National Fisherman

The largest herring fishery in Alaska waters is a few short weeks from getting underway. Two looming questions are whether the season will start earlier than predicted and what value the Togiak herring will fetch in the market.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game tracks southeast Bering Sea surface temperatures and sea ice trends to predict when the maturing herring will head for their spawning grounds.

“Our model, which came out mid-March with the outlook, predicted a first harvest of May 10,” said Matt Jones, an assistant area management biologist for the Nushagak and Togiak commercial fishing districts. Jones said there is always a lot of speculation as to whether the herring season will be early or late, and perhaps more speculation this year following the mild winter. “A lot of us believe the first harvest will be a little before May 10, but we’re sticking with that model.”

Earlier this year, seven companies planned to buy Togiak herring, but Ocean Beauty has taken its name off the list. The remaining buyers are Togiak Fisheries, Icicle, Trident, Yard Arm Knots, Leader Creek, and Silver Bay Seafoods. For Silver Bay, the Togiak herring season will offer a crucial first test of its operations ahead of its much-anticipated entry into the Bristol Bay salmon fishery.

As of April 15, Fish and Game estimates a daily processing capacity of a little under 3,000 tons of herring, but Jones said that could change. “Of the six buyers, a few seem to be downsizing their herring operations to some degree,” he said.

Read the full story at the Alaska Dispatch>>

Inside the Industry

The anti-mining group Salmon Beyond Borders expressed disappointment and dismay last week at Alaska Governor Bill Walker’s announcement that he has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with B.C. Premier Christy Clark.

This came just days after his administration asked members of his newly-formed Transboundary Rivers Citizens Advisory Work Group to provide comment on a Draft Statement of Cooperation associated with Transboundary mining.


NMFS recently released a draft action plan for fish discard and release mortality science, creating a list of actions that they hope can better inform fisheries.

We know that fishermen have to deal with bycatch by discarding or releasing unwanted catch overboard, but there is a data gap regarding how those fish survive.

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