After five days of fishing, Togiak herring seiners harvest just over 5000 tons

Apr 27, 2018

On Thursday, the purse seine fleet in the Togiak herring fishery took in 3,838—more fish than the other four days of the fishery combined.

A crewman from the Icicle Seafoods floating processor Gordon Jensen, who is onboard the tender Wild Salmon, pumping Togiak herring over to be processed. Photo taken in 2017.
Credit WARNER LEW / ICICLE SEAFOODS

The Togiak herring fleet is still battling it out with the gusty weather, but the seiners took advantage of a brief lull in the wind to harvest 3,838 tons. That brings the total purse seine harvest to 5,172 tons since the fishery opened.

“We’ve had some tough weather, and things—the wind especially—quieted down Wednesday evening and stayed quiet through most of Thursday,” said Tim Sands, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game area management biologist. “That allowed for the water clarity to get a little bit better, and the calmer waters allowed the fish to come in closer to shore where they’re more visible and more available to harvest.

Wind will likely kick back up again this weekend. The NOAA marine weather forecast for Bristol Bay forecasts winds of 20 to 25 knots Friday and Saturday, increasing to 30 knots by Sunday.

Sands said the weather conditions make it hard to predict how long this fishery will last.

“In theory, with perfect conditions they have the processing capacity to process the quota in eight days, so harvest it in six or seven days. But obviously, we’re not dealing with those kind of conditions,” he explained.

Roe recovery Thursday was reported at 11.4 percent, and the average size of fish was 396 grams. The combined purse seine and gillnet quota for the Togiak sac roe fishery is 24,042 tons.

Contact the author at avery@kdlg.org or 907-842-5281.