Fishing boats in the Sitka sac roe herring fishery, March 25,2017. Photo by Troy Thynes, ADF&G

There is just under a thousand tons of herring left to catch in the Sitka sac roe herring fishery after the last opening on Saturday. That day, fishing was open for three hours and 20 minutes bringing in about 5,200 tons of herring. That brings the season’s total harvest to about 13,500 tons.

Having less than a thousand tons left for the fishery’s Guideline Harvest Level, there cannot be another competitive opening. According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, permit holders are working on a plan to harvest the rest of the herring in a controlled fishery.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game surveyed the Sitka area by plane on Sunday. No herring spawn was seen in Sitka Sound north of Easter Channel. About half a mile of spawn was observed in other areas. Herring predators were concentrated in the northern Sound area.

Meanwhile, in the Craig area, structures are in the water for the pound fishery. That fishery allows fishermen to place herring into structures to spawn and release them later. They have a limited number of days for the herring to be in the pounds before they are released. ADF&G is monitoring the fishery and estimates that there are 20 closed structures on the fishing grounds to be fished. Other structures will be fished as open pounds or used as tow pounds.

Aerial surveys in the Craig area on Sunday showed one mile of spawn. Herring predators were also seen.