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

December 14, 2007 12:44

In November 2007 the total harvest of aquatic species in the Russian Far East exceeded the result of November 2006 by 38,000 tonnes. Just like in October 2007, in the eleventh month of the year 2007 Alaska pollock kept dominating in the fleet's daily catches in the Bering Sea. The results of the saury fishery in the South Kuriles increased by 7800 tonnes as compared to the same period last year. The fishing efforts on the herring grounds of the Sea of Okhotsk increased in number thus enabling the fishermen to increase catches by 2000 tonnes on November 2006.

Provisional catches in the Russian Far East Basin in November and through the first eleven months of 2007

Fishing species

November

January-November

2007, ‘000 metric tons

2006, ‘000 metric tons

+/- ‘000 metric tons

2007, ‘000 metric tons

2006, ‘000 metric tons

+/- ‘000 metric tons

TOTAL harvest

138.7

100.7

+38.0

2008.1

1865.5

+142.6

Of which finfish:

Alaska pollock

64.3

39.9

+24.4

1115.9

964.5

+151.4

Atka mackerel

4.0

5.5

-1.5

39.4

40.9

-1.5

Cod

2.7

2.3

+0.4

46.5

41.9

+4.6

Flounder

1.9

2.8

-0.9

65.7

59.4

+6.3

Grenadier

1.1

1.3

-0.2

20.6

16.2

+4.4

Halibut

0.4

0.3

+0.1

13.2

15.0

-1.8

Herring

24.7

22.6

+2.1

107.9

175.3

-67.4

Longfin codling Laemonema

5.7

0.3

+5.4

25.3

27.3

-2.0

Ocean perch

0.2

0.2

0

0.9

0.9

0

Salmons

0

3.8

-3.8

330.4

278.8

+51.6

Saury

18.1

10.3

+7.8

96.5

71.6

+24.9

Sculpins

0.2

0.5

-0.3

6.2

10.9

-4.7

Skates

0.01

0.06

-0.05

1.5

1.4

+0.1

Wachna cod

0.4

0.3

+0.1

22.7

19.8

+2.9

Shellfish and mollusks:

Crabs

3.8

2.6

+1.2

30.7

25.0

+5.7

Sea cucumber

0.1

0.2

-0.1

1.1

1.0

+0.1

Sea scallops

0.1

0.3

-0.2

1.3

1.8

-0.5

Sea urchins

0.6

0.2

+0.4

2.9

2.3

+0.6

Shrimps

1.0

0.7

+0.3

7.4

6.5

+0.9

Squid

6.9

4.8

+2.1

56.1

82.9

-26.8

Whelks

0.6

1.0

-0.4

4.1

5.4

-1.3

The fleets operating on the Japanese grounds of longfin codling Laemonema also reported positive results on last year with their total harvest of the species through November 2007 exceeding the corresponding result of November 2006 by 5400 tonnes. Satisfactory fishery conditions on the crab grounds of the Sea of Okhotsk enabled the fishermen to exceed the last November harvest by 1200 tonnes. The Basin's harvest of squid also grew by 2000 tonnes.

The total harvest of finfish and other aquatic species in the seas of the Russian Far East in November 2007 amounted to ca.138,000 tonnes, the bulk of which (50.7% namely) was harvested in the Bering sea and the subareas of East Kamchatka. The contribution of the Kuriles and the subareas of the Sea of Okhotsk in the total harvest amounted to 24.1% and 23.3% correspondingly. The Sea of Japan contributed only 1.9% to the Basin's total harvest.

In November 2007 the Alaska pollock fishery was continued by 37 large and 13 middle vessels in the Bering Sea and in the Karaginsk subarea. The APO fishery in the Bering Sea was conducted in two areas to the east of the Navarin Cape and in the area adjacent to the Olyutorsk Cape.

The fishermen said they had a greater success harvesting pre-wintering concentrations of the West Bering Sea Alaska pollock off the Olyutorsk Cape. The average daily catches were reported at 100 tonnes and more per large trawler such as Kamchatka-based Akros, Baklanovo and Minister Ishkov. The size of harvested pollock ranged from 28 cm to 52 cm.

