This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch. Get millions of dollars more for Alaska herring. More after this . . .
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Catches for next year’s roe herring fisheries are starting to trickle in – at Alaska’s biggest herring fishery at Togiak, the harvest will be almost 28,000 tons, slightly less than last year.
In Alaska, the female herring are valued for their eggs; the male fish are worth next to nothing and mostly ground into fish meal. Togiak fishermen averaged $100 a ton for herring last year – their counterparts in Norway got $.47 a pound. Why? Because the fish is sold smoked, canned, pickled and more.
We could be using one hundred percent of it instead of just half of it. I could see more herring being produced in the state and getting more money for them. Because we are expanding our markets and expanding our products that for those fish.
Bruce Schactler is the global food aid program coordinator with the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. For years he has led efforts to get Alaska herring canned and sent to food relief groups. In Europe, he says, canned herring can fetch prices close to that of canned salmon.
Canned herring is eaten all over the world. In Europe they eat it for breakfast.
Renee Erickson is a chef and who serves all kinds of herring dishes in her Seattle restaurants.
We do whole grilled herring, we pickle it and sometimes serve it raw. It’s really fun.
Herring butter on toast is a big favorite. Erickson says a lot of power is packed into the small fish.
It’s available, it’s good for you, it’s delicious and has a really fresh, bright flavor. It’s not super fishy, but definitely flavorful. I hope it becomes more common because it’s way more exciting to cook with variety, and it is also something that is interesting and new.
A report by the Juneau-based McDowell Group says that if the male herring from Togiak and Kodiak fisheries were made into frozen fillets the wholesale value would approach $15 million.
Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods – who salutes and says thanks to the men and women fishing across Alaska for their hard work and dedication. (www.oceanbeauty.com) In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.