April 3, 2014
The 2014 Sitka Sound sac roe herring fishery wrapped up last weekend with the fleet of 48 seiners going slightly over the 16,333 ton quota. It was a sharp contrast to the 2013 season when more than half the quota was left in the water because the biomass had spawned out; those herring are harvested for their roe.
The same thing happened in 2012, on a monster quota of 28,829 tons, with a harvest of 13,534 tons.
There was some concern that a similar situation could occur this year, when the test samples that set off the first opening March 20 were as high as 13.8 percent mature roe, ripe even for Sitka standards.
The first opening brought in more than 5,000 tons, which plugged processors for a few days, but as spawn was being spotted, the fishery was re-opened March 23.
Complicating matters was good weather that sent halibut and black cod fishermen out, bringing back several thousand pounds of product to the stressed processors.
However, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, as well as fishermen, decided it was better to harvest the fish before they spawned and keep them aboard tenders.
The final opening took place March 30, and the fleet took about 900 tons more than the quota.