Fishery overview in the seas of the Russian Far East as per 14 March 2010

March 22, 2010 08:33

In the current year Russian vessels have been actively fishing aquatic biological resources in the Russian Far East with the total catch exceeding volumes for the same period of the previous years, except for such species as herring, cod and grenadiers. Alaska pollock has always played a dominating role in the total catches in all time periods, reports ( with reference to the fishery sources in Vladivostok.

At present, 160 fishing vessels have been targeting Russian Pollock in the Sea of Okhotsk while the pollock season in the area is coming to an end. Half of the month is left for fishing in the waters of western coast of Kamchatka before the season is closed due to beginning of the stock's spawning period.

The North Okhotsk subarea will be open for operations till 10, April 2010, due to later beginning of the spawning period of Russian pollock here. In the second week of March 2010 the daily catches of pollock expeditions amounted to 9,000-10,000 tonnes with the total weekly catch amounting to about 67,000 tonnes or 98.1% of the total catch in the Sea of Okhotsk. At the beginning of the previous week the fleet mostly concentrated in the Kamchatka-Kurile subarea while at the beginning of the current week more than 20 vessels shifted to the north of the 54th degree following the pollock migration to the spawning grounds.

Location of fishing vessels as of the beginning of the third week of March 2010

Fishing areas

Large vesselsMedium-sized vessels
numbercatch (tonnes)numbercatch (tonnes) since beginning of the month
North Okhotsk subarea3341,64484,692
West Kamchatka subarea3016,857222,504
Kamchatka-Kurile  subarea4762,564189,186

Catches of large vessels varied from 32 to 48 tonnes per tow depending on the area of fishing while in the group of medium-sized vessels the catch rates amounted to 16-22 tonnes per tow.

Satisfactory weather conditions, changes of the fishing areas, switches to transshipment and bunkering decreased the fishing fleet's results. For example, only 23 vessels of total number of 48 medium-sized ships participating in the expedition carried out the fishing operations, which resulted in a double decrease of daily catches in this group of vessels.

Provisional figures on pollock catches and quota take-up as per the end of the second week of March 2010

Fishing regions

North Okhotsk subareaWest Kamchatka subareaKamchatka-Kurile subareaTotal quota take-up, %
Quota, 1000 metric tonsCatch, 1000 metric tonsQuota take-up, %Quota, 1000 metric tonsCatch, 1000 metric tonsQuota take-up, %Quota, 1000 metric tonsCatch, 1000 metric tonsQuota take-up, %
Primorye (capital Vladivostok), 2010153.043.728.6139.527.119.482.7148.1179.058.3
Primorye (capital Vladivostok), 2009115.143.838.1122.148.539.771.
Khabarovsk, 201030.36.220.524.24.719.619.329.8154.155.2
Khabarovsk, 200922.89.943.521.011.454.216.612.877.256.5
Magadan, 201014.93.322.
Magadan, 200911.
Sakhalin, 201066.322.333.754.32.44.536.265.6181.257.6
Sakhalin, 200952.024.547.148.418.838.931.821.066.148.7
Kamchatka, 2010108.355.951.6103.616.415.869.397.6140.760.4
Kamchatka, 200978.740.050.987.857.765.757.939.067.461.0
Chukotka, 20106.22.743.94.60.612.43.14.3140.654.7
Chukotka, 20094.73.371.04.02.356.
Total in the area, 2010379.1134.235.4338.751.515.2215.2358.5166.658.3
Total in the area, 2009284.8125.744.1294.2145.149.3184.2140.876.453.9

Quotas for Russian pollock in the Sea of Okhotsk were covered almost at 60%.

In the Okhotsk winter-spring A season of 2010 the fishermen have been covering the pollock TACs at the expense of the Kamchatka-Kurile subarea, which has resulted into catches of large-sized pollock enabling the fishermen to produce a wide range of products, a high roe yield sometimes reaching 5%, favourable fishery and weather conditions as well as summarized take-up of quotas in two subareas of West Kamchatka.

By the third week of March 2010 the commercial quotas in the subarea have been covered at 169% with the total catch amounting to 364,000 tonnes. At the same time, 47 large vessels participated in the fishing process and the catch per vessel decreased to 70.4 tonnes with the rates per tow reported at 31.1 tonnes. The same results have been forecasted by the scientists in their recommendations on the pollock fishery conditions in the second part of March 2010.

Analysis of large vessels' work in the first three months of 2010 showed that Khabarovsk-based BATM trawlers had better catches with average volume amounting 6,700 tonnes per vessel in this period. Sakhalin-based trawlers harvested 4700 tonnes on the average while catches of trawlers based in Primorye (capital Vladivostok) and Kamchatka amounted to 4300 and 4200 tonnes correspondingly.

