Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Togiak Herring Fishery Coming Up Short

The Togiak sac roe herring fishery, with an allowable harvest this year of 21,622 tons of herring, is so far coming up short, due to a combination of factors, from wet and windy weather in Southwest Alaska to early spawn and allocation issues.

Wind is a major issue for the gillnet fleet. If winds get up to 20-25 knots or more, it’s too dangerous for the gillnetters to fish, said Tim Sands, area management biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game at Dillingham. 

The fishery is managed for 70 percent of the catch to be taken by the seine fleet and 30 percent by gillnetters, with the harvest being processed by Icicle Seafoods, Trident Seafoods, Yardarm Knot Fisheries and North Pacific Seafoods.

The seine fleet harvested 13,084 tons of herring, or 86.4 percent of its allocation, before its fishing period ended on the evening of May 28. 

The gillnetters by then had caught 2,870 tons of herring, or 44.2 percent of their allocation.
“The gillnetters are still out there,” Sands said. “We will go into June a little bit, so they can get closer to their quota.”

The Sitka Sound sac roe herring fishery in Southeast Alaska closed early on April 12, with a harvest of 13,534 tons or 47 percent of the season’s guideline harvest level of 28,829 tons. State biologists said the decision to close the fishery was based on the completion of major spawning in Sitka Sound and vessel and aerial surveys that failed to identify a biomass of pre-spawning herring in the area at that time.

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