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

July 11, 2008 16:31

According to the provisional figures, in June 2008 the total harvest in the Russian Far East Basin was a par with the corresponding result of 2007 and amounted to 133,200 tonnes, only 1600 tonnes down on June 2007, fishery sources in Vladivostok told http://www.fishnet-russia.com/ (https://www.fishnet.ru/).

A very weak fishery situation was observed on the groups of Alaska pollock in the Bering Sea, with the number of the fishing vessels reaching the level of June 2007 only by the end of the month. As a result, the harvest of the species dropped by 20,000 tonnes as compared to 2007.

In the course of the month the fisheries in the seas of the Basin were conducted by 418 vessels on the average, the figure including 48 large and 166 middle ships. The average daily harvest was reported at 4400 tonnes.

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


Catches in June, ‘000 metric tons

Catches in January-June, ‘000 metric tons



2008 versus 2007, +/-



2008 versus 2007, +/-








Of which finfish species







Alaska pollock







Atka mackerel










































Longfin codling Laemonema







Ocean perch



































Wachna cod







Shellfish species




























The total harvest of finfish and other aquatic species in the first half of the year 2008 exceeded the corresponding result of 2007 by 77,700 metric tons and harvested 1,018,000 metric tons. In June 2008 the fishermen reported increased catches of flounders (+900 tonnes), longfin codling Laemonema (+100 tonnes), and herring (+4900 tonnes), however the increases could only slightly offset the catch falls in the previous months and the total catches of the above species in January-June remained down on the first half of 2007.

A considerable lag behind 2007 was recorded for herring, minus 16,800 tonnes namely. Only 38% of the TAC for roe herring fishery with fixed gear were covered in June 2008.

At the same time, the fishermen were more actively targeting crabs and shrimps, catch of which rose by 5000 metric tons. Improved conditions for squid fishery in the North Kuriles enabled the fishermen to exceed their last year results by 7700 tonnes.

Bering Sea

Just like in the previous years, in June 2008 the most abundant and important species in the RFE Basin was Alaska pollock in the West Bering Sea zone. The share of the species in the daily catch rates accounted for 56.3%. The dedicated fishery of Alaska pollock was conducted by large and middle trawlers, the number of which grew nearly three times by the end of the month. The APO fishery took off on a small area free from small floes in the southeast part of the Navarin Canyon. The average daily rates of large trawlers were reported at 1135 tonnes based on the catches of 48 tonnes per vessel and 20.6 tonnes per tow. The middle trawlers reported twice down results as compared to 2007. The total harvest of Alaska pollock was considerably smaller than in the previous years, which was caused by smaller fishing efforts and difficult ice conditions after a cold winter. The total harvest of the East Bering Sea APO through the month amounted to 40,400 tonnes, 15,000 tonnes down on 2007.

As for the other zones and subareas of the Russian Far East in June 2008 Alaska pollock was harvested as bycatch in trawl, Danish seine and longline fisheries.

In all the three areas - West Bering Sea zone, Karaginsk subarea and Petropavlovsk-Komandor subarea - a group of 18 longliners targeted cod and halibuts reporting catches of 7.6 tonnes per ship daily. The longliners processed from 350 to 480 km of line daily and the rates per 1 km of line were 312 kilos on the average. Halibuts accounted for ca.26% of catches. One Kamchatka-based vessel was harvesting halibuts with trawl and net gear and her total catches through the month amounted to 30 and 100 tonnes correspondingly.

Bottomfish operations were conducted mostly in the inshore waters of the Bering Sea and in the Karaginsk subarea by at least 30 fishing vessels. Every day the fleet made 60-75 tows and harvested 230-440 tonnes of fish. The total harvest through the month amounted to 9.4 tonnes of various fish species, of which 90.2% were contributed by the inshore waters. In the beginning of the month catches contained mostly cod (75%), followed by Alaska pollock (12%) and flounder (7%). In the course of the month the correlation of species in catches changed with either Alaska pollock dominating with 59% versus 32% of cod and 9% of flounder, or cod coming forward with 64% versus 25% of Alaska pollock and 11% of flounder. The bycatch contained sculpins, Atka mackerel, wachna cod and halibut.

Under the research program the Russian vessels were targeting blue king crab in the West Bering Sea zone and snow crab opilio and bairdi in the Karaginsk subarea. Catches under the research quotas totaled 120 tonnes in the both areas. There the Russian crabbers were also harvesting crabs for commercial purposes. The total harvest of crabs was reported at 58.2 tonnes of blue king crab, 74.6 tonnes of snow crab opilio and 15 tonnes of snow crab bairdi.

North and South Kuriles

Thanks to improved fishery conditions on the squid grounds of the North Kuriles since the second decade of May 2008 and increased fishing efforts in the area, the results of the fleet's operations in June 2008 showed a positive trend on last year. More specifically, the dedicated fishery of squid was conducted by the vessels coming from Vladivostok and Kamchatka. The daily catches per ship rose to 40 tonnes daily, with up to 89% of squid, while in the closing ten days of June the bycatch of other species was not observed at all. However, by the end of the month the fishery conditions considerably dwindled with the catch rates per tow going down to 7-8 tonnes and the daily harvest per ship not exceeding 30 tonnes. The total harvest of squid through the month amounted to 8200 tonnes in the Kuriles.

Trawl fishery of grenadier was conducted by 3 vessels all together harvesting 2400 tonnes of the species.

In the waters of the North and South Kuriles the Russian fishermen were also targeting Alaska pollock, both in the inshore zone and beyond it. The APO harvest in the area amounted to 1800 tonnes, including the bycatch from the bottomfish operations (cod, flounder, halibuts, and sculpins).

Sea of Okhotsk

In the Sea of Okhotsk several local expeditions were engaged in targeting crabs, shrimps, cod, halibuts and bottomfish species. A larger group of 42 vessels was hunting for snow crab opilio in the North Okhotsk subarea. In the same subarea one ship was targeting golden king. Two vessels were harvesting red king crab. In the West Kamchatka subarea snow king crab was harvested by 11 vessels. Three vessels operating in the south of the west Kamchatka coast were targeting snow crab bairdi.

The vessels targeting snow crab opilio daily set and processed from 18,000 to 26,000 traps, and the expedition's daily harvest amounted to 113 tonnes on average. The fishery situation was stable with the rates per trap fluctuating from 4 to 8 kilos. The total harvest of crabs in the Sea of Okhotsk in January-June 2008 amounted to ca.14,000 tonnes, including 132 tonnes of red king crab, 7500 tonnes of snow crab opilio, 1900 tonneso а snow crab bairdi, 1300 tonnes of triangle tanner crab, and 1700 tonnes of blue king crab.

As for invertebrates, in the Sea of Okhotsk the Russian fishermen were targeting deepwater pink shrimp Pandalus borealis. Already before the fishery ban the vessels left the North Okhotsk subarea due to poor fishery conditions. The average catch per ship did not exceed 1.7 tonnes daily, and the fishery grew unprofitable for the fishermen against the background of a continuous rise of fuel costs. As a result, many shipowners told their captains to return to ports, as the fishery in the Kamchatka Kurile subarea was even more uneconomic. Two ships moved to the waters of East Sakhalin where the fishery results were also poor. The shrimp fishery in June was practically discontinued.

A group of 6 vessels was harvesting whelks in the North Okhotsk subarea. The catch rates were reported at about 15 tonnes per day on the average with the fishermen daily processing 5700 traps. The total harvest of whelks through the month amounted to 375 tonnes.

Along the west coast of Kamchatka 15 longliners were hunting for halibuts, which accounted for 87.2% of the harvest. The fishery efficiency was three times down as compared to the corresponding results reported by longliners operating in the eastern coast. More specifically, the rates per 1 km of line in the area amounted to 111 kilos on the average and the catch rates per vessel were recorded at 3.1 tonnes. Two ships continued catching halibut with bottom net gear. They daily processed up to 20 km of nets catching from 2 to 10 tonnes. The total halibut harvest with net gear amounted to ca.100 tonnes.

A group of 22 vessels conducted trawl and Danish seine fisheries on the mixed grounds of cod, flounder, halibuts, sculpins, and wachna cod in the Sea of Okhotsk. Those were mostly small inshore boats, and they reported the daily catches of 16 tonnes each on the average. The catches contained more than 50% of flounder, 15% of wachna cod, and 15% of Alaska pollock. The total harvest of bottomfish species through the month amounted to a little more than 6000 tonnes.


In June 2008 the Russian fishermen continued active fishery of salmon species with drift net gear under the research programs. In the Petropavlovsk-Komandor subarea the fishermen started harvested salmons, mostly sockeye salmon namely. In the waters of the North Kuriles Sakhalin-based vessels kept working on the stock's migration ways under the research program. One ship observed the runs in the West Bering Sea zone reporting a harvest of 780 tonnes. Eleven vessels were operating in the Karaginsk subarea and the Petropavlovsk-Komandor subarea all together harvesting 2800 tonnes of salmons. Besides, three ships were working in the waters of the North and South Kuriles and harvested 300 tonnes under the research program. The group's total catch since the start of the salmon runs amounted to 3900 tonnes, including 83% of sockeye and 16% of chum salmon.

Commercial salmon fishery started in East Kamchatka on 10 June 2008, when sockeye started the so called early run into the Kamchatka River. The total harvest in the Petropavlovsk-Komandor subarea in June 2008 amounted to 2800 tonnes, including 2500 tonnes of sockeye. Along with sockeye the fishermen also harvested chum salmon, the share of which amounted to a little more than 3% of the harvest. The salmon season 2008 was characterized by weak runs of chinook salmon. While in 2007 the bycatches contained a lot of the species up to August, in June the share of chinook amounted to 9% of the harvest. Pink salmon did not hurry to run to the spawning grounds either, and the harvest of the species in the Karagisk subarea totaled only 240 tonnes through the month.

In the West Kamchatka subarea the fishermen reported about runs of chum salmon, and the harvest of the salmon species through the month was recorded at 46 tonnes.

Salmons were also running into the south of Sakhalin, and the fishermen said that the pink salmon quota of 212 tonnes could be exhausