Welch: Sitka herring fishery nears its end

By the time you read this, Alaska’s first roe herring fishery at Sitka Sound could be just about over. The 8,712 ton quota is down by half from last year and the lowest Sitka catch since 2003. That, combined with historically low herring prices, has fewer boats fishing and they are doing so as a co-op.

Blustery weather kept most of Alaska’s halibut boats off the water for the March 14 start of that fishery. Only 52 landings were made by March 20, totaling about 395,000 pounds. No reliable word on prices until more poundage crosses the docks, and the first fresh landings always fetch inflated prices. However, reports from the West Coast and Canada listed initial wholesale prices coming in higher than the past three March openers. Seafood.com reported $8.05 for 10/20s; $8.25-$8.50 for 20/40s, and $8.50-$8.75 for 40 ups.

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Doug Stewart
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