Overview of fisheries in the Russian Far East in May 2007

June 19, 2007 12:10
In May the fishermen of the Russian Far East basin faced problems caused by controversial regulations for Okhotsk herring fishery. More specifically, the latest update (new Fishery Regulations) has established time limits for the herring fishery in the Sea of Okhotsk.

The new Fishery Regulations in the Russian Far East Basin have been in force as of 22 May 2007 after their publication in printed form. Herring was harvested only by those ships which had received permits in the beginning of the year. By its recent circular Russia's Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance Rosselkhoznadzor, which is also in charge of fishery policing, suspended both issuing permits to vessels willing to start harvesting the species and the herring fishery itself. As a result, the basin's herring harvest through May 2007 was 20,000 tonnes behind the previous year figure and that influenced the total harvest of all the species as well.

The scientists' forecast and fishermen's expectations of improved fishery situation on the squid grounds did not come true either. The squid harvest through the month under analysis was lower than the last year result by 9000 tonnes and the catch lag for the first five months of the year amounted to more than 11,000 tonnes.

Actually, herring and squid were those two main species which worsened the basin's catch results in 2007 decreasing the harvest of May by 29,000 tonnes and bringing to naught the basin's catch increase through the first four months of the year.

Species

May, ‘000 metric tons

January-May, ‘000 metric tons

2007

2006

 

2007

2006

 

TOTAL catch

89.3

118.8

-29.5

804.7

808.6

-3.9

of which finfish

Alaska pollock

31.4

33.2

-1.8

602.6

562.2

40.4

Atka mackerel

6.0

5.6

+0.4

22.1

19.0

+3.1

Cod

6.1

4.4

+1.7

21.3

17.5

+3.8

Flounders

11.4

8.6

+2.8

25.4

22.4

+3.0

Grenadiers

3.1

2.1

+1.0

7.5

3.5

+4.0

Halibut

1.9

2.5

- 0.6

6.2

7.6

-1.4

Herring

13.3

34.2

-20.9

75.6

123.1

-47.5

Longfin codling Laemonema

5.5

7.7

-2.2

8.9

10.9

-2.0

Ocean perch

0.07

0.08

-0.01

0.2

0.2

0

Salmons

1.1

0.1

+1.0

1.1

0.1

+1.0

Sculpins

0.7

1.3

-0.6

1.9

3.8

-1.9

Wachna cod

1.2

0.9

+0.3

12.1

7.4

+4.7

Shellfish, mollusks, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crabs

3.7

4.3

-0.6

8.9

8.6

+ 0.3

Shrimps

0.7

0.5

+0.2

4.4

3.9

+0.5

Squid

2.0

11.5

-9.5

2.6

14.2

-11.6

The average daily catches in the seas of the Russian Far East in the first half of May 2007 were at 1800 tonnes, down from 2800 tonnes last year. In that period of time longliners and Danish seiners were targeting bottomfish along the western and eastern coasts of Kamchatka, Atka mackerel and squid in the North Kuriles, crabs and shrimps in the Sea of Okhotsk and in the Sea of Japan.

As of 16 May, according to the Fishery Regulations, Russian fishermen started dedicated Alaska pollock fishery in the Bering Sea, while in the Sea of Okhotsk the herring stock started to spawn and the fishermen began harvesting spawning herring with fixed seine gear. The average daily harvest in the basin grew to 3000 tonnes nearly on a par with the last year's 3200 tonnes, though the Okhotsk herring spawning runs and the APO fishery situation in the West Bering Sea zone were weaker than last year.

In May small seiners owned by onshore companies joined other fishermen on the grounds and the fishing efforts grew from 350 ships to 530.

Sea of Okhotsk

In the Sea of Okhotsk along the West Kamchatka coast 12-17 longliners were targeting cod and halibuts. The group's total catch through the month amounted to 1550 tonnes including 46% of halibuts. Five ships were harvesting halibut with bottom net gear and their contribution to the basin's total catch exceeded 200 tonnes of halibuts.

On the same grounds trawlers kept on harvesting mixed bottomfish. The bulk of the harvest was represented by flounder with the total monthly harvest of the species exceeding 4000 tonnes.

More than 90 vessels were harvesting crabs: snow crab opilio (54 ships) and golden king crab (4 ships) in the North Okhotsk subarea, blue king crab (32 ships) and snow crab bairdi (5 ships) in the West Kamchatka subarea. The fishermen reported daily catch rates at more than 100 tonnes of crabs.

