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Where Are The Herring? Unalaska's Fishery Remains On Hold While Seiners Search

Public Domain, US Government work, via Wikimedia Commons.

The commercial herring fishery is on hold in Unalaska — because no one can find the fish.

The herring season opened more than a week ago. So far, fishermen haven't had any luck, even with a spotter pilot searching from above.

"There's been no appreciable harvest at all," said Frank Kelty on the Unalaska Fisheries Report. "The fish appear to be well offshore and in very deep water where the seiners can't get to them."

Kelty said three or four seiners are registered to fish this season, while no one has registered to use gillnet gear.

If the herring show up, Dutch Harbor fishermen will be able to harvest 2,166 tons. But until then, the seiners are on standby. 

"There hasn't been any fish around and I think everybody's decided to just take a break from it and come back later on," said Lisa Fox, the area management biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Sand Point, which manages the herring fishery.

There's no word yet on when fishermen will try again. Fox said they may have to wait until the salmon season dies down. 

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