Fish and Game expects smaller fleet and lower daily harvests in Sitka sac roe herring fishery

The Sitka sac roe herring fishery takes place every spring in Sitka Sound. (Photo by Emily Russell/KCAW)
The Sitka sac roe herring fishery takes place every spring in Sitka Sound. (Photo by Emily Russell/KCAW)

At a pre-season meeting about the Sitka sac roe fishery last week, Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist Aaron Dupuis said this year would be a little different than in the past.

“With a reduced fleet size and limited tending and processing capacity, the daily harvest will likely be much lower than what has been observed in past fisheries,” he said.

Dupuis said because of the reduced fleet, fishermen would likely need more time than usual to reach their quota, which is set at 30,000 tons this year. But he said Fish and Game would base decisions about opening entirely on herring conditions.

When asked if the fishery would be a co-op this year, Dupuis and management coordinator Troy Thynes said state management is treating this year as a competitive fishery, though he said fishermen and processors may work out different arrangements.

“We’re not making preference for co-ops,” Thynes said. “But if processors and fishermen or individual processors have plans worked out with the fleets or with boats that normally sell to them,  to co-op that way, from my understanding there is that sort of co-op going on with individual processors and within the fleet there. That’s why we’re expecting a limited fleet.”

Fish and Game conducted aerial surveys through the weekend, with schools of herring spotted near Bieli Rock and Vitskari Rocks.

The fishery went on two-hour notice Saturday at 8 a.m. Fish and Game will broadcast fishery updates at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. each day over VHF Channel 10, while the fishery is on notice.

Read next