Sitka Sound Herring Fishery GHL Set at 11,549 Tons

Alaska state fisheries officials have set a final guideline
harvest level of 11,549 tons for the 2013 Sitka Sound herring sac roe
fishery.  That’s some 500 tons more than
the preliminary GHL announced back in December. 
Alaska Department of Fish and Game officials at Sitka said
the adjustment is based on the winter test fishery sample results showing
generally larger average weights-at-age this winter compared to 2012.
The second aerial survey of the 2013 season was conducted on
March 18 and covered areas of Sitka Sound north of Cape Burunof and Salisbury
Sound. Visibility was generally good throughout the survey, and 19 whales were
observed, but no herring were visible from the air.  State biologists said that similar to the
previous survey, whales continued to be concentrated in waters offshore between
Kruzof Island and Crow Island.  The
largest sea lion concentration was off Kresta Point, where there were
approximately 200 sea lions.
A seine vessel attempted on March 18 to get a test sample,
but no sample was taken. The herring were concentrated in deeper waters and not
available to the gear. The vessel captain reported seeing a large biomass of
herring in the deeper waters west of Gagarin and Crow Islands and near Guide
Island.  Herring also were seen in the
deeper waters near Old Sitka Rocks.
The next aerial survey was scheduled for today, March 20.