Herring Rock marks traditional harvest

SITKA, ALASKA — With seiners on the verge of wrapping up this year’s sac roe herring fishery, attention is shifting back to the traditional importance of the Sitka Sound herring spawn: herring eggs.
 
Members of the Kiksadi clan gathered in front of the Sheet’ka Kwaan Naa Kahidi Tuesday morning for the Blessing of the Herring Rock, marking the ceremonial start of the subsistence harvest season for herring eggs.
 
Members of the tribe and other Sitkans gathered at the rock – a piece taken from the original Herring Rock in Sitka harbor where the spawn would traditionally start – to commemorate the season and offer thanks for the herring spawn.
 
Fred Hope, who is the leader of the Point House in the Kiksadi clan, said the multi-million dollar blitz of the sac roe fishery is troubling to those who rely on herring eggs for subsistence.
 
“The whole of Sitka Sound was a spawning area, and that’s a big area. Every rock had spawn around it. Every bay had spawn around it,” Hope said. “It was amazing.”
 
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