April 4, 2013   From ADF&G —

Sitka. . . .The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced today that the Sitka Sound sac roe herring fishery will be closed for the remainder of the 2013 season. The last competitive fishery occurred on March 30 and since then the department had not been able to identify body of good quality herring to hold another competitive opening. Yesterday, April 3, the fishery was opened under a cooperative agreement among permit holders. This agreement initially allowed up to 480 tons of herring to be harvested with additional harvests based on the results of this initial harvest allotment. The Sitka Sound herring sac roe regulatory district, which includes the waters of Salisbury Sound south of the latitude of Point Kakul, Sitka Sound and contiguous waters and western Baranof Island south to Aspid Cape was opened under this agreement from 8:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.

At the close of the fishery at 6:00 p.m., only 250 tons of roe quality herring was harvested. Several sets made in locations south of Sitka indicated a large presence of small herring. With little progress made in harvesting good quality herring, the presence of recruit size herring, and no indication of a substantial biomass of additional quality roe herring in the area, the department announced the season closure on the VHF radio at 6:00 p.m., April 3.

The total harvest this season is approximately 5,600 tons, 5,950 tons short of this season’s GHL of 11,549 tons. The quality of the harvest was reportedly very good with larger average weights and high roe recovery. The total shoreline documented with spawn to date is 44 nautical miles. The department will continue to monitor for additional spawn through the month of April.