Fishery overview in the seas of the Russian Far East in August 2007 (Part one)

September 13, 2007 13:00

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

Species

August

January-August

2007, ‘000 metric tons

2006, ‘000 metric tons

+/- ‘000 metric tons

2007, ‘000 metric tons

2006, ‘000 metric tons

+/- ‘000 metric tons

TOTAL

272.4

255.2

17.2

1452.1

1403.4

48.7

Alaska pollock

91.4

79.0

12.4

867.7

788.6

79.1

Atka mackerel

2.3

1.8

0.5

28.4

27.1

1.3

Cod

4.3

3.7

0.6

35.5

32.1

3.4

Crabs

2.5

1.9

0.6

17.6

17.4

0.2

Flounder

7.4

7.4

0

50.5

46.8

3.7

Grenadier

2.1

3.2

-1.1

16.4

10.8

5.6

Halibut

1.7

1.6

0.1

11.2

12.7

-1.5

Herring

0

1.3

-1.3

79.8

132.9

-53.1

Laminaria

0.5

1.7

-1.2

1.5

6.8

-5.3

Longfin codline Laemonema

0

3.4

-3.4

12.6

20.7

-8.1

Ocean perch

0.4

0.1

0.3

0.7

0.4

0.3

Salmons

144.7

130.7

14.0

266.2

221.2

45.0

Saury

3.3

1.7

1.6

3.3

1.7

1.6

Scallops

0.3

0.4

-0.1

0.7

1.3

-0.6

Sculpins

0.6

0.9

-0.3

4.5

7.8

-3.3

Sea cucumber

0.1

0.1

0

0.8

0.4

0.4

Sea urchins

0.4

0.3

0.1

1.9

1.5

0.4

Shrimps

0.4

0.4

0

5.4

4.9

0.5

Squid

7.3

13.1

-5.8

22.7

45.7

-23.0

Wachna cod

1.9

0.9

1.0

18.3

11.7

6.6

Whelks

0.7

1.4

-0.7

2.6

3.0

-0.4

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.

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