Outlook for Sea of Okhotsk Pollock fishery in 2019
The forthcoming declining trend of Pollock abundance in the Sea of Okhotsk should not noticeably influence the Pollock season 2019 because the fishing stock will mostly be composed of mature individuals of the strong year classes 2011 and 2013. However, it is important to have an understanding how the fishery is expected to developed in the course of the A season in terms of catch rates, Pollock sizes and fishing grounds, according to Vladivostok-based TINRO-Center fishery scientists.
The Ministry of Agriculture, by its order no.516 dated 9 November 2018, set the overall Pollock TAC in the four subzones for 2019 at 1071.2 thousand tonnes. Based on the current abundance and structure of the Pollock stocks in the Sea of Okhotsk, it is forecasted that the allocations can be harvested at 80% in the A season and nearly completely exhausted by the end of the year.
The scientists say that the fishing boats will be able to show good catches of predominantly large fish from the first days of January in the Kamchatka-Kurile subzone and in the area of the Kashevarov Bank (the latter located in the North Sea of Okhotsk subzone as well as East Sakhalin subzone).
In the north of the West Kamchatka subzone at 57 degrees N there is a probability of a high by-catch of smaller fish belonging to medium strong year classes 2014, 2015, 2016. As a result further surveys will be needed there for proper management of the fishery.
At the end of February and in early March north of 58 degree N in the “throat” of Shelikhov Gulf dense schools of pre-spawning Pollock are forcasted to form with the fishery however to be probably limited by ice conditions.
It is expected that in the North Sea of Okhotsk subzone Pollock will start forming fishable concentrations in the central part, on the Lebed Bank. Later the school will be migrating northward to Koni-Pygina Peninsular with mixed fish sizes in the catch though fishable sizes will prevail.