Sitka Herring Fishery


This update provides information regarding the 2010 season Sitka Sound herring spawn through April 14. To date, a total of 82.5 nautical miles of shoreline has been recorded with herring spawn during aerial surveys (see attached map). This compares to 65.6 nautical miles recorded in 2009 and the recent ten-year average of 55.0 nautical miles. The spawn occurred broadly throughout the northern and eastern areas of Sitka Sound as well as to the south in the Dorothy Narrows and Windy Pass areas. The major spawning event began on April 2 with about one-third of a nautical mile of spawn mapped on the north side of Halibut Point. Spawning gradually increased until peaking on April 10 when 49 nautical miles of active spawn was observed, a single-day record spawn since the Department began keeping record of the Sitka Sound herring spawn in 1964. The spawn has been contracting since April 10 and on April 14, no spawn was recorded. It is common in Sitka Sound to have a secondary spawn after the initial spawning event is over. The secondary spawn is generally comprised of a higher proportion of younger age classes than the primary spawning event. With some exceptions, the secondary spawning event generally occurs on shoreline that did not have spawning during the primary spawn. The Department will continue to conduct aerial surveys until it is evident that no significant additional spawning is likely to occur, which historically has been around April 25. The R/V Kestrel

will be returning to Sitka Sound on April 16 to support the spawn deposition dive surveys. 

 The Sitka Herring fishery has closed with approx. 17,743 tons harvested out of the GHL of 18,293 tons. 

There has been observed about 11 miles of spawn as of Tuesday 4/6/10

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