Nineteen seiners engaged in the Togiak herring fishery have harvested upwards of 14,000 tons to date, with an average size of 372 grams and 11.7 percent roe maturity, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G).
Aside from a lot of wind on April 22, when the harvest was likely less than 500 tons, “it has been good fishing and no complaints,” says Tim Sands, ADF&G area management biologist at Dillingham in Southwest Alaska. “Things are good; everything is progressing as far as the harvest rate,” Sands said.
On April 21 along, the seiners brought in 2,590 tons of herring, with an average size of 339 grams and 11.7 percent roe maturity.
State fisheries officials in late March forecast the Togiak District mature herring biomass at 217,548 tons. The estimate was based on aerial surveys and age-structured analysis model that has been used for all Togiak herring forecasts produced since 1993. The projection called for herring ages 4–6 to comprise 50 percent of the biomass, ages 7–10 to make up 32 percent and the remaining 18 percent to be age 11 and older fish.
The total harvest in the Togiak district sac roe herring fishery is expected to be 26,930 tons.
The Bristol Bay Herring Management Plan sets a maximum exploitation rate of 20 percent for the Togiak District stock. However, based on three years of poor aerial surveys and one year of missing age composition data, ADF&G applied a conservative exploitation rate of 14 percent for this year.