Commercial fishermen in Togiak in Southwest Alaska brought in a sac roe herring harvest of 25,136 tons for the 2014 season, but the payoff, minus postseason adjustments, has been estimated at one-third of last year’s grounds price.
The projected ex-vessel value for the 2014 Togiak herring fishery, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, is approximately $1.26 million. That’s $50 per ton, compared to $150 per ton a year ago.
Changing tastes of a new generation of buyers is also figuring into demand, as Japan becomes more of a nation of meat eaters.
Biologists with the state’s commercial fisheries office in Dillingham said the word on the streets is that the huge surplus of frozen harvest from last year’s sac roe herring harvests in Alaska has driven the price down.
The 2014 Togiak herring fisheries were managed for a maximum exploitation rate of 20 percent of the preseason biomass estimate.
The purse seine harvest was 18,668 tons with a reported average weight of 364 grams and an average roe percentage of 10.3 percent.
The gillnet harvest was 6,469 tons with a reported average weight of 404 grams and an average roe percentage of 11.3 percent, making the combined harvest 25,136 tons with an average weight o 374 grams and an average roe percentage of 10.6 percent, ADF&G biologists at Dillingham reported.
The Dutch Harbor food and bait fishery had not yet occurred. If the Dutch Harbor fishery harvest proves equal to the quota of 2,099 tons, then the total harvest for 2014 would be estimated at 27,235 tons. Based on the preseason biomass estimate of 157,448 tons, the 2014 exploitation rate would be about 17.3 percent.