The Sitka Sound sac roe herring fishery is officially over for 2023, with early estimates for the season’s harvest at just under 11,000 tons, or about one third of the state’s 30,000-ton guideline harvest level.
The commercial seine fishery is located in the Southeast Region of Alaska in the Southeast/Yakatat-Southeast section.
Aerial surveys are to continue until no more active spawn is observed, but the commercial fishery remains closed for this year. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is expected to publish a season summary in the coming weeks.
State biologists said in an April 12 announcement that a season summary advisory announcement would be issued following the conclusion of aerial, vessel and dive surveys.
The 23rd and last update on the harvest was published April 7th, when state biologists determined that herring mortality associated with test sets was likely minimal and there was no evidence that the small number of fish taken was having any measurable impact on the subsistence herring fishery.
About 2,095 tons of herring were harvested during the fishery on April 6th.
Aerial surveys were expected to continue, weather permitting, to monitor for additional herring spawn in Sitka Sound and Hoonah Sound until it is determined that spawning activity has ended for the season.
Meanwhile, data collected and any corresponding images are expected to continue being posted online immediately after each flight, according to ADF&G.
All aerial herring survey data can be reviewed online, including spawn lines and photos, in an interactive map application found at: https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=commercialbyareasoutheast.herring#maps.