Shrimpers operating in the subareas of the Sea of Okhotsk harvested more than 30 tonnes per ship through the month.

Whelks were targeted by 11 ships with the total catch of 400 tonnes through the month.

In the middle of May 2007 the fleets started harvesting spawning herring. More specifically, one Magadan-based ship was operating on the grounds of spawning herring, besides 5 seines for spawning herring were set off Okhotsk and 4 seines were set off Evensk. The raw fish was received by 11 vessels with the rates reported at 600-800 tonnes per day and some 200-500 tonnes of herring were daily landed for onshore processing. Due to low temperatures there were no spawning runs of herring in the Ayansky District. By the end of the month the fishermen covered 60% of the roe herring quota.

North Kuriles

In the waters of the North Kuriles a group of 17-19 vessels was targeting squid and Atka mackerel with the fishery situations on the grounds of the both species reported as unsatisfactory. The average daily catches were reported at 8.4 tonnes of squid and 9 tonnes of Atka mackerel per RTM trawler owned by OAO NBAMR (plc) and at 7.7 tonnes of squid and 8.8 tonnes of Atka mackerel per BATM large trawler owned by OAO Okeanrybflot (plc)

The dedicated fishery of grenadiers in the Kurile waters was conducted by three vessels altogether harvesting more than 1300 tonnes of grenadier through the month. The average daily catch rates amounted to 23 tonnes per ship.

In the middle of May 2007 three Sakhalin-based vessels started harvesting salmons under the fishery research program. Their catches were dominated by chum salmon (56.3%). Sockeye accounted for 38.5% while chinook and pink salmon accounted for 5.2% put together.

South Kuriles

The Russian harvest in the waters of the South Kuriles amounted to 1900 tonnes with 70 ships operating at sea. Cod and halibuts were targeted by three longliners reporting a total harvest of 212 tonnes.

On the grenadier grounds Vladimir Broduk owned by OOO Daltransflot (ltd) harvested ca.17 tonnes of the species daily.

One Sakhalin-based vessel owned by OAO Pilenga (plc) was targeting longfin codling Laemonema.

However, most of the vessels (40 in number) were conducting sea urchin fishery.

Bering Sea, East Kamchatka

In early May 2007 a group of 23 Russian longliners was harvesting cod and halibuts in the Bering Sea and at the shores of East Kamchatka. The daily catch per 1 kilo of line was reported at 130-160 kilos with the share of halibuts gradually growing from 17% to 35% and even to 60% on some days. The total harvest of the longliner fleet amounted to 3360 tonnes through the month, including 670 tonnes of halibut.

Already in the first ten days of May 2007 the expedition of vessels engaged in mixed bottomfish operations grew in number thanks to newcomers - small seiners owned by onshore companies. The bulk of the harvest was made by Alaska pollock and flounder 60-70%, while cod contributed no more than 20% to the harvest with the remaining share made by Atka mackerel, wachna cod, grenadier and halibut. Trawl and Danish seine operations contributed 20,850 tonnes, including 10,950 tonnes harvested in the territorial waters.

Vessels owned by two Kamchatka-based companies were hunting for blue king crab and snow crab opilio in the West Bering Sea zone with the ships' total catches through the month reported at 123 and 143 tonnes correspondingly.

In the same zone 6 driftnetters were harvesting salmons under the research programs of VNIRO, TINRO and KamchatNIRO institutes. In 30 days the group harvested ca.200 tonnes of salmons, mostly sockeye (75.7%).

Another group of vessels set drift nets on the ways of salmon migration to the shores of East Kamchatka. In 156 days at sea the vessels altogether harvested 790 tonnes of salmons including 97% of sockeye. The average daily catch per ship amounted to 5.1 tonnes.

B Season

In the second half of May 2007 the Alaska pollock fishery was resumed in the Bering Sea where the APO stocks remained the basis for large scale fishery operations during a number of years. More specifically, the APO contribution to the basin's total harvest amounted to 38.9% in 2003, 53.1% in 2004, 44.8% in 2005 and 42.7% in 2006.

The Alaska pollock fishery is based on the East Bering Sea and West Bering Sea populations of the stock. This year, after a five-year moratorium for APO fishery in the West Bering Sea zone, the fishermen are allowed to conduct dedicated APO fishery with the total quota approved at 70,600 tonnes.

