Sixteen vessels caught an estimated total of 20,374 tons of fish in Togiak’s 2015 purse seine sac roe herring fishery, a catch valued at just more than $1 million, at $50 a ton, Alaska Department of Fish and Game officials said June 2.
The final harvest of 19,874 tons of herring coupled with an estimated deadloss of 500 tons brought the purse seine harvest total to 20,374 tons, said Tim Sands, area management biologist at Dillingham.
The total harvest exceeded the quota by 65 tons after the estimated deadloss was included. Purse seine participation was documented at 16 vessels, down from 17 in 2014, Sands said.
Excellent weather prevailed throughout the season and the purse seine fleet steadily harvested the quota at a pace of about 1,500 tons a day, with a couple of slow days of 555 tons. The peak harvest of 2,682 tons occurred on April 28, the second day of the fishery.
A year ago fishermen netted some 25,000 tons of herring in the sac roe fishery and some buyers were paying more than $50 a ton, Sands said.
The gillnet fishery also opened on April 27, with two companies participating in the Togiak sac roe gillnet fishery, a decrease from five a year ago. Fishermen participation was significantly lower than 2014, when 24 vessels participated. Only six gillnet vessels were involved in this year’s fishery, the lowest participation since the gillnet fishery began in 1967. With only two companies participating, the gillnet fishery daily harvest was confidential.
A food and bait herring fishery will occur in July near Dutch harbor, primarily on the Togiak herring stock with the allocation based on the forecasted biomass of Togiak herring. The Dutch Harbor fishery is summarized separately.