Fishery prospects for the RFE in December 2006 and good outlook for start of next season
In the current year 2006 Russia's Ministry of Agriculture signed the order approving the TACs 2007 two weeks earlier than in the previous year 2006. In good time, by the first of December the shipowners had already had quotas for the coming fishing year. Thanks to the officials' timely work the fishermen of the Russian Far East will be able to start a new fishing year as of 1st January without the ships' unproductive idleness used to happen in the previous years.
In December the fishery conditions in the seas of the Russian Far East normally dwindle, concentrations of many species grow weaker due to rough weather and the number of fishing efforts on the grounds usually decrease in number. Many ships head for their home ports in order to prepare for the next year operations. Besides, in December the Basin's fishery organizations normally sum up results of their operations through the year.
In the closing month of the current year 2006 the Alaska pollock TAC in the Bering Sea is expected to be completely covered. Ice conditions in December will still let the fishermen conduct efficient operations on the grounds. Average daily catches of large vessels are expected at 50-60 tonnes. Sizes of harvested fish will slightly decrease and large pollock will migrate beyond the Russian EEZ for wintering. Fishable concentrations of average-aged APO may form on the grounds adjacent to the Navarin canyon. In the beginning of the month the APO fishery was conducted by 26 large vessels daily harvesting more than 1000 tonnes.
In the Priutaisk fishing area the fleets will harvest remaining quotas of Okhotsk herring. The herring fishery is recommended for middle and large vessels equipped with trawl systems. Catches per tow are expected to fluctuate from 20-24 tonnes and 35-40 tonnes depending on the vessel type with the total catch amounting to 21,000-24,000 tonnes. The fishery situation on the herring grounds in the beginning of the month was satisfactory and 21 large and 12 middle class vessels were working at the isobaths of 320-420 meters. Herring catches per day fluctuated from 1000 to 1500 tonnes. One floating mothership and three klondyking trawlers received raw fish on the grounds. Through the first week of December the area's harvest exceeded 8000 tonnes of herring.
Longline operations on the halibut grounds in the Bering Sea will be growing less active in December due to weather conditions. Black halibut fishery is not recommended in December while catches of white halibut will depend on longline cod fishery. As per end of the first week of December 2006, the bycatch of halibut accounted for 29% of the longliners' harvest.
In the Sea of Okhotsk the fishermen are recommended to harvest halibut concentrations with longline gear. The share of black halibut in longline catches will amount to 80-85%. After a peak of abundant spawning, the females will start active feeding thus forming fishable concentrations and longline catches will therefore increase. The average daily rates per ship will amount to 1.5-2.0 tonnes.
Cod catches are expected to grow thanks to the stock's seasonal migrations. Promising fishing grounds are located at the depths from 135 meters to 325 meters along the west coast of Kamchatka. Daily catches are forecasted to amount to 7-10 tonnes per longliner and ca.3-7 tonnes per trawler/Danish seiner. Catch rates on the cod grounds off the Karaginsk Island and the Govena Cape as well as from the Ozernoy Cape to the south coast of the Karaginsk Island. Longline fleet is expected to harvest approximately 8-11 tonnes per ship daily, while the daily bycatch of cod on the bottomfish grounds is forecasted at 5-6 tonnes per ship.
In the first days of December the fishery situation on the saury grounds grew somewhat better. The total harvest of the species since the start of the year amounted to 78,000 tonnes. However, later in December the weather conditions are expected to impede efficient fishery operations on the saury grounds.
The fishery situation on the squid grounds is expected to be unsatisfactory and even at a low level as it will depend on the hydrometeorogical conditions of the grounds.
The fishing efforts on the crab and shrimps grounds will keep being strong in December, as the shipowners will try to exhaust their quotas of hard currency earning species.