Fishery overview in the seas of the Russian Far East in December 2007

January 11, 2008 16:34

In December 2007 more than 400 vessels per day were fishing in the seas за the Russian Far East. Favorable conditions for some types of fishery enabled the Basin's fleet to increase its daily harvest from 4500 tonnes in the start of the month to 6500 tonnes by the end of the year. The largest daily catch through the month amounted to 6800 tonnes. As compared to the same period last year the fishing fleet harvested 5500 tonnes per day on the average versus 4200 tonnes in 2006. The Basin's total harvest in December 2007 exceeded the pervious year result by 47,000 tonnes, fishery sources in Vladivostok told (

Provisional catches in the Russian Far East Basin in December 2007 and through the twelve months of 2007

Fishing species



2007, ‘000 metric tons

2006, ‘000 metric tons

+/- ‘000 metric tons

2007, ‘000 metric tons

2006, ‘000 metric tons

+/- ‘000 metric tons

TOTAL harvest







Of which finfish:

Alaska pollock







Atka mackerel










































Longfin codling Laemonema







Ocean perch

























Wachna cod







Shellfish and mollusks:








Sea cucumber







Sea scallops







Sea urchins




























Just like in the previous month, in December 2007 the main species were Alaska pollock of the Bering Sea and herring of the Sea of Okhotsk, correspondingly contributing 31% and 32% to the total harvest. In terms of the fishing areas the December harvest was contributed by following fishing grounds:

  • ca.89,000 tonnes or 50.2% by the Bering Sea and the subareas of East Kamchatka;
  • more than 65,000 tonnes or 36.8% by the Sea of Okhotsk;
  • 19,500 tonnes or 11% by the North and South Kuriles (by 5500 tonnes up on December 2006 thanks to higher catches of such species as Alaska pollock, grenadier, squid and sea urchins);
  • 3400 tonnes or 1.9% by the Sea of Japan, the area's harvest dominated by shrimps at 41.4% (1400 tonnes).

According to the provisional figures, the total harvest through the month exceeded 180,000 tonnes, thus exceeding the previous year catch by 47,000 tonnes. The success could be attributed mostly to satisfactory fishery conditions and larger fishing efforts on some grounds. As a result, catches of a number of species appeared to be higher than in December 2006: Alaska pollock by 34,500 tonnes, herring by 8200 tonnes, Atka mackerel by 2300 tonnes, longfin codling Laemonema by 600 tonnes, cod by 200 tonnes, grenadier by 300 tonnes, squid by 1500 tonnes, shrimps by 500 tonnes and sea urchins by 600 tonnes.

In the West Bering Sea zone the fishermen were operating on the grounds from the 170th degree East to 176th degree West with the area's harvest exceeding 55,000 tonnes.

Alaska pollock was the dominating species in the area. The APO fishery was conducted in the Navarin area in the shallow waters of 80-100 meters with catches containing mostly adult Alaska pollock of 47-56 cm. Besides, the fishermen were harvesting the species on the shelf adjacent to the Navarin Canyon at the depths of 120-180 meters. There the fishery was based on more stable concentrations, but the fish size ranged greater from 30 to 52 cm. The area's APO harvest amounted to 53,700 tonnes. The expedition's best harvester was Sakhalin-based Ekarma-7 catching 1953 tonnes with the ship's daily catch amounting to 70 tonnes on the average. The daily catch rates per ship fluctuated from 20 to 85 tonnes depending on the vessel's type. During the APO fishery the fleets also bycaught bottomfish and pelagic species such as flounder, cod, halibut, Atka mackerel, herring and squid with the total bycatch in the area amounting to ca.1100 tonnes.

