Today marks the opening of the Norton Sound Herring Bait Fishery. Interested commercial fishers can sell 75 tons of their catch to Norton Sound Seafood Products (NSSP) starting at noon. Last year , NSSP only bought about half that amount of herring bait.
According to an announcement from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G), herring were seen south of Shaktoolik near Beason Slough yesterday during Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation’s (NSEDC) aerial survey.
ADF&G says the quota this year is over 5,000 tons of herring, and since NSSP is buying such a modest amount, the department will leave the commercial herring bait season open through the end of June.
In recent years, this regional fishery has seen record number harvests of what the department describes as a healthy herring bait stock.
ADF&G says commercial fishers wanting to participate in this season’s herring fishery must have a valid 2020 Norton Sound bait or sac roe herring permit, in addition to a vessel license. A crewmember could get by with just a commercial fishery permit for the current year, like a 2020 Norton Sound king crab or salmon permit.
Some commercial fishing permits, and subsistence permits, are now available online at www.adfg.alaska.gov/store.
Image at top: Tons of Herring onboard a trawl vessel in Alaskan waters. Photo from NOAA via Flickr.