No Herring or Herring Spawn Yet in Sitka Sound

Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) officials in Sitka, Alaska say their latest three aerial surveys for the Sitka Sound sac roe fishery have observed no herring or herring spawn. Meanwhile, the highest concentration of herring predators was observed between Bieli Rock, Inner Point and Hayward Strait, with numerous whales working the deeper waters north and west of Bieli Rock and some 250 sea lions in several large groups holding off the rock piles.

Predator numbers are normal for this time of year, state fisheries biologists said.

State biologists at Sitka noted in late February that odds of a Sitka Sound sac roe fishery were slim due to a forecast that indicated most of this year’s herring were unlikely to meet market standards of an average weight of 110 or more grams and roe recovery of 11 percent or better.

Interest also continues to lag for the Togiak herring sac roe and spawn-on-kelp fishery. ADF&G biologist set the 2020 potential harvest for all herring fisheries at 43,165 tons, including 38,749 tons in the Togiak sac roe purse seine and gillnet fisheries, but market interest has declined.