The APO TAC 2007 in the West Bering Sea zone was covered at 88.4% (compared to 93% in 2006) and the take-up of the regions' commercial quotas amounted to 93.6% versus 97.5% in 2006. In natural figures, the APO quota remainder in the West Bering Sea zone amounted to 36,600 tonnes, including 27,000 tonnes remaining non-exhausted by the fleets based in Primorsky Krai Territory (capital Vladivostok). Actually, the lowest take-up of commercial APO quotas in the area was recorded for Vladivostok-based companies and amounted to 80.8% for Dalmoreproduct, 87.8% for Nakhodka BAMR, 52.8% for Preobrazhenskaya BTF and 88.6% for TURNIF.

Fairly small APO fishery was conducted for the first time in the utmost southwest part of the Chukotka zone adjacent to the delineation line where the fishermen harvested 897 tonnes of adult APO. The subarea's APO TAC 2008 has been set at 5000 tonnes.

Apart from Alaska pollock, in the West Bering Sea zone Sakhalin-based Mys Orlova was harvesting grenadier with trawl gear and three longliners were targeting halibut, cod and grenadier. The average daily catch of those vessels amounted to 4-8 tonnes. Vessels owned by two Kamchatka-based companies were harvesting snow crab bairdi and blue king crab with the total harvest of the species reported at ca.130 metric tons.

In the Karaginsk subarea at the eastern coast of Kamchatka large and middle trawlers had a success from the dedicated Alaska pollock fishery. The harvest reported by the vessels based in Primorsky Krai amounted to ca.8000 tonnes of Alaska pollock, while Kamchatka-based fishermen and those from the Koryak Autonomous District all together harvested a little more than 6000 tonnes. The average catch per SRTM middle trawler fluctuated from 21 to 30 tonnes, while large trawlers harvested from 50-74 tonnes per day each. The vessels owned by Vladivostok-based ZAO Intraros (closed JSC) harvested 4200 tonnes of Alaska pollock through the month based on the average daily harvest of 67.2 tonnes.

Along the eastern coast of Kamchatka up to 70 middle and large vessels were targeting Atka mackerel, Alaska pollock and bottomfish species. In the trawl/Danish seine fishery the bulk of the harvest was contributed by Alaska pollock accounting for 59.2%. Apart from APO, the fishermen harvested flounder (11.2%), Atka mackerel (13.3%), sculpins, ocean perch and other species. Along with trawlers, the fishery of cod, halibut and grenadier was also conducted by longliners reporting the total harvest of 480 tonnes through the month (based on the average daily catches of 9.5 tonnes per vessel). Titanit owned by OOO Uluul (ltd) was one of the best harvesters with a harvest of 131 tonnes of cod in 13 days. The total harvest at the eastern coast of Kamchatka amounted to ca.34,000 tonnes.

In the waters of the North Kuriles the fishery operations were conducted by 54 vessels all together harvesting 11,000 tonnes of fish through the month under the analysis. Already in November 2007, due to weak fishery conditions on the squid grounds, a group of Vladivostok-based vessels owned by OAO NBAMR (plc) moved to the Sea of Okhotsk and switched to herring fishery. The remaining vessels (11 in number) kept harvesting squid, with the daily catch rates reported at 8-24 tonnes per large vessel and 7-11 tonnes per middle vessel. In 22 fishing days Kamchatka-based Iolanta harvested 305 tonnes of squid which turned out to be the expedition's best result through the month. The area's total harvest of squid in December 2007 amounted to 1600 tonnes.

Longline cod fishery in the waters of the North Kuriles was conducted on one Vladivostok-based vessel. Due to the weather conditions, the fishing time accounted for only 40% out of 20 days spent at sea and during the period the fleet harvested a little more than 30 tonnes of cod, halibut and grenadier. Trawl and Danish seine catches consisted of Alaska pollock, cod, flounder, sculpins, Atka mackerel, skates, ocean perch and wachna cod. A small group of vessels conducted dedicated fishery of Atka mackerel, catches of which amounted to 2400 tonnes based on 9-39 tonnes per vessel daily. Sea scallops were targeted by one vessel owned by Severo-Kurilskaya Baza Flota reporting a monthly harvest of ca. 220 tonnes. Torny vessel based in the Kuriles harvested 52 tonnes of golden king crab.

