Southeast gillnetters headed to southern Admiralty Island this week for the upcoming Seymour Canal herring fishery. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game put Seymour on two-hour notice as of nine pm Monday. That means an opening could be announced as little as two hours ahead of time.
This year’s guideline harvest level is just over a thousand tons of herring. That’s a few hundred tons less than 2012, but the fleet didn’t end up fishing last year. They waited on the grounds for nearly three weeks before the state called it quits. Managers said the herring return was healthy, but the little silver fish never congregated in large enough schools to make an opening commercially viable.
The department tries to open herring fisheries just before the major spawn, when the females are the ripest with eggs and large schools of fish mass near the beach. Fishermen target the herring for their roe.
Thirty percent of this year’s return is supposed to consist of older, bigger fish. That means more roe and more value.
56 permit holders are registered for this years fishery.
Seymour is the only herring fishery scheduled to open for Southeast Gillnetters. It typically takes off in late April but it has started as late as May 21st.