Kamchatka scientists produce detailed projections for salmon runs in the region

June 17, 2008 17:13

According to KamchatNIRO scientists, the following runs of salmon are expected in Kamchatka this year:

Pink salmon

In the Eastern Kamchatka the main runs of pink salmon are expected in Karaginsk and Olyutorsk subareas. For many years average catches in this subarea have amounted to about 92% of the total onshore fishery.

The runs in Petropavlovsk-Komandor subarea amount to 8% of the total catches in the East Kamchatka zone.

The abundance of fish in the rivers of the Eastern coast in 2008 was estimated based on the results of autumn trawl surveys in the Bering Sea. Such quantity of pink salmon means the returns to rivers of the regions of about 30 million of individuals in 2008. The admission for spawning is to amount to 20 million individuals. Besides, this year the runs of, so to say, depleted pink salmon line are expected, which is showing signs of recovery to commercial fishery level.

The first runs of pink salmon are expected in the North-East Kamchatka in the third decade of June. The main catches are to take place in July and the first decade of August. Correction of periods and amounts of pink runs is planned to be fulfilled based on the results of the surveys of drifter vessels and controlling fixed nets, which had been operating in the frames of the scientific programs of KamchatNIRO.

Thus, the expected catch on the East Kamchatka coast (excluding West Bering Sea zone) will amount to about 10 million salmons or about 10,000 tonnes (taking into account the average size of fish 1.3 kg).

West Kamchatka

In the Western coast the runs of pink salmon are expected to amount to about 80 million individuals. The recommended amounts of individuals reach 40 million admitted for spawning and 40 million for fisheries (60,000 tonnes taking into account average size of 1.5 kg). The catch in West Kamchatka subarea in 2008 is likely to amount to 25,200 tonnes. The catches in Kamchatka-Kurile subarea in this case will reach 34,800 tonnes.

It is expected that the intensive runs of fish are to start in the third decade of July reaching its top in the first 10 days of August 2008. However, in the period of prespawning migration the quantity of fish running and admitted to spawning can be corrected depending on the results of driftnet and seine catches in the areas under control.

Based on these data, in 2008 in the West Kamchatka area it is planned to use no more than 120 of fixed nets and the corresponding number of landing facilities in order to avoid overcosts.

Chum salmon

East coast

The chum salmon stocks in Kamchatka have been in good condition these years. The first runs of chum salmon in the West and East subareas are expected in the end of June - in the beginning of July. The bulk run is foreseen in July - August.

The recommended catch in 2008 on the Eastern coast exceeds 16,000 tonnes (including practically 3,900 tonnes in the South-Eastern Petropavlovsk-Komandor subarea and more than 12,000 tonnes in the North-Eastern subareas of Karaginsk subarea and West Bering Sea zone.

West Coast

In the West Kamchatka zone the chum salmon stocks have been on a rather high level these years corresponding to the period of 1950s. The runs of chums have been rather huge and the period has been long.

The recommended catch in 2008 amounts to 10,774 tonnes (about 7,542 tonnes to take up in West Kamchatka zone and about 3,232 tonnes in Kamchatka-Kurile subarea).

In the second quarter 754 tonnes will be caught in 61.05.2 subarea and 323 tonnes in 61.05.4 subarea. In the third quarter 6,788 tonnes are left to fish in West Kamchatka zone and 2,909 tonnes in Kamchatka-Kurile subarea.


East Coast

The sockeye fisheries in the Kamchatka river are conducted from end of May - beginning of June to end of July - beginning of August. Thus, the periods of fisheries are divided into the early run (May-June) and the late one (July - August).

According to scientific forecasts, the stocks of sockeye in the Kamchatka River in 2008 and coming years will be on a higher abundance level than in 2004 - 2005. In the current year it is expected to have more than 3,122 thousands of individuals. The sockeye runs to the coast will likely to amount to 2,522 thousands of individuals if the approximate catch volume in the Kamchatka River by driftnet vessels in 2008 is to reach 600,000 individuals.

