Fishery outlook for January 2008 in the Russian Far East

January 11, 2008 16:40

In January 2008 the Russian fishermen will continue harvesting Alaska pollock in the West Bering Sea zone, fishery sources in Vladivostok told www.fishnet-russia.com (www.fishnet.ru).

According to the scientific forecasts, the fishery situation will be satisfactory. Comparably strong concentrations of Alaska pollock are possible in the outlining zone of the Navarin Canyon. Alaska pollock of the size 44-55cm will be the most abundant in the Navarin area. The average daily catch of Alaska pollock is forecasted at 40-50 tonnes per large trawler.

Just like in the previous years, the largest catches of cod are expected at the depths of 150-350 meters. More promising fishing areas are expected in the Avacha Bay and to the south up to the Lopatka Cape. Just like in 2006, catches of cod are forecasted at 8-9 tonnes per longliner and 4-6 tonnes per trawler/Danish seiner.

As per early January 2008, eight inshore boats were targeting bottomfish for human consumption in this subarea. Their total harvest through the week amounted to 666 metric tons.

The vessels who were targeting herring in the Sea of Okhotsk in December 2007 and duly received fishing permits for 2008 continued operations on the grounds without a halt. Through the first week of the year 2008 the vessels harvested 4364 tonnes of herring. The fishery was conducted by 13 large trawlers and 9 middle trawlers. Daily catches per large trawler fluctuated from 34 to 165 tonnes. The variation of the catches of middle trawlers was shorter with the daily rates fluctuating from 7 to 33 tonnes.

Subject to favorable ice conditions in January 2008 in the Sea of Okhotsk, the scientists forecast that the fishing fleet will be able to harvest concentrations of post-spawning black halibut with all the fishing gear (bottom net, longline and trawl). Longline and net fishery is expected to be better in the southwest part of the Lebed Chute with catches forecasted to reach 2.5-4 tonnes per vessel, including 60-90% of halibut. The bycatch will contain lycodes, ocean perch and thornyhead. Trawl fishery of black halibut is recommended in the Lebed Chute and in the south part of the TINRO Deep at the depths of 400-550 meters as well as on feeding concentrations of halibuts on the slopes of Atlasova Island and in the Alaid Narrow at the depths of more than 700 meters. The catches are forecasted from 2-2.5 to 3-4 tonnes per vessel daily.

In January 2008 catches of all the vessels conducting the dedicated cod fishery in the West Kamchatka and Kamchatka Kurile subareas are forecasted to rise for the vessels of all the types up to 5-8 tonnes per longliner and 4-7 tonnes per trawler/Danish seiner daily. Depending on the number of the fishing vessels the subareas' catches can amount to 2000-6000 tonnes.

According to the new Fishery Regulations, as of 1 January 2008 the Alaska pollock fishery is allowed in all the subareas of the Sea of Okhotsk. The water area of the sea covered with ice this year is forecasted to be larger. The ice coverage is expected to reach its maximum of 77-82% of the sea's surface in the first ten days of March 2008. The most difficult ice conditions for fishing operations will be observed in February-March in the northwest part of the sea, near the Kashevarova Bank and at the entry of the Shelikhov Bay. Therefore the scientists recommend the companies to send their vessels to the Kamchatka subareas as the fishery starts. There the fishery conditions are expected to be the most favorable. Moreover, the TAC in the eastern part of the sea, especially in the West Kamchatka subarea, has been considerably increased as compared to last year. In the beginning of the season daily catches in the Kamchatka Kurile subarea are expected at 55-70 tonnes per large vessel and 30-40 tonnes per middle vessel. Another promising area, especially for large vessels, is located to the southwest from the entry to the Shelikhov Bay. Catches per effort are forecasted at 60-75 tonnes. in January 2008 the APO harvest in the Sea of Okhotsk is forecasted at ca.200,000 tonnes or 30-35% of the TAC.

As of the first days of the year 2008 the Alaska pollock fishery in the Sea of Okhotsk has been started from the Kamchatka Kurile subarea. In early January the fishery was started by 6 large and 6 middle trawlers reporting daily catches of 57.2 tonnes per effort.

The vessels owned by PBTF based in Primorsky Krai Territory (capital Vladivostok), namely 2 large and 8 middle trawlers, started to harvest Alaska pollock out of their offshore quotas in the northeast of Sakhalin and reported a fishery success. More specifically, their daily catches were reported at 115-117 tonnes per large vessel and 20.7 tonnes per middle trawler.

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