of what it used to be.

Unfortunately this is not the end of the dramatic effects resulting from climate shift coupled with commercial over-fishing. A National Research Council (NRC) thesis states that this commercial fisheries destruction of herring and capelin along with the North Pacific climate regime shift, then also forced Stellar sea lions, which had previously fed on herring and capelin, to feed on the less nutritional pollock until the pollock were basically gone. This then began (the Stellar sea lion decline). The thesis concludes that the sea lion decline was the direct results of climate shift, commercial over-harvest and the (junk-food hypothesis), which resulted from sea lions being forced to consume what was left. What was left was the less nutritional pollock, when they should have been feeding on capelin and herring like king salmon. This would be the equivalent of forcing a human to only eat junk food and then wondering why they are not act like they used to. In 1998 a Journal Science paper came out concluding that (the lack of Stellar sea lions) was forcing Orca whales to start feeding on sea otters, and that redirected otter feeding then resulted in (the decline of the sea otter's) in that region. This sea otter decline then allowed sea urchins to greatly increase because sea otters enjoy feeding on sea urchins. The increased urchins then resulted in the wiping out all the region's kelp beds because kelp is what sea urchins like to feed on. Herring also like kelp, herring lay their eggs on kelp, they feed on algae, plankton, kelp phytoplankton and zooplankton. What is resulting here is a less than apparent circle as commercial fisheries over-harvest our herring resources. These commercial fisheries begin a circle of destruction as the herring loss is then felt from salmon and halibut, to sea lions, to sea otters, to sea urchins, to the kelp beds and then back to the destruction of the herring and crab by allowing them fewer and fewer locations to spawn and live along with less food to feed on. The bottom line is that climate regime shift may have started a small problem by reducing herring,capelin and crabs larvae, which king salmon and sea lions feed on but commercial over-harvest then exacerbate that problem into a complete marine disaster by over-harvesting what is left of dwindling resources. The end result has become a dramatic reduction in the total numbers of herring, capelin, crab, sea lions, sea otters and king salmon along with a dramatic increase in things which help destroy herring and crab habitat and food. The bottom line becomes that climate change may have started this fire but commercial over-harvest has inflamed that problem like throwing gasoline on a fire. http://www.seaweb.org/resources/briefings/bering.php

The Gulf Of Alaska Climate Shift And Commercial Over- Harvest

We are currently seeing studies on our Alaska halibut and salmon resources which are concluding that these fish weigh half of what the same age class weighed in 1988. All of these fish depend heavily on herring as a main element within their diet. Most commercial and sport fishermen in Alaska understand that our historic stock levels of herring have greatly declined over time. This has happened because of the combined factors of commercial over-harvest, climate change and increased predation. How did all these negative factors combine together at the same time and seriously impact the abundance of our salmon and halibut? The story is very plain as it is published just about everywhere you look.

Our Alaska Department of Fish & Game opened herring roe fisheries in 1976. Back then we had seven very major herring spawning areas in Southeast Alaska, and many other smaller ones. Currently we only have two major herring spawns areas left and the smaller ones are completely gone. Each year our ADF&G conducts massive herring harvests which average around 20 - 30 million pounds from the Sitka Sound. We are currently looking at total disaster within our salmon and halibut resources, not to mention all the other species which depend on this herring resource, but we are still commercially over-harvesting herring. Many Alaskan communities and their economies depend on the salmon and halibut which feed on this herring but this natural resource has been greatly reduce with commercial over-harvest. With herring, salmon and halibut disasters now hanging over our fisheries, our ADF&G still continues to open and over-harvest our herring resource every year? This is not conservative fisheries management.

Alaska did have thousands of square miles of Southeast waters filled with major herring spawning areas. Now with only Sitka Sound remaining as a major herring spawning area, we in Alaska come face to face with a tremendous lack of both salmon and halibut. Most areas which had swelling populations of herring now host much smaller, severely depleted or even nonexistent populations. Alaska used to have many herring reduction plants going 24 hours per day, year around as our commercial fisheries could not catch all of the herring. Alaska had thousands of people employed as they worked continuous shifts trying to process and ship out our fisheries bounty. Our bays were so over-flowing with herring that docks and harbors were inundated with them as anyone could catch them just about anywhere. The beginning of the end of our herring happened in 1976 as Alaska's commercial sac roe herring fishery began hammering away at our seeming endless supply of herring. Buyers from Japan were willing to purchase herring sac roe for over $2,200 per ton as we began to watch our herring masses decrease. Commercial fishermen watched on as our herring biomass began to wither while our ADF&G biologists blank faced denied that our herring were decreasing. The ADF&G continued claiming that the reason fishermen could not find the herring was because they had moved. Herring do not usually move, they like to spawn in the same location year after year. If in fact they had moved, why have we failed to locate the places they moved to?

