Herring fishery at Sitka Sound      Credit: Juneau Empire

April has brought a mixed bag so far for several Alaska fisheries, starting with a big slump in herring hauls at Sitka Sound.

The fishery had openers on March 25 and 26 and managers closed it all down on April 3 when the bulk of the herring size and quality was just not up to snuff. The total harvest of 2,800 tons is down by nearly 75 percent from the projected 11,128 ton catch.

Meanwhile, 68 herring pounds were operating near Craig in the roe on kelp fishery.

Kodiak’s herring fishery opens on April 15 with a harvest set at just under 12-hundred tons.

Southeast’s winter troll fishery which usually runs to the end of April was cut short to protect dwindling Chinook stocks. The winter season closed on March 15 and the May/June spring season will open only in a few select areas.

Southeast managers are tallying the catches of Tanner crab in a fishery that just wrapped up. The catch is pegged at 1.2 million pounds, topping the 10 year average. Fishermen got a nice pay day at $3.07 a pound, up 37 cents from last season, and making the Tanner fishery worth nearly $3.7 million at the docks.

A 70,000 pound golden king crab fishery, which ran concurrently, paid out at $10.10 a pound.

The first Tanner crab fishery since 1988 wrapped up after a month at Prince William Sound.

At Norton Sound, a red king crab harvest is ongoing with a catch of 14,000 pounds so far. The first opener has a quota of about 50,000 pounds.  A larger king crab fishery will open in the summer topping 300,000 pounds.

Cod, pollock, flounders and other whitefish are still crossing the docks across Alaska and most will continue throughout the year.

For halibut, catches are still coming in slowly with about 750,000 pounds delivered by 150 landings; for sablefish the catch was at 900,000 pounds by 82 landings so far.

And before you know it, salmon season will officially get underway next month with the first returns of sockeye and kings at Copper River. A catch of 1.7 million reds and 19,000 kings is expected there.

In other news:  April 10 is the deadline to submit proposals to the Board of Fisheries for its next meeting cycle that begins this fall.  The Board will take up proposals for fisheries at Bristol Bay, the Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim, Alaska Peninsula and Aleutian Islands.

Finally, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting is underway now through April 10 in Anchorage. You can tune in live on the web.  

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