Odds for a Sitka Sound sac roe fishery in 2020 are slim, due to a forecast indicating most of the herring this year won’t meet current market requirements for size.
Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologists in Sitka said in late February that current market conditions require herring with an average weight of 110 or more and roe recovery of 11 percent or better, but that the forecast was comprised primarily of (83 percent) age-4 herring with an anticipated average weight of 92 grams.
The situation is similar to 2019 when herring were available to the fishery, but no fishery occurred because their size did not meet market demands, ADFG biologists said. An average weight of 110 grams is more typical of age-6 Sitka Sound herring.
Still the department planned to continue issuing updates and daily herring spawn maps as the season progresses and conduct a fishery if there was an industry interest.
The last Sitka Sound sac roe herring fishery occurred in 2018.
Interest was reportedly also lagging for the Togiak herring fishery, which occurs in late April or early May. Preseason polls indicated only two processors, down from four, were interested in the potential harvest. Average size of Togiak herring is over 300 grams, but demand for these herring in Japanese markets has declined in recent years.