Tag Archives: herring
The herring spawn-on-kelp fishery in Hoonah Sound will remain closed in the 2015 season -- for the second year in a row. The Alaska Department of Fish & Game announced the closure this week (12-2-14) after forecasts for the area predicted herring numbers far below the threshold required for commercial harvest.
A recent study suggests that current herring populations in Southeast Alaska and British Columbia may be just a remnant of what once existed. Archaeologist Madonna Moss has studied sites in and around Southeast Alaska for decades. She says that evidence indicates that herring were once far more widespread than they are today. And, she says, fishery managers should look to the past when making decisions about the present.
Sitka’s commercial herring season ended on Saturday, after fishermen caught over 17,000 tons of herring in just nine days. As it does every year, the fishery brought a fleet of seiners to town, and drew residents to the waterfront to watch the high speed derby unfold in front of them. And at the center of all this action is a team of biologists, whose job is to strike a balance between protecting the resource, and providing access for fishermen.
This year, the Sitka Tribe, Sitka School District and Sitka National Historical Park launched what they hope become a new March tradition: herring camp. During spring break, about fifteen students, in 5th grade through high school, participated in a week of research into herring biology and ecology, along the way learning a little something about what goes on inside this iconic spring fish.
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."
After a productive opening on Sunday afternoon (3-23-14), the Sitka sac roe herring fleet is over halfway towards it harvest goal. Fishermen landed an estimate 5,000 tons in beginning at 1:30 Sunday afternoon, just 300 tons less than the harvest in last Thursday’s season opener -- and a little more than the Department of Game was aiming for. The total now stands at 10,300 tons -- with 6,300 tons left to go. No fishing is likely for the next two days.