The 2017-18 Summary of the Pacific Herring Spawning Population and Commercial Fisheries in San Francisco Bay is now available on the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s State-Managed California Commercial Pacific Herring Fishery website.
Synopsis: The 2017-18 Pacific Herring season in San Francisco Bay ended with a below average spawning biomass estimate of 15,300 tons. The historical average equals 48,500 tons (1979-present), and this was the fourth year in a row of below average herring returns. The San Francisco Bay commercial Pacific Herring fishery continued during the 2017-18 season at a low level of effort relative to historic fishery participation. The low biomass estimate recorded during the 2017-18 season likely reflects continued population-level impacts sustained during multiple consecutive years of anomalously high sea-surface temperatures, depressed productivity, and low freshwater outflow in the central California Current Ecosystem. Despite the relatively low spawning biomass observed, the Department considers precautionary target harvest rates as the primary means of assuring a sustainable fishery even in years of unfavorable ecological conditions. Through the Fish and Game Commission, and with the help of the fishing industry, the conservation community and the Director’s Herring Advisory Committee, the Department will continue to manage the Pacific Herring fishery with the primary goal of ensuring fishery sustainability.
Earlier this week a spawn was sampled inside Richardson Bay. The area was spread across the anchorage from Schoonmaker Point to the eastern side of the bay. A small group of birds and marine mammals were first noticed last weekend. This event brings the total number of spawns for the season to 14. Our spawn surveys will continue through the remainder of the month but activity does seem to be drawing to a close for the season. Stay tuned for more updates.
Richardson Bay looking toward Mt Tamalpais – CDFW
Earlier this week herring spawn was found in the area between the Long Wharf and the old ferry terminal at Point Richmond. A trickle of herring moved into the eelgrass zone and deposited a few eggs, resulting in very patchy light coverage. This spawn will likely only be considered a trace event. As of yesterday there were however a significant amount of birds moving through the area which could indicate more herring to come. See a short clip of the action here: Bird Activity Point Richmond
The commercial gill net fishery officially closes next Thursday March 15th at 12:00 pm. The fleet and roe herring buyers have however already ended their season, with total landings of 611 tons on the 751 ton quota. A final season summary will be available this summer and a link will be posted on our blog when it becomes available.
Point Richmond – CDFW
Another small school of herring has been spawning in Richardson Bay for the last few days. All the activity is concentrated in the anchorage close to Strawberry Point. Staff have been monitoring the area and sampling the subtidal eelgrass. Rafts of birds and groups of Harbor seals have been working the area but overall it is a small event with very little egg deposition. This spawn will be recorded as number 12 for the season. Staff will continue to monitor into the month of March but activity and spawn intensity appears to be slowing down.
Richardson Bay – CDFW
The video is now available from the public meeting that was held to discuss Fishery Management Plan Development for the Pacific herring fishery. The meeting was held on January 20, 2018 in Sausalito at the Bay Model Visitors Center. It can be found here:
If you have questions please contact: Ryan.Bartling@wildlife.ca.gov