Fishery progress in the seas of the Russian Far East in July 2007 ( Part 1)

August 9, 2007 12:59

More than 200,000 metric tons of fish and non-finfish species were harvested by the fishermen of the Russian Far East Basin in July 2007 with the figure exceeding the last year result by 56,000 tonnes.

The fishing efforts normally amounted to ca.600 vessels per day on the average with the daily harvest reported at 4800 tonnes. As compared to the previous year, the daily catch in July 2007 was 360 tonnes larger, thus positively telling on the total results of the fleets' operations through the month.

Catches in the Russian Far East in July 2007 and in the first seven months of 2007 (provisional figures)

Species

July, ‘000 metric tons

January-July, ‘000 metric tons

2007

2006

+/-

2007

2006

+/-

Total

214.8

159.0

+55.8

1167.7

1109.1

+58.6

of which finfish

Alaska pollock

88.1

80.4

+7.7

778.5

714.2

+64.3

Atka mackerel

1.2

2.2

-1.0

25.7

25.4

+0.3

Cod

2.3

3.9

-1.6

30.8

28.6

+2.2

Flounder

4.2

6.6

-2.4

41.2

39.5

+2.7

Grenadier

3.7

1.2

+2.5

14.7

7.6

+7.1

Halibut

1.6

1.6

0

9.6

11.4

-1.8

Herring

0.02

3.0

-2.98

79.4

133.9

-54.5

Longfin codling Laemonema

1.5

3.3

-1.8

12.5

17.3

-4.8

Ocean perch

0

0

0.26

0.29

-0.03

Salmons

100.5

34.9

+65.6

108.2

42.0

+66.2

Sculpins

0.3

1.1

-0.8

3.4

6.8

-3.4

Wachna cod

1.1

0.8

+0.3

15.6

10.9

+4.7

Non-finfish species

Crabs

2.4

2.9

-0.5

15.1

15.4

-0.3

Sea cucumber

0.06

0.05

+0.01

0.7

0.2

+0.5

Sea scallops

0.27

0.07

+0.2

0.6

0.9

-0.3

Sea urchins

0.2

0.4

-0.2

1.5

1.6

-0.1

Shrimps

0.2

0.3

-0.1

5.0

4.4

+0.6

Squid

6.3

7.9

-1.6

15.8

32.8

-17.0

Whelks

0.7

0.5

+0.2

1.7

1.6

+0.1

Bering Sea

In July 2007 contribution of the Bering Sea in the total harvest in the seas of the Russian Far East amounted to 72.4% with Alaska pollock catches dominating in the area. Apart from Alaska pollock, the fleets also targeted cod, halibuts, flounders, grenadier, shrimps, snow crab opilio, squid and salmons.

The Alaska pollock fishery was conducted by large and middle trawlers with the ratio of 3 to 1.

In the beginning of the month the vessels were operating at the Koryak coast at the depths' break, but the main fishing grounds were located to the east of the Navarin Canyon up to the border of the Russian EEZ.

The average size of harvested Alaska pollock was 38-46 cm.

The total APO harvest of large trawlers amounted to ca.70,000 tonnes and 12,500 tonnes were harvested by STR middle vessels. The expedition's highest catch of 3287 tonnes was recorded for Sakhalin-based vessel Dersu Uzala owned by JSC ZAO Sakhalin Leasing Fleet with the average daily rates reported at 113.3 tonnes per ship.

The middle fleet also improved its results on the APO grounds of the Bering Sea as compared to the previous month. More specifically, the daily catch rates of middle trawlers grew from 23.1 tonnes in June 2007 to 32.5 tonnes in July current.

In the Bering Sea local expeditions were longlining on mixed grounds of cod, halibut and grenadier. Vladivostok-based longliners owned by JSC ZAO Dalrybprom were conducting dedicated halibut fishery with the daily catches reported at 3-4 tonnes per vessel. The bycatch of cod and grenadier fluctuated from 10% to 20% and the bycatch of Alaska pollock was large reaching 20-40%.

