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adf&g Sitka
Date: March 20, 2013

The department conducted an aerial survey this morning covering Sitka Sound north of Cape Burunof and Salisbury Sound. Spotting conditions were good. No herring were visible from the air. Whales and sea lions continue to be concentrated in the offshore areas west and north of Crow Island showing little change in distribution from the previous survey. Seine vessels surveying the area report that a large biomass of herring can be seen on the sonar holding in the deep water trench between Crow Island and Kruzof Island.

The department is working with permit holders to monitor schools and obtain a test sample as soon as possible. Herring so far have been holding in deeper water and not reachable by seine gear. The department plans to dispatch the R/V Kestrel from Petersburg to Sitka when roe samples indicate the need to put the fishery on 2-hour notice. A pre-fishery organizational meeting will be scheduled at some time close to when the fishery is placed on 2-hour notice. Once the fishery is placed on 2-hour notice the department will begin providing fishery updates and announcements on the Marine VHF radio, channel 10, generally at 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

Permit holders wanting to make practice sets may do so in the deeper waters of Eastern Channel south of Jamestown Bay.