Sac roe herring fishery starts early

Sac roe herring fishery starts early

The Togiak sac roe herring fishery started nearly two weeks earlier than predicted by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game analysis of Bering Sea ice and temperature models.

That analysis called for the fishery to kick off May 10. Instead, it started with a gillnet opening April 27, lasting until further notice, and a 76-hour seine opening on April 28.

The quota is set at 31,490 tons, which is 7 percent less than last year but 20 percent higher than the 10-year average.

It is unlikely that the fleet will end up harvesting the entire quota, partly due to reduced processing capacity and partly due to price.

Togiak herring ended up fetching $600 per ton last season, but with an advance price of only $100 per ton this season, it is not likely to come even close to that relative bounty.

There are six processors buying in the region this year, but two of them are leaving at least one of their large floating processors home. Ocean Beauty dropped out entirely, but was replaced by Silver Bay Seafoods, based out of Sitka, with a newly built 53,000-square-foot on-shore plant in Naknek.

A preseason survey of processors pointed to a capacity of 24,000 tons for the season if everyone  got as much fish as they wanted. 

The low price is mostly due to a glut from last season, as well as changing cultural tastes in Japan, where most of the herring roe goes.

Japan used to have a thriving herring fishery in its own waters going back centuries, but over-fishing, habitat destruction and changing ocean conditions completely wiped it out.

The first known document with the symbol for “fish-not” related to the herring fishery appeared in 1548, although the fishery continued to thrive, and mass production really got going in 1772 with innovative new nets.

The highest herring harvest in Japan took place in 1897 with a catch of one million tons.

By 1958, it was all over. The fishery collapsed, never to recover.

The Togiak tender fleet is aided this season by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council taking final action that allows vessels with federal fishing permits to transit closer to Round Island, a walrus sanctuary, than was previously permitted.

Although the regulation was not enforced last year, vessels traveling closer than three miles to Round Island were in violation of their FFP.

Cristy Fry can be reached at realist468@gmail.com.

 

More in News

Coast Guardsmen and state employees load the Together Tree bound for the Alaska Governor’s Mansion on a truck on Nov. 29, 2021 after the Coast Guard Cutter Elderberry transported the tree from Wrangell. (USCG photo / Petty Officer 2nd Class Lexie Preston)
Governor’s mansion tree arrives in Juneau

No weather or floating lines could stay these Coast Guardsmen about their task.

The Kenai Community Library health section is seen on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021. The Kenai City Council voted during its Oct. 20 meeting to postpone the legislation approving grant funds after members of the community raised concerns about what books would be purchased with the money, as well as the agency awarding the grant. The council will reconsider the legislation on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai council to consider library grant again

The council earlier voted to postpone the legislation after concerns were raised about what books would be purchased.

EPA logo
Alaska Native group to receive EPA funds for clean water projects

The agency is handing out $4.3 million to participating tribal organizations nationwide.

fund
Study: PFD increases spending on kids among low-income families

New study looks at PFD spending by parents

Image via the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation
Nikiski soil treatment facility moves ahead

The facility, located at 52520 Kenai Spur Highway, has drawn ire from community residents.

Commercial fishing and other boats are moored in the Homer Harbor in this file photo. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Seawatch: Bycatch becomes hot issue

Dunleavy forms bycatch task force.

Rep. Chris Kurka, R-Wasilla, leaves the chambers of the Alaska House of Representatives on Friday, March 19, 2021, after an hour of delays concerning the wording on his mask. On Monday, Kurka announced he was running for governor in 2022. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Wasilla rep announces gubernatorial bid

Kurka said he was motivated to run by a sense of betrayal from Dunleavy.

The Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson star is Illuminated on the side of Mount Gordon Lyon on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019, just east of Anchorage, Alaska, in observation of the 18th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. A crew from the base went to light the 300-foot wide holiday star, but found that only half of the star’s 350 or so lights were working, the Anchorage Daily News reported. Airmen from the 773rd Civil Engineer Squadron Electrical Shop haven’t been able to figure out what was wrong and repair the lights, but they plan to work through the week, if necessary, base spokesperson Erin Eaton said. (Bill Roth/Anchorage Daily News via AP)
Avalanche delays holiday tradition in Alaska’s largest city

ANCHORAGE — A holiday tradition in Alaska’s largest city for more than… Continue reading

AP Photo/Gregory Bull,File
In this Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, photo, George Chakuchin, left, and Mick Chakuchin look out over the Bering Sea near Toksook Bay, Alaska. A federal grant will allow an extensive trail system to connect all four communities on Nelson Island, just off Alaska’s western coast. The $12 million grant will pay to take the trail the last link, from Toksook Bay, which received the federal money, to the community of Mertarvik, the new site for the village of Newtok. The village is moving because of erosion.
Federal grant will connect all 4 Nelson Island communities

BETHEL — A federal grant will allow an extensive trail system to… Continue reading

Most Read