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

October 10, 2007 16:26

In September the surface bar field will normally switch from the summer type to the winter type thus causing Pacific cyclones which are accompanied with strong winds and rough weather on the fishing grounds and the current September 2007 has also featured the same developments.

Due to the above, the bulk of the small boat fleet has lost large amounts of fishing time and potential catches at the shores of Kamchatka and in the Bering Sea. Stormy weather made the fishermen stay idle on the saury grounds. Longliners also could not work and fixed seines on the salmon grounds were damaged.

The bulk of the September catches was contributed by Alaska pollock in the Bering Sea, saury and salmons in the South Kuriles.

In September 2007 the Russian vessels started harvesting red king crab on the West Kamchatka shelf.

Provisional catches in the Russian Far East Basin in August and through the first eight months of 2007

Fishing species

September

January-September

2007, ‘000 metric tons

2006, ‘000 metric tons

+/- ‘000 metric tons

2007, ‘000 metric tons

2006, ‘000 metric tons

+/- ‘000 metric tons

Total

224.9

204.4

+20.5

1677.9

1620.1

+57.8

Of which FINFISH

Alaska pollock

104.0

73.5

+30.5

972.8

862.1

+110.7

Atka mackerel

2.7

3.2

-0.5

31.1

30.3

+0.8

Cod

4.0

7.1

-3.1

39.5

39.2

+0.3

Flounder

8.3

7.0

+1.3

58.8

53.7

+5.1

Grenadier

1.4

2.7

-1.3

17.7

13.5

+4.2

Halibut

1.1

1.1

0

12.3

13.9

-1.6

Herring

1.3

2.0

-0.7

81.1

134.9

-53.8

Longfin codling Laemonema

0.6

5.3

-4.7

13.1

26.0

-12.9

Ocean perch

0.1

0.2

-0.1

0.5

0.6

-0.1

Salmon spp.

41.4

29.4

+12.0

303.4

263.5

+39.9

Saury

38.6

38.2

-0.4

41.9

39.9

+2.0

Sculpins

1.0

1.6

-0.6

5.4

9.4

-4.0

Wachna cod

2.5

6.0

-3.5

20.8

17.7

+3.1

NON-FINFISH

Crabs

4.2

2.4

+1.8

21.8

19.8

+2.0

Laminaria

0.7

0.6

+0.1

2.1

7.4

-5.3

Sea cucumber

0.1

0.2

-0.1

0.8

0.6

+0.2

Sea scallops

0.2

0.1

+0.1

0.9

1.4

-0.5

Sea urchins

0.1

0.1

0

1.8

1.5

+0.3

Shrimps

0.5

0.5

0

5.8

5.4

+0.4

Squid

11.1

20.7

-9.6

33.8

66.4

-32.6

Whelks

0.6

0.7

-0.1

3.2

3.7

-0.5

Just like in the previous month, the bulk of the fleet concentrated in the Bering Sea. The number of vessels remained the same with ca.130 ships operating on the grounds. According to the provisional figures, the area's total harvest of finfish and other sea species through the month exceeded 85,000 tonnes with Alaska pollock dominating with the share of 94%.

While last month the main APO fishing scene was located at the convention line at the depths of less than 200 meters and on the northwest slope of the Navarin Canyon at the depths of 150-250 meters, in September 2007 the vessels moved closer to the continental slope fishing practically on the whole area of water. The fishery was conducted by 45 large vessels and ca.20 middle vessels. As compared to August, the fishery situation was non-stable with the daily APO catches fluctuating from 1900 to 3400 tonnes. The average daily catch per large trawler did not exceed 60 tonnes which was 6% down on the corresponding result of last year. However, thanks to larger number of the fishing efforts the total Alaska pollock harvest in the Bering Sea in September 2007 exceeded the last year result by 28,600 metric tons. The largest APO catch per vessel amounted to 2000 tonnes through the month as reported by Japanese-built trawler Master owned by OOO Attika (ltd) who harvested 74 tonnes per day on the average. Dersu Uzala and Seawind-1 trawlers owned by ZAO Sakhalin Leasing Fleet (closed JSC) also had a success on the grounds where they hauled correspondingly 113 and 106 tonnes per day on the average.

Longline operations on the grounds of cod, halibut and grenadier were conducted by 18 vessels in the West Bering Sea zone and along the eastern coast of Kamchatka. The group's total harvest through the month amounted to ca.950 metric tons of cod and a little more than 300 tonnes of halibut, the bycatch containing skates, grenadier, ruff, ocean perch and black cod.

In the Sea of Okhotsk longline operations were conducted by 6 vessels which harvested mostly halibut (96%). On the same grounds two vessels were harvesting halibut with bottom nets, the total harvest of halibut through the month exceeded 100 tonnes. The fishery results could have been better, but killer whales hindered the fishing operations. The total fishing efforts on the halibut grounds in the Sea of Okhotsk, trawlers inclusive, amounted to 26 vessels all together harvesting 680 tonnes of halibut.

Up to 62 vessels were operating on the bottomfish grounds of cod, flounder, halibut, etc. in the Bering Sea and in the inshore waters of East Kamchatka. They were mostly MRS small seiners owned by the coastal companies of Kamchatka and Koryak Autonomous District. Their catches consisted of mainly Alaska pollock, flounder, cod and wachna cod. In the beginning of the month Alaska pollock and cod correspondingly accounted for 31% and 36% of trawl and Danish seine catches, while the shares of flounder and wachna cod respectively amounted to 20% and 10%. Starting from the 10th of September the shares somewhat changes with Alaska pollock coming forward as the dominating species with the share of 40-50%. The total harvest of bottomfish species through the month amounted to 16,500 tonnes of which 2700 tonnes of cod, 2200 tonnes of flounder and 1000 tonnes of wachna cod.