Traditionally about 10 - 11 fixed nets are used while fishing sockeye and so about 300,000 individuals are supposed to be admitted to spawning. Thus, the onshore fishery will reach 2,222,000 salmons or 5,556 tonnes.

It is expected that the sockeye stocks in the Kamchatka River will be of high level in 2008 and in this situation each fishing site is recommended to take up to 70% of its qouta in June and 30% in July.

Thus, the onshore catch here will amount to about 5500 tonnes. In Petropavlovsk-Komandor subarea the catches are expected to reach the level of 5800 tonnes.

West Coast

The abundance of fish running in the West Kamchatka area is calculated based on the stocks of the Ozernaya River that have been the largest stocks in Asia.

According to estimates, in 2008 the expected number of sockeye returns in the Ozernaya River will amount to 11,328 individuals and 8,328 of individuals (20,820 tonnes) are recommended to fish onshore.

The second largest sockeye stock in Kamchatka-Kurile subarea is the stock of the Bolshaya River. It is recommended to close the fishing season of early sockeye in 2008. About 150 tonnes of late sockeye can be fished during the river fishery. In 2008 the runs of 40,000 individuals (120 tonnes) of ranched sockeye in the mouth of the Bolshaya River are expected. The total catch of this fish can reach 270 tonnes in 2008. The total commercial of sockeye fisheries in the Bolshaya River is to reach 253 tonnes.

The sockeye stocks of other rivers of Kamchatka-Kurile subarea are less abundant then in the rivers mentioned above. However, during last 5 years the runs of spawning sockeye in these rivers have increased almost three times in comparison with the previous 10-year period. This can be explained by better feeding conditions of fish both in fresh water and during the first months of life in the sea. Thus, the catch in other rivers of the region except for Ozernaya and Bolshaya in 2008 will amount to 150 tonnes (including 10 tonnes in the Kurile Islands).

The sockeye TAC for 2008 was defined at the level of 21,230 tonnes.

In order to spread fishing pressure on the stocks of Ozernaya River more evenly and create reserves for regulation of the fishing process, it is recommended to allocate quotas in two periods. In this situation, 70% of sockeye quotas are to be taken up before half filling the spawning grounds in the Kurilskoe Lake to an optimal value and then, harvest the remaining 30% of the quota.

It is estimated that 235,000 sockeyes will run to the mouth of the Polana River in the West-Kamchatka subarea in 2008.

The recommended spawning stock amounts to 120,000 individuals, thus the catch in the river is to amount to 115,000 individuals (322 tonnes).

Other rivers of the region can be subdivided into main and secondary rivers. In the main category such rivers can be named as Voyampolka, Tigil, Khairyuzova, Icha, Oblukovina, Krutogorova, Kolpakova, Vorovskaya. The total returns into these rivers in 2008 may amount to 244,000 individuals. If the spawning stock amounts to 150,000, the recommended catch will reach 94,000 individuals (282 tonnes). In the secondary rivers of the subarea the catch may amount to 20 tonnes. Thus, the total catch in the rivers of West Kamchatka subarea (excluding Palana River stock) will amount to 302 tonnes.

The total sockeye TAC in West Kamchatka subarea is set at 624 tonnes. And the total TAC in the West Kamchatka Coast in 2008 can amount to 21,854 tonnes.

Coho salmon

East Coast

The coho salmon stocks in 2008 are expected to be on a satisfactory level, because of the expected high level of fish survival. According to Kamchatka scientists, the abundance of the spawning runs in the current year is to exceed the level of the last five years. According to 2008 forecasts of KamchatNIRO, the total returns in 2008 are to amount to 120,212,000 of individuals and the TAC (including the TAC for ranching stations) in the East Kamchatka is recommended at the level of 2,614 tonnes.

The coho salmon enters the rivers later than other species, mainly in August - September and in case of high abundance the fish enter the rivers earlier. In such cases in Karaginsk subarea the cohos appear in Kamchatka River in the middle of July and in other rivers in the beginning of August.