Another group of Vladivostok-based vessels owned by JSC ZAO R/K Vostok-1 was conducting dedicated grenadier fishery. The best harvester was the company's vessel Ostrov Iony reporting a total catch of 535 tonnes through the month with the average rates of 28.6 tonnes per day. The daily catches included 18.6 tonnes of grenadier, 9.4 tonnes of cod and 0.6 tonnes of halibut. The longliners' bycatch also contained black cod and skates.

The total harvest of the Russian longliner fleet in the West Bering Sea zone amounted to ca.3000 tonnes of fish, including 20% of halibuts.

The Danish seine operations on the mixed bottomfish grounds were conducted by inshore boats. Their catches contained cod, Alaska pollock, flounders, wachna cod, Atka mackerel, halibuts, sculpins with cod and Alaska pollock accounting for 37% and 32% correspondingly. By the end of July 2007 the shares of species in catches somewhat changed with Alaska pollock emerging as the dominating species with the share reaching 57% out of the total harvest.

A group of nine crabbers was hunting for snow crab opilio. Their total harvest through the month under analysis amounted to ca.80 metric tons.

One Vladivostok-based vessel Stella Karina owned by JSC ZAO Istok-AB continued harvesting shrimps in the West Bering Sea zone. The vessel harvested 8.6 tonnes of Pandalus goniurus shrimp, but the shipowner had to stop the fishery as there were no opportunities to sell the products from the area and the fishery therefore grew unprofitable.

East Kamchatka

Along the coast of East Kamchatka the fishing operations were conducted mostly by the fleets based in Kamchatsky Krai Territory uniting Kamchatka region and Koryak Autonomous District as of 1 July current. The fleet's harvest in two subareas of East Kamchatka amounted to 5700 tonnes through the month. There were also longliners harvesting cod and halibuts. Primorye-based longliner Kapitan Stepanov conducted dedicated grenadier fishery in the Karaginsk subarea reporting daily catches of 17 tonnes on the average. Trawl and Danish seine fishery was based on such species as Alaska pollock, cod, flounders, wachna cod, halibuts and sculpins.

In the Karaginsk subarea a small group of vessels was targeting snow crab opilio. The group's total catch through the month amounted to 46 metric tons, of which 50% was contributed by Vityaz owned by OOO Kompas (ltd) reporting daily rates of 1.4 tonnes. To the south of the 50th degree North Kamchatka-based vessel Dezhnevo owned by OOO Fish Rain (ltd) harvested snow crab bairdi with the bycatch of snow crab opilio (7.5%) and red king crab (8%).

Salmons of East Kamchatka and Bering Sea

The bulk of the fleet concentrated on receiving salmons on the grounds. Sockeye started running to the spawning grounds first, followed by pinks. As a result, a group of BATM large trawlers owned by OAO Okeanrybflot (pic) completely stopped harvesting Alaska pollock and switched to receiving salmon on the grounds.

Eleven vessels controlled salmon runs by setting drift nets on probable ways of the stock's migration according to the scientific program. Salmons were received by more than 70 vessels daily handling 90+ seines. First catches were landed for onshore processing, but already by the middle of the month the fishermen started to complain about short processing capacities. The fleet daily processed more than 4000 tonnes. The seines stood full of fish. The sockeye quotas in the inshore waters of East Kamchatka were covered at 70% already in the second ten days of the month, while the pink salmon quota was exhausted at ca.50%.

The total salmon harvest in the Bering Sea and at the coast of East Kamchatka has amounted to 78,000 tonnes or 71% of the TAC since the fishery start. The figure includes 5700 tonnes of sockeye, 64,700 tonnes of pink salmon and 6600 tonnes of chum salmon. Due to the lack of processing capacities the Basin's fishermen have lost the opportunity to harvest large volumes of salmons. The decision made by Kamchatka as to forward catches to local processors and prohibit other provinces' vessels from receiving catches on the grounds has been described as short-sighted and destructive for economies of other provinces of the Russian Far East.

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