The 2015 Sitka Sound sac roe herring fishery opened Wednesday afternoon (3-18-15).

Fishing started at 3:30 p.m., with the usual ten second countdown from the Alaska Department of Fish & Game.

Downloadable audio

Gordon: Five…four…three…two…one…the Sitka Sound sac roe herring fishery is now open. The Sitka Sound sac roe herring fishery is now open. This is the Department of Fish & Game….

That was biologist Dave Gordon, who oversees the fishery.

Fish & Game opened up an area west of Crow and Gagarin Islands for three hours, closing the fishery at 6:30 p.m.

The opening was more relaxed than usual, because the fleet is fishing as a co-op. Gordon estimated that seiners caught less than 1,000 tons of herring.

Two test samples on Wednesday afternoon found high rates of mature roe: 11.5-percent and 13.1-percent. That’s “very good stuff,” Gordon said. The threshold for market is usually around 10-percent.

The fishery will likely re-open at 9 a.m. Thursday, and Fish & Game expects to expand the open waters west, to the shoreline of Kruzof Island.

The Department will issue an update over VHF radio at 8 a.m. Thursday, on channel 11.