In the Navarin area, as the water temperatures were actively falling, the mature Alaska pollock speeded moving to the south and southeast. As a result, the fleets spent a lot of their potential fishing time to find the concentrations and their catches therefore decreased. The average daily rates in the West Bering Sea zone amounted to 49.6 tonnes per large trawler and 34.5 tonnes per middle trawler. The largest harvest of 1800 tonnes in 27 days at sea was reported by Magadan-based BATM trawler Zaliv Zabiyaka with the ship's daily rates recorded at 66 tonnes.

In 2006 the Alaska pollock quotas in the Bering Sea were practically exhausted and already in November many companies removed their vessels from the grounds due to that reason. This year weak fishery conditions and frequent rough weather have made exhaustion of the Alaska pollock TAC in the area fairly doubtful. As per the start of December 2007, the Alaska pollock TAC in the Bering Sea (619,400 tonnes) was covered by 79% versus 85% in 2006, while the harvest of the species through the first 11 months of the current year 2007 exceeded the corresponding result of last year by 92,500 tonnes. Take-up of the APO quotas in the Bering Sea through the first eleven months of the year amounted to 77.4% for Primorsky Krai Territory (capital Vladivostok), 95% for Khabarovsky Krai Territory, 95.7% for Magadan, 83.7% for Sakhalin, 84.7% for Kamchatka, 42.8% for Koryak Autonomous District and 93.5% for Chukotka Autonomous District.

On the Alaska pollock grounds in the Karaginsk subarea the trawlers spent more than 300 days all together. The subarea's APO harvest amounted to more than 15,000 tonnes, including bycatch of the species in other fisheries. Only thanks to larger fishing efforts on the APO grounds in the Bering Sea and off the East Kamchatka the harvest of the species exceeded the last year figure by 22,500 tonnes and amounted to ca.60,000 tonnes.

Already by the middle of November 2007 the number of vessels operating on the herring grounds in the Sea of Okhotsk grew three-fold. More specifically, a group of RTMA trawlers owned by Nakhodka BAMR switched from the squid fishery in the North Kuriles, while large and middle trawlers left the APO grounds in the Bering Sea and joined the expedition on the herring grounds. The fishery conditions in the course of the month were satisfactory enabling the fleets to harvest up to 1000 tonnes of herring per day. The fleets harvested large-size herring and the catch volumes were limited only by the boats' processing capacity. The average daily catches amounted to ca.54 tonnes per vessel. Magadan-based Mayronis remained the leading harvester contributing 3500 tonnes (based on 115 tonnes per day on the average) to the total harvest of the species.

The saury fishery was conducted by 48 fishing vessels. Just like in October 2007, in November 2007 the raw fish was received by onshore companies and 18 floating processors. The fleet's operations were impeded by the cyclones in the Kurile area due to which the fishery conditions changed as the response of the fish to light grew weak. The vessels stood idle losing fishing time for spotting for the fish schools. Frequent storms did not let the fleet start fishing in the open part of the ocean where the saury stock migrated to. The total fishing time for the month accounted for only 36.8% of the time spent at sea. The expedition's average daily harvest amounted to 42 tonnes per vessel. The largest catch of 848 tonnes based on 60.6 tonnes per day was reported by Vladivostok-based Sadovsk owned by OAO HC Dalmoreproduct (plc).

In November 2007 the Basin's harvest of squid exceeded the last year harvest by 2100 tonnes. The squid fishery in the North Kuriles was conducted by 27 vessels with the efforts decreasing to 11 vessels by the end of the month. The fishery situation did not get any better as compared to the previous month. The average daily catches in the North Kuriles amounted to 13.6 tonnes per vessel versus 16.4 tonnes in October 2007. Moreover, the bycatch of other species in November was reported as considerable. The largest harvest of ca.560 tonnes through the month was reported by Kamchatka-based BATM Moskovskaya Olimpiada owned by OAO Okeanrybflot (plc).

Along with Alaska pollock, squid was harvested in the West Bering Sea zone and in the Petropavlovsk Komandor subarea.