In May 17 large and 7 middle trawlers started dedicated fishery of the species. In the waters off the Navarin Cape the fishery operations were not possible due to the ice conditions. Therefore, the fleet was operating at 6040-6150 degrees North and 17110-17400 degrees East. The fishery situation was weak and the average daily catch per BMRT large trawler was at 52 tonnes well behind 70-80 tonnes forecasted by the scientists. SRTM middle trawler reported the average catch rates of ca.20 tonnes per ship daily. The average size of harvested Alaska pollock was 33 cm with the average weight of 450 grams.

In May 2007 the harvest of the Bering Sea APO amounted to 13,500 tonnes less bycatch from operations on the grounds of mixed bottomfish for human consumption.

Prices of Alaska pollock and APO products on the domestic market

Product

Province

2003, RUR per kilo

2004, RUR per kilo

2005, RUR per kilo

2006, RUR per kilo

January-June

July-December

January-June

July-December

January-June

July-December

January-June

July-December

Alaska pollock w/r freshfrozen

Primorsky Krai

14.90

15.10

16.90

20.60

19.90

21.95

21.85

23.75

Alaska pollock headed

25.10

25.80

26.00

29.45

32.20

32.65

34.10

Alaska pollock headed

Magadan

30.00

29.20

27.15

30.25

27.27

28.70

28.45

29.15

Alaska pollock w/r

Khabarovsky Krai

23.38

24.10

24.65

26.05

Alaska pollock headed

28.70

29.85

31.75

32.30

Alaska pollock w/r

Kamchatka

11.68

13.85

14.55

15.35

Alaska pollock headed

25.80

27.70

30.35

31.15

Average wholesale prices of Alaska pollock and APO products on the domestic market

Product

Province

2003, RUR per kilo

2004, RUR per kilo

2005, RUR per kilo

2006, RUR per kilo

Alaska pollock w/r

Vladivostok

19.20

23.95

28.15

29.15

Alaska pollock headed

28.15

31.50

36.00

36.70

Alaska pollock mince

67.30

69.70

70.35

74.90

Alaska pollock fillets

83.40

87.50

97.35

116.20

Alaska pollock w/r

Khabarovsky Krai

21.20

24.85

30.00

30.25

Alaska pollock headed

33.10

40.65

43.00

44.10

Alaska pollock mince

74.40

84.70

81.45

83.90

Alaska pollock fillets

82.40

88.20

84.00

90.70

Alaska pollock headed

Kamchatka

34.85

36.90

36.70

37.95

Average consumer prices of Alaska pollock and APO products on the domestic market

Product

Province

2003, RUR per kilo or per standard can

2004, RUR per kilo

2005, RUR per kilo

2006, RUR per kilo

January-June

July-December

January-June

July-December

January-June

July-December

January-June

July-December

Alaska pollock w/r

Primorsky Krai

21.95

22.30

23.85

25.65

32.6

32.95

34.15

34.35

Alaska pollock headed

31.65

31.10

37.40

38.75

46.75

46.35

50.95

51.15

Alaska pollock mince

87.80

98.50

110.2

112.45

Alaska pollock fillets

113.75

129.80

129.95

131.35

Alaska pollock liver, can No.6

36.80

41.75

42.05

42.05

Alaska pollock roe, can No.6

46.30

44.45

44.90

44.85

Alaska pollock w/r

Khabarovsky Krai

22.15

23.35

24.55

26.95

Alaska pollock headed

34.80

34.20

35.05

36.95

Alaska pollock w/r

Magadan

39.00

40.00

39.00

43.00

31.90

32.30

32.90

32.85

Alaska pollock headed

43.60

43.25

44.65

44.90

Alaska pollock w/r

Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky

33.88

36.75

40.00

40.15

Alaska pollock headed

42.88

42.35

42.50

44.75

Alaska pollock fillets

87.00

89.45

93.55

93.55

Alaska pollock roe

200-400

200-400

215-420

215-420

Alaska pollock w/r

Sakhain

35.20

34.30

39.00

39.40

Alaska pollock headed

52.95

53.35

60.00

59.15

Note: Prices compiled from statistical sources and TINRO forecasts

Above tables show that the prices for APO products vary greatly depending on the fishing season, area, fish size, regional level of prices for electric power, fuel, etc. Distance between the market and the production area, wholesaler strength, etc. also tell on the end prices for the products.

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