Overview of fisheries in the Russian Far East in February 2007

March 13, 2007 15:21

Daily catches in the Russian Far East Basin in February 2007 rarely went down below 6500 tonnes and the average daily harvest through the month amounted to 7000 tonnes versus 6600 tonnes in February 2006.

The bulk of catch was contributed by Alaska pollock, the share of which fluctuated at 0-94% of the catches. The number of vessels participating in the fishery reached 400 on some particular days.

The fishery pressure focused on the Sea of Okhotsk where the main APO expedition unrolled. The area contributed ca. 175,000 tonnes of finfish and other aquatic species to the Basin's harvest. Main fishing species in February were Alaska pollock, cod, flounder and Atka mackerel. The vessels were targeting blue king crab and snow crab bairdi in the waters of the West Kamchatka, while in the Sea of Japan the main species was red snow crab and shrimpers had a success on the grounds of pink shrimp Pandalus borealis. With the fishery conditions worsening in the North Okhotsk subarea the vessels moved to the Kamchatka-Kurile subarea.

The below table shows catches of main commercial species as compared to the corresponding period last year 2006 (provisional figures).

Species

February

January-February*

2007, ‘000 metric tons

2007, ‘000 metric tons

2007 versus 2006, +/- ‘000 metric tons

2007, ‘000 metric tons

2007, ‘000 metric tons

2007 versus 2006, +/- ‘000 metric tons

Total catch

192.58

186.71

+ 5.87

357.312

285.112

+ 72.2

of which

Finfish

Alaska pollock

180.3

159.563

+ 20.737

299.405

219.933

+79.472

Atka mackerel

2.746

2.667

+ 0.079

4.683

3.913

+ 0.77

Cod

3.33

3.643

- 0.313

7.847

6.552

+1.295

Flounder

2.25

2.92

- 0.67

4.04

4.501

- 0.461

Grenadier

0.639

0.087

+ 0.522

1.187

0.119

+ 1.068

Halibut

0.576

0.619

- 0.043

1.167

1.085

+0.082

Herring

0.044

11.714

- 11.67

26.747

38.695

-11.948

Longfin codling Laemonema

1.165

- 1.165

0.121

1.351

- 1.23

Ocean perch

0.003

0.008

- 0.005

0.069

0.012

+ 0.057

Sculpins

0.197

0.516

-0.319

0.383

0.865

- 0.482

Skates

0.121

0.19

- 0.069

0.256

0.307

- 0.051

Wachna cod

0.425

1.196

- 0.771

7.973

3.958

+ 4.015

Other than finfish

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crabs

0.761

0.525

+ 0.236

1.407

0.94

+ 0.467

Sea cucumber

0.0006

0.003

- 0.0024

0.003

0.003

0

Sea scallops

0.103

0.281

- 0.178

0.153

0.309

- 0.156

Sea urchins

0.134

0.081

+ 0.053

0.151

0.14

+ 0.011

Shrimps

0.816

0.879

- 0.063

1.44

1.32

+ 0.14

Squid

0.078

0.587

-0.509

0.078

1.0

- 0.922

* taking into account amendments for January 2007

In general the Basin's total harvest through February 2007 exceeded the previous year February by a mere 5800 tonnes.

Earlier, unlike 2006, the fleets targeting Alaska pollock left the Bering Sea despite favourable conditions on the grounds. Ice conditions in the Sea of Okhotsk did not allow to continue herring fishery in February 2007, while in February 2006 catches of herring amounted to nearly 12,000 tonnes. Besides, the fleets did not conduct dedicated Alaska pollock fishery in the North Okhotsk subarea. In the third ten days of January ice forced out the vessels which had to move along the western coast of Kamchatka where they were harvesting Alaska pollock until the end of February along all the coastline up through the entrance to the Shelikhov Bay.

The harvested fish was 43 cm and 770 grams on the average. The roe yield was 4.5%. The largest harvest of 1880 tonnes through the month was reported by Magadan-based Mayronis owned by OOO Magadanryba (ltd) with the ship's average daily rates amounting to 104.4 tonnes.

However, by the end of the month the fishery situation worsened. In the beginning of the closing ten days of February the edges of drift-ice in the northeast part of the Sea of Okhotsk did not impede active fishery and the ice conditions grew better. Some 40 vessels were harvesting Alaska pollock in the North Okhotsk subarea and catches per haul amounted to 31 and 21 tonnes depending on the vessel type.

Though the fishing efforts in the Sea of Okhotsk decreased by ca.40 ships in February 2007 as compared to the same month last year, the rates of APO harvest were considerably higher. The average daily harvest of Alaska pollock was close to the level of 6000 tonnes, while last year it was lower than 5000 tonnes. By the end of the month take-up of the TACs amounted to 46.5% versus 42.3% last year. The fishery's early peak was attributed mainly to greater interest to supplies of headed and gutted Alaska pollock to China due to higher prices.

Up to 40 ships were harvesting cod, halibut, grenadier and skates in the Bering Sea, in the Sea of Okhotsk and in the waters of the North Kuriles. While in the Bering Sea cod was the main species harvested by the Russian fleets, their catches contained practically no halibut. In the meantime, the fishermen operating in the waters of West Kamchatka harvested up to 15% of halibut.

Out of the total harvest of 7800 tonnes of cod the longliners contributed 4900 tonnes or 300 tonnes up on last year. In the same areas trawlers were harvesting mixed bottomfish for human consumption and daily catches in the waters of East Kamchatka were made up of Alaska pollock and cod with the bycatch of flounder and Atka mackerel. In the waters of the West Kamchatka Alaska pollock accounted for 90% of the daily harvest.

Two Primorye-based vessels Vladimir Brodyuk owned by OOO Daltransflot in the South Kuriles and Vinogradovka owned by OAO RK Moryak-Rybolov conducted dedicated grenadier fishery harvesting 111.5 tonnes and 126.1 tonnes correspondingly with the ships' daily rates reported at 22.3 and 18 tonnes correspondingly.

In the waters of the South Kuriles 40 ships mostly based in the Kuriles were targeting sea urchins. Their total harvest through the month amounted to 88 tonnes. One of the best harvesters was RS Otlichitelnyi seiner owned by OOO PKF Yuzhno-Kurilsky Rybokombinat (ltd) reporting a total catch of 10 tonnes through the month.

The efforts on the grounds of snow crab bairdi in the Kamchatka-Kurile subarea doubled in number. In the West Kamchatka subarea the vessels kept on harvesting blue king crab, while in the Sea of Japan Primorye and Sakhalin-based vessels continued targeting red snow crab. The Basin's total crab harvest in February 2007 exceeded the corresponding result of 2006 by 236 tonnes.

Over a period of several years weak fishery situation has been observed on the grounds of pink shrimp Pandalus borealis at the west coast of Kamchatka. In February 2007 the harvest of the species dropped by 270 tonnes as compared to the same month 2006, while in the Sea of Japan pink shrimp catches exceeded the last year result by 50 tonnes.

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