Overview of fisheries in the seas of the Russian Far East in July 2008
According to the provisional figures, in July 2008 the total harvest in the Russian Far East Basin amounted to ca.200,000 tonnes, 27,700 tonnes down on the same month of 2007, fishery sources in Vladivostok told http://www.fishnet-russia.com/ (https://www.fishnet.ru/).
The fishing fleet concentrated in the Bering Sea and at the eastern coast of Kamchatka on the grounds of Alaska pollock, cod, halibuts, flounder, and crabs, namely snow crab opilio, snow crab bairdi, and blue king crab. In the waters of the North and South Kuriles the fishermen locally harvested squid, some vessels were targeting Alaska pollock and grenadier. Companies based in the islands were also hunting for invertebrates. In the Sea of Okhotsk longliners and Danish seiners were harvesting bottomfish and pelagic species. Several vessels were conducting net fishery of halibuts. A group of 15-30 crabbers was targeting snow crab opilio in the North Okhotsk subarea. At the west coast of Kamchatka crabbers were hunting for snow crab bairdi and blue king crab. The salmon fishery in the East Kamchatka and in the Bering Sea was practically ceased. At the same time, salmons started running into the rivers of West Kamchatka. Sakhalin fishermen landed catches from the first pink salmon runs to the onshore factories located in the Aniva Bay and Terpenia Bay.
Comparable analysis of fish catches and the TACs take-up in January-July 2008 as compared to the same period of 2008
July, 1000 metric tons
7 months, 1000 metric tons
Take-up of the TACs in January-July, %%
+/- to 2007
Of which finfish
Longfin codling Laemonema
Shellfish and other aquatic species
Alaska pollock and salmons of the Bering Sea were the major species in July 2008 with the shares of the species in the Basin's total harvest amounting to 39% and 41.5%.
The total results of the Basin's operations in the first seven months of the year 2008 exceeded the corresponding results of 2007 by 40,000 tonnes. Despite poor catches of Alaska pollock in the Bering Sea due to some reasons, the harvest of Alaska pollock since the start of the year exceeded the last year result by 60,000 tonnes thanks to higher APO catches in the Sea of Okhotsk. As compared to 2007, the catch increases were recorded for Atka mackerel (+2100 tonnes), cod (+8600 tonnes), squid (+8900 tonnes), and crabs (+4700 tonnes). Large decreases were reported for herring (-17,000 tonnes), flounder (-6000 tonnes), and salmons (-9000 tonnes).
As compared to last year, the fishermen from Vladivostok-led Primorsky Krai Territory, Magadan Oblast, Koryak and Chukotka Autonomous Districts had smaller catches, but the contribution of Vladivostok-based vessels amounted to 31.6%.
In the Bering Sea the Alaska pollock fishery was conducted by 60 vessels under the quotas of 58 companies based in the Russian Far East. The fleet was targeting Alaska pollock at the depths of 100-130 meters and on the deepsea grounds to the east of the 172nd degree East at the depths of 290-300 meters.
The fishery situation in that time was weak, the APO concentrations were not stable, and the stock was dispersed on all the grounds and in all the areas. The fishermen had to do lengthy tows for 7-9 hours with the catch rates per one hour tow amounting to 1-3 tonnes. Catches per one fishing effort fluctuated from 10 to 20 tonnes on the average with the daily catches per ship reported at 35 tonnes. Undersized Alaska pollock amounted to 17% of the harvest. The weight of Alaska pollock (+35 cm on the average) varied from 670 to 1050 grams.
On the Alaska pollock grounds in the Karaginsk subarea the vessels were working more efficiently as they did not have to spend fishing time for lengthy tows. The fishermen did 2-3 tows per day with the average daily catches reported at 60-80 tonnes per vessel and 30-35 tonnes per tow. The average weight of Alaska pollock +35cm fluctuated from 650 grams to 970 grams depending on the size.
Longliners conducted cod and halibut fishery in the West Bering Sea zone and along the west coast of Kamchatka. In the Bering Sea the bulk of the harvest was contributed by cod with the share of halibuts reported at 21.4%. The fishery was conducted by 18-20 vessels daily, and the group's average catches amounted to 103 metric tons. The fishermen harvested 262 kilos per 1 km of longline on the average, the catch rates per vessel were reported at 5.4-6.4 tonnes. Besides, two Kamchatka-based trawlers were targeting halibuts with the harvest through the month reported at ca.230 tonnes. Similar catch rates were reported by trawlers and two vessels based in Kamchatka with bottomnet gear. They were processing 9 km of longline daily. The harvest of bottomnetters amounted to 237 tonnes.
At the west coast of Kamchatka in the Sea of Okhotsk longliners were hunting mostly for halibuts, the share of which amounted to 96.7% on the average. The expedition daily handled 240 km of longline on the average. The fishery efficiency was lower than on the cod grounds in the Bering Sea. More specifically, they harvested 114 kilos of halibuts per 1 km of longline with the total catch per day reported at 2.6 tonnes.
Trawl and Danish seine fishery of bottomfish and pelagic species was conducted along the both coasts of the Kamchatka peninsula. In the Karaginsk subarea 35 vessels on the average were operating on the grounds every day, the efforts in the Sea of Okhotsk were smaller by 10 vessels. The production rates did not differ much in one area from another, the catch rates were reported at 12.7 and 13.7 tonnes per vessel correspondingly, and at 9.5 and 7.7 tonnes per tow.
The fishery conditions on the squid grounds in the North Kurile zone were not stable, the expedition's average daily catch would sometimes reach 400 tonnes with the average catch amounting to 264 tonnes. The vessels harvested 5.5-12 tonnes of squid per tow. With the start of the abundant salmon runs to the rivers of West Kamchatka some of large vessels switched to receiving salmons on the grounds. The total harvest of squid amounted to 6900 tonnes in keeping with the respective result in July 2007.
In July 2008 the fishermen continued harvesting crabs in the North Okhotsk subarea. More specifically, they were targeting snow crab opilio and golden king crab, and red king crab in the inshore waters. Starting from the second decade of the month the number of crabbers engaged in the snow crab opilio fishery decreased from 42 to 15 against rising efforts on the red king crab grounds in the inshore waters. The fishery conditions on the red king crab grounds were very weak, with the daily catches not exceeding one metric ton per vessel and amounting to 1.3 kilos per trap. The fishery conditions on the grounds of snow crab opilio dwindled, a group of 15-16 crabbers daily hauled 40 metric tons with the harvest per trap amounting to 4.1 kilos. In the Bering Sea two vessels were hunting for blue king crab and two ships were harvesting snow crab opilio. The total harvest through the month amounted to 136 tonnes of blue king crab and 43 tonnes of snow crab opilio.
The Russian fishermen kept fishing whelks in the North Okhotsk subarea in July 2008, there the vessels daily processed 7540 traps. Starting from the second half of the month the fishery efficiency somewhat increased, the daily harvest was reported at 27-29 tonnes for the whole fleet, the catch per vessel grew to 5-6 tonnes with the total harvest of whelks amounting to 1000 tonnes or 50% of the harvest through seven months of the current year.
The salmon fishery which took off with sockeye operations in East Kamchatka began weakening already by the first decade of July 2008. In Ust-Kamchatsky District there were 10 marine and 12 river sites organized in the area. Abundant runs of sockeye, which were observed in the beginning of the season, were not reported in July 2008, the strength of the runs started to weaken, but the catches contained a larger share of chum salmon. Leading Kamchatka-based companies targeting salmons were OAO Ustkamchatryba (plc) and OOO Sobol (ltd). In the first ten days of July pink salmon and chum salmon were actively running in the south of the Karaginsk Bay, and by the middle of July the salmon runs to the area got stronger. The largest salmon catches were reported by Koryak companies, namely OOO Tymlatsky Rybokombinat (ltd), OOO RA Belorechensk (ltd), OOO Vostochny Bereg (ltd), and RA Kolkhoz Imeni Bekkereva, operating in the south and north of the Karaginsk Bay. Fixed seine catches in the centre of the Karaginsk subarea did not exceed 1-2 tonnes per day. As per late July 2008 catches in the subarea amounted to 9000 tonnes versus 26,000 tonnes forecasted before. Pink salmon and chum salmon runs were very quick, and by the end of the month most of the seines were empty. Such situation on the grounds of pink salmon at the east coast of Kamchatka was not unexpected for the fishermen. Biannual cyclicity of pink salmon runs, even and odd years, is well known for all the participants of the fishery, which was also observed during the current season. Already from the closing ten days of the month the fishermen reported about unprecedented concentrations of pink salmon in the waters of West Kamchatka. Seines were filled with salmon, the fish ran even in those rivers where it had been not observed for a long time. Receiving vessels moved to the waters of West Kamchatka, and the total efforts by the end of the month amounted to ca.40 in number. In the West Kamchatka subarea the fishermen set 35 seines, including 3 river seines, with the daily harvest of salmons reported at more than 1000 metric tons. The harvest was dominated by pink salmon. In the inshore waters to the south of the 54th degree North there were 76 marine and 40 river seines. The catch rates per day reached 3500 tonnes.
Runs of sockeye to the Ozernaya River were observed 10 days earlier than usual; the catches of the species were large and stable. Under those conditions the sockeye TACs were expected to be exhausted ahead of time, and a possibility to raise the TAC was discussed.
In the end of the first ten days of July 2008 Sakhalin fishermen received permits to harvest salmons in the East Sakhalin subarea where there were 70 seines, and 20 seines were set in the Kuriles. The daily catches of pink salmon reached 2-2.5 tonnes already by the closing ten days of the month. The raw fish was landed for onshore processing, while the factory vessels processed only 1000 tonnes. Active fishery of salmons was conducted in the four districts: Poronaisk, Makarovsky, Dolinsky, and Korsakovsky. The total harvest in the East Sakhalin subarea amounted to more than 20,000 tonnes. A large fishery was not yet started at the coast of Iturup where the total harvest through the month amounted to 1300 tonnes, and the Okhotsk coast of Sakhalin remained free from salmons, as the pink salmon did not run to its rivers. In the meantime, the fishermen reported about large runs of chum salmon to the east coast, as a result of which the scientists had to amend the TAC of the species.
Poor runs of salmons were observed also in Magadan, with the region's harvest through the month amounted to 750 tonnes out of the TAC of 3000 tonnes.
Take-up of salmon TACs broken between areas and species in January-July 2008
TAC take-up, %%
Of which by species
West Bering Sea zone
Petropavlovsk Komandor subarea
West Kamchatka subarea
Kamchatka Kurile subarea
North Okhotsk subarea
Of which Magadan
Amur and estuary
Primorye subarea (Khabarovsk)
Primorye subarea (Vladivostok)
All the areas