In the Sea of Okhotsk mixed groundfish species were harvested by middle vessels based in the west coast of Kamchatka, Koryak Autonomous District and Magadan Oblast and by small boats based in the south coast of West Kamchatka. The fishing efforts on the grounds amounted to 30 in number. Efficient operations of MRS small seiners were impeded by weather conditions as storms alternated with storms already from the middle of the month. The fleet harvested mostly flounder (6200 tonnes), wachna cod (1500 tonnes) and cod (600 tonnes) with the bycatch containing Alaska pollock, sculpins and smelt.

Grenadier fishery in the Bering Sea was continued by Shursha, Vostok-1, Ostrov Iony owned by ZAO RK Vostok-1 (closed JSC) and Maria owned by OOO Moryana (ltd). Their daily catches fluctuated from 8.4 to 18.3 tonnes per vessel with the group's total harvest through the month amounted to 1100 tonnes.

On the Alaska pollock grounds in the West Bering Sea zone two Primorye-based vessels harvested ca.270 tonnes of B.magister squid as bycatch. Two Kamchatka-based vessels owned by Luntos fishing company conducted dedicated squid fishery in the zone. Their total catch of magister squid amounted to 850 tonnes with the average daily rates reported at 26 and 37 tonnes correspondingly.

In September 2007 fishing operations on the grounds of sea scallops in the inshore waters of the North Kuriles were continued by one vessels Mys Zolotoy owned by OOO Firma Moreproduct Co Ltd harvesting 93 tonnes of sea scallops through the month. Her daily catches amounted to 11.6 tonnes on the average.

From the second half of the month the number of fishing vessels on the saury grounds increased two-fold. The fishermen had a success operating slightly off Shikotan on the local concentrations of saury to the southeast of the Small Kurile Ridge. The storm which took place in the middle of the month somewhat worsened the fishing situation, but nevertheless just like in the previous years there were problems with raw fish landings. Coastal plants and 17 motherships failed to process catches in due time. As a result, fishing vessels used to have onboard up to 1500 tonnes of saury awaiting to be landed or transshipped for processing. Already from the closing ten days of September some of the vessels stood waiting for fishing permits.

In general, the expedition's total daily saury harvest per vessel amounted to 44.4 tonnes and the average fish size amounting to 26-29 cm.

One of the best harvesters was Primorye-based Amur owned by OAO RK Moryak-Rybolov (plc) catching 1960 tonnes of saury with the average daily rates of 72.6 tonnes.

In the first half of September vessels coming from South Korea and Japan were targeting saury in the Russian EEZ. They harvested 2950 and 13,650 tonnes of saury correspondingly.

While last year, after the fishery ban having been lifted in September, the Okhotsk herring was harvested by 6 Magadan vessels harvesting more than 800 tonnes through the month, in the current year 2007 the species was targeted only by one vessel (purse seiner RS Briakan owned by OOO Omakhtonsky Shelf (ltd)) operating off the Savjyalov Island. The vessel's average daily catch amounted to 40 tonnes with the monthly harvest totaling 630 tonnes.

In September pink salmon normally finishes actively running to the spawning grounds and the chum salmon fishery is conducted on a wide scale in Sakhalin, Kuriles and the Amur River. In 2007 the seines were removed in the Karaginsk subarea (where one vessel received salmon from one sea seine) already in the first five days of September. The pink salmon operations in the southeast of Sakhalin completely finished. A group of 16 vessels moved to the Kuriles area to harvest salmons with the daily landings in the first days of the month amounting to 300-500 tonnes. Through the month Sakhalin fishermen harvested ca.13,000 of salmon off Kunashir and Iturup, the volume including ca.3000 tonnes of chum salmon. More than 22,000 tonnes of pink and chum salmons were harvested off Sakhalin.

In the three subareas of the Sea of Okhotsk, in the Primory subarea and in the waters of West Sakhalin the Russian fishermen were hunting for shrimps harvesting 400 tonnes through the month. The fishery situation in East Sakhalin was weak with one vessel operating in the area reporting the daily catches of less than one tonne. In the Primorye subarea, just as usual, Sakhalin-based vessels owned by BINOM Company had a success on the grounds with the group's average daily rates amounting to 2.4 tonnes per vessel. In the North Okhotsk subarea the fishery was conducted by eight shrimpers each of them daily catching from 0.7 tonne (Tikhy Okean owned by OOO Insof Marin (ltd) and Galos owned by OAO PBTF (plc)) to 1.8 tonnes (Captain Melamud owned by OOO Magadanryba (ltd)). The subarea's average daily catches amounted to 1.2 tonnes per vessel.

In the Sea of Okhotsk crab fishery was conducted by catches 94 crabbers all together harvesting to 2850 tonnes. The red king crab expedition broken into two local groups was strong in number with ca.60 crabbers operating on the grounds. Some of the vessels continued harvesting red king crab in the Ayano-Shantarsk area, while the other one started to harvest the species on the West Kamchatka shelf where the red king crab fishery was allowed as of 1st September 2007. According to the provisional figures, the harvest of red king crab amounted to 1300 tonnes. In the North Okhotsk subarea a group of 30 vessels continued targeting snow crab opilio with the total catch through the month amounting to ca.700 tonnes. In East Sakhalin and partly in West Kamchatka the Russian fishermen harvested more than 500 tonnes of triangle tanner crab through the month.

Besides, the Russian crabbers operating in the Sea of Okhotsk were hunting for snow crab bairdi, blue king crab, golden king crab and spiny king crab. On the same grounds other vessels were targeting whelks.

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