Outlook for Russian fisheries in Murmansk-led North Basin in January 2009

January 16, 2009 16:04

In the first half of January 2009 bottomfish operations in the Barents Sea and on the adjacent grounds of the Norwegian Sea are expected to be conducted by a limited fleet based in Murmansk, fishery sources in Murmansk told www.fishnet-russia.com (https://www.fishnet.ru/).

In the second half of the month the number of the fishing efforts will be actively growing. Most of the vessels equipped with modern trawl systems are recommended to move to the Norwegian EEZ where, in the inshore waters to the north of Lofoten and along the northwest coast of Norway, the conditions will be good for fishery of large cod, haddock and saithe.

According to the Protocol of the 37th session of Mixed Russian-Norwegian Fisheries Commission, Russia's national quotas for the year 2009 amounts to 221,100 tonnes of cod and 84,050 tonnes of haddock. In the Norwegian EEZ the Russian fishermen can harvest 140,000 tonnes of cod and 20,000 tonnes of haddock out of the above mentioned volumes.

Beginning from the second half of January 2009 good fishing situation at the northwest shores of Norway will depend on a gradual strengthening of concentrations of maturing cod, haddock and saithe migrating to the main spawning grounds in the waters of the Lofoten Islands. The Russian quota of saithe in the Norwegian EEZ amounts to 15,000 tonnes, of which 7000 tonnes are given for direct fishery and 8000 tonnes are allocated as bycatch in cod and haddock fisheries limited by 49% in each particular catch. The bulk of the Russian harvest of saithe is likely to be contributed by the Norwegian EEZ in the course of January 2009 and in the following two or three months.

In the course of direct fishery and as bycatch in the Norwegian EEZ the Russian fishermen are expected to harvest up to 3000 tonnes of sea cats and up to 3000 tonnes of non-regulated species caught as bycatch in quota-regulated fisheries.

The harvest of ocean perch Sebastes mentella and Sebastes marinus in the Norwegian EEZ in the year 2009 is forecasted at 2000 tonnes as inevitable bycatch limited by 15% of each particular catch.

The black halibut fishery is allowed as bycatch of up to 12% of each particular catch in other fisheries and up to 7% of the harvest onboard after the fishery's closure and the harvest landed.

Active fishery of the Barents Sea capelin Mallotus villosus out of the nation's quota of 152,000 tonnes is unlikely to start in January 2009. According to the shipowners, in January 2008 they will be engaged in preparation of their trawlers to the start of the active capelin fishery. After a 5-year halt it is expected to begin not earlier than in February in the Russian zone, where there will be the most abundant runs of large roe fish migrating to the shores of Murman.

For the first time during the recent five years the Russian fleets will not conduct commercial red king fishery in the Barents Sea in January 2009. According to the order No.407 dated 12 December 2008 issued by the Federal Fisheries Agency, commercial fishery of red king crab in the Barents Sea is prohibited from 1 January 2009 to 31 August 2009.

Active fishery of Norwegian spring-spawning herring in the waters of Lofoten is expected to start not earlier than in the closing ten days of January 2009, though conditions for the fishery in the area along the border of the territorial sea of Norway may appear already in the second decade of the month (Russia's herring quota 2009 has been approved at 210,600 tonnes).

The shipowners are forecasted to start facing main problems with the choice of the fishing areas in late January 2009. Taking into account the expected situation on the market, by that time it will be necessary to choose the preferable species for pelagic fishery in the period to follow, namely between the Barents Sea capelin or Atlantic-Scandian herring.

The best conditions for blue whiting fishery in the Norwegian Sea in January 2009 are expected in the Faroese fishing zone along the south border of the zone. According to the Protocol of the 32nd session of Mixed Russian-Faroese Fisheries Commission, the Russian fishermen are allowed to harvest up to 100,00 tonnes of blue whiting in the Faroese fishing zone. The Russian harvest of blue whiting in the international waters in 2009 will be limited by 60,000 tonnes (Protocol of the 27th session of the NEAFC).

Due to the fact that the Russian quota of black halibut in the NAFO zone for the year 2009 has been unchanged and approved at 1512 tonnes, the shipowners hope that the fishery conditions for halibut fishery will remain on a par with the previous year. However, due to a considerable remoteness of the fishing area, single Murmansk-based vessels are expected to start working on the grounds of the Flemish Cap in the end of January 2009 at the earliest.

The conditions for pelagic fisheries in the Central Eastern Atlantic are expected to be on a par with the multi-year average. Subject to the fishing efforts of up to 5 in number the weekly harvest in the zones of Mauritania and Western Sahara is planned by the shipowners at least at 2000 tonnes, dominated by horse mackerel, mackerel and anchovies.

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