Alaska Togiak Herring Forecast is Robust

Alaska state fisheries biologists are predicting a 2022 mature herring biomass of 357,536 tons of sac roe herring at Togiak, the highest forecast since an age-structured assessment model was first used for the 1993 forecast.

Under a 20% exploitation rate, the 2022 potential harvest is 71,507 tons in all fisheries and 65,107 tons in the Togiak sac roe fisheries, both purse seine and gillnet.

Fishery managers said that due to the more normal cold winter, including ice, the first fishery would likely occur about the first part of May.

The forecast is primarily due to the largest estimated recruitment of age-4 fish on record in 2021, preceded by another large recruitment event in 2020.

These cohorts are projected to make up an even larger portion of the population in 2022 due to increasing maturity. The majority of the mature population in 2022 will consist of age-5 and age-6 fish, both by number and by biomass. The forecast average weight of a fish in the 2022 mature population is 281 grams, whereas the forecast average weight of a fish that is vulnerable to the commercial purse fishery is 297 grams.

Based on the 20% maximum exploitation rate set under the Bristol Bay Herring Management Plan for Togiak District stock, the harvest allocation this year would include a total of 65,107 tons for the fishery, including 52,086 tons or 80% purse seine, and 13,021 tons or 20% of gillnet harvest.