Overview of fisheries in the seas of the Russian Far East in December 2008

January 13, 2009 12:08

According to the provisional figures, in December 2008 the total harvest in the Russian Far East Basin amounted to ca.157,300 tonnes, 27,300 down on 184,600 tonnes harvested in December 2007. At the same time, the total harvest for the year 2008 exceeded 2.2 million tonnes, 11,100 tonnes up on 2007, fishery sources in Vladivostok told http://www.fishnet-russia.com/ (https://www.fishnet.ru/).

The daily catch rates in December 2008 were below the results of the corresponding period of 2007. More specifically, the average daily harvest amounted to 4700 tonnes, 1000 tonnes down on the respective level of December 2007. The dominating species through the month were pollock and herring, which contributed 117,700 tonnes or 74.8% of the total catch.

Provisional catch figures for the Russian Far East Basin in January-December 2007-2008

Species

Catches in December, ‘000 metric tons

Catches in January-December, ‘000 metric tons

2008

2007

2008 versus 2007, +/-

2008

2007

2008 versus 2007, +/-

Total harvest

157.3

184.6

-27.3

2207.7

2196.6

+11.1

of which

 

 

 

 

 

 

Atka mackerel

6.6

7.2

-0.6

53.9

47.6

+6.3

Cod

6.1

6.4

-0.3

65.2

52.1

+13.1

Flounder

1.5

5.7

-4.2

57.7

70.8

-13.1

Grenadier

0.8

1.2

-0.4

16.3

21.8

-5.5

Halibut

0.5

0.6

-0.1

14.6

13.8

+0.8

Herring

52.1

56.9

-4.8

154.7

165.7

-11.0

Longfin codling Laemonema

0.7

0.9

-0.2

20.3

26.2

-5.9

Ocean perch

0.1

0.1

0

0.7

0.9

-0.2

Pollock

65.6

89.7

-24.1

1311.0

1206.2

+104.8

Saury

0.1

4.6

-4.5

93.4

118.8

-25.4

Sculpins

0.3

1.0

-0.7

6.6

7.0

-0.4

Skates

0.1

0.1

0

0.9

1.6

-0.7

Wachna cod

0.3

0.7

-0.4

22.0

24.7

-2.7

Other than finfish species

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crabs

4.4

4.2

+0.2

34.4

30.2

+4.2

Sea cucumber

0.1

0.2

-0.1

1.5

1.5

0

Sea scallops

0.1

0.2

-0.1

3.3

1.6

+1.7

Sea urchins

0.7

1.0

-0.3

6.3

3.9

+2.4

Shrimps

0.8

1.5

-0.7

8.1

8.9

-0.8

Squid

0.5

2.2

-1.7

55.7

58.5

-2.8

Whelks

0.4

0.1

+0.3

5.9

4.3

+1.6

Strong storms, especially in the closing ten days of December 2008, as well as lower number of the fishing efforts as compared to 2007 affected the total catch volumes through the month. As a result, the gap for the month amounted to 27,300 tonnes versus 5500 tonnes in November 2008.

The pollock fishery was conducted in the Bering Sea, Karaginsk subarea and in the North Kuriles. In the Sea of Okhotsk eight large and two middle vessels on the average were harvesting pollock quota remainder.

Already in the first ten days of December 2008 in the West Bering Sea zone the large fleet targeting the East Bering Sea pollock decreased to 22.8 ships per day on the average.

As compared to December 2007, in the closing month of the year 2008 the pollock harvest in the West Bering Sea zone appeared to be nearly 20,000 tonnes down. Through the month 22 large and about three middle trawlers on the average were operating on the grounds. The average daily catches amounted to 49.7 tonnes per large trawler and 44 tonnes per middle trawler. By the end of the month catches contained increased share of small-sized pollock of up to 20%, while the bycatch was dominated by flounder and cod.

While in 2007 the pollock TAC in the West Bering Sea zone was covered at 88%, in the year 2008 the TAC was covered only at 84%. At the same time, the total commercial quotas in the West Bering Sea zone were exhausted at 91%.

In January-November 2008 the regions covered their pollock quotas as follows: Vladivostok-led Primorye at 85.9%, Khabarovsk at 99.2%, Magadan at 97%, Sakhalin at 92%, Kamchatka at 95.3%, Koryak Autonomous District at 92.6% and Chukotka Autonomous District at 93.4%. A number of companies did not cover their quotas, they include OAO HC Dalmoreproduct (plc) with the quota take-up of 51%, OAO Preobrazhenskaya Baza Tralovogo Flota (plc) with 42.6%, OOO Mozir Plus (ltd) with 26%, ZAO Antey (closed jsc) with 77%, ZAO Ostrov Sakhalin (closed jsc) with 79%, OOO Kamchatka (ltd) with 12%, OOO Podolie (ltd) with 19%, OOO Roskamryba (ltd) with 40% and a number of other businesses.

From 5 to 10 large trawlers were harvesting pollock in the Karaginsk subarea, where the catch rates were reported higher as compared to the results for the East Bering Sea pollock, namely ca.22 tonnes of large-sized pollock versus 18 tonnes. The total harvest through December 2008 from the dedicated operations amounted to ca.8000 tonnes in the subarea.

In the North Kuriles the pollock fishery was conducted by 3 trawlers which harvested ca.26 tonnes per tow making 2 tows per day on the average.

