Kodiak area herring season slower than expected

The Associated PressMay 15, 2013 

— The herring season in the Kodiak archipelago is slower than expected.

The herring quota is 5,410 tons. Of that, only about 4,000 tons of herring had been harvested as of Monday, according to the Kodiak Daily Mirror (http://is.gd/wR0YIc).

Forty boats were signed up for the fishery before its April 15 opening. Only 10 boats remain, with the rest going to the Togiak herring fishery.

Kodiak city councilman and processing plant manager Gabriel Saravia said that by the end of April in past years, the season is almost over.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game forecasters were optimistic before the season began.

A poor herring harvest in the Sitka Sound meant higher prices, which encouraged more fishermen to go to Kodiak's herring harvest than any year since 1997.

It's possible that the boats that remain for the Kodiak fishery could encounter late-running herring schools and approach the quota. But the odds fall with each passing day.

The average Kodiak herring season has lasted about 45 days in the past decade, with the majority caught quickly.

Herring is valued for its roe.

Cold water temperatures could be keeping the herring deep, waiting for warmer conditions before they come to the shallow shoreline to spawn, according to some fishermen. But state biologist Matt Keyse said there's no way to gauge the accuracy of that theory.

"It's somewhat speculative," he said. "There could be any number of other environmental factors that are keeping those fish."

The area's herring normally fills the gap between late-winter cod and summer salmon.


Information from: Kodiak (Alaska) Daily Mirror, http://www.kodiakdailymirror.com

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