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Herring fishing possible today; no opening called yet

There might be fishing today (Wed 3-26-14) in the Sitka Sound sac roe herring fishery, but no opening has been called yet.

The Alaska Department of Fish & Game said in their 11 a.m. update that a significant volume of herring has moved into the closure area, a stretch of water near town that is out of bounds to the commercial fishery to protect subsistence use. Fish & Game biologist Dave Gordon said he wasn’t discounting the possibility of a fishery south of town, where large schools of fish were found yesterday, but he wanted to give it more time “to find a body of fish that might provide a better fishery for everybody.”

Fish & Game had hoped to target the final 6,000 tons left in this year’s harvest limit; so far, 10,300 tons of herring have been caught in two openings, on Sunday and last Thursday.

Gordon said that an aerial survey this morning found a few hundred yards of herring spawn on Middle Island; no other spawn was seen. In the sac roe fishery, the eggs are taken intact from the females. It’s critical to the success of the commercial harvest to land the fish prior to spawning.

Gordon said he would issue another update over the radio at 12 p.m.. Updates can he heard on VHF Channel 10.

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