Local News

Herring seiners hit target — and then some — in quick Saturday opener

A seiner purses up as a tender pulls alongside to start pumping herring, during the fourth and final opening in the 2014 Sitka Sound sac roe herring fishery. (KCAW photo/Rachel Waldholz)

A seiner purses up as a tender pulls alongside to pump herring out of the net, during the fourth and final opening in the 2014 Sitka Sound sac roe herring fishery. (KCAW photo/Rachel Waldholz)

The 2014 Sitka Sound sac roe herring fishery is over.

The 48 permit holders caught the last remaining fish in this year’s harvest limit — and then some — in a wild 45-minute opener Saturday afternoon right in front of downtown Sitka.

The preliminary estimate from the Alaska Department of Fish & Game for Saturday’s harvest is just shy of 4,000 tons, bringing this year’s total catch to 17,200 tons — about 900 tons more than the guideline harvest level.

The final harvest numbers will be known once processing is complete. In both 2012 and 2013 seiners undershot their harvest limit significantly, as widespread spawning occurred just as fishing started.

ADF&G will continue to conduct aerial surveys of the shoreline as the spawn progresses. At last word, there were 3.8 nautical miles of spawn. The herring typically continue spawning into late April, depositing eggs along 70-80 miles of beach.

The department’s research vessel, Kestrel, will also return to the Sound sometime after the first week in April to conduct dive surveys of egg deposition. These studies help determine the biomass forecast for future years, and the associated harvest level.

Meanwhile, the traditional subsistence harvest of roe-on-hemlock and roe-on-kelp is beginning in earnest in the areas around Middle Island. One subsistence fisherman at Sealing Cove Sunday morning reported making three large sets of hemlock branches, all of which had received a heavy coating of eggs.

Comments

Please read our comment guidelines.

Recent News

Marijuana Town Hall to be a ‘circle of reasonableness’

The personal use of marijuana becomes legal in Alaska on Feb. 24, 2015. (Photo courtesy of Pixaby)
Doug Osborne, Director of Health Promotion at Sitka Community Hospital, describes his plans for Marijuana Town Hall II (6:30 - 8 PM Mon Mar 30, Harrigan Centennial Hall). Osborne hopes the meeting/discussion helps clear up misinformation about the use of marijuana, and serves as a vehicle for "reasonable conversation" about the newly-legalized drug. Downloadable audio. more

Youth activists march for respectful, non-violent relationships

04-IMG_5596
Sitka was one of 170 communities that took to the streets today for the Choose Respect March, a statewide effort to end domestic violence and sexual assault. In a 2012 victimization survey conducted in Sitka, 47% of adult women reported experiencing intimate partner violence, sexual violence, or both. more