Record-Sized Rockfish May Also be the Oldest

By TOM HESSE
Sentinel Staff Writer
    A record-breaking rockfish was hauled in near Sitka last week.
    Henry Liebman reeled in the 39.08-pound shortraker late last week, breaking the old record of 38.69 pounds for a shortraker caught on sportfishing gear.
    The age of the fish hasn’t yet been determined, but that too might be a record, a fishery expert said.
    Liebman, an insurance adjustor who works in Seattle, said he frequently visits Sitka to charter fish, so he knew that he had a large fish on when the shortraker struck.
    “I knew it was abnormally big (but I) didn’t know it was a record until on the way back we looked in the Alaska guide book that was on the boat,” Liebman said.
    A fishery biologist said this shortraker may have been patrolling Sitka’s coast since the time of Alexander Baranov.
    Troy Tidingco, Sitka area manager for the state Department of Fish and Game, certified Liebman’s catch, and said this fish might be in the neighborhood of 200 years old.
    “The rougheye is the oldest-aged fish at 205,” Tydingco said. He said the longevity record for shortrakers, which are often confused with rougheyes, is 175 years. But that record fish, he said “was quite a bit smaller than the one Henry caught.”
    “That fish was 32 and a half inches long, where Henry’s was almost 41 inches, so his could be substantially older.”
    Samples of the fish have been sent to a lab in Juneau where the actual age of Liebman’s fish will be determined.
     Rockfish live at depths that range between 84 feet all the way down to almost 4,000 feet. Liebman said he was fishing at a depth of around 900 feet, 10 miles out when his giant shortraker took his bait.
    The fish went back to Washington with Liebman, who plans to have it mounted.
     He also took home a big fish story that he said he’s already been “getting a lot of mileage” out of.

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AK COVID-19

At a Glance

(updated 1-31-2023)

By Sentinel Staff

The state Department of Health and Social Services has posted the following update on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alaska as of 12:15 pm Tuesday, January 31.

New cases as of Tuesday: 792

Total cases (cumulative) statewide – 291,060

Total (cumulative) deaths – 1,436

Case Rate per 100,000 – 108.66

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.

COVID in Sitka

The Sitka community level is now "Low.'' Case statistics are as of Tuesday.

Case Rate/100,000 – 70.4

Cases in last 7 days – 6

Cumulative Sitka cases – 3,264

Deceased (cumulative) – 10

The local case data are from Alaska DHSS.

 

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20 YEARS AGO

February 2003

By GIL TRUITT: It seems like only yesterday that I was aboard the Alaska Coastal Airlines Grumman Goose, taking off from Wrangell, headed for my hometown, Sitka, in February 1947. I was a student at Wrangell Institute at the time but that was quickly forgotten when the “Goose” pulled up on the Japonski Island ramp. The big student movement to Sitka from Wrangell had begun. The creation of Mt. Edgecumbe High School was under way.

 

50 YEARS AGO

February 1973

 This year’s theme for the Sitka High School girls third quarter challenge is “Beat the Pudgies.” ... Becoming a member guarantees taking off or readjusting inches, taking off excess pounds, developing muscle tone and losing unnecessary flab.

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