Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Herring Fishery Begins at Togiak

The Togiak herring fishery is under way in Southwest Alaska, with a cumulative purse seine harvest through May 2 of 7,980 tons, with a reported roe percentage of 10.8 percent and an average size of 424 grams.

Area biologist Tim Sands, with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game at Dillingham, said the purse seine harvest for May 1 was 3,375 tons and for May 2 was 2,325 tons.

The gillnet fleet has started fishing, but that harvest will remain confidential for now, Sands said. The fishery remains open with no new changes to the accessible areas.

The season began on April 28, with an allocation of 16,060 tons for seiners and 6,883 tons for gillnetters, but the fish were not yet mature enough to harvest.

As the fishery got underway, there were eight gillnetters and 19 seiners fishing, but Sands said he expects that by season’s end there will be 19 gillnetters out there too.

Last year only three gillnetters participated in the Togiak herring district. The reason for the potential increase in participating gillnetters is optimism about the price. “They are hoping for a better price than last year,” Sands said.

The estimated value of the 2016 fishery was $1.52 million, based on $100 per ton, not counting post-season adjustments.

ADF&G officials said department staff flew a survey of the Togiak herring district on April 28 under poor conditions and saw herring along Cape Constantine, outside of Kulukak Bay, in the northeast corner of Togiak Bay and along the east face of Hagemeiter Island. The biologists were able to document a threshold biomass of 35,000 tons of herring on that survey.

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