Recent cuts to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) budget have begun to impact commercial fishing in the state. This year's herring harvest has been most heavily affected. Herring fishermen are permitted to catch up to 20 percent of the total biomass in a region any given year. The ADFG typically uses aerial surveys and abundance estimates to determine the size of the herring population. These tools were limited under new budget constraints, and researchers were unable to properly confirm the size of this season's herring population.
The end result is that even though this year's herring population is said to be of a healthy size, commercial fishing will be limited by an extra 15 percent to 25 percent. Some stakeholders worry that this trend will affect more valuable fish in the coming years if budgetary problems continue to worsen.