Sitka sac roe fishery pauses after half of limit caught

After a Sunday harvest of approximately 3,700 tons, the Sitka Sound sac roe herring fishery stood down Monday after an Alaska Department of Fish & Game flyover found insufficient biomass near Goddard Hot Springs.


By 2:30 p.m. Monday, ADF&G Sitka area management biologist Dave Gordon and aerial surveyors radioed back to Habitat Division — Sitka no herring seine fishery would be held Monday.

Sitka Sound seiners have harvested 13,776 tons to date. Of that total, seiners harvested 4,682 tons on March 31, 5,354 tons on April 2 and 3,740 tons in the Salisbury Sound and Krestof Sound area from 2:15 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday.

“This leaves 15,053 tons remaining of this season’s guideline harvest level,” according to an ADF&G release.

The aerial survey is scheduled to resume today.

“We’ll just keep going flying at 8:30 (a.m.),” Kristen Case, program technician for ADF&G said.

Case said a fairly thick layer of herring was spotted near the area of the March 31 opening at Hayward Strait, Promisla Bay, and Eastern Bay and west of a line from the northernmost tip of Crow Island to the northernmost tip of the Siginaka Island group to the Krestof Island shoreline. The fish are down deep, she said, so are probably still immature. As of the ADF&F was unable to take a direct sample due to the depth.

Sunday’s opening was based on two test samples from Salisbury Sound. The samples showed St. John Baptist Bay had slightly more 10 percent mature herring with 48 percent female. Eleven percent of herring tested at Kane Island were mature and half were female.

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