According to the new fishery regulations (order No.277 dated 1 April 2008), a fleet of eight large trawlers and two middle trawlers continued dedicated pollock fishery in the Sea of Okhotsk to cover their quota remainders on the Kashevarov Bank and in the West Kamchatka subarea. The fishery results in the second area were weaker at 11.6-21.5 tonnes per tow compared to 24.6 tonnes on the Kashevarov Bank. The pollock roe yield rose from 0.4% in the beginning of the month to 1.2% by the end of it.

The fishermen continued successful fishery on the herring grounds with 18 large and 10 middle trawlers operating on the grounds daily. The expedition's daily catches stayed within 1030-2320 tonnes. Just like in the previous month, the fishery situation in December 2008 was satisfactory with more than 50% of the daily harvest contributed by herring of 26-29 cm and 208-285 grams. The harvest of large trawlers amounted to 40.5 tonnes per tow and 87 tonnes per day.

Rougher weather, shifting and dispersing saury schools were the main reasons behind the closure of the saury season already on 5 December 2008, while in 2007 the last catches were hauled on 14 December.

In the North Kuriles, just it had been forecasted before, the fishery situation on the squid grounds was weak in the course of the month. The bulk of the harvest was contributed by finfish with the share of squids amounting to 20.7% on the average. On the squid grounds the efforts went down from 11 in number in the beginning of the month to only 3 vessels by the beginning of the second decade of December. The total harvest of squid through the month did not reach even 500 tonnes.

Just like in November 2008 the longline herring fishery was conducted in the Bering Sea as well as at the shores of East and West Kamchatka. The bulk of the harvest from the oceanic side of Kamchatka was contributed by cod. A fleet of 12 longliners on the average, the ships coming from Kamchatka and Chukotka, were operating mostly in the territorial waters of the Karaginsk subarea. The monthly harvest of the longliners amounted to 1900 tonnes of which the share of halibuts amounted to 1.5% only. Through the year 2008 the total harvest of longliners targeting mixed concentrations of cod and halibuts amounted to 25,500 tonnes, including 3400 tonnes of halibuts.

Plenty of stormy days and beginning of ice formation impeded operations of both longliners and trawlers. At the same time, seasonal migration of cod to the high seas enabled the trawlers to improve their catch rates as compared to the autumn months. The trawlers operating in the Karaginsk subarea had up to 60% of cod in the harvest, while the remaining share was contributed by flounder, pollock and Atka mackerel. The structure of the harvest in the Petropavlovsk-Comandor subarea was different, as there the dominating species were pollock and Atka mackerel, while the share of cod amounting to only 7% of the harvest.

At the shores of West Kamchatka a fleet of 7-11 longliners was operating with 200 km of line processed daily. The average harvest through December 2008 amounted to 17 tonnes with ca.20% of halibuts. The harvest amounted to 131 kilos per 1km of longline and 3.6 tonnes per ship daily.

In the Bering Sea Kamchatka-based vessels were exhausting their blue king crab quotas. Through the month the harvest of the species amounted to 219 tonnes. The average daily harvest per vessel amounted to 2.8 tonnes, while the average rates per trap amounted to 4.1 kilos. The results of the blue king crab fishery in the West Kamchatka subarea were lower. More specifically, the number of vessels went down three times by the closing ten days of the month and the average daily catch was reported at 2 tonnes per vessel and 3.8 tonnes per trap.

In December 2008 the fishermen continued targeting snow crab opilio in the North Okhotsk subarea, the catch rates per crabber amounted to 2.8 tonnes daily, 0.8 tonne up on November 2008. In the same subarea three crabbers were hunting for golden king crab. The latter was also harvested in the shelf of the West Kamchatka subarea, with the result being better at 4 kilos per trap versus 2.8 kilos in the north part of the Sea of Okhotsk. To the south of the 54th degree North the fishermen were harvesting snow crab bairdi on the Kamchatka-Kurile shelf. The total harvest of snow crab bairdi through the month amounted to 133 tonnes, according to provisional figures.

The total allowable catches of red king crab on the shelf of West Kamchatka in 2007 were allocated exclusively for research programs. The total harvest of all the crabs through the month amounted to 4400 tonnes, only 200 kilos up on December 2007.

In the closing month of 2008 the shrimp fishery was conducted mostly in the Sea of Japan and only one Vladivostok-based vessel Tikhii Okean worked in the Sea of Okhotsk for several days in the beginning of the second decade of the month, switching to whelks afterwards. The shrimp harvest in December 2008 appeared to be two times or 0.7 tonnes down on the corresponding result of 2007.

In the Sea of Okhotsk the fishing efforts on the whelks grounds went down by one half already in the second decade of the month. The catch rates were reported at 3.9 kilos per trap and 6.2 tonnes per vessel daily.

In 2008 the fishermen of the Russian Far East harvested more than 2.2 million tonnes of finfish and other aquatic species. Thanks to active pollock fishery in the Sea of Okhotsk in winter-autumn period the pollock harvest through the year exceeded the corresponding result of 2007 by 100,000 tonnes. As compared to 2007, catches of such species as cod, Atka mackerel and crabs rose by 13,000 tonnes, 6300 tonnes and 4200 tonnes correspondingly. At the same time, there were decreases on the figures of 2007 for such species as flounder, longfin codling, grenadier, wachna cod, saury, herring and squid.

Moreover, mostly due to managerial problems, already in the first days of January 2009 the Basin's harvest was below the results of 2008 with the lag reported as more than double. Only ten BATM large trawlers were allowed to open the fishing year 2009, while 24 vessels were staying idle waiting for fishing permits. The same situation was observed in the Sea of Okhotsk.

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