FISHING FOR HERRING
The herring fishery primarily harvests two main products. Sac-roe represents the majority of the harvest value while roe-on-kelp represents a smaller portion. Since most of the value from herring comes from their fish eggs, haul values are based on the number of female fish caught in the haul, the maturity of their eggs and the percentage of roe content by weight. In order to achieve the best prices for a herring haul, females should be harvested just before they spawn. Because of this reason and the way herring are valued, the success of a harvesting season for boats lends itself to timing.
Sac-roe herring is a harvest season that begins in Alaska’s Southeast and gradually moves north over the course of three or so months. Finding work in this industry is incredibly lucrative for harvesters working as deckhands. Reported salaries have been up to $4,000 for just a few hours of fishing. It should be said, however, that the industry is very restricted and finding work as a deckhand can be incredibly difficult. It is extremely rare for even experienced deckhands to earn a place onboard a sac-roe ship and it is very unlikely a greenhorn would ever be hired.
Herring are caught using similar methods of gillnetting and purse seining that other fisheries use. They are processed differently however, because of the value of the eggs and thus these jobs differ from the other fisheries for this reason.
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