The herring and those boats have made an annual appearance on the Bay for as long as we have lived here, and it was good to see them back again this year, given that catches have been declining in the recent past. I believe that most of the catch is still exported to Japan each year. The boats also haul in kelp in order to harvest the herring roe – called kazu-no-ko in Japanese – which the herring lay on the kelp, and which is a special delicacy in Japan. Needless to say, it is that roe, together with the fish themselves, which draws all of the seabirds and seals.
For any who may be interested in learning more, the Bay Model Visitors Center in Sausalito is holding a program entitled "Birds and Herring on the Bay" starting at 11AM on Satuday, February 7. Additional information about herrings and their spawning cycle is available here.