The total harvest to date in the Sitka Sound herring fishery is 5,600 tons, leaving just under 6,000 tons remaining to be harvested of the season’s 11,549-ton guideline harvest level.
Major spawning in Sitka Sound began on March 28 and peaked on March 31, biologists with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game said in an update on the fishery April 3.
On March 31, there were 28.2 nautical miles of shoreline with active spawn. By April 2, active spawn included 6.6 nautical miles of shoreline indicating the major spawning event is concluding.
The total cumulative shoreline with spawn documented to date is 42 nautical miles. Over the past few days, the presence of heavy spawn has resulted in the inability to identify an area with sufficient good quality roe herring to prosecute a competitive fishery.
On April 2, permit holders agreed to a cooperative style fishery in an effort to continue making progress in harvesting additional roe herring. The cooperative fishery opened on April 3 at 8 a.m. and was to continue through 6 p.m. The area open includes all waters of the Sitka Sound herring sac roe regulatory area, to allow permit holders to survey all areas to identify whether additional unspawned herring are present in the area.
Under the cooperative agreement harvesting will occur under targeted total allotments to be divided between permit holders with the first allotment target of 480 tons or 10 tons per permit holder.