Sitka's commercial herring season ended on Saturday, after fishermen caught over 17,000 tons of herring in just nine days. As it does every year, the fishery brought a fleet of seiners to town, and drew residents to the waterfront to watch the high speed derby unfold in front of them. And at the center of all this action was a team of biologists, whose job is to strike a balance between protecting the resource, and providing access for fishermen.
KCAW took a ride on the state research vessel, the Kestrel, to find out what herring season looks like when you're standing in the middle of it all.
Each year, the Sitka Sound sac roe herring fishery starts and ends with this voice:
GORDON: This is the Alaska Department of Fish & Game. The fishery will occur in approximately one minute, one minute. Stand by for countdown.
That's biologist Dave Gordon, with the Alaska Department of Fish & Game. Gordon and his team are responsible for managing Sitka's commercial herring fishery – one of the most lucrative fisheries in Alaska, as fast-paced and volatile as it is controversial.
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