Overview of fisheries in the seas of the Russian Far East in April 2007

May 17, 2007 16:02
According to provisional figures, in April 2007 the total Russian harvest in the seas of the Far East came down by more than 30,000 tonnes as compared to the same month last year. The bulk of the harvest was contributed by Alaska pollock and herring of the Sea of Okhotsk. However, in the current year the APO catch in the Sea of Okhotsk decreased to 67,000 tonnes year-on-year or 25,000 tonnes down on April 2006. The catch of roe Okhotsk herring was 10,000 tonnes smaller than last year.

Species

April, metric tons

January-April, metric tons

2007

2006

+/-

2007

2006

+/-

Total

130.4

162.0

-31.6

715.5

690.1

25.4

Of which finfish

Alaska pollock

67.5

93.2

-25.7

571.1

529.0

42.1

Atka mackerel

8.1

5.8

2.3

16.0

13.4

2.6

Cod

3.6

3.5

0.1

15.2

13.2

2.0

Flounder

5.2

5.0

0.2

13.9

13.8

0.1

Grenadier

2.4

1.1

1.3

4.4

1.4

3.0

Halibut

1.8

1.9

-0.1

4.3

5.1

-0.8

Herring

32.7

42.9

-10.2

62.3

88.9

-26.6

Longfin codling Laemonema

1.8

1.7

0.1

3.4

3.2

0.2

Ocean perch

0.02

0.12

-0.1

0.1

0.2

-0.1

Sculpins

0.5

1.0

-0.5

1.2

2.5

- 1.3

Wachna cod

1.0

0.7

0.3

10.8

6.7

4.1

Shellfish, mollusks, etc.

Crabs

2.5

2.0

0.5

5.2

4.4

0.8

Sea cucumber

0.1

0.03

0.07

0.1

0.05

0.05

Sea scallops

0.1

0.1

0

0.3

0.6

- 0.3

Sea urchins

0.2

0.2

0

0.6

0.5

0.1

Shrimps

1.1

0.8

0.3

3.6

3.3

0.3

Squid

0.5

1.2

-0.7

0.6

2.7

- 2.1

While the APO catch lag could be attributed to quicker take-up of quotas by large producers in the previous months, the catch failure on the herring grounds this year was not the fishermen's fault. The daily catch rates were stable and the vessels were harvesting as much herring as they could process. The poor performance of the Okhotsk herring fishery was caused by the legal mess as the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation invalidated the law on Fishery Regulations from 2002 which had not passed registration in the nation's Ministry of Justice. The Russian veterinary and phytosanitary service Rosselkhoznadzor suspended issuing permits for herring fishery allowing those vessels which had started targeting herring in March to continue the fishery up through 20 April 2007. Under the new Fishery Regulations in the Far East Basin to be valid as of 22 May 2007 the herring fishery is banned from 10 April till 31 August except for spawning herring for inshore fishery by any gear but trawl nets. As a result, the fishermen complained they lost time and potential catches.

The scientific forecast for squid fishery came true with the fleets occasionally harvesting squid in the waters of the North Kuriles. The squid harvest in April 2007 was 770 tonnes down on the same month last year. The dedicated squidders had to harvest Atka mackerel. As a result, squid amounted to only 15.5% out of the area's catch of ca.4000 tonnes.

The Basin's total harvest through the first four months of the year exceeded the corresponding result of last year by 25,000 metric tons. The harvest of cod family species increased by 51,000 tonnes, of which Alaska pollock - by 42,000 tonnes, cod - by 2000 tonnes, wachna cod - 1.6-fold and grenadier - 3-fold. Only five out of main species displayed a catch lag on last year - minus 26,000 tonnes of herring, 800 tonnes of halibut, 1300 tonnes of sculpins, 2100 tonnes of squid and 100 tonnes of ocean perch.

Bering Sea

In April 2007 in the Bering Sea and along the eastern coast of Kamchatka the fishery was conducted by ca.98 vessels all together harvesting 13,800 tonnes. The species fished in the area were cod, halibut, flounders, Atka mackerel, Alaska pollock, grenadiers, sculpins and skates.

