The 2016-17 Pacific herring season in San Francisco Bay ended with a reported spawning biomass estimate of 18,300 tons, an increase over last year’s estimate of 14,900 tons. The historical (1979-present) spawning biomass average equals 49,400 tons and this was the third year of below average herring returns. The graph below shows population levels and the proportion of commercial catch over time.
There were 13 spawn events recorded through the season, starting in mid-December and lasting through the month of February. The spawn areas included; Richardson Bay, Millbrae Shoreline, Alameda Rock Wall, Coyote Point, Angel Island and Point Richmond. A majority of the spawn events and herring egg deposition occurred in Richardson Bay during the 2016-17 season.
The commercial gill net herring fishery landed 37 tons by the 8 vessels that participated. This was approximately 5% of the 750 ton gill net quota for the season. The Herring Eggs on Kelp fishery remained inactive during 2016-17.
Staff are finalizing aging analysis and will be working to complete the San Francisco Bay Annual Season Summary. The summary will be available on the State-Managed California Commercial Pacific Herring Fishery Web Page in July.
CDFW in collaboration with the fishing and conservation community continues working to develop a Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Pacific herring in California. Please check out the Pacific Herring FMP Web Page for more details and to view the anticipated timeline for completion. Please also stay tuned for more opportunities for involvement with FMP development later this summer.