Comparative analysis of TACs 2009 and advice for TACs 2010 in Russia's Far East fishery basin

March 3, 2009 15:12

At the recent meeting in Vladivostok representatives of fishery research institutes of the Russian Far East gathered together in order to discuss the current abundance of the commercial fish resources and forecasts on the TACs 2010, reports ( with reference to fishery sources in Vladivostok.

New Fishery Regulations, which have been introduced as of 2009, have laid down a new approach of nation's fishery industry to TAC recommendations. One of the innovations has become a division of the commercial species into TAC-regulated and non-TAC-regulated. In the year 2010 the fishermen are recommended to harvest more than 3.6 million tonnes of aquatic biological resources (less potential catch of salmons), which is 411,000 tonnes up on the recommended catches in 2009. The potential catch rise on the current year 2009 may be contributed mostly by pollock of the Sea of Okhotsk, the volumes of which are forecasted to increase by nearly 174,000 tonnes. The bulk of the harvest, as usual, will be made by finfish (81.7%), shellfish (2%) and mollusks (9.7%). The remaining share will be contributed by Echinodermata, seaweed and marine mammals, scientists say.

According to the new fishery conditions, the bulk of the species harvested in the Russian Far East basin shall be TAC-regulated, they will altogether contribute 84.5% or 3 million tonnes. For potential harvest of non-TAC-regulated species the scientists recommend 550,000 tonnes, including 330,000 tonnes of finfish. The remaining volumes include mostly pelagic squids accounting for 26.3% or 145,500 tonnes of the total.

Considering recommended catch volumes in 2010 as to the fishing areas, it is worth saying that there are decreases of forecasted catches only in two areas, namely in the North Kurile zone (-9700 tonnes) and East Sakhalin subarea (-17,200 tonnes). While in the first mentioned area the decrease is at the expense of Atka mackerel (-27,000 tonnes) due to poor recruitment, in the East Sakhalin subarea the reason behind the decrease is a recommendation of smaller pollock catch (-15,400 tonnes). The decrease of the TAC of East-Sakhalin pollock has actually become a matter of dispute, because Sakhalin scientists have been pressing for an increase by 12,000 tonnes in 2010.

In the West Bering Sea zone the scientists recommend to raise the potential catches by 16,000 tonnes, including finfish (+11,000 tonnes, of which +2500 tonnes of herring, +5500 tonnes of cod and 2900 tonnes of pollock) and shellfish (+5000 tonnes, dominated by shrimps (+4300 tonnes)). The basin's fishery scientists have recommended to increase the pollock harvest in the subareas of East Kamchatka by as much as 50,000 tonnes on 2009. Increase of the pollock TAC by nearly 30,000 tonnes in the South Kurile zone has also been found as well-grounded as the abundance of the commercial stock has been rising in the area. On the same grounds the fishermen are recommended to harvest 215,000 tonnes of saury versus the TAC 2009 of 150,000 tonnes.

The recommended catch volume in the Sea of Okhotsk exceeds 1.6 million tonnes, 240,000 tonnes up on the TAC 2009, mostly thanks to larger abundance of pollock and herring commercial stocks. The recommended catches of pollock have been increased by 100,000 tonnes in the North Okhotsk subarea and by 82,000 tonnes in the Kamchatka Kurile subarea. As for herring, the potential catch is recommended in the North Okhotsk subarea at 249,000 tonnes versus 226,000 tonnes in 2009 and in the West Kamchatka subarea the harvest of Gizhigino-Kamchatskaya herring is recommended to be increased by 32,000 tonnes. The TACs 2010 of cod and wachna cod are forecasted to be increased by 28,000 tonnes and 32,000 tonnes correspondingly. At the same time, due to smaller abundance of the commercial stocks of flounder and halibuts at the west coast of Kamchatka the TACs of the species have been recommended at 9700 tonnes and 1900 tonnes down on 2009.

Insignificant fluctuations of the TACs up- and downwards are observed for crabs and shrimps. The squid TAC 2010 in the South Kurile zone is recommended to be decreased by 10,000 tonnes. In the meantime, the TAC of sea urchins in the same area is to be more than doubled in 2010.

Table: Recommended TACs of finfish and other aquatic species in the Russian Far East as compared to TACs 2009 (see March RFR)

The above table shows recommended TACs 2010, though some volumes recommended for the year 2010 are quite debatable. In general, the condition of pollock, herring, cod and other stocks in the Bering Sea and in the Sea of Okhotsk is good enough to sustain higher catches, scientists say.

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