Togiak herring harvesters complete season

Two seiner and one gillnet fishing crews were the sole harvesters in the 2020 Togiak herring fishery that concluded on May 16, with deliveries to Icicle Seafoods’ floating processor, according to a season summary issued Monday, June 15, by state fisheries officials.

Herring are commercially harvested for sac roe using gillnet and purse seine gear when they migrate into the district to spawn, typically in April and May.

A food and bait fishery will occur near Dutch Harbor in July, with the makeup of this fishery composed mainly of Togiak herring stock A separate report will be issued on the Dutch Harbor fishery, said Tim Sands, area management biologist at Dillingham for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

All information related to the harvest, value and exploitation rate of the seine and gillnet fisheries is confidential in 2020 due to low participation in the fishery, but neither came close to taking the allowable catch, Sands said. A second company had indicated an intent to participate as a processor, but complications related to the pandemic made that impossible, he said.

Markets for these herring are primarily in Japan.

Togiak herring fisheries are managed in accordance with the Bristol Bay Herring Management Plan, which specifies a maximum allowable exploitation rate of 20 percent and allocates the harvestable surplus among all fisheries harvesting Togiak herring stocks. The 2020 preseason biomass forecast was 215,826 tons with an exploitation rate of 43,165 tons, or 20 percent.