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Southeast herring returns appear mixed

Posted: April 26, 2013 - 12:00am
Herring in a fisherman's net.   Juneau Empire File
Juneau Empire File
Herring in a fisherman's net.

The herring spawn is over in much of Southeast Alaska and returns look mixed this year as researchers begin to tally numbers.

Earlier this week, news outlets reported herring in the Sitka area had embarked on a second round of spawning; the initial wave came around April 3, during the commercial herring fishery. This year’s commercial fishery took 5,850 tons, about half of the 11,549-ton quota.

Farther south, the Ketchikan Daily News (http://is.gd/PEnCy1) reported that herring returns for Craig appear strong, but returns were mixed around Ketchikan.

The Alaska Department of Fish & Game said state surveys observed about 15.3 miles of spawn in the Craig area, 2.2 miles in West Behm Canal, and about 10.7 miles in Revillagigedo Channel.

Fish and Game fishery biologist Scott Walker says the spawn in the Craig area was very intense this season.

Farther north, Fish and Game measured about 1.9 miles of spawn on Monday, and a total of 6.3 miles later in the week on the Kruzof Island shoreline, Krestof Island and Starrigavan Bay.

The 48 seiners in this year’s Sitka-area sac roe fishery took 5,850 tons of herring on March 27, 28 and 30. The fishery was closed April 3 after days of extensive surveying by the fleet failed to turn up suitable schools of marketable fish. The season’s catch was 5,700 tons short of the guideline harvest level of 11,550 tons.

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