Fishery outlook in the Russian Far East for February 2007

February 9, 2007 16:36

As per early February there were 339 fishing vessels reporting daily catches at 6000-7600 tonnes. The bulk of the daily harvest was contributed by Alaska pollock - 94%, while cod, flounders, Atka mackerel, halibut, grenadier, skates and sculpins all together contributed 5% of the Basin's harvest.

The fleets processed up to 7000 tonnes of frozen products per day. About 65,500 tonnes of products were onboard fishing vessels.

In February the most efficient fishing area in the Bering Sea is located in the Navarin canyon where the fishermen will be able to harvest Alaska pollock of the average size on the ice-free grounds of the shelf and depths. The lower border of the ice edge is expected to stretch up to the 200-meter depths. The fishery is recommended to be conducted by large ships. At the Koryak coast the APO fishery is possible at the depths of more than 300 meters. The average daily harvest of the medium size APO is forecasted at 60-70 tonnes for large ships.

In the recent years the Russian fishermen have resumed trap net ice-fishery of wachna cod. In February 2007 the species will be successfully harvested by trap net teams at the shores of the northeast Kamchatka.

At the southeast coast of Kamchatka the fishermen have been conducting successful cod fishery with the contribution of the longliner fleet dramatically rising in the recent years in the Petropavlovsk Komandor subarea. More specifically, the share of the longliners' catches grew from 18% in 1993 to 60% in 2005. In February 2007 the largest catches are expected in the Kronotsky and Avachinsky Bays as well as off the Southeast Kamchatka. The third place in catches will be taken by cod (trawl and Danish seine operations) and the remaining catches will be contributed by Alaska pollock, flounders and sculpins. At the same time, the bycatch of other species in the longline operations will be insignificant. In February cod catches in the subarea can account for 10-15% of the annual harvest. Daily rates will amount to 8-10 tonnes per longliner and 2 tonnes per trawler or Danish seiner.

In the Petropavlovsk-Komandor subarea the Russian fleets will be targeting flounders on the wintering grounds with the average harvest in early February reported at 9-16 tonnes per day. The bycatch of other bottomfish for human consuption reached 60%.

Strong concentrations of cod will be observed at the south coast of the Paramushir Island at the depths of 136-280 meters. There the daily catch rates are expected at 6-10 tonnes of cod per longliner and 4-6 tonnes per trawler or Danish seiner. In February the area normally contributes up to 20% of the annual harvest.

In the same month at the shores of West Kamchtka approximately one third of the annual cod harvest is contributed by trawlers and Danish seiners, while longliners contribute only one quarter of the harvest. The cod fishery will be conducted on the grounds free from ice at the depths of 190-370 meters. The cod stocks can sustain daily catches of ca.3-6 tonnes per trawler and 4-7 tonnes per longliner.

In the meantime, B. magister squid is not expected to form fishable concentrations in the waters of the North Kuriles. In February 2007 autumn-winter concentrations of squid will be disintegrating due to the stock's move to the spawning grounds. The situation will be extremely unstable and catches will only depend on the fishing efforts. A group of 3-5 dedicated squidders will be able to harvest more than 1000 tonnes.

The fishery situation on the flounder and Atka mackerel grounds in the Primorye subarea is expected to be fairly stable with the daily rates per ship forecasted at 10-12 tonnes, including bycatch of other species.

In the first half of the month the Alaska Pollock fishery will be efficient in the Kamchatka Kurile subarea on the grounds off the Ozernovsky "depths breaks" and the Lebed Bank at the depths of 400-600 meters. The daily rates are expected at 40-70 tonnes per large trawler and 15-25 tonnes per middle trawler. By the middle of the month the basin's fishermen will be able to have the same success on the APO grounds of the West Kamchatka subarea at the approved depths of the stock's main spawning area. At the same time the fishery is forecasted to be also generous on the grounds to the north of the 58th degree North up through the entry into the Shelikhov Bay. The fishery situation is expected to be favourable, especially by the end of the month. Daily catches of large and middle vessels will amount to 60-90 and 30-45 tonnes correspondingly. Normally in late February the catch rates depend on ice conditions in the fishing area with a considerable bycatch of non-marketable Alaska pollock to be one of the negative developments.

In February 2007 trawlers will continue harvesting crabs and shrimps in the Sea of Okhotsk and in the Sea of Japan.

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