Herring Program

Herring Committee:

The Herring Committee is an advisory committee composed of Tribal Council and interested tribal citizens of the Sitka Tribe of Alaska (STA).   The Committee will make recommendations to the Sitka Tribal Council regarding commercial and subsistence herring fishery issues.

The primary purpose of this committee shall be to allow and encourage Sitka Tribal Citizens, especially herring egg harvesters, to participate in the collaborative management of Sitka Sound herring fisheries.

Herring Management:

The Sitka Tribe of Alaska (STA) has long been an advocate for the conservation of Southeast Alaska’s herring stocks and the rights of subsistence users to access this culturally valuable resource. The Sitka Sound herring stock is the last in the region that can support a traditional egg harvest.

Herring are managed by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Division of Commercial Fisheries (access here). Sac roe is the primary product from Sitka Sound herring, with the majority sold oversees to Japan. Sac roe is enjoyed traditionally during New Year's celebrations as Kazunoko in Japan. However, given harvesting sac roe requires harvesting female herring, and seine nets cannot harvest only female herring, there is an issue with wastage for the male herring. The product created by the males is fish meal and fish oil. Fish meal is used as fertilizer, animal feed, and salmon/fish farming.

Did you know that the State of Alaska has opposed to farming salmon in Alaskan waters? Why are we feeding farmed salmon in waters outside Alaska with wild forage fish?

Sitka Tribe has submitted two Board of Fisheries proposals, Proposals 210 and 211, which would prohibit directed fisheries for the purposes of fish meal (#210) and #211 which would prohibit the production of fish meal from whole forage fish. Sitka Tribe also supports proposal 209 which will add herring to Alaska's forage fish management plan. You can read these proposals here.

What can you do? 

You can testify in the public forum of the statewide meeting, held in Anchorage, March 8-11. The meeting will be held at the Hilton Hotel.

Interested in more ways to get invovled? Contact Jeff at jeff.feldpausch@sitkatribe-nsn.gov or Jessica at jessica.gill@sitkatribe-nsn.gov.

Sitka Herring Festival:

Sitka Herring Festival is a collaborative effort to promote education of the ecological and cultural importance of Pacific herring in Alaska.

Partners include:

Contact Jessica Gill at 907-747-7168 or at sitkaherringfestival@gmail.com.