Herring haul at Sitka Sound    Credit:  KCAW


You know spring is near when herring start arriving at Sitka Sound and other parts of Southeast Alaska.

Herring pounds are going in the water near Craig and the fleet is on two hour notice at Sitka Sound. They’ll be hoping to pull in a nearly 13,000 ton harvest of herring for their roe.

And their fingers are crossed for a better catch: Last year’s Sitka fishery was a total bust with a catch of just 2,800 tons, 75 percent below the pegged harvest of 11,128 tons.

March 28-30 in Kodiak

A fishery for seven types of rockfish closed on March 14 with a catch of nearly 112,000 pounds and the winter chinook fishery ended early for trollers on March 15.

Panhandle divers are still going down for giant geoduck clams.

The Tanner crab fishery at Prince William Sound is still underway and can remain open till the end of March.

The red king crab fishery that started in late February at Norton Sound continues with a winter catch limited to 12,048 pounds. That fishery will reopen in early summer.

Pollock reopened in the Gulf of Alaska on March 10 and the pollock fishery is ongoing in the Bering Sea. A mix of cod, flounders and other fish also continue to be targeted in both regions.

Halibut and sablefish fisheries kicked off on March 15 with just a handful of landings so far.

In fish meeting news – the North Pacific Fishery Management Council meets April 1-9 at the Anchorage Hilton. On the agenda: the Navy’s war game plans set again for May in the Gulf of Alaska.

Comments on any items can be made through May 29 — the Navy is B9 on the Reports list

An update on the state Board of Fisheries: earlier this month by a five to two vote the board voted down a proposal by the Kenai River Sportfishing Association to allocate more salmon to personal use and sport fish anglers over commercial users.

Looking ahead to the Fish Board’s upcoming meeting cycle on Kodiak and Lower and Upper Cook Inlet — proposed changes to subsistence, personal use, sport and commercial and statewide fisheries will be accepted through April 10.