Seiners in ANB Harbor during the 2015 herring season. A controlled fishery meant fewer boats in town. (Rachel Waldholz/KCAW)

Seiners in ANB Harbor during the 2015 herring season, which was conducted as a controlled fishery. (Rachel Waldholz/KCAW)

Sitka Sac Roe Herring Fishery UPDATE – 5:00 AM 3-28-16

There was no commercial herring harvest over the weekend.

The ADF&G looked for an opportunity Saturday (03-26-16) to open the fishery in Salisbury Sound, but ultimately stood down.

The fishery has not opened since Wednesday, March 23rd. The approximate harvest for the season is 10,060 tons. This leaves approximately 4,690 tons on the table for this year’s commercial quota.

On Saturday (03-26-16), an aerial survey measured 16.1 miles of active spawn, mostly in Eastern Bay, Promisla Bay, and the Magoun Islands with spawn spots detected on south Middle Island, Kasiana Island, and on the Halibut Point Road shoreline.

To date, the Alaska Department of Fish & Game has mapped 42 nautical miles of spawn.

As for predators, ADF&G said that “few were noted in the traditional spawning areas near Sitka” on Friday. On Sunday (03-27-16), there was sea lion activity from Sukoi Inlet to Neva Straits and one whale in Krestof Sound.

Sitka Sac Roe Herring Fishery UPDATE – 10:30 PM 3-25-16

During his 7 PM update this evening (03-25-16) on VHF radio, area management biologist Dave Gordon told seiners that “a nice biomass” of herring had been located in St. John the Baptist Bay, with the prospect of a commercial opening Saturday.

Sitka Sac Roe Herring Fishery UPDATE – 5:00 PM 3-25-16

The sac roe herring fishery remained closed today (03-25-16), as the Alaska Department of Fish & Game found no schools.

To meet this year’s guideline harvest level, 4,970 remain on the table.

ADF&G spotted concentrations of 1,000 tons in St. John the Baptist Bay today, but not enough volume to merit a fishery. Over VHF radio at 4 p.m., seiners floated the idea about fishing what remains as a coop.

Seiner 1: The opportunity is to take a few fish, but maybe not the opportunity for the whole fleet to go and harvest. We’ve seen that  scenario before.

Seiner 2: With what Dave had to say earlier and the concerns in St. John’s, that seems to be our only viable opportunity. Seems like people want to get the rest of this fish that they can.

At 7 PM, however, the Alaska Department of Fish & Game had changed its outlook. Dave Gordon, area management biologist told seiners that the state research vessel Kestrel had seen “nice biomass” in St. John the Baptist Bay. He asked for volunteer seiners to perform three test sets early Saturday morning. “We’ll fly the samples to Sitka,” he said. 

Although the prospects for a competitive harvest on Saturday have improved, seiners still asked Gordon for a “Plan B” should the herring prove to be of insufficient volume or quality for market. Last year’s fishery, for example, was conducted entirely as a co-op.

Aerial surveys this morning saw 20.5 nautical miles of active spawn. Major concentrations of herring predators were observed off Nakwasina Passage and in Salisbury Sound. To date, the cumulative spawn mileage is 36.8 nautical miles.

The next aerial survey is scheduled for tomorrow (03-26-16).


A map of today’s active spawn, observed by ADF&G to measure 20.5 nautical miles.