It is expected that the runs of spawning coho salmon in the East Kamchatka will start on 15 - 20 July in the South-Eastern rivers and in the first decade of August in the rivers of North-East). The runs are expected to reach the peak level in the 20s of August and the main part of the recommended coho salmon will be caught during the period of the mid-August - beginning of September.

The coho salmon fishery in the rivers of Petropavlovsk-Komandor subarea is recommended to start on 20 July and last till 30 September. The end of the fishery in Karaginsk subarea is recommended not to exceed 20 September in order to allow the later form of coho to reach the spawning grounds.

West Coast

The main stocks of coho salmon in the West of Kamchatka have been exploited rather intensively, although the catches of the last five years did not exceed the level of 600 tonnes. The levels are supposed to be higher, in fact, due to illegal fishing.

In 2008 the returns of the cohos of the 2003 - 2005 classes are expected. It is expected that the total amount of returns will reach 935,300 individuals and the TAC will amount to 1706 tonnes.

Due to the beginning of Atlantic salmon runs into some of the West coast rivers, it is recommended to start fishing season on 10 August and finish it on 20 September. According to preliminary data, more than 20% of quotas are to be taken up in August, about 35% of quotas during 1 - 10 September and 33% during 11 September - 15 September.

The prolongation of the fishing season in the West Kamchatka after 20 September is considered to be absolutely impossible. The coho salmon fishing for scientific purposes is recommended to be finished in the beginning of November, because the coho stocks recovery is driven first of all by the fish of the autumn form. Besides, in the last decade of September the runs of Atlantic salmon start in the rivers of West Kamchatka where it is forbidden to harvest this species. The coho salmon is mainly fished in the rivers of the region and to some extent by marine fixed nets.


East Coast

The chinook salmon is allowed to fish as a bycatch while fishing sockeye by marine fixed nets. Beside that, it is possible to fish chinook in the Kamchatka River by using large-mesh nets.

The total runs of chinook in the Kamchatka River in 2008 are to amount to 175,000 of individuals. The total spawning stock is to amount to 115,000 individuals. Thus, the allowable norm of catch in the Kamchatka river is to amount to 863 tonnes (average size for the last 5 years is 7.5 kg).

Apart from Kamchatka River, the chinooks are also fished in other rivers of Petropavlovsk-Komandor subarea. The chinook stocks in the South-Eastern area have been stable and the spawing stocks have been gradually increasing. The recommended catch in the Zhupanova River is to amount to 12 tonnes as well as 5 tonnes in other rivers of the region. The total recommended catch in Petropavlovsk-Komandor subarea is to reach 880 tonnes of chinook salmon. The chinook TAC in Olyutorsk subarea amounts currently to 120 tonnes (including 4 tonnes in West Bering zone and 116 tonnes in Karaginsk subarea). The possible total catch of chinook salmon in the East Kamchatka will reach 1000 tonnes.

West Coast

The main catch of chinook salmon takes place in the Bolshaya River. During last 30 years the stocks of this species in the river have decreased. The fishing in other rivers of the region has been weak and statistical data are practically not available. However, there is some illegal chinook fishing in these rivers and the total catch here, according to experts, exceeds the official catch data several times.

Possible runs of chinook salmon to the Western Coast of Kamchatka including the ranched fish individuals are to amount 62700 of individuals including 1500 individuals in hatcheries). The number of spawning stock is to reach 30,000 - 40,000 of individuals. 30,000 of these chinooks are to be admitted to spawning into the Bolshaya River.

Thus, 22,700 of chinooks (166 tonnes) are left for fisheries in the West Kamchatka (average size 7.3 kg).

Taking into account location of chinook producers procreating a new generation which will return to its native rivers in 2008, the catches are to be distributed in the following way: 76 tonnes in Kamchatka-Kurile subarea and 90 tonnes in West Kamchatka subarea.

In the rivers of West Kamchatka subarea the fishing season started in the first decade of June and is to reach its peak in mid-July ending in the second decade of August.

In the rivers of Kamchatka-Kurile subarea the fishing season started in the end of May and it is to reach its peak in the end of June - beginning of July and is to finish in the second half of August.

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