Herring spawn lightens the waters around Fish Egg Island with the city of Craig in the far right of this photo. (Photo courtesy of Whitney Crittenden/ADFG)

Herring are spawning in a big way near Craig on Prince of Wales Island in southern Southeast Alaska.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game reported 30 nautical miles of active spawn observed near Craig on Friday, April 10. That’s the largest single-day active spawning event on record for the area. And it beats the record set the day before, Thursday, a day that saw over 25 nautical miles.

The area has a spawn on kelp commercial fishery underway. Fisherman catch herring and release them in floating net pens, called pounds. Those fish then lay eggs on kelp suspended in those pounds. The herring eggs and kelp are harvested together and sold.

Fish and Game reports around 77 pound structures are in the water. Fishermen started putting herring in pounds in late March and have been harvesting eggs on kelp this month.

Herring numbers were forecast to be strong this year. It’s the only commercial fishery for herring in Southeast this year.

The city of Craig is requiring screening and quarantines for vessels and crews coming to its harbors from out of state or other places in state that have confirmed cases of COVID-19. Those measures include travel declaration forms, staying on fishing boats for 14 days and submitting workforce mitigation plans to the state and the city.

Another aerial view of herring spawn around the Ballena Islands in the foreground, Fish Egg Island and the city of Craig on Prince of Wales Island. (Photo courtesy of Whitney Crittenden/ADFG)