A fleet of 20 longliners was operating in the West Bering Sea zone in the Karaginsk subarea. The bulk of catches was contributed by cod with the average daily harvest amounting to 5.2 tonnes per ship, including a mere 19% of halibuts. The number of vessels operating on the grounds of mixed bottomfish increased three times by the end of the month. While in the first half of the month catches contained 50% of Alaska pollock, starting from the third ten days of the month the dominating species was Atka mackerel with the share reaching 60-75%, while the share of flounders was 8-10%.

In the Karaginsk subarea one vessel owned by KamchatNIRO research institute was targeting crabs and reported a total harvest of 100 tonnes through the month. In the second half of the month two Kamchatka-based companies sent one ship each to harvest blue king crab and snow crabs (opilio and bairdi). The total harvest of crab through the period under analysis amounted to 20 tonnes.

North Kuriles

The April harvest in the North Kuriles zone totaled ca.9000 tonnes with up to 60 ships participating in the fishery operations in the area. Vladivostok-based vessel Ostrov Iony owned by JSC ZAO R/K Vostok-1 harvested 230 tonnes of grenadier through the month with the average daily rates of 13.3 tonnes per ship. The area's total harvest of grenadiers amounted to 1300 tonnes contributed by six vessels coming from Vladivostok-led Primorsky Krai and Sakhalin. With the APO fishery closure in the North Okhotsk subarea some vessels coming from Vladivostok, Sakhalin and Khabarovsk continued targeting Alaska pollock in the waters of the North Kuriles. Sakhalin-based vessel Bukhta Nayezdnik owned by JSC ZAO Ostrov Sakhalin harvested 717 tonnes of Alaska pollock in 17 days and Vladivostok-based newcomers reported daily rates of 70-78 tonnes per ship on the average. Vessels owned by 21 companies were sent to the Kurile waters to target Atka mackerel and squid there. Vladivostok-based fishing giant OAO NBAMR (plc) has as usual sent a group of RTMA trawlers to target the above species. Catches per ship amounted to 13 tonnes of squid with the largest catch of 21 tonnes reported by RTMA Kalinovo, 12 tonnes of Atka mackerel with the best result of 18.2 tonnes recorded for the same ship.

The fishing operations on the mixed bottomfish grounds were conducted by 5 ships with the total harvest of 3200 tonnes through the month. JSC ZAO KUK based in the Kuriles sent two of its ships to harvest golden king crab Lithodes Aequispina and the ships' average daily catches amounted to 2.2-2.26 tonnes of crabs contributing to the company's total harvest of 131 tonnes.

South Kuriles

In the waters of the South Kuriles the harvest of the Russian fleets totaled ca.1300 tonnes with about 60 vessels fishing on the grounds. The species targeted by vessels based in the islands were flounder, cod, wachna cod, sculpins, Alaska pollock, sea urchins, sea cucumber and crabs.

Sea urchins were targeted by a group of 40 ships all together harvesting ca.120 tonnes of grey and other urchin species.

Vladimir Brodyuk owned by OOO Daltransflot (ltd) conducted dedicated fishery of grenadier. In 16 days she harvested more than 370 tonnes of grenadier with the average daily rates reported at 23.2 tonnes.

Vessels coming from Sakhalin and one Khabarovsk-based ship Tumninsky owned by Kolkhoz Imeni 50 Let Oktyabrya (fishing co-op) were targeting Alaska pollock with the total harvest of the species amounting to 220 tons (17 tonnes per day on the average).

Sea of Japan

The Sea of Japan contributed no more than 2% to the total Russian harvest in the seas of the Far East. In April 2007 the Russian fleets harvested 1920 tonnes of fish in the Sea of Japan.