In the South Kuriles, just like in the previous years, Vladivostok-based vessels were finishing the saury fishery. The expedition's monthly harvest of saury amounted to 4500 tonnes. Already in the first ten days of the months the vessels started to move to other fishing areas, because frequent storms did not allow them to continue spotting and fishing in the international waters. The result of the saury season 2007 amounting to 115,000 tonnes turned out to be record high for all the previous years.

Dedicated fishery of grenadier was conducted by two vessels, one large and one middle, correspondingly harvesting 49 and 5 tonnes per day.

The group of vessels targeting grey sea urchin was large with ca.30 companies sending them vessels to the grounds. The fleet's monthly harvest amounted to 950 tonnes. The Basin's average daily harvest of sea urchins exceeded 3.4-fold the result of December 2006. The same companies were also engaged in fishery of sea scallops and sea cucumber.

Longliners harvested 364 tonnes of cod and halibuts with the average daily catch of 4.3 tonnes per vessel. Some 10 vessels were engaged in trawl and Danish seine fishery of Alaska pollock, Atka mackerel, cod, wachna cod and flounder. The monthly harvest in the South Kurile zone amounted to 8100 tonnes.

About 250 vessels were operating in the Sea of Okhotsk harvesting herring, bottomfish and pelagic species with trawl and longline gear as well as crabs and shrimps with pots. As a result, the Sea of Okhotsk contributed 36.8% to the Basin's total harvest through December 2007. In natural figures, the total harvest in the Sea of Okhotsk amounted to 65,200 tonnes.

The largest fishing efforts of 55 vessels were observed on the herring grounds. The herring catch in December 2007 exceeded the result of the same month of 2006 by 8000 tonnes mostly thanks to the larger number of vessels targeting the species (+17 on 2006). At the same time, the daily catch rates were smaller than in 2006 with the average catch per vessel amounting to 58 tonnes versus 59 tonnes. However, the fishery situation was stable. The largest daily herring catch of 122 tonnes was reported by Khabarovsk-based vessel Soyuz operating on the grounds within 20 fishing days, while Sakhalin-based Russky Vityaz turned out to be the leading harvester with the result of 3255 tonnes in 30 days at sea, though her daily rates were smaller at 108 tonnes.

The fishing efforts on the crab grounds decreased in December 2007. In the North Okhotsk subarea the fishermen targeted snow crab opilio, blue king crab, golden king crab and red king crab. The subarea's contribution amounted to 1200 tonnes of crabs versus 683 tonnes in 2006, of which snow crab opilio accounted for 72.6% with 24 crabbers participating in the fishery.

To the north of the 54th degree North at the western coast of Kamchatka 46 vessels were targeting crabs with the reported catches containing 803 tonnes of blue king crabs, 706 tonnes of red king crabs and 152 tonnes of golden king crabs. The total harvest of all the crab species in the West Kamchatka subarea amounted to 1685 tonnes versus 2000 tonnes in December 2006.

To the south of the 54th degree North a group of 20 vessels participated in the fishery of snow crab bairdi and red king crab. The crab harvest in the Kamchatka-Kurile subarea amounted to 330 tonnes (down from 400 tonnes in December 2006). The above catch included 23.5% of red king crab and 68.3% of snow crab bairdi.

In the Sea of Okhotsk the harvest of cod amounted to 1500 tonnes, ca.80% or 1185 tonnes of which were harvested with longline gear. Apart from longline, halibuts were harvested with trawl and bottom net gear. Catches with bottom net gear were poor or even zero due to killer whales eating the catches. Trawl and Danish seine fishery of flounder, cod, halibuts, Alaska pollock, wachna cod and sculpins was conducted by Kamchatka-based vessels in the Kamchatka-Kurile subarea.

