Herring sac roe prices down from last year
Seth Perry / Submitted Photo
Icicle tech skiffs in the water with Icicle tender F/V Deco Bay, Sitka's landmark volcano Mt. Edgecumbe is visible in the background.
Sitka sac roe herring fishermen sold their catch at around $150 a ton this season-a dramatic decrease compared to last year's sac roe average price per ton of $780.
Sitka's Alaska Department of Fish and Game Area Management Biologist Dave Gordon said past fisheries in Sitka as well as Kodiak and Togiak have flooded the market.
"There's an over supply," Gordon said. "There's always a desire to get the maximum quality under those circumstances...It's something that seems to happen in this fishery every few years you get these little hiccups in the price."
Last year, more than 28,000 tons of herring sac roe came out of Togiak's fishery and the guideline harvest level is about the same for this season.
This season's Sitka sac roe herring fishery closed March 30 with 17,231 tons harvested from Sitka waters. The guideline harvest level was 16,333 tons.
Gordon said based on test samples and processor information, the final roe percentage will be around 12 percent or better.
"Overall the fishery went well," Gordon said. "The fish cooperated and allowed for the harvest of good quality fish throughout the fishery."
The market baseline price for roe is 10 percent.
For the next several weeks, Fish and Game will be continuing aerial surveys to document the Sitka Sound herring spawn.
Spawning is progressing normally, and as of Tuesday there were 31 miles of cumulative spawn.