Fishery overview in the seas of the Russian Far East in August 2007. Full story.
Main commercial species harvested by the fleets of the Russian Far East in August 2007 were Alaska pollock in the Bering Sea and salmons, fishery sources in Vladivostok told http://www.fishnet-russia.com/ (https://www.fishnet.ru/).
Besides, smaller-scale expeditions were targeting cod, halibut and grenadier with longline gear in the Bering Sea and at the West Kamchatka coast. Trawl and Danish seine fishery of bottomfish species was conducted by middle vessels and small boats at the shores of Kamchatka in the Sea of Okhotsk and in the Bering Sea. Snow crab opilio was harvested in the North Okhotsk subarea and in the West Bering Sea zone, while snow crab bairdi was harvested in the south of the West Kamchatka shelf. Shrimps and whelks were harvested in the Seas of Okhotsk and Japan. A group of vessels owned by Vladivostok-based NBAMR plc, one of Russia's leading fishing companies, continued targeting squid in the waters off the North Kuriles.
Provisional catches in the Russian Far East Basin in August and through the first eight months of 2007
2007, ‘000 metric tons
2006, ‘000 metric tons
+/- ‘000 metric tons
2007, ‘000 metric tons
2006, ‘000 metric tons
+/- ‘000 metric tons
Longfin codline Laemonema
The number of fishing efforts in August grew by 70 vessels and the fleet's daily harvest amounted to 3000-5000 metric tons. The average daily rates were reported at 4100 tonnes, 500 tonnes up on the corresponding result of August 2006.
As compared to last year, in January-August 2007 the Basin's harvest rose by more than 40,000 tonnes. The growth was observed for such species as flounder (3700 tonnes), salmons (45,000 tonnes), grenadier (5600 tonnes), Alaska pollock (79,100 tonnes), wachna cod (6600 tonnes) and Pacific cod (3400 tonnes).
Fairly good fishery situation on the Alaska pollock grounds in the Bering Sea enabled the fleets to maintain the growing catches at the high level which had been achieved during the Okhotsk APO expedition in the start of the year. More than 300,000 tonnes of Alaska pollock were harvested through the first eight months of the current year 2007.
The conditions on the Pacific salmon grounds were fairly favourable for fishing operations.
Grenadier trawl and longline fisheries also grew brisk with the vessels' total catches rising by 5600 tonnes as compared to the same period last year.
At the same time, there was a considerable gap of herring catches which turned out to be 53,000 tonnes down on the corresponding result of last year. The net and longline fishery of halibuts grew less active and the harvest of the species dropped by 1500 tonnes. A decrease of sculpin catches was reported at 3300 tonnes.
The largest number of fishing efforts was concentrated in the West Bering Sea zone. More specifically, up to 130 large, middle and small vessels were operating in the above area and their contribution to the Basin's harvest amounted to 66.7%.
The APO fishery was concentrated directly at the convention line at the depths of less than 200 meters and at the northwest slope of the Navarin Canyon at the depths of 150-250 meters. Average sizes of harvested Alaska pollock were 42-50 cm with the total harvest reported at 87,700 tonnes. The highest catch per vessel amounted to 2477 tonnes through the month which was recorded for Kapitan Bolsunovsky owned by JSC ZAO Sakhalin Leasing Fleet. The ship's daily rates were ca.92 tonnes on the average.
More than 11,000 tonnes of bottomfish species (cod, flounder, halibut, etc.) were harvested by trawlers in the Bering Sea and in the inshore waters of East Kamchatka. The fishing areas were concentrated in the West Bering Sea zone contributing 2360.8 tonnes to the total harvest, the Karaginsky subarea contributing (7140.2 tonnes) and the Petropavlovsk-Komandor subarea (1867.4 tonnes). The small boat fleet based in the Koryak Autonomous District focused mainly on food botttomfish operations in the Karaginsk subarea.
