Fishery outlook for the Russian Far East in March 2007
As per early March there were 440 fishing vessels working on the grounds of the seas of the Russian Far East. Their daily catch exceeded 7000 metric tons. The largest share of 94% in the daily catch was contributed by Alaska pollock just like in February.
In March the Russian fleets will continue harvesting Alaska pollock in the Sea of Okhotsk with roe production coming into the greater focus. Scientists forecast that the fishery situation will most probably be favourable along all the west coast of Kamchatka where catches per ship will grow for all the types of vessels. In the Kamchatka Kurile subarea daily catches are expected at 60-80 for large vessels and 20-30 tonnes for middle vessels on the grounds of Ozernov depth breaks and the Lebed Bank. The rates of quota take-up keep on growing and as per early March 2007 the Alaska pollock TAC in the Sea of Okhotsk was covered at 56%. Taking into account results of other fishing seasons, the total daily catch of Alaska pollock can reach 8000 tonnes. Subject to the same rates of TAC progressing the quotas in the Kamchatka waters can be exhausted prior to 31 March when the fishery is closed and the vessels will switch to APO fishery in the North Okhotsk subarea.
The most efficient cod fishery in March is expected to concentrate in the southern part of the Petropavlovsk-Komandor subarea on the grounds free from ice. The share of flounders in trawl and Danish seine catch will remain high and in the area the fishermen will also harvest Alaska pollock and sculpins. Cod stocks will sustain daily catches of 5-6 tonnes per trawler/Danish seiner and 6-8 tonnes per longliner.
Cod catches on the grounds of the Pacific side of the Paramushir Island will be lower at 3-5 tonnes per ship daily.
In March cod stocks normally spawn in the waters of West Kamchatka and the stock's feeding activity dwindle in that time thus affecting catches of longliners in the area. At the same time trawl catches practically do not decrease. Daily cod catches from dedicated operations can amount to 3-4 tonnes with the share of Alaska pollock and flounder remaining fairly high.
Favourable fishery situation in March is expected on the grounds of black halibut in the Kamchatka Kurile subarea. Longliners are forecasted to report daily catches of 2.5-3 tonnes per ship with the share of halibut accounting for 65-70%. The catch rates for middle trawlers will be somewhat lower. Subject to the fishing efforts amounting to 8 ships, two of which should be trawlers, the harvest can amount to ca.400 tonnes according to the scientists' forecast.
Grenadier fishery is possible in the waters of the North and South Kuriles. The scientists recommend to send there 2-3 large and 3-4 middle vessels fitted with grenadier liver canning equipment. The catch is forecasted at ca.1500 tonnes.
Squid Berryteuthis magister is not expected to form fishable concentrations in the waters of North Kuriles. Only in the very end of the month the scientists forecast an insignificant rise of squid bycatch in the APO fishery.
In the Primorye subarea concentrations of flounders will be fairly compact in March which should be indicative of large catches of up to 3-5 tonnes per haul.