In the first ten days of December 2007 three Kamchatka-based vessels operating in the North Okhotsk subarea were harvesting deepwater shrimp Pandalus borealis with the average catch rates reported at 2.3 tonnes per vessel daily. Two vessels coming from Magadan were targeting whelks reporting a total harvest of 64.6 tonnes through the month.

At the eastern coast of Sakhalin companies based in the island were hunting for triangle tanner crab, snow crab opilio, blue king crab and hairy crab as well as sea cucumber, octopus, whelks and grey urchins. The subarea's total harvest slightly exceeded 600 tonnes.

In the Sea of Japan the fishery was conducted by 90 vessels harvesting 3.4 tonnes of fish and other species. The group of vessels targeting shrimps was the largest and the fishermen were working with trap and trawl gear. The subarea's harvest amounted to 1400 tonnes or nearly 41% of all the harvest in the area. The best results among vessels working with trap gear were achieved by Gilyak owned by ZAO Volna (closed JSC) with the ship's average daily catch reported at 843 kilos. Among trawlers Sakhalin-based trawler Lavinnyi owned by OOO BINOM Company (ltd) reported the expedition's highest results of 100.9 tonnes based on 3.15 tonnes per day on the average. Another successful harvester was dedicated vessel Stella Karina owned by ZAO Istok-AB (closed JSC) harvesting 3.09 tonnes per day on the average with the ship's total harvest through the month amounting to 93 tonnes.

During a number of years only vessels owned by ZAO R/K Vostok-1 (closed JSC) have been conducting red snow crab fishery in the Primorye subarea. In December 2007 their harvest amounted to 460 tonnes, based on 3.3-4.3 tonnes per vessel daily. The summarized harvest of other crabs in the Sea of Japan did not exceed 160 tonnes.

Longliners owned by the above mentioned company targeted cod in the Primorye subarea with the average harvest per vessel reported at 1.6-2.7 tonnes.

Trawl fishery was conducted mostly by MRS small trawlers and SRTM middle trawlers owned by companies based in Primorsky Krai Territory (capital Vladivostok) and Sakhalin. The fleets targeted Atka mackerel, flounder, wachna cod, sculpins, cod and Alaska pollock. In December 2007 the fleets consisting of more than 30 vessels harvested 1165 tonnes of those species. Fish stocks of the Sea of Japan have been reported as considerably depleted.


According to the provisional figures, in 2007 the total harvest of all the species in the seas of the Russian Far East Basin approached to 2.2 million tonnes thus exceeding the result of the previous year by 130,000 tonnes. The catches of salmons amounting to 316,000 tonnes and saury reaching 115,000 tonnes broke a record for all the previous years.

Actually, most of the fishing species displayed catch growth on the year 2006. More specifically, the harvest of Alaska pollock grew by 186,000 tonnes, that of saury - by 37,000 tonnes and the harvest of grenadier (longline and trawl gear) exceeded the previous year result by 5000 tonnes. Besides, catches of flounder, wachna cod, Pacific cod and Atka mackerel also grew by 9000 tonnes.

At the same time, the fishermen reported a catch lag for such species as Okhotsk herring and B.magister squid decreasing the total catch results by more than 90,000 tonnes. While the low catches of squid in the North Kuriles could be attributed to weak fishery conditions, the gap of herring catches was caused by idleness of the fishing vessels due to a ban on the Okhotsk herring fishery in the spring period of the year.

According to the provisional figures, take-up of the TACs 2007 amounted to 92% for Alaska pollock (down from 93% in 2006), 53.3% for flounder (down from 81.9% in 2006), 73.6% for cod (down from 88.8% in 2006), 89.1% for cod (up from 75.2% in 2006) and 22.4% for squid in the traditional fishery area (North Kuriles and Petropavlovsk-Comandor subarea) (down from 90%).

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