Fishery outlook for the Russian Far East Basin in May 2007

May 17, 2007 16:10

Alaska pollock

In the second half of May 2007 the Alaska pollock fishery in the West Bering Sea zone is resumed after a temporary closure in spring according to the Fishery Regulations. The scientists forecast that the weather conditions will be warmer than last year and the main water area in the West Bering Sea zone will be open for large scale APO fishery.

The APO fishery will be based on the stock's wintering schools in the Navarin shelf in between the 180th and 177th degrees West and on the East Bering Sea population migrating to feeding grounds in the sea's north after spawning. Besides, the APO fishery will be conducted at the depth breaks off the Koryak coast in between the 174th and 176th degrees East. Catches per day are forecasted at 70-80 tonnes for large trawlers.

Herring

Last year the Russian fishermen conducted active fishery of prespawning herring up through 16 May. The total harvest for the period amounted to 16,800 tonnes. This year the fishery of prespawning herring has been suspended. According to new Fishery Regulations, with the closure of the Alaska pollock fishery on 9 April trawl fishery of prespawning herring is banned until 31 August 2007.

According to the scientific forecasts, abundant runs of Okhotsk herring to the inshore waters for spawning are expected to start in the second ten days of May, but runs to the central part of the spawning area will be short and weak.

The Okhotsk spawning herring fishery will be concentrating within the territorial sea. The bulk of the harvest will be contributed by herring of 28-32 cm and ca.280 grams. The scientists recommend the fishermen to harvest 20,000 tonnes with up to 20 fixed seines to be set.

Cod

In the same zone the scientists forecast large catches of cod in the shallow waters where the stock runs for feeding after spawning. At the depth of 180 meters at 170-172 degrees East and 176-179 degrees East the most favourable fishery situation is expected.

Large catches are also possible in the area of the delineation line at 17930-177 degrees West. The daily harvest of small boats is forecasted at 2-5 tonnes, taking into account the bycatch of flounder, sculpins, Alaska pollock and other species the total catch can grow to 9-10 tonnes per ship. The daily catch of cod is expected to amount to ca.5-8 tonnes per longliner.

The cod fishery will also speed up in the Karaginsk subarea. In early May 2007 the fishing efforts in the Karaginsk Bay grew in number. Fishable concentrations of cod will be formed at the depths of 106-300 meters. The average daily rates are expected at 4-6 tonnes per longliner and 2-3 tonnes per Danish seiner with flounder to account for ca.30% of the harvest.

The fishery situation on the oceanic side of the Paramushir Island near the First and Second Kurile Straits is expected to be similar to the above. Apart from cod, the scientists forecast bycatches of flounder, sculpins, Alaska pollock, etc.

At the west coast of Kamchatka the bulk of the cod stock stops spawning and starts moving to the shallow waters and the fleets' catches in the period normally decrease. The fishery situation will be favourable on some particular grounds at the depths of 120-300 meters at 5050-5210 degrees North, 54-5430 degrees North, 5530-56 degrees North and 5620-5650 degrees North. However, trawlers and Danish seiners may harvest a lot of Alaska pollock and flounder as bycatch, the scientists say.

Halibuts

In May 2007 the dedicated halibut fishery in the West Bering Sea zone is regarded unfeasible. Feeding migrations of black halibut in the month under analysis are only starting from the eastern part of the Bering Sea, and the local halibuts start moving upwards to the depths of 300-800 meters. White halibut will only begin moving from the continental slope to the shelf. Therefore concentrations will grow less stronger. However, as the fishery operations normally grow more active in May, the share of halibut in other fisheries also grows. The total harvest of white halibut through May is expected at 300 tonnes.

The black halibut harvest from dedicated fishery can reach 350 tonnes, according to the scientific forecasts.

In the Sea of Okhotsk the black halibut fishery will be continued with longline, trawl and bottomnet gear. The share of black halibut in trawl catches will fluctuate from 60-80% to 70-95% depending on the area. Correspondingly, the daily catches per ship will also fluctuate from 2 tonnes in the West Kamchatka suabrea to 5-6 tonnes in the Kamchatka Kurile subarea.

For longline fishery the above fluctuations will be not large. The share of halibuts in longline catches will vary from 60% to 80% with the average daily catch per ship amounting to 3-5 tonnes. The scientists also recommend to send one or two bottom netters to harvest halibuts on the grounds.

The black halibut harvest through May 2007 can exceed 1000 tonnes in the Sea of Okhotsk. The bycatch will contain mostly grenadier and skates.

Grenadier

At least 1000 tonnes of grenadier can be harvested in the West Bering Sea zone beyond the territorial waters in May subject to 2-3 large vessels operating on the grounds.

Some two or three large BATM or RTMS ships should be sent to small grounds of winter-spring concentrations of grenadier at the Urup Island and the Lovushka Rocks. At the depths of 1100-1400 meters the catch rates can reach 4 tonnes per tow on the average and 25-40 per ship daily.

In the Sea of Okhotsk the harvest of grenadier will depend on the number of vessels sent to the grounds of cod, halibuts, etc. The scientists forecast that catches of grenadier can reach 500-1000 tonnes (all the expected harvest beyond the territorial waters).

Flounder

In May 2007 flounder schools will continue moving from the wintering depths to the upper part of the shelf. The flounder fishery will be more efficient for Danish seiners. The share of flounder in Danish seine catches amounts to ca.40% in the Petropavlovsk Komandor subarea, at the western coast of Kamchatka - 30-50% to the north of the 54th degree North and 50-60% to the south of 5236 degree North. Main strong concentrations of flounders in the waters of Primorye will be located up to 150 meters beyond the Bay of Peter, the Great. The average daily harvest of flounder is expected at 3-5 tonnes per middle trawler.

Squid

Only 4 tonnes of squid were harvested in the first quarter of the current year. In April 2007 the harvest can amount to 470 tonnes. According to the scientific forecast, concentrations of squid accessible for trawl fishery will be formed at 48-4830 degrees North and they will be gradually compacting. By the end of the month (in the periods of complete high tide) the daily harvest can amount to 5-6 tonnes per ship. Incoming warm Pacific waters to the depths of the northern islands will greatly influence strength of the stock's schools.

Longfin codling Laemonema

In May 2007 the fishery of longfin codling Laemonema in the South Kurile zone is not recommended by the scientists as the area hosts the stock's summer feeding schools.

The fishable concentrations of longfin codling will be formed at the Honshu and Hokkai islands (in the Japanese EEZ where daily catches are expected to grow to 60-70 tonnes per ship).

Salmons

In May 2007 Russian driftnetters will start harvesting salmons out of research quotas. Their operations are aimed at monitoring migrations and runs of the salmon stocks to the Russian waters.

Crabs

In the closing month of spring the fleets will continue harvesting snow crab opilio, golden king crab in the Sea of Okhotsk and will start harvesting red king crab in the Ayano-Shantarsky area. In the eastern part of the sea at the West Kamchatka shelf crabbers will target such species as blue king crab, golden king crab and snow crab bairdi.

Shrimps and whelks

In three subareas of the Sea of Okhotsk the fishermen will continue harvesting shrimps. In the beginning of the month the fishery was conducted by 18 ships. Four ships started harvesting whelks in the North Okhotsk subarea. One of those ships was working under the research program.

Sea urchins

More than 40 ships will keep targeting sea urchins in the South Kurile waters.

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