The herring fleet has been on two hour notice for the last couple of days. The herring sac roe fishery is often not more than a couple of hours. From first light, spotters are flying small aircraft looking for the large schools of herring. Seiners go out to various place in order to make test sets and check roe percentage. The managers of the fishery try to time it so that the percentage of mature roe is maximized. If they have the fishery too early, the fishermen do not get a good price for their catch. If they wait too long, the herring spawn and there is no roe left.
Yesterday people kept asking, “Has the herring fishery started?” There seems to be a certain amount of excitement about the fishery, even among people who have no direct involvement in it. Many people keep track of the updates in order to watch the fishery. They go out in their boats or, on years when the fishery is closer to town, drive to where they can watch from shore. The opening is usually near shore, and the schools of herring being targeted may not be very spread out, so it can get pretty crowded for the 50 or so boats trying to get all they can in the brief opening.
Activity seems to be higher today. The newspaper had an article last night that indicated there was a good chance of an opening today. I have been hearing the spotting planes flying since around six this morning. I have seen many seiners heading out from our front window. It looks like most of them are going south of town (although a few have been headed in the opposite direction). Perhaps the fishery is scheduled to open soon. Maybe we’ll drive out the road to see if we can see anything.