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Sitka herring harvest down in third opener

While the commercial harvest slowed over the weekend, spawning continues. As of Saturday, ADF&G had recorded nearly 18  nautical miles.

While the commercial harvest slowed over the weekend, spawning continues. As of Saturday, ADF&G had recorded nearly 18 nautical miles.

Herring seining opened for the third time Saturday afternoon in Sitka Sound. The Alaska Department of Fish & Game called the opener at 4:10 PM.

There’s no official word yet on the afternoon’s haul. Informal reports on social media suggest fishing was slower than the previous two openers – perhaps around 1,000 tons.

The Department reported nearly 18 miles of active spawning visible from aerial surveys on Saturday. On Sunday, heavy fog in the morning kept the survey grounded.

During his 10 AM update Sunday morning over VHF radio, management biologist Dave Gordon reported numerous smaller balls of herring in Eastern Channel and Redoubt Bay, but no significant fishing opportunity seemed likely to materialize.

The 48 permit holders are hoping to land over 11,500 tons of herring in the Sitka Sound Sac Roe fishery this spring. In the first opener, last Wednesday (3-27-13), they took 2,100 tons. The following day’s harvest was higher – around 3,600 tons. Depending on the results of Saturday’s fishing, they could be about halfway toward this year’s goal.

Last year’s fishery was worth over $8.5 million.

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