Kodiak herring fishery past halfway point

Posted: Friday, May 05, 2000

KODIAK (AP) -- Herring fishermen have harvested 1,100 tons of the 1,735-ton quota for the season that opened April 15.

Price for the catch was being quoted at $500 a ton, the same as last year.

That's up from around $300 a ton paid in 1998, but nowhere near the $2,000 per ton fishermen received earlier in the decade for the roe-bearing fish, which meant sets worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The season got off to a rough start, said Dave Prokopowich, a management biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. At first, boats were getting herring with immature roe.

''There were some problems initially (with people) keeping poor quality fish,'' he said. ''But lately quality has been excellent -- over 200 grams average in weight and over 10 percent average roe percentage.''

The biggest set Prokopowich has heard of this season is 150 tons.

Biologists this year divided fishing grounds between herring gillnetters and purse seiners. Seiners so far have harvested the majority of the catch, so their areas soon will reach their quotas, Prokopowich said.

''Most of the seine harvest is just about done, but the gillnet fishery will probably go through the month of May,'' he said.

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