A windy start for Togiak herring fishing Sunday

Apr 22, 2018

The state's largest sac roe herring fishery got underway Sunday in the midst of high winds and a NOAA gale warning.

Credit Tim Sands/ADF&G

The Togiak herring fishery opened this morning at 6 a.m. It has been a windy start for the state’s largest sac roe herring fishery. Gusts over 30 miles per hour are posing a challenge for fishermen said area management biologist, Tim Sands.

“The seine fleet is over there, and it’s pretty tough conditions today because of weather. I know some fish is being taken, but I don’t think a lot.”

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game surveyed the district Saturday and concluded enough herring had arrived to meet the threshold for opening the fishery—35,000 tons.

The combined purse seine and gillnet quota for the Togiak District Sac Roe Fishery is 24,042 tons, slightly larger than last year’s quota. Mostly seiners are participating. ADF&G only expects one gillnetter to be a part of this year’s fishery.

As herring swim into the waters near Togiak, it can take some time for them to mature enough for their spawn to be marketable.

“I’ve heard reports that it’s mixed at this point. Some are mature, but not all of them. And that’s typically what we see the first couple days of the fishery. There’s not a lot of mature fish around, but it takes them a couple of days to ripen up once they come into the shallow water,” said Sands.

Herring fishing in Togiak is open until further notice, and ADF&G will close fishing when the fleet takes close to the quota.

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