Fishery outlook for February 2008 in the Russian Far East
Okhotsk pollock remained the main species in the winter-spring period of the year. Taking into account the new fishery start date of 1 January 2008 in all the subareas according to the new Fisheries Regulations, the increased APO quotas 2008 and fishery delays in January 2008, a larger than usual share of the APO TAC is expected to be covered in February 2008, fishery source in Vladivostok told http://www.fishnet-russia.com/ (https://www.fishnet.ru/).
As the rates of ice growth have been considerably behind the multi-year average, the fishing situation in all the three subareas of the Sea of Okhotsk is forecasted to be fairly favourable. The most promising areas in the Sea of Okhotsk will be those grounds free of ice on the slopes of the Kashevarova Bank at the depths of 200-400 meters with large trawlers to harvest daily from 35 to 80 tonnes per vessel. However, ice will gradually push the vessels from the grounds.
According to the scientific recommendations, main fishing efforts on the APO grounds should be concentrated in the West Kamchatka subarea where concentrations of prespawning pollock will be strong and stable at the depths approved for fishery. Catches are expected to be higher than last season, forecasted to amount to 60-80 tonnes for large vessels and 25-30 tonnes for middle vessels. Besides, the most powerful trawlers will be able to fish strong concentrations of mature Alaska pollock at the entrance of the Shelikhov Bay with the catch rates expected at up to 90 tonnes and more per day.
Promising fishing grounds will be also found in the Ozernovsky Depths Break where catches will be dominated by large Alaska pollock of 40-45 cm with a minimum bycatch of juvenile fish.
In the first ten days of February 2008 more than 300 vessels were fishing in the seas of the Russian Far East Basin. The daily harvest rose to 8000-9000 metric tons.
Progress in February
In the Bering Sea only one Sakhalin-based vessel was targeting Alaska pollock. The daily catches per vessel were estimated at 75 metric tons and the fishery situation in the area was reported as fairly good. Four longliners kept working on cod and halibut grounds harvesting more than 300 kilos of fish, mostly cod (the share of halibuts amounted to 2.7%) per one km of longline. A group of 13 middle trawlers were fishing with trawl/Danish seine gear. Their total harvest through the month amounted to 1200 tonnes. The bulk of catches was contributed by Alaska pollock at 69%, followed by flounder (10%), Atka mackerel (16%) and cod (5%).
In the waters of the North Kuriles only three vessels were targeting Atka mackerel, squid was not bycaught.
In the Sea of Okhotsk four vessels were harvesting shrimps at the depth of 195-200 meters with the rate reported at 850-1050 kilos per one-hour tow. Their daily catch per vessel was reported at 4.2-5.7 tonnes. Kamchatka-based vessel continued harvesting pink shrimp Pandalus borealis in the south of West Kamchatka. Two Vladivostok-based shrimpers also came to the area. On the same grounds seven vessels were conducting trawl/Danish seine fishery of bottomfish species with the catches dominated by Alaska pollock at 60-90%. Trawlers were targeting halibut and in the first ten days of February 2008 four middle trawlers harvested 165 tonnes of halibut. Up to 10-12 tonnes of crabs (blue king crab, golden king crab and snow crab Bairdi) per day were harvested by 8-10 crabbers in all the three subareas of the Sea of Okhotsk. Catches through the first ten days of the month amounted to 145 tonnes. In the North Okhotsk subarea the fishery situation on the herring grounds remained favourable with the middle trawlers harvesting ca.40 tonnes per tow. The average daily harvest per vessel amounted to 80 tonnes. Large vessels completely stopped fishing herring.