Outlook for fisheries in the seas of the Russian Far East in March 2008
March 2008 catches in the Russian Far East will be dominated by Okhotsk pollock. According to the scientific forecasts, the area covered with ice in March is expected to be larger in size with the considerable share of the shelf to be inaccessible for the fishing fleets, however in the eastern part of the sea, in the area free from ice, the fishery conditions are forecasted to be fairly favourable, fishery sources in Vladivostok told www.fishnet-russia.com (www.fishnet.ru).
Alaska pollock fishery in the waters of the Ozernovsky Depths Break and Lebed Bank in the Kamchatka Kurile subarea. Daily catches are forecasted to amount to ca.50-70 tonnes per large vessel and 20-30 tonnes per middle vessel. Larger catches of 70-95 tonnes per large trawler and 30-45 tonnes per middle trawler are expected in the West Kamchatka subarea close to the spawning grounds at 54-57th degrees North.
In the beginning of the month comparably strong concentrations of Alaska pollock will be observed in the Lebed Hill in the North Okhotsk subarea. Abundant spawning of Alaska pollock in the North Okhotsk subarea will be observed in the middle of April and by that time the prespawning concentrations will grow stronger along with increasing APO catches per effort, larger size of harvested fish, rising roe yield and its quality thus improving the fishery efficiency. The average daily catches by the end of the month can reach 80 tonnes per large trawler and 40 tonnes per middle trawler. Therefore the scientists recommend concentrating main fishing efforts in the middle of March - beginning of April.
In March the Russian fishermen will be able to harvest halibut with various gear, namely with longline, trawl and bottom nets, on the stock's feeding concentrations in the Sea of Okhotsk. In the sea's western part the fishery will be impeded by ice. In the meantime, in the Kamchatka Kurile subarea the fishermen are not recommended to harvest halibut with net gear, because there will be mostly large mature females, the abundance of which has been extremely low in the recent years, and net catches mostly will contain such fish. The share of halibut in longline fishery will amount to ca.70% and a considerable share will be contributed by lycodes. The bycatch in the net fishery will contain skates, ocean perch and grenadier. The share of halibut will fluctuate from 50% to 90%.
In the Karaginsk subarea due to severe weather and waters conditions the longline fishery of halibut is possible in a limited area.
In March 2008 cod will be spawning therefore at the western coast of Kamchatka longliners are forecasted to report somewhat lower catches. The scientists recommend the fishermen to conduct dedicated trawl and Danish seine fishery of cod in this period, because the trawl catches practically do not decrease. At the same time, catches will contain large shares of Alaska pollock and flounder.
In the North Kuriles in March the scientists expect poor runs of B. magister squid. Abundant runs of squid are forecasted no earlier than in the first ten days of April.
At the same time, both large and middle vessels will be able to harvest grenadier simultaneously in the North and South Kuriles, changing the fishing areas when the conditions in this or that area dwindle and giving the stock time to concentrate.
The stocks of the North Kurile cod will enable trawlers and Danish seiners to harvest ca.3-4 tonnes per trawler and 3-5 tonnes per longliner daily subject to dedicated operations. Trawl and Danish seine catches will keep containing a large share of Alaska pollock. The results of cod fishery in the Petropavlovsk-Komandor subarea will be somewhat better at 6-8 tonnes per longliner and ca.5-6 tonnes per trawler/Danish seiner with catches to contain a large share of flounder, Alaska pollock and sculpins. The fishery will be more efficient in the southern part of the subarea free from ice.
In the Kamchatka Kurile subarea in March the fishermen will start active fishery of snow crab bairdi. The outlook for deepwater shrimp fishery in the same area is also favourable.
The vessels of STR and SRTM middle class will be able to harvest sea scallops in the waters off Onekotan, while in the inshore waters of the Kurile Islands the fleets will continued harvesting sea urchins.
In the Sea of Japan, flounder and Atka mackerel fisheries will be the most efficient, along with the shrimp fishery.