In the beginning of August 2007 the vessels fishing with trawl and Danish seine gear reported more than 50% of Alaska pollock catches, while the shares of cod, flounder and wachna cod correspondingly amounted to 24%, 10% and 5%. By the end of the month the correlation somewhat changed with cod stepping up as the dominating species with the share of 36%, while the shares of Alaska pollock, flounder and wachna cod amounted to 31%, 20% and 10% correspondingly.
Longliners operating in the area were harvesting mostly cod and the share of halibuts in catches amounted to 16-18%. The total harvest of the longline fleet amounted to 2880 tonnes including 513.4 tonnes of halibut.
Two vessels Vostok-1 owned by JSC ZAO R/K Vostok-1 and Maria owned by OOO Moryana (ltd) were operating on the grenadier grounds in the Bering Sea. Their daily catches amounted to 9.3 tonnes and 11.9 tonnes with the with the ships' total catches through the month amounting to 195.8 and 95.5 tonnes correspondingly.
In the West Bering Sea zone 13 companies based in Kamchatka sent their vessels to harvest snow crab opilio and bairdi, as well as blue king crab. The average daily catch of snow crab opilio fluctuated from 167 kilos to 6.5 tonnes per vessel. As for blue king crab, the gap between the smallest and largest catch rates was not as great with the rates varying from 1.9 tonnes to 7.8 tonnes. The total crab harvest through the month amounted to 670.6 tonnes.
In the Petropavlovsk-Komandor subarea the vessels of four Kamchatka-based companies harvested 963 tonnes of squid in 20 days at sea all together. The average daily catch per ship was reported at 48.2 tonnes. According to the scientists, in the recent years the fishing vessels have been bycatching Berryteuthis magister squid in the above subarea with the share of the species reaching 40-50% of catches. The reported catch rates confirmed growing strength of magister squid concentrations from July to the start of the ten closing days of September. That was the period when maturing prespawning squid migrates back from the North Kuriles to the stock's main spawning grounds in the south of the Bering Sea and off the Komandor Islands.
North and South Kuriles
Nevertheless, the North Kuriles remained the main grounds for squid fishery. Absence of fishable concentrations of B.magister squid off the North Kuriles in winter and early spring had predetermined a catch lag of 23,000 tonnes on last year. In the above waters the fleets worked 482 days at sea all together and harvested 6200 tonnes of squid with the daily rates reported at 12.8 tonnes. During a number of years the squid fishery in the Kuriles has been conducted by RTMA trawlers owned by OAO NBAMR (plc), which is a leading squid harvester in the Russian Far East Basin. RTM Kalinivo trawler was the group's leader in terms of catches throughout August 2007. She daily caught 21.5 tonnes of squid on the average with the total harvest through the month exceeding 580 tonnes. Larger trawlers of the BATM type harvested 17 tonnes of squid per day each, while BMRT large trawlers daily harvested 7-9 tonnes each on the average.
On the Atka mackerel grounds off the Kuriles and the Petropavlovsk-Komandor subarea the fleets harvested 1700 tonnes through the month, the figure including only 48 tonnes harvested by trawl and Danish seine gear on the mixed bottomfish inshore grounds of the Petropavslovsk-Komandor subarea. The dedicated Atka mackerel fishery was conducted by several vessels off the North Kuriles. Besides, Atka mackerel was harvested as bycatch in squid fishery. Large vessels daily harvested 32.8 tonnes of Atka mackerel on the average. The largest catch of 760 tonnes was recorded for Kamline owned by OOO KPKF Kamline (ltd).
In the same Kurile waters two Kamchatka-based and one Vladivostok-based vessels were targeting grenadier with the average catch per day reported at 15-25 metric tons. The highest catch was 510 tonnes in 20 days at sea as reported by Vladivostok-based Arktur 7777 owned by JSC ZAO Magellan.
Mys Zolotoy owned by OOO Firma Moreprodukt Co Ltd was harvesting sea scallops in the inshore waters of the North Kuriles with the vessel's result through the month amounting to 75 tonnes based on 5.4 tonnes per day. The fishery conditions were worse on the sea scallop grounds of the South Kuriles with the highest catch per day not exceeding 0.7 tonne.
