Fishermen skip herring fishery in Kodiak

Herring. (Photo by Thomas Quine / Flickr)

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Kodiak’s herring sac roe fishery opened by regulation on Sunday and it looks like an early fishing season in another, bigger area could mean less participation in Kodiak waters.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game area biologist James Jackson says Kodiak is one stop in a line-up of fishing areas.

“Typically you get a lot of the same boats fishing a lot of different herring fisheries in the state of Alaska, so a lot of them will start in Sitka and then move over to Kodiak on their way to the much larger fishery in Togiak.”

Fishermen now have to be more selective about where they stop.

Jackson says herring has been showing up earlier in Kodiak due to warmer winters, and fish have also been spawning earlier.

He says Togiak, in the Bristol Bay area, has seen the same thing.

“That earlier run timing in the other fishery has changed a lot of the dynamic around Kodiak for sure.”

Jackson says participation in Kodiak’s fisheries has been low – there are about five boats registered this year, and there were anywhere from 15 to 30 boats fishing between 2010 and 2014.

ADF & G biologist Tim Sands in Dillingham says Togiak moved up its fishery opening a few years ago after noticing the shift in timing. He says Togiak’s herring fishery is likely to be early again this year.

“We’re expecting to have fishing going on sometime this week, and so that interrupts the circuit because folks that would normally fish Kodiak, they have to be out here.”

Sands says 2016 was the first year Togiak saw a significantly early opener.

He says this year they may open the fishery Friday, which would make 2018 the second earliest opening.

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