Dalkrevetka Shimpers' Association to crack down on poachers
According to Dalkrevetka Shimpers' Association, the fishery of pink shrimp and coonstripe shrimp is conducted by 68 companies. A fleet of 77 vessels annually harvests at least 7000 tonnes. However, ca.45 vessels have merely nominal quotas of several tonnes and some vessels are allowed to harvest some 100 kilos of shrimps.
No one can expect that a vessel will harvest 100 kilos of fish per year. Leaders of companies targeting shrimps say that a vessel should have an annual quota of at least 350 tonnes in order to make business profitable. In case of a smaller quota the shipowner will bear losses. Therefore the association's members have made a decision to help the inspectors track violations of the fishery regulations at sea.
On 17 May 2007 the association held a round table called "Fishery of pink shrimp Pandalus borealis and coonstripe shrimp Pandalus hypsinotis in Primorye". The round table gathered representatives of executive bodies, law-enforcement, control-and-surveillance bodies, scientists and fishermen.
One of the results of the round table was elaboration of common position in the fishery issues and conservation of pink shrimp and coonstripe shrimp. This year the association is planning to start optimization of its structure and refurbishment of its fleet, to participate in fishery police raids more actively and to provide material and technical assistance for law-enforcement and inspection bodies. It will also research new fishing areas and encourage landings of shrimp catches at the Russian ports.
Concern about possible depletion of shrimp stocks has been voiced not only by fishermen, but by scientists as well. They warn that the stocks can sustain the fishery pressure subject to fishing efforts not exceeding 40-45 vessels. However, in the recent years poaching has remained a serious problem, according to the association. In the year 2006 the companies officially harvested 7000 tonnes of shrimp. Meanwhile, Japanese dealers have already informed the association that certain fishing companies have offered them (against large prepayment via foreign banks) shipments of more than 500 tonnes of coonstripe shrimp, which would exceed the TAC 2007.
The association's leaders have pointed out that only those companies which operate transparently and legally should play on the shrimp market and they say they will do their best to inform Moscow officials about any illegal operations of the local shrimpers.
Dalkrevetka Association has united 6 companies with their total harvest exceeding 50% of the shrimp TAC. The bulk of catches is contributed by the Primorye subarea. In 2007 the overall shrimp TAC in the subarea has been set at 6480 tonnes up from 4480 tonnes in 2006. The biggest quota has been allocated in the Bering Sea at 14,280 tonnes up from 6030 tonnes in 2006.
The actual catch is around 10,000 tonnes well below the TAC. The exploitation of the resource is limited by market factors as the bulk of the production is shipped to the declining Japanese market. In this situation the Russian producers are looking for opportunities in Russia where the shrimp market has been soaring while being supplied mostly by shrimp of foreign origin.