Outlook for fisheries in the seas of the Russian Far East in May 2008
As per early May 2008 more than 300 vessels were conducting fishery in the seas of the Russian Far East Basin and the bulk of the fleet was represented by middle class vessels and seiners. The daily harvest was reported at 2200-2700 tonnes at 43-53% dominated by Alaska pollock, fishery sources in Vladivostok told www.fishnet-russia.com (https://www.fishnet.ru/).
In the Bering Sea and in the subareas of East Kamchatka 12 longliners were targeting cod and halibut daily catching 4-4.5 tonnes each based on 140-160 kilos per 1 km of longline. One third of the harvest was contributed by halibut. The fleet targeting bottomfish with trawl and Danish seine gear doubled in number and the fishermen reported the rates of 8-13 tonnes per haul. In the Karaginsk subarea and in the West Bering Sea zone Kamchatka-based vessels started to target blue king crab and snow crab opilio.
In the Sea of Okhotsk, apart from the Alaska pollock fishery at the eastern coast of Sakhalin, the longliners were hunting for cod and halibuts along the western coast of Kamchatka with the daily catch rates containing 50-60% of halibut. More than 20 ships participated in the trawl/Danish seine fishery of flounder, cod and other ground fish.
The fleet targeting snow crab opilio in the North Okhotsk subarea grew to 40 vessels daily catching more than 100 tonnes of the species. In the north of the western coast of Kamchatka crabbers continued harvesting blue king crab and in the south of West Kamchatka the fishermen were hunting for snow crab bairdi. Three Magadan-based vessels started to harvest whelks.
In early May 2008 vessels willing to harvest squid started to move into the North Kurile waters where the average daily catches of vessels operating in the area contained 60-80% of squid.
Since the start of the year about 500 tonnes of grenadier were harvested by 6 vessels conducting dedicated fishery.
In May 2008 drift netters will start harvesting salmons under the research program aimed at monitoring migration and runs of salmons into the Russian waters. The commercial catch quota for the current salmon season was approved at more than 320,000 tonnes. The fishery will be traditionally based on pink salmon fishery and the largest catches are forecasted in the East Sakhalin (the TAC in the area has been set at 83,000 tonnes), in the West Kamchatka (61,000 tonnes) and in the South Kuriles (40,700 tonnes). Runs of chum salmon and sockeye to the spawning grounds remain strong. In the current year 2008 the fishermen are allowed to harvest more than 72,000 tonnes of chum salmon and a little more than 30,000 tonnes of sockeye. In the waters of the eastern coast of Kamchatka the fishermen can harvest up to 40,000 tonnes of salmons and in the western coast of Kamchatka the total catch is allowed at more than 90,000 tonnes.
According to the Fishery Regulations, in the Bering Sea the Alaska pollock fishery is resumed from 16 May 2008. The fishery will be based on Alaska pollock which stayed for wintering and spawning in the Navarin area and at the south part of the Koryak coast. The scientists do not recommend sending a large number of vessels for the fishing grounds as the spent APO will form small compact concentrations.
Grenadier and skates
The fishery situation on the grenadier grounds in May will be unsteady due to the move of the concentrations to smaller depths. On most of the grounds the fishery situation is forecasted to be non-stable. With 2-3 large trawlers sent to the grounds the harvest is forecasted to amount to ca.1000 tonnes. Skates are harvested usually as bycatch in the trawl, longline and net fisheries of mixed ground fish concentrations.
In May 2008 the bycatch of halibuts will steeply rise in longline cod fishery at the depths of up to 300 meters. Through the month the fleet is expected to harvest up to 200 tonnes of white and 350-400 tonnes of black halibuts.
Cod catches normally decrease in May 2008 due to a feeding migration of the stock to the shallow waters. The daily catch rates will be at the level of 2-5 tonnes per MRS small seiner and 5-8 tonnes per longliner.
Sea of Okhotsk
Abundant runs of Okhotsk herring towards the shores for spawning are expected to start in the second ten days of May 2008. The fishery of Okhotsk spawning herring will be conducted within the 12-mile inshore zone. The scientists recommend the fishermen to harvest 20,000 tonnes of herring with 20 fixed seines to be set.