The saury fishery in the South Kuriles started two weeks later as compared to last year. More specifically, in August 2006 the fishing fleet started harvesting the species already on 5 August 2007, while this year the first catch of 42 tonnes was reported by STR Karpinsky owned by Imeni Lenina fishing co-op on 18 August 2007. The saury harvest in 105 days spent by all the vessels at sea amounted to 3300 tonnes, of which 1300 tonnes were landed for processing at R/K Ostrovnoy.
Actually the fishing fleet was focused on the saury concentrations at the Small Kurile Ridge. The fishery situation was not stable and catches per haul decreased from 16 tonnes to 8.6 tonnes by the end of the month. The fleets daily harvested 26.6 tonnes per vessel on the average. Saury smaller than 19 cm amounted to 11% of the harvest, 20-25-cm fish accounted for 35% and the share of saury larger than 25 cm was 56%.
The leading saury harvester with the month harvest of more than 330 tonnes was islands-based Kapitan Lapkin owned by JSC ZAO Krabozavodsk.
Sea of Okhotsk
The harvest in the Sea of Okhotsk in August amounted to 11.6% of the Basin's catch. As compared to last year the area's catch dropped by 2700 tonnes.
The largest efforts were concentrated in the south of the western coast of Kamchatka with the number of vessels exceeding 100. The group mostly consisted of MRS small seiners owned by Kamchatka-based companies operating on the mixed bottomfish grounds. The bulk of the harvest was contributed by flounders, while the remaining share of 30-40% belonged to Pacific cod, wachna cod, Alaska pollock, sculpins and smelt.
A group of 7 longliners was operating on the halibut grounds of the Kamchatka-Kurile subarea. The longliners' daily catches fluctuated from 2.5 to 9.3 tonnes each.
Vessels mostly owned by Kamchatka-based companies were hunting for snow crab bairdi. The group's leader was Kamchatka-based Altair daily catching 3.1 tonnes of the species on the average. However, the largest harvest was recorded for Vladivostok-based Dzhanggunbong owned by OOO Severnaya Shirota (ltd).
To the north of the 54th degree North Kamchatka-based inshore boats were harvesting flounder, wachna cod, Pacific cod, sculpins and Alaska pollock. Three middle trawlers were hunting for whelks and their total catch in the area amounted to 50 tonnes through the month.
Crab fishery in the subareas of the Sea of Okhotsk was estimated as fairly good with the crab harvest in August exceeding the corresponding result of last year by 800 tonnes.
In the North Okhotsk subarea the largest expedition was harvesting snow crab opilio. More specifically, the species was harvested by 37 vessels. Just like in the previous month, the largest harvest was reported by Magadan-based Western Enterprise who reported a total harvest of 95.1 tonnes with the average daily catch of 6.3 tonnes.
A group of crabbers operating on the grounds of red king crabs was less numerous (14 vessels namely) and they all together harvested 265 tonnes of red kings through the month. Vladivostok-based research vessels Vladimir Safonov owned FGUP TINRO-Centre research institute led with the harvest of 40 tonnes in 19 days at sea.
At the eastern coast of Sakhalin the Russian crabbers had a success on the grounds of triangle tanner crab. The total harvest in the area amounted to 560 tonnes through the month with the largest harvest of 108 tonnes based on 3.5 tonnes per day recorded for Vladivostok-based crabber Arctic Discovery owned by JSC ZAO R/K Vostok.
The grand total harvest of crabs in the Sea of Okhotsk amounted to 1900 tonnes.
The vessels coming from Magadan and Vladivostok-led Primorsky Krai Territory were targeting whelks in the subareas of the North Okhotsk subarea. The results of Magadan-based vessels were nearly twice better. The group's total catch of whelks amounted to 726 tonnes through August 2007.
