Sitka Sound Herring Harvesters Deliver First 10,900 Tons of 30,000 Ton Allowable Harvest

The Sitka Sound. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins.

Harvesters working the Sitka Sound commercial herring fishery have so far brought in about 10,900 tons of herring, just a little over the 30,000-ton catch set for the season by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G).

That preliminary harvest total was announced on Saturday, April 8, the latest date of a recorded harvest in the herring fishery in Southeast Alaska, with a note that1,600 tons of that total were harvested during the fishery that occurred on April 7.

No herring were harvested on April 9 amid scattered showers with 20 knot southeast winds and skies cloudy, and the same weather pattern continued on April 10.

ADF&G biologists said that herring mortality associated with test sets was likely minimal and there was no evidence that the small number of fish taken had any measurable impact on the subsistence fishery.

Still, to ensure reasonable opportunity for subsistence harvesters that herring roe would not be negatively impacted by test setting, prior to authorizing fish testing in these areas, ADF&G was considering two steps.

First, the areas sampled on April 10, were outside of the commercial closed waters and core subsistence areas, and second, the fish encountered during test fishing represents a small fraction of the overall biomass of each area.

All aerial herring survey data can be reviewed online, including spawn lines and photos, in an interactive map application at