Small groups of vessels were conducting longline and trawl/Danish seine fishery on mixed concentrations of cod, halibut, flounder and other bottomfish in the Bering Sea as well as at the shores of East and West Kamchatka. In the Sea of Okhotsk cod dominated in the longline catches with the share of 98% and the average daily rates of 4.4-5.3 tonnes per vessel. Apart from cod, considerable catch volumes were reported for skates. In the Karaginsk and Petropavlovsk-Komandor subareas the share of cod was somewhat lower and the bycatch contained halibut and Alaska pollock. On the grounds of food bottomfish species the share of Alaska pollock in the trawl and Danish seine harvest was dominating from 77% to 80% with the remaining share of the harvest contributed by flounders, cod, Atka mackerel and other species. Flounder, Alaska pollock and wachna cod dominated in the fleet's catches also at western shores of Kamchatka, where the share of cod in trawl and Danish seine fishery did not exceed 4-11%.

In November Kamchatka-based companies continued targeting crabs in the Bering Sea and in the southeast of Kamchatka. Through the month they harvested 183 metric tons of snow crab bairdi, blue king crab and snow crab opilio. The average daily catch per crabber reached 3 tonnes of snow crabs, while the results of blue king crab operations were more moderate at ca.1.5 tonnes.

The crabbers (ca.100 ships) mostly concentrated in the Sea of Okhotsk where they were targeting various crab species. In general, the fishery situation on the crab grounds was satisfactory, though the weather made its alterations.

In the North Okhotsk subarea between the 56th and 57th degrees North the group of 30 vessels was targeting mostly snow crab opilio with the average daily rates reported at 2 tonnes per vessel. The red king crab fishery was conducted in the Ayano-Shantarsk area. In the same subarea the fishermen targeted blue king crab, golden king crab, hanasaki crab and triangle tanner crab as bycatch and from dedicated operations.

In the West Kamchatka shelf the fishermen were targeting red king crab, blue king crab, golden king crab, snow crab opilio, snow crab bairdi and triangle tanner crab with the total harvest through the month amounting to 1730 tonnes.

In the eastern coast of Sakhalin a group of 11 vessels based in the islands was targeting snow crab opilio and triangle tanner crab with the total harvest through the month reported at 182 tonnes.

In the Primorye subarea commercial quotas were allocated only for three crab species in the northern part of the subarea: blue king crab, snow crab opilio and red snow crab. Red snow crab was harvested only by the vessels owned by Vostok-1 fishing co-op harvesting 310 tonnes of the species through the month. Their average daily catches amounted to 2.7-4.1 tonnes per vessel.

The shrimp fishery in November 2007 was conducted in two areas, in the North Okhotsk subarea and in the Sea of Japan. The total harvest of pink shrimp Pandalus borealis exceeded the result of the same period last year by 500 tonnes. The main fishing area concentrated in the Sea of Japan where there were up to 30 Russian shrimpers. Their monthly harvest amounted to ca.1000 tonnes with the average daily catches reported at 2 tonnes per trawler and 0.5 tonne per vessel equipped with trap gear.

In the Sea of Okhotsk whelks were harvested by 5 vessels. The fishing scene concentrated mostly in the northern part of the Sea of Okhotsk. The daily catches fluctuated from 2.1 tonnes as reported by Sakhalin-based Kapitan Kulashko to 9.4 tonnes as reported by Magadan-based Alexander Shalin.

The total harvest of finfish and other aquatic species in the seas of the Russian Far East through eleven months of the year 2007 exceeded 2 million tonnes, 140,000 tonnes up on the result of the previous year 2006. Alaska pollock remained the dominating species with the share of more than 50%. Thanks to more active fishery of the species in the Bering Sea the APO total harvest rose by 150,000 tonnes. Larger number of the fishing efforts on the saury grounds in the South Kuriles resulted into an increase of the harvest of the species nearly by 25,000 tonnes even despite unfavourable weather conditions. Timely update of the TACs of Pacific salmons positively influenced their catches exceeding the last year result by 300,000 tonnes. Only two species displayed considerable catch gaps on last year. Those were herring (-67,600 tonnes) and squid (-26.8 tonnes). The catch lags could be attributed mostly to closure of the herring fishery in the prespawning period and poor fishing situation on the B.magister grounds in the Kuriles in all the seasons of the year despite the same number of the fishing efforts as in 2006.

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