Outlook for Russia’s pollock “A” and “B” season in 2021

December 4, 2020 15:59

Scientists of the Far Eastern branches of the All-Russian Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography (VNIRO) have produced Okhotsk pollock 2021 fishery forecast for A and B seasons, reports Megafishnet.com.

According to VNIRO, the forecast conventionally covers expected hydrometeorological and ice conditions, assessment of stock abundance, APO roe yield, trends and dynamics of prices for products processed, as well as recommendations for fishery in 2021.

The total allowable catch of the Okhotsk pollock for 2021 amounts to 1186.2 thousand tonnes broken down between four subzones. The TAC 2021 is approximately on a par  with the current TAC 2020.

In the pre-spawning period (season A) the fleets are encouraged to cover up to 85-90% of the TAC with the remaining 15-20% to be covered during the feeding period (season B).

It is expected that in 2021 the average winter ice coverage of the Sea of Okhotsk will be 50-55%, which is 5-10% higher than during the period of low-ice winters of 2004-2020. The rates of the initial formation of the ice cover will be below normal, and the maximum ice coverage is forecasted in late February-early March. Ice-freeing of the western shores of Kamchatka will take place at the end of March, and the complete clearing of the Shelikhov Bay and the Shantar region will take place in the mid-long term.

Current season

By late November 2020 the remaining TAC yet to be fished totaled 137 thousand tons, a bigger remainder as compared to recent years. First of all, this is due to the fleets’ switch to other fishing species such as herring and pilchard. According to scientists, it is unlikely that more than 50% of the remaining volumes will be covered through December, therefore they recommend that next year the fleets should go to the fishing grounds earlier.

An obviously positive ongoing trend has to do with a more transparent recording of stronger than normal by-catches of young APO and the subsequent change of grounds for trawling operations. The development could be attributed to higher number of observers onboard, but the scientists noticed that the fishermen were turning to be more responsible as regards the pollock stocks.

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