Fishermen forced to share spawning pounds in spawn-on-kelp herring fishery

The spawn-on-kelp fishery allows fishermen to catch herring near Craig and Klawock and put them into floating net pens called pounds. Blades of kelp are also put in there for the herring to spawn on. The eggs are then sold to Asian markets. Scott Walker is the Area Management Biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Ketchikan. He’s been helping manage the spawn-on-kelp fishery since it began in 1992. “We have been seeing throughout Southeast Alaska right now a downturn of herring stocks,” Walker said. In the past the fishermen were restricted by the number of blades of kelp they were allowed to use in their pounds. Now, fishermen will also be forced to share a pen with at least five other permit holders. The effort will mean less pounds being used, which is what the state is after, says Walker. Last year 46 structures were fished, the year before it was 76. This year it’s limited to 20 pens. Audio report, read the story here 16:26