The Kodiak herring sac roe fishery will begin at noon Saturday April 15th, the Alaska Department of Fish & Game (ADF&G) has announced this week.
All herring permit holders, buyers and tender operators participating are required to register at the ADF&G Kodiak office or with ADF&G personnel on the grounds prior to operations. Fishing periods and guideline harvest levels (GHLs) are listed below.
The first fishing period for most sections will begin at noon April 15th. Purse seine fishing periods will be noon to 9pm on odd-numbered days and 9am to noon on even-numbered days in only the following sections: Alitak District – Inner Alitak, Inner and Outer Deadman Bays, East Upper Olga Bay, West Upper Olga Bay; Eastside District – Three Saints Bay, West Sitkalidak Strait, East Sitkalidak Strait, Outer Kiliuda Bay, Inner Kiliuda Bay; Inner Marmot District – Kizhuyak Bay.
The following sections will also be open to purse seine gear, but the initial purse seine fishing period will be delayed. There will be a 24-hour advance notice prior to opening: Eastside District – Outer Ugak Bay.
Meanwhile, the following sections will be open to purse seine gear, but the initial opening will be determined on the amount and quality of herring present: Afognak Districts, Danger Bay; Uganik District, Village Is, NE Arm, E Arm, and S Arm Uganik Bay.
Emergency order fisheries in the Danger Bay and Village Islands/Uganik Bay sections will allow orderly fisheries on high quality herring. Fisheries will only open after test fishing detects fishable quantities of good quality herring (size and roe content). Fisheries may be short in duration and limited in area. ADF&G will be seeking volunteer fishing vessels in Danger Bay to make test sets beginning on April 15. Cooperation from fishing vessels and industry technicians are needed to test herring quality in these sections.
Fishing periods for gillnet sections will begin at noon Saturday April 15th and remain open until further notice, in the following sections: Afognak Districts – Malina Bay, Raspberry Strait, Perenosa Bay, Tonki, Kitoi/Izhut/ MacDonalds Lagoon; Northeast District – Womens Bay, Kalsin Bay; Uganik District – Viekoda Bay, Terror Bay, West Uganik Passage; Alitak District – Sulua Bay, Lower Olga-Moser; Eastside District – Barling Bay, Shearwater Bay, Inner Ugak Bay.
The following sections will be open on an exploratory basis to either gear type, with differential fishing periods by gear type as outlined above for purse seine or gillnet gear: Afognak Districts – Delphin Bay, Bluefox Bay; Alitak District – Geese/Twoheaded; Mainland Districts – Inner Kukak Bay, Inner Katmai Bay, Alinchak Bay, Puale Bay, Portage Bay, Wide Bay; Eastside District – Kaiugnak Bay, SW Sitkalidak, Newman Bay and Tanginak Anchorage.
The remainder of the Kodiak Area will stay closed to commercial herring fishing for the entire sac roe season.
Beginning May 1, ADF&G may open any area with remaining herring GHLs to any gear group if the fishery is not likely to result in overharvest of the resource. Fishermen are urged to check with their market and test their catch prior to landing herring. Determining if size or roe quality meets processor standards is the responsibility of fishermen and industry. It is anticipated that many small and green fish will be present on the grounds during the initial open fishing periods. Recent fishery information may be obtained by calling the Department’s 24-hour record-a-phone at 486-4559.