Emily Kwong, KCAW Photo
(Emily Kwong, KCAW Photo)

The first herring of the spring are beginning to arrive in Sitka Sound. Aerial surveys conducted by the Alaska Department of Fish & Game on Thursday (3-19-20) located a small school of herring near Olga Point.

Herring predators, however, are already in place in force. State biologists saw at least 200 sea lions in several large groups near Vitskari Rocks. Closer to town at Bieli Rocks, numerous whales were seen working nearby waters.

Additional whales have been seen between St. Lazaria Island and Vitskari, along with several hundred sea lions on the coast of Biorka Island.

No herring spawn was observed anywhere in the Sound.

The next aerial survey is scheduled for Monday, March 23.

Due to a combination of weak markets in Asia and smaller-than-desired fish, processors have bowed out of the commercial sac roe fishery this season, and no commercial fishing is expected to occur.