Norton Sound harvest sets record for roe recovery
June 30th, 2011 | Alaska Newspapers Staff
Norton Sound herring fishermen in June topped their own high mark set a year ago by harvesting herring with a record recovery of roe, the Norton Sound Economic Development Corp. announced today.
The 744 tons of herring harvested this year were comprised of 14.8 percent roe, on average. The previous record, set last year, was 13.5 percent roe recovery.
About 25 Norton Sound herring fishermen harvested 810 tons of herring, of which 66 tons were directed to a bait fishery. Harvesters were paid out a total of over $274,000 for the entire fishery, an average of $339 per ton.
Prices paid per ton were determined by a sliding scale depending on the roe percentage. Roe recovery ranged from 9 percent to 20 percent, with the majority of the harvest coming in between 13 percent and 17 percent. Fishermen harvested the herring with gillnets.
Norton Sound Economic Development Corp. has worked to bring a herring buyer to the region for the last two years to conduct a fishery after several years of no commercial herring fishing. Through an agreement with NSEDC, Icicle Seafoods has brought a processing vessel and tenders to Norton Sound in 2010 and 2011.
The roe harvested is sold as a luxury food item in Japan and is often given out during the holidays as gifts.
In addition to negotiating an agreement with Icicle, NSEDC supports the fishery through aerial surveys to determine when the fishing effort should begin and to direct fishermen to high-quality herring once the fishery commences. This year, biologists from NSEDC's Norton Sound fisheries research and development division flew 29 hours during 15 flights in support of the fishery.
Rsse Huhta, manager of Southern Norton Sound Seafood Products, extended thanks to resident fishermen and the crew from Icicle Seafoods for their efforts.
Alaska Newspapers Staff can be reached at email@example.com, or by phone at 907-348-2449