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The 2014 Togiak Sac Roe Herring Fishery Opens Up Sunday Night at 6

Tim Sands/ADF&G

The largest herring fishery in Alaska opens up Sunday night but serious fishing could be on hold for a day or 2. The Togiak sac-roe herring fishery will open at 6-pm after biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game spotted enough herring in the district to warrant a commercial fishery. Tim Sands is the Area Management Biologist. He was on the aerial survey Sunday morning. He says they saw a lot of herring still moving into the Togiak District. Sands confirms that no herring spawn was spotted on Sunday and he believes everything is working out to allow fishermen the opportunity to get to the fish before they spawn out.

"The fact that we saw those fish on Thursday when they were just coming in allowed us to give everybody a heads up that we would likely open up on Sunday. If we had missed those fish on Thursday we would have been surprised by how many fish we saw today.”

It appears that the vast majority of the fishing fleet was not on the grounds Sunday morning. Sands says he saw an estimated 10-tenders and maybe a couple of fishing vessels. By opening the fishery up Sunday night it allows the processors and their fishermen to look around and test the herring to get the best quality roe. Sands confirms that the Alaska Department of Fish and Game does not test fish in the Togiak District. The Togiak sac-roe herring fishery includes 2 gear types. The gillnet fishery is open until further notice and the purse seine fishery is open until Wednesday night at 10. So far there are 6-seafood processors registered to buy herring from the Togiak fishery, which features a quota of over 27.8-thousand tons. There is speculation that the price could be down to between $50 to $65-dollars a ton so it’s unclear how many fishermen will actually make the commitment to fish this year.