Outlook for fisheries in the North Basin in December 2008

December 5, 2008 12:24

In December 2008 the conditions for bottomfish operations in the Barents Sea are expected to remain on a par with the previous month, fishery sources in Murmansk told www.fishnet-russia.com (https://www.fishnet.ru/).

Taking into account considerable take-up of the cod quotas, Murmansk-based shipowners are planning to leave 35-40 ships on the grounds. According to the provisional figures, the bulk of the fishing efforts will be sent to the Grey zone and to the Russian EEZ which is connected with the period of stormy days in the winter period. In case of favourable weather conditions the fishing companies' small remainder of cod and haddock quotas may be covered already by 20 December 2008.

Less favorable situation may be observed with exhaustion of the red king crab quota in the Russian EEZ. By the end of the year the fishermen are planning to harvest ca.4000 tonnes. The main fishing area will be formed to the north of the White Sea Funnel at the distance of up to 60-80 miles. Despite the fishery conditions may retain satisfactory the harvest of such large volume of crabs in December 2008 and complete quota exhaustion are hardly likely. In 2007 the red king crab quota in the Russian EEZ was covered at 90% at the maximum.

In the first half of December 2008 good fishery conditions are expected on the grounds of polar cod concentrations in the east of the Barents Sea. However, in connection with the market situation (ca.8000 tonnes of polar cod have been already landed in Murmansk) and high fuel prices, resumption of mass fishery of polar cod is not regarded possible. It is expected that the polar cod quota of 52,000 tonnes in 2008 will be covered at less than 80%. In 2007 the actual harvest of polar cod Boreogadus saida amounted to ca.27,000 tonnes, thus accounting for less than 40% of the TAC.

In the Norwegian Sea the herring fishery in the Norwegian EEZ may be sporadic taking into account the quota take-up.

Blue whiting will become the dominating species for the fishing fleet. In this period of the year efficient fishery may be conducted only in the Faroese fishing zone where the fishery will depend mostly on weather conditions. The remainder of the Russian quota of blue whiting in the Faroese fishing zone is still very large with more than 25,000 tonnes yet to be harvested until the end of the year. Towards that end the shipowners should increase the number of the fishing efforts to the maximum. According to the decision of the 31st session of the Russian-Faroese Fisheries Commission, the Russian quota in the Faroese fishing zone in 2008 has been set at 120,000 tonnes, and a fleet of 28 vessels is allowed to operate on the grounds one at a time.

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