Middle trawlers and seiners coming from Vladivostok-led Primorsky Krai were harvesting flounders, Atka mackerel, Alaska pollock, wachna cod and sculpins in the inshore waters. The bulk of the fleets based in Vladivostok, Khabarovsk and Sakhalin were harvesting shrimps. The best catches of 2.3 tonnes per ship were reported by Sakhalin-based Vulkannyi and Lavinnyi operating out of the research quotas.

In April 2007 crabbers based in Vladivostok and Sakhalin were targeting snow crab opilio and red snow crab Chionoecetes japonicus in the Sea of Japan. High efficiency on the grounds of red snow crab was recorded for Sakhalin-based crabber Sanaga owned by ZAO JSC Seasafico (5.4 tonnes per day on the average) and Vladivostok-based crabber Arctic Discovery owned by JSC ZAO R/K Vostok-1 (4 tonnes per day).

Ksenia owned by OOO RK Kioto (ltd) tried harvesting squid in the Sea of Japan. In 6 days at sea her catch amounted to 3.1 tonnes of squid.

In April the most efficient grounds were located in the Sea of Okhotsk contributing more than 90,000 tonnes or 78.4% to the Basin's total harvest. As for particular subareas of the sea, the largest share of 83% was contributed by the North Okhotsk subarea. That was fairly obvious as that was the only subarea where the fleets kept conducting dedicated Alaska pollock fishery up through 10 April 2007. Besides, there was a large scale fishery of prespawning herring with the fishing efforts growing by those ships which had finished the APO fishery.

More specifically, the Alaska pollock fishery in the first ten days of April was conducted by 100 ships all together harvesting 37,000 tonnes. The leading harvester was Kamchatka-based Vassily Kalenov owned by JSC ZAO Kamchatimpeks reporting a total catch of more than 1000 tonnes. The expedition's catch rates per ship fluctuated from 4 to 160 tonnes per day.

After the APO fishery closure 78 trawlers and 3 motherships smoothly switched from Alaska pollock to herring. The fishery situation on the herring grounds was favourable and the species was harvested in the desired volumes. Catches contained 55% of herring 27-29cm 270 grams with the fat content of 12% and the roe yield of 4.5-5.5%. Magadan-based Mayronis owned by OOO Magadanryba (ltd) harvested more than 1700 tonnes of herring in 15 days at sea with the ship's average daily catch amounting to 117 tonnes. A catch of more than 100 tonnes per day was reported by Khabarovsk-based BATM Novouralsk owned by OOO Vostokrybprom (ltd). However, due to the aforesaid reason (closure of the fishery) the expedition's operations on the herring grounds were discontinued.

A little more than 9000 tonnes of various species were harvested at the west coast of Kamchatka. While in the West Kamchatka subarea there were about 80 ships operating on the grounds, to the subarea's south the fishing efforts were larger at ca.130 ships. There were newcomers from the seiner fleets based in the islands. In April 2007 at the shores of West Kamchatka the fishermen were targeting mixed bottomfish for human consumption, cod and halibut by longline gear. More than 20 crabbers were harvesting blue king crab and golden king crab in the West Kamchatka subarea and the same number of ships were operating on the grounds of snow crab bairdi in the Kamchatka Kurile subarea.

The bulk of bottomfish catches with Danish seine and trawl gear was contributed by flounder, the share of which decreased from 72% in the beginning of the month to 50% of the daily harvest by the end of the month. Other harvested species were Alaska pollock, cod, wachna cod and sculpins. The bottomfish harvest through the month amounted to 2600 tonnes including 2100 tonnes harvested in the inshore waters.

Longliners targeted cod and halibut in three subareas of the Sea of Okhotsk with the total harvest reported at 2200 tonnes. Te ratio of cod and halibut in catches differed depending on the subarea: in the Kamchatka Kurile and North Okhotsk subareas the share of halibut reached 60-70%, while in the West Kamchatka subarea the species accounted for only one third of the harvest.

Shrimpers also continued their operations in the Sea of Okhotsk. More specifically, 10 shrimpers were operating in the North Okhotsk subarea and 5-7 ships in the Kamchatka Kurile subarea. The fishery situation was not stable with catches falling on one day and rising on another.

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