The Alaska pollock fishery will continue in the East Sakhalin subarea where until the middle of May the roe stock will be forming prespawning concentrations. Still, Alaska pollock will be harvested mostly as bycatch in Danish seine fishery of bottomfish for human consumption and partly during the longline fishery along the western coast of Kamchatka.
The flounder fishery will be conducted within the West Kamchatka shelf. While the share of flounder in the Danish seine catches of bottomfish for human consumption in the northern waters will amount to 30-50%, in the southern waters the corresponding index will be higher at 50-60%. The total harvest of flounder in May 2008 is expected at ca.4500 tonnes.
Grenadier and skates
In May 2008 grenadier and skates will be harvested at bycatch as they do not form strong fishable concentrations. Therefore the harvest of the species will depend on the number of the vessels participating in the fishery of halibut, cod, etc. Beyond the territorial waters of the Russian EEZ the harvest of grenadier and skates is forecasted to total 500-1000 tonnes.
The scientists do not forecast large catches of cod in May 2008, as in this month the bulk of the cod stock will stop spawning and the spent fish will migrate for feeding into the shallow waters. Thus, the fishery situation may be favourable on separate local grounds. Daily catches per ship will amount to 4-6, 3-4 tonnes for longliners and up to 2 tonnes for trawlers depending on the area.
In the international waters of the North Okhotsk subarea and in the West Kamchatka subarea (Lebed Chute and south of TINRO Deep) longliners will be able to harvest halibut in May 2008. The daily catch rates can amount from 3 to 5 tonnes with halibut to account for 60-80% of the harvest depending on the fishing area. Besides, in the net fishery the share of halibut is expected to reach 85-98% with the remaining shares contributed by skates and crabs. The harvest of halibut with net gear is forecasted to fluctuate from 2.5 to 4 tonnes per ship daily. Stable catches of halibut will be observed also in the dedicated trawl fishery and the bycatch will contain lycodes and skates. Fairly good fishery situation will be observed in the Kamchatka Kurile subarea in longline and trawl fishery.
In May 2008 expedition fishery of snow crab opilio in the North Okhotsk subarea will be gathering momentum and at the shores of Kamchatka the fishermen will target blue king crab and snow crab baridi.
The fishery of deepwater pink shrimp Pandalus borealis will continue in the North Okhotsk and in the Kamchatka Kurile subarea. Besides, the vessels are expected to boost catches of the species at the shores of East Sakhalin.
North and South Kuriles
The dedicated Alaska pollock fishery with pelagic trawl gear will be possible in the Pacific waters of the North Kuriles on the feeding schools of Alaska pollock which spawned in the south-east of Kamchatka.
The fishery situation on the squid grounds will be improving in the waters of the Ketoy-Simushir Islands with the bycatch of finfish species to reach 20%. The daily catches per haul are forecasted to 5-9 tonnes per ship. At the Paramushir-Onekotan Islands the fishable concentrations will be formed no earlier than mid-May, but the catch rates will be lower and the bycatch of finfish will reach 40-60%. However, strong influence on the fishery results will be exerted by the periods of high (diurnal) and low (semidiurnal) rising tides.
In May 2008 the fishery of cod and flounder is possible in the oceaniс waters of the Paramushir Islands. The catch rates in the trawl and Danish seine fishery are expected at up to 7-8 tonnes. The daily harvest of longliners will amount to ca.3-5 tonnes per vessel.
More than 40 vessels will continue harvesting sea urchins in the waters of the South Kuriles.
Sea of Japan
The fishery operations in the Sea of Japan will be conducted mostly by small vessels in the inshore waters. The targeted species in the area will be Atka mackerel, flounder, cod and Alaska pollock. The most efficient fishery will be that of flounder with the help of Danish seines. The average daily harvest of flounder is expected at 3-5 tonnes for middle vessels. Depending on the area and the vessel type the daily catch rates of Alaska pollock will fluctuate from 1 to 4 tonnes per ship.