Sitka Sound in Southeast Alaska is home to one of the state’s largest commercially viable stocks of Pacific herring, which are harvested for their roe (eggs) in the spring, just before they spawn. There is also a subsistence herring fishery in Sitka Sound, with subsistence users collecting the roe after the herring spawn. In recent years, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has increased the commercial guideline harvest level—and conflict between commercial and subsistence fishermen has also increased.
James Shewmake, a research professional at ISER, earned his master’s in natural resource management for his research on the subsistence herring fishery in Sitka Sound. He found that the size of the subsistence harvest depends not only on how many people participate, but also on other measures of participants’ effort and on harvesting opportunities.