While commercial fisheries were hammering our herring and crab, our federal government was busy figuring out new inventive ways to protect herring predators like whales and Stellar sea lions. The National Marine Mammal Protection Act resulted in 1972 and these predators began increasing. Our 100 humpback whale population increased dramatically since implementation of this Act. The Alaska humpback whale population around Frederick Sound, Southeast Alaska, was increased to about 400 animals by 1995. It was further increased to 1,000 animals by 2000 and around 1,700 humpbacks today. These 1,700 whales now eat over 4,000 tons of feed per day. We are now seeing much larger humpback whale populations, which prefer to feed on herring, and each whale can eat up to (3 tons of herring per day). Each of these whales is like an unrestricted commercial herring fisherman who gets to fish year round, thus placing enormous demands on our remaining and dwindling herring resource. This information refers only to one kind of whale in one location, thus revealing the possible level of plankton, krill and herring demand whales in general are placing on our dwindling resources. The listed user demands make it next to impossible for a depleted stock to rebuild and that is precisely what we are seeing as our ADF&G bewilderment increases over the fact that our herring stocks refuse to rebuild, regardless as to what management actions they may take. With our once great herring masses now gone and Japan not willing to pay the high prices they used to pay, it appears that our herring and their sac roe is now worth more to Alaska left in the water.

Conclusions

The above information outlines a substantial failure by the Alaska Department of Fish & Game as it has mis-diagnosing a returning king salmon problem as being a natural (Lack Of King Salmon Abundance). This is not an (natural abundance problem), it is clear that this king salmon loss has its roots deep within our oceans nutrient levels, which are currently the lowest they have been in 50 years. These depleted ocean nutrient levels have been misinterpret by the ADF&G as being a natural occurrences when they have in fact been commercially manipulated to their current depleted levels by the ADF&G. These fisheries management manipulations have resulted in reduced escaping, dying and rotting salmon. That manipulation has resulted in reduced ocean nitrogen, phosphorus and nutrient levels, reduced phytoplankton, reduced zooplankton, reduced adult euphausiids (crabs) greater than 17 mm length, reduced juvenal king salmon and therefore reduced returning adult king salmon. This is not a natural (Lack Of Abundance King Salmon Problem) This is a human caused "unnatural" (Lack Of Ocean Nutrients and Commercial Over-Harvest Problem). These problems may be remedied by first identifying sensitive euphausiid environmental areas and closing them to commercial fishing until these crab larvae have recovered. This problem may also be addressed by immediately and dramatically increasing the biomass of salmon which we allow to escape and rot in our freshwater rivers and streams. Closing down the destruction of our crab larvae and a great increase in our ocean nutrient levels would place the State of Alaska squarely on the road to steady king salmon and euphausiid recovery, instead of the steady decline we are currently seeing today.

Fisheries Managerment Changes

he North Pacific Fishery Management Council, National Marine Fisheries Service, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, ADF&G and Alaska Board of Fisheries are currently placing our critical marine resources in direct jeopardy with on going and excessive commercial fisheries over-harvest. Marine ecosystems in the ocean around Alaska have been pushed to the brink of complete failure. These failed ecosystems are currently suffering from a loss of biodiversity due to the destruction of our marine food chains and habitats. We need our fisheries managers to immediately locate, set aside and protect (species specific areas and safe pockets) from which fish and crab larvae can re-seed over-exploited waters. Our fisheries managers need to immediately reevaluate all of our (commercial herring sac roe and crab fisheries). Many of our commercial herring and crab fisheries are over fished and depleted. These depleted commercial fisheries should be closed to commercial fisheries access. We have substantial components of our Alaskan economy at stake in these fisheries issues. Commercial and sport fisheries along with a large tourism industry depend on the predator's which need to feed on our herring and crab resources. Both our herring and crab resources have been allowed to dwindle away year after year. Our fisheries users groups are wondering why they are seeing fewer and smaller predatory fish which they need to catch in order to survive. We may not be able to prevent climate change from effecting our salmon or halibut resources but we can stop commercial over-fishing from making the situation even worse. I therefore request that our fisheries managers immediately take up the issue of reevaluate and protecting our depleted but remaining herring and crab stocks.

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