After a temporary ban of pink shrimp fishery (Pandalus borealis) in the North Okhotsk subarea, the Russian shrimpers resumed operations on the grounds from 16 August 2007. The fishery was conducted by 5 vessels and one Magadan-based vessel was working out under the research program in the course of the month. Those vessels who resumed harvesting pink shrimps after the ban caught 60 tonnes of the species all together with the daily rates amounting to 1.2 tonnes per vessel. Per haul the shrimpers harvested from 215 to 360 kilos of pink shrimp, but the concentrations were weak which did not satisfy the fishermen.
In late August two Vladivostok-based shrimpers started fishing in the East Sakhalin subarea. The first trawl hauls did not make the fishermen happy as the rates were poor. The daily catch per vessel did not exceed one tonne and amounted to 450-730 kilos.
Sea of Japan
Only 0.7% of the Basin's total harvest was contributed by the Sea of Japan, despite the fishing efforts were fairly large at 32 vessels. According to the fishery statistics, in August 2007 catches of Atka mackerel, flounder, wachna cod and Pacific cod were the lowest for the last five years. The species were targeted by up to 35 small boats. Just a few MRS small seiners would daily harvest more than one tonne of the above species per vessel.
In August 2007 once large expedition of red tanner crabbers was absent at all. That could be attributed mostly to worsening conditions on the red tanner crab grounds. Unfavorable fishery situation was also observed on the grounds of snow crab opilio, blue and red king crab.
The fishery operations on the grounds of pink shrimp in the Primorye subarea were conducted by 11 companies and 15 vessels harvesting 117 tonnes all together. Vladivostok-based shrimpers Piltun owned by OOO Dalrybprom-PK (ltd) reported the largest catches of pink shrimp in the Primorye subarea. The vessel's total harvest through the month amounted to 18.8 tonnes with the average daily catch reaching 1.9 tonnes.
Poor catch rates were reported by the fishermen harvesting Pacific squid in the Sea of Japan. Along with the aforesaid species, Vladivostok-based companies sent their vessels to harvest sea urchins, whelks, sea scallops, sea cucumber, mussels, spisula, laminaria, etc.
Favourable situation on the salmon grounds in the fishing season 2007 has enabled the Russian fleets to harvest more than 260,000 tonnes of salmons through January-August 2007. In the first half of August the pink salmon fishery in the East Kamchatka got closed with the area's total harvest amounting to 70,000 metric tons. The number of seines decreased to 5 and most of the seines were removed from the grounds already in the first five days of the month due to absence of fish.
In early September 2007 the fishery in the Okhotsk district of the Khabarovsk Territory got closed. Due to a number of reasons the salmon fishery in the area was not conducted in September, though the runs of autumn chum salmon could have sustained catches of 60-80 tonnes along the Magadan coast and more than 300 tonnes in the Okhotsk area.
Pink salmon runs to the Iturup waters were extremely early, already in the first days of the month there was a need in larger receiving capacities. By the end of the first ten days of the month the Russian fishermen harvested more than 20,000 tonnes in the area.
The pink salmon fishery in the Terpenia Bay of Sakhalin was fairly active in the course of the month. The bulk of harvested fish was landed for onshore processing. The onshore companies received ca.60,000 tonnes of pinks in August 2007.
The second surge of pink salmon runs to the spawning grounds in the eastern coast of Sakhalin started from the second half of August. The pink salmon harvest through the month amounted to more than 40,000 tonnes.
Due to good runs of salmons and exhaustion of the catch quotas the fishery officials promptly increased quotas of sockeye in the Kamchatka-Kurile subarea, pink salmon in the East Sakhalin subarea and in the South Kurile waters.
The below table covers provisional figures on salmon catches in the Russian Far East Basin as per 31 August 2007.
Pink salmon, ‘000 metric tons
Chum salmon, ‘000 metric tons
Sockeye, ‘000 metric tons
Coho salmon, ‘000 metric tons
Chinook salmon, ‘000 metric tons
West Bering Sea zone
East Kamchatka coast
West Kamchatka coast
Sakhalin (West and East coast)