Commercial fishermen participating in the ongoing Togiak sac-roe herring fishery are still finding harvestable fish and so far no one has gone home. On Tuesday over 1.9-thousand tons of herring were harvested and the roe percentage of the fish harvested by the gillnet fleet was 11.86-percent. That’s the highest percentage recorded so far in the fishery, which is in its second week.
Tim Sands is the ADF&G Area Management Biologist and he took another look at the district on Wednesday.
“We saw a lot of fish in Togiak Bay and a lot of fish right off of Kulukak Bay. The fish off of Kulukak Bay were in nice tight schools that were very dark. Typically that’s a sign that they are new fish.”
The total harvest in the fishery through Tuesday was over 16.9-thousand tons, which is still over 10-thousand tons short of the available quota of 27.8-thousand tons of herring. It’s unlikely that the whole quota will be taken this year but Sands anticipates the processors will get as much herring as they need.
“We are taking 15-hundred to 2-thousand tons a day. If things hold up, in a couple of days we could get over 20-thousand tons of harvest. How long it lasts remains to be seen.”
Sands confirms that so far all 6 processors are still buying herring and he has not heard of any fishermen calling it quits. The Togiak sac-roe herring fishery is currently open until further notice but the fishery will likely come to a halt in the coming days as the herring spawn, making it more difficult for fishermen to find harvestable fish. In year’s past many of the processors and fishermen that participated in the Togiak sac-roe herring fishery would go around Cape Newenham and participate in the much smaller herring fishery in Security Cove. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game confirms that currently there are no processors registered to purchase herring in Security Cove and the Department is not anticipating a commercial fishery due to the lack of industry interest. Fishermen and processors are asked to call the Alaska Department of Fish and Game office in Bethel if they want to fish in Security Cove.