Local News

Herring harvest now at 10,300 tons


Listen to iFriendly audio.

After a productive second opening on Sunday afternoon (3-23-14), the Sitka sac roe herring fleet is well over halfway toward its harvest goal.

Fishermen landed an estimate 5,000 tons in Sunday’s opening, which began at 1:30 p.m. and lasted an hour and forty minutes, closing at 3:10 p.m. Sunday’s catch was just 300 tons less than the harvest in last Thursday’s season opener — and a little more than the Department of Fish & Game was aiming for.

ADF&G biologist Dave Gordon says there will be no fishing on Tuesday (3-25-14) and possibly none on Wednesday, as processors scramble to stay on top of the catch. Fish that aren’t processed in Sitka are tendered elsewhere — to Ketchikan and Petersburg, for instance — an added expense that cuts into the final price paid to fishermen.

This year’s price remains unclear, but is thought to be low due to an oversupply in Asia, the primary market for sac roe. Some of the 48 permit holders emerging from a closed meeting last week expressed concern over the amount of uncertainty in the price for this year’s fishery.

Sunday’s second opener now brings the total catch this year to 10,300 tons so far — with only 6,000 tons left to go to the harvest limit.

So far, Gordon said he has seen no active spawning in his daily aerial surveys. Last year, and even more so in 2012, large areas of spawn began to develop just as the commercial fishery was getting started. As a result, the fleet undershot its harvest goal significantly both years.

Recent News

As dam rises, Sitka moves to temporary water supply

Sitka environmental superintendent Mark Buggins looks over the temporary filtration  plant at the Indian River. Buggins says August is "not the best time" to drink from the Indian River, but "it is what it is." (KCAW photo/Robert Woolsey)
Sometime in August crews working on the Blue Lake hydro project in Sitka will shut off the old penstock from the dam and connect a new one -- work that will leave the town without its drinking water supply for up to four months. In the meantime, the city is returning to its former water plant on the Indian River, but it’s not a matter of turning a few valves. Because of higher drinking water standards, Sitka has rented a temporary filtration plant -- at a cost of about $1-million per month. more

Restoration program pulls ‘Smokestack’ building from the brink

Sitka Fine Arts Camp director Roger Schmidt and development intern Melissa Campbell discuss the camp's Restoration Internship Program. Twenty-six college students from around the country are working to save the former Sheldon Jackson College laundry, aka "Smokestack Building." Learn more about the Save It or Lose It campaign online. Also, check out a video of the project here. more