Overview of fisheries in the seas of the Russian Far East in April 2008
In April 2008 the total harvest in the seas of the Russian Far East Basin declined by 13,880 tonnes to 116,510 tonnes from 130,390 tonnes in April 2007 mostly due to lower catches of herring. In the meantime, the Basin's total harvest through January-April 2008 exceeded the corresponding result of the previous year by 63,560 tonnes, fishery sources in Vladivostok told http://www.fishnet-russia.com/ (https://www.fishnet.ru/).
The bulk of the Basin's harvest in April was contributed by Alaska pollock with the species share in the monthly harvest reaching 76%. The dedicated APO fishery at the western coast of Kamchatka was closed on the last day of March.
According to the fishery regulations, at the same time, the main APO season of the year was closed in the first ten days of April in the North Okhotsk subarea. About 50 middle vessels and 70 large vessels continued harvesting Alaska pollock in the subarea. The average daily harvest of Alaska pollock exceeded the corresponding result of the previous year 2007 by 3000 tonnes. The group harvested 60,000 tonnes of Alaska pollock until the closure of the area. Take-up of the APO quotas for commercial fishery in the subarea amounted to 94.3%.
Along with the above, one BATM large trawler and 11 STR middle trawlers owned by PBTF continued harvesting Alaska pollock in the East Sakhalin subarea of the Sea of Okhotsk. In the same subarea another 5 large vessels based in Sakhalin, Primorye and Khabarovsk were targeting Alaska pollock with the average daily catch fluctuating from 70 to 100 tonnes per ship. The roe yield amounted to 2.8-3%.
Provisional catch figures for the Russian Far East Basin in January-April 2007-2008
Catches in April, ‘000 metric tons
Catches in January-April, ‘000 metric tons
Of which finfish species
Longfin codling Laemonema
Simultaneously with the closure of the APO fishery the Fishery Regulations imposed a ban for fishery of roe Okhotsk herring by trawl gear. The fishery in the current year was progressing less actively than last year. In the first ten days of the month there were 10 fishing vessels on the grounds though the weather conditions were favourable. The harvest of herring in April 2008 was 28,000 down on the result of April 2007.
In the Bering Sea and at the eastern shores of Kamchatka up to 20 longliners were harvesting mixed concentrations of cod and halibut and by the end of the month the fishing efforts decreased two times in number. Those vessels handled from 160 to 400 km of longline per day and the reported daily harvest fluctuated from 40 to 140 tonnes. The share of halibuts varied at 9-37% and amounted to 15.6% on the average.
While in the Bering Sea and in the East Kamchatka the number of longliners was halved by the end of the month, the fishing efforts in the Sea of Okhotsk grew to 10 ships. The fishermen processed 520 km of longline per day on the average with the daily rates per ship reported at 3.3 tonnes (versus 7.5 tonnes in the Bering Sea). The fishery efficiency was also lower at 123 kilos per 1 km of longline versus 311 kilos. However, the share of halibuts in catches was higher and amounted to 38% on the average.
Besides, Kamchatka-based vessels operating in the subareas of the Sea of Okhotsk harvested halibut with trawl gear with the group's total harvest through the month amounting to ca.900 tonnes.
Kamchatka and Magadan-based vessels were also harvesting halibuts with bottom nets. Sometimes the nets were lifted empty as all the catch was eaten by killer whales which used to hamper the bottom net fishery in the recent years. Nevertheless, the halibut harvest of bottomnetters amounted to 300 tonnes through the month.
Starting from the second ten days of the month already ten vessels were operating on the grounds of mixed bottomfish for human consumption in the Bering Sea and at the shores of East Kamchatka. The average daily harvest of the group amounted to 207 tonnes with the rates per haul reported at 18.3 tonnes on the average. The total harvest of bottomfish in the area amounted to 6000 tonnes through the month.
At the same time, though the total harvest at the western coast of Kamchatka exceeded 7000 tonnes with a larger number of trawlers and Danish seiners operating on the grounds, the catch rates in the area were lower at 23.4 tonnes on the average or 11.5 tonnes per haul. The bulk of the harvest was contributed by flounder.
The squid fishery in the Kurile waters was conducted mostly by the vessels owned by Nakhodka BAMR. Last year, by the closing ten days of the month the fishing efforts on the grounds numbered 20, but the vessels were only able to harvest Atka mackerel and Alaska pollock. Squid was harvested as bycatch only. In 2008 the shipowner did not hurry to send the fishermen to the squid grounds because the scientists forecasted abundant runs of spring-summer squid schools no earlier than in the second ten days of the month. Therefore, in April 2008 four vessels operating in the area were targeting mostly Atka mackerel. Nevertheless, the squid harvest through the month was 360 tonnes higher than last year.
The Basin's harvest of sea urchins through April 2008 amounted to 280 tonnes, 110 tonnes up on 170 tonnes in the same month of the previous year 2007. The harvest of sea cucumber jumped 2.5-fold on last year. In April 2008 the crab quotas in the Sea of Okhotsk were actively progressing. Golden king crab was harvested in the North Okhotsk subarea, while blue king crab was harvested in the West Kamchatka subarea. In the south of the western coast of Kamchatka 13 crabbers were targeting snow crab bairdi. Starting from the second ten days of April the Russian fishermen began harvesting snow crab opilio in the North Okhotsk subarea.
As a result, the total harvest through the month exceeded the corresponding result of last year by 360 tonnes. In all the subareas of the Sea of Okhotsk the fishermen were targeting shrimps. The fishery of deepwater shrimp was more successful in the North Okhotsk subarea. Vladivostok-based vessel owned by ZAO Istok-AB (closed JSC) was harvesting its pink shrimp quotas in the East Sakhalin subarea with the fishery conditions being fairly difficult. Due to the exhaustion of the commercial quotas of deepwater shrimp P.borealis the Primorye subarea in the Sea of Japan was closed for fishery already in March 2008.
In the first four months of the current year 2008 the Basin's total harvest of finfish and other aquatic species exceeded the respective result of last year by more than 60,000 tonnes, mostly thanks to larger catches of Alaska pollock growing by 83,000 tonnes on last year. Increased catches were recorded for such species as ocean perch and cod (+2900 and +2500 tonnes correspondingly). The crab harvest through January-April 2008 amounted to 6900 tonnes, 1700 tonnes up on 2007. Despite a decrease of shrimp catches in April, the Basin's harvest since the start of the year exceeded the corresponding result of last year by 720 tonnes.
At the same time, the fishermen reported lower catches of flounder (-5700 tonnes), grenadier (-1500 tonnes), wachna cod (-1800 tonnes), herring (-13,000 tonnes), Atka mackerel (-1950 tonnes) and halibut (-500 tonnes).