Fish Radio
Herring starts at Kodiak, Togiak next, Sitka price info
April 15, 2015

 This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch … Herring season at Kodiak, Togiak’s up next. Plus some price info after this –

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 Kodiak’s roe herring season starts today and unlike other regions, where the fishery is very concentrated and can last less than a week, Kodiak herring can show up in roughly 80 districts around the island well into June. About 3,200 tons will come out of the fishery, taken by 15 to 20 boats.

 While test fisheries to gauge roe counts are underway at Kodiak, boats and five buyers are also showing up early at Alaska’s largest roe herring fishery at Togiak in Bristol Bay. The area is ice free and warmer sea surface temperatures mean things could kick off more quickly than usual.

 “We’re kind of looking for a 2 degree Celsius temperature, and that’s when I’ll really start getting interested to see how things are going over there, and maybe start flying. We know that generally we have to have three-plus degree water for the herring to start showing up and spawning.”

 Tim Sands is area manager at Fish and Game in Dillingham. The earliest Togiak opener was April 23 in 2003. The Togiak roe herring take is expected to top 29-thousand tons, with an advance to fishermen reported at just $50 a ton.

 That was the base price at Sitka Sound this year, reports Japan’s But the shipment price for frozen herring onboard from Sitka was flat rated at $590 a ton, compared to $500 last year. The price hike was partly due to smaller quotas and poor harvests in British Columbia, the report said. That could pad Sitka paychecks a bit when all the roe gets sold.

 Virtually all of Alaska’s herring roe goes to Japan’s very specialized traditional markets. That leaves lots of male herring that are mostly ground and dumped.  A McDowell Report says that if all of the herring – just at Kodiak and Togiak -were canned, pickled and smoked it it would be worth $15 million to fishermen.

 Thanks to the assist from KDLG/Dillingham. Find links to Alaska’s catches and more at  

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