The largest harvest in the period has been contributed by Primorye fleet (40 large vessels, 28 medium-sized vessels and 5 factory ships) that exceeded its last year results by 64,000 tonnes. However, the quota take-up in the region amounted to 58.3%. In terms of quota-take Vladivostok fleets have been slightly behind Kamchatka fishermen who have harvested about 170,000 tonnes (or 60.4% of the quota), 33,000 tonnes up on last year period, though the quota take-up has declined from 61%. Other regions have covered their quotas at more than 50%.

Provisional catch figures based on vessels’ daily catch records


Petropavlovsk-Komandor subareaSea of OkhotskNorth KurileTotal Far East Basin
Catch, metric tonsQuota take-up, %Catch, metric tonsQuota take-up, %Catch, metric tonsQuota take-up, %Catch, metric tonsQuota take-up, %
Russian pollock377178.66675698.1117871.47207294.5
Wachna cod  1620.2  1670.2
Sculpins841.780.01  1450.2
Atka mackerels2956.1  27116.48531.1
Ocean perch1.
Herring  910.1  910.1
Grenadiers  170.03  190.02
Red snow crab      610.08
Golden king crab  200.03  200.03
Snow crab opilio      900.1
Snow crab bairdi  240.04  24.040.03
Pink shrimp (Pandalus borealis)  1160.2  2440.3
Sea scallops      80.01
Sea urchins      730.1
Sea cucumber      80.01
Squid      10.00

Only one vessel coming from Magadan targeted herring in the Sea of Okhotsk in the second week of March 2010 with the weekly result of 91 tonnes, while other vessels switched to APO fishing.

The weather conditions held back trawlers fishing groundfish species in the Sea of Okhotsk. Apart from Russian pollock which contributed more than 70% of the daily harvest, the vessels also harvested flounders, cod, wachna cod and halibuts. The weekly catch of groundfish species amounted to 3700 tonnes (flounders - 200 tonnes; cod - 175 tonnes; wachna cod - 162 tonnes).

The trawl fishery was carried out mainly in the Kamchatka-Kurile subarea while longliners were targeting cod, halibuts, scates and lycodes in the waters of West Kamchatka. The weekly catch amounted to 230 tonnes. About 50 tonnes of halibuts were harvested by bottom nets in the North Okhotsk subarea.

A group of 5 vessels was targeting snow crab bairdi in the Kamchatka-Kurile subarea. The crab catches went down more than twice in comparison with the previous period. In the North Okhotsk subarea 20 tonnes of golden king crab were harvested.

While in the second week of March 2010 shrimpers were hunting for pink shrimp (Pandalus borealis) only in the Kamchatka-Kurile subarea due to severe ice conditions in the North Okhotsk subarea, in the third week of the month they had to return to the fishing grounds. Harsh winds helped form glades where the vessels would start operations and where the catch rates were expected to be higher. During the third week of March 2010 the vessels harvested 116 tonnes of shrimps in the suarea.

The fishery efficiency in the West Bering Sea zone and East Kamchatka went down. In both areas only one longliner each was targeting halibuts and cod. Longline catches in the Petropavlovsk-Komandor subarea were dominated by cod the harvest of which amounted to about 60 tonnes through the week.

About 12 medium-sized vessels owned by Kamchatka were targeting groundfish species, while 76.3% of the total catch was contributed by Russian pollock. The subarea's total catch amounted to 4800 tonnes including 430 tonnes of cod, 300 tonnes of Atka mackerel, 145 tonnes of flounders and 84 tonnes of sculpins. The APO catch in the subarea amounted to 3800 tonnes.

Coming cyclone to the Kurile Islands at the beginning of the week made vessels operating in the areas of Iturup, Shikotan and Kunashir halt fishing and hide in closed bays of the isles to wait for better weather conditions, what negatively affected the catch volumes in the Kuriles.

In the North Kuriles the dedicated pollock fishery was carried out by Nakhodka-based BAMR vessel, whose daily catches exceeded 100 tonnes.

Primorye-based longliners were targeting cod, white halibut, skates and Russian pollock. One Sakhalin-based vessel harvested ocean perch. Primorye-based vessels were targeting Atka mackerel. In the second week of March 2010 only finfish species were targeted by the fleets with the weekly harvest of finfish amounting to 1,600 tonnes. Fishable concentrations of squid have been practically absent in the winter period in the North Kurile subarea since 2000.

In the Sea of Japan the catches were dominated by shrimps and crabs. Crabbers were targeting red snow crab, snow crab opilio and blue king crab. Shrimpers fished mainly pink shrimp (Pandalus borealis) with bycatches of coonstripe shrimp. Fishermen harvested flounders and Atka mackerels in the Primorye subarea, where the weekly catch amounted to 540 tonnes, including 150 tonnes of flounders, 110 tonnes of Atka mackerel, 150 tonnes of crabs and 110 tonnes of shrimps.

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