Overview of fisheries in the Russian Far East as per 12 April 2009

April 15, 2009 16:15

Moscow officials have quickly responded to the appeal from the fishermen of the Russian Far East who have asked for extension of the pollock fishery in the Sea of Okhotsk, reports www.fishnet-russia.com (https://www.fishnet.ru/) with reference to NCMC and fishery sources in Vladivostok.

More specifically, prepared on 7 April 2009 the order of the Federal Fisheries Agency have come into force on 10 April 2009 after the routine consent of the Ministry of Justice. The grounds for extension of the pollock fishery in the North Okhotsk subarea have been provided by the scientists who have made a conclusion about a delayed start of the stock's spawning period.

Thus, extension of the fishery period cannot adversely affect the commercial stock of the pollock population. The thing is that last month the fishery situation could not allow the fishermen to conduct efficient operations, prespawning concentrations of pollock were dispersed, catches per tow and per ship in March 2009 were low. The weather conditions impeded the fleet's operations. The above developments told on the pollock harvest in the subarea and resulted from the fishermen's petition about a 10-days extension of the pollock fishery in the North Okhotsk subarea.

As per 12 April 2009 the dedicated pollock fishery in the North Okhotsk subarea was continued by 88 fishing vessels, of which ca.30 vessels were still waiting for fishing permits. The expedition's daily harvest decreased from 5300 tonnes in the beginning of the week to 3300 tonnes. The harvest per tow did not exceed 30 tonnes. Catches per tow did not exceed 30 tonnes. The daily harvest amounted to ca.70 tonnes per large ship and ca.33 tonnes per middle vessel. The weekly harvest in the North Okhotsk subarea amounted to 33,000 tonnes according to the skippers' reports. Taking into account the harvest in the first days of the second decade of April 2009, the quota take-up in the North Okhotsk subarea amounted to 76.7% of the harvest of 218,000 tonnes.

Some of Sakhalin vessels moved to the pollock grounds in the East Sakhalin subarea. They were joined by the fleet of Preobrazhenskaya Fleet Base, where a Kamchatka-based vessel owned by OAO Okeanrybflot (plc) continued covering pollock quotas. The pollock harvest through the week amounted to 1600 tonnes.

In general for the Sea of Okhotsk the take-up of the pollock quotas amounted to 73.2%.

The below table gives take-up of the pollock quotas for commercial operations broken between the regions and subareas as compared to last year:


North Okhotsk subareaWest Kamchatka subareaKamchatka Kurile subareaTotal
Quota, 1000 metric tonsCatch, 1000 metric tonsTake-up in % Quota, 1000 metric tonsCatch, 1000 metric tonsTake-up in % Quota, 1000 metric tonsCatch, 1000 metric tonsTake-up in % Take-up in %
Primorye (Vladivostok)115.179.669.1122.176.262.471.267.995.368.0
Total in the area284.8212.774.7294.2207.070.3184.2169.892.273.2
Take-up of commercial pollock quotas broken to regions as per 12 April 2009


Catch, 1000 metric tonsTake-up, %Catch, 1000 metric tonsTake-up, %
Primorye (Vladivostok)223.868.0228.990.2
Starting from 10 April 2009, according to the fishery regulations, the trawl herring fishery in the North Okhotsk subarea was suspended for the stock's spawning period. The dedicated trawl fishery of herring in the beginning of April was continued by 5 large and 4 middle vessels. The fishery situation on the herring grounds was satisfactory. Through the week the herring harvest amounted to 3600 tonnes. In winter-spring period the total herring harvest amounted to ca.47,000 tonnes.

On the bottomfish grounds of the Sea of Okhotsk the fishing vessels continued working along the west coast of Kamchatka. The harvest through the 15th week of the year amounted to 1420 tonnes, there were 12-13 vessels operating on the grounds. After introduction of the fishery ban the pollock harvest did not exceed 400 tonnes, with the catches dominated by flounder (74%) and wachna cod (18%).

While in the previous week the longline catches contained more than 50% of halibuts, in the 15th week (6-12 April 2009) the share of halibuts somewhat decreased. The number of dedicated vessels and the average volume of longlines processed daily remained on a par with the previous week. Mixed cod and halibut fishery was conducted by 21 vessels. Since the beginning of the month the harvest of the longliners amounted to a little more than 600 tonnes of which 44% of halibuts.

One Sakhalin vessel owned by OOO Dalmar (ltd) joined Kamchatka-based trawl fleet targeting halibuts. The group was trawling halibuts on the grounds in the North Okhotsk and West Kamchatka subareas. The total harvest through the week amounted to 25-30 tonnes of black halibut and 1.4-4.3 tonnes of white halibut correspondingly in the above two subareas.

In general, black halibut was harvested with bottom net gear set by Kamchatka-based ships. They daily set from 7 to 20 km of nets. The halibut harvest per 1 km of nets was reported at up to 2.1 tonnes. As per the end of the week the halibut harvest with bottom nets amounted to 460 tonnes.

In the Sea of Okhotsk deepwater shrimp was harvested in two subareas of North Okhotsk and Kamchatka Kurile, in the latter subarea the number of fishing vessels was twice larger. The fishery situation in the both subareas was satisfactory with the total harvest of deepwater shrimp through the month growing by 243 tonnes harvested in these areas.

The crab fishery in the Sea of Okhotsk in the 15th week of the year distributed as follows: in the North Okhotsk subarea the Russian fishermen were targeting golden king crab, in the West Kamchatka subarea they harvested blue king crab and to the south in the Kamchatka Kurile subarea the vessels harvested snow crab bairdi.

The daily catch rates for golden king crabs amounted to 3.3 tonnes on the average, close to the rates for snow crab bairdi in the Kamchatka Kurile subarea. In the meantime, the average daily catches of blue king crab per vessel were much smaller at 0.8-0.9 tonnes. The total harvest through the week under analysis amounted to 160 tonnes of golden king crab, 34 tonnes of blue king crab and 108 tonnes of snow crab bairdi.

In the West Bering Sea zone Russian crabbers gradually increased volumes of crab catches due to unfavourable weather conditions and ice situation. The species harvested are blue king crab, snow crab opilio and snow crab bairdi. Through the week the catch of a fleet of 7 crabbers amounted to 6.4 tonnes. The harvest since the start of the year increased to 23 tonnes.

In the same zone one Kamchatka-based vessel continued longline fishery of grenadier, the weekly harvest of which exceeded the result of the previous week 1.7 times and amounted to 148 tonnes.

At the eastern shores of Kamchatka the longline fishery of cod was carried out mostly by Kamchatka-based vessels, 7 in number, which were joined by another two longliners belonging to one Khabarovsk and one Vladivostok companies. The fleet harvested mostly cod with the weekly harvest reported at 215 tonnes.

On 6-12 April 2009 two vessels based in the Koryak Autonomous District started the inshore fishery of bottomfish species in the Karaginsk subarea, the group's total harvest through the week amounting to 136 tonnes of fish. Atka mackerel was mostly harvested in the Petropavlovsk-Komandor subarea (66%) by trawlers conducting mixed fishery of bottom and pelagic species. Cod, flounder and pollock accounted for 16%, 12% and 6% of the harvest. The fishery was conducted by 6 vessels. The total trawl and Danish seine harvest in the above subarea amounted to ca.12,100 tonnes since the beginning of the year.

In the end of the week under analysis a Sakhalin company sent its vessel to the pollock grounds in the waters of the North Kuriles and the ship harvested 105 tonnes of the species in two days. In the dedicated fishery of Atka mackerel the harvest amounted to ca.250 tonnes with the operations conducted by four vessels. There the trawlers were also hunting for grenadier with the harvest through the week reported at 100 tonnes. Sakhalin-based companies were harvesting sea scallops with the result amounting to 21 tonnes. The harvest in the waters of the North Kuriles through the week amounted to ca.1500 tonnes.

The total harvest of quota-regulated species through 6-12 April 2009 broken to main fishing areas is shown in the table as below.

Fishing species

Petropavlovsk-Komandor subareaNorth Kuriles subareaNorth Okhotsk subareaEast Sakhalin subareaWest Kamchatka subareaKamchatka Kurile subarea
Cod271227  176101
Herring  3636 27 
Flounder224189  1219580
Wachna cod21  17334
Sculpins4214   43
Halibuts38170 9264
Atka mackerel584306    
Ocean perch 80,3  0,2
Skates19 17 721
Grenadier 100    
Blue king crab    34 
Golden king crab  79 81 
Snow crab bairdi     108
Deepwater shrimp Pandalus borealis  99  136
Sea scallops 21    
Source: NCMC.
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