Fish Radio

March 7, 2014

Alaska halibut longliner Credit:  ADF&G

Alaska halibut longliner
Credit: ADF&G

 This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Halibut opens and herring’s up next. More after this –

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Alaska longliners are ready to steam out of town for the Saturday start of the Pacific halibut fishery.  Alaska’s catch of roughly 19 million pounds is down about 11 percent.   The sablefish, or black cod, fishery also opens on March 8. That quota was reduced by 10 percent this year to just under 34 million pounds.  

 It will take a week or so for market prices to settle out and overall less fish might bump up prices.  But buyer resistance to the high priced fish came into play last year.  The first fresh halibut landings fetched $5.25 – $5.75 with a 20 pound split in major ports, then dropped about a dollar in the first week.  Likewise, starting sablefish prices were down by 40%.

 Alaska fishermen provide more than 95 percent of our nation’s halibut and over 70 percent of the black cod.  

Switching to herring – the harvest at Sitka Sound is reduced to 16,333 tons, about 12-hundred tons less than announced in December. State managers will start aerial surveys next week for signs of the roe herring run.  Managers also think the fish might show early at Togiak in Bristol Bay.  That’s Alaska’s largest herring fishery with a catch this year at nearly 28,000 tons.

 A push is underway to use all of the herring, not just the roe, instead of grinding it into fish meal.  In Norway, herring is sold smoked, canned, pickled and more.

 In Europe canned herring can fetch prices close to that of canned salmon.  And a McDowell Group   report   says that if  male herring from Togiak and  Kodiak fisheries were made into   fillets the wholesale value would approach  $15 million. 


Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods.  Ocean Beauty has contributed over 10 million meals to the U.S. Food Bank network, and is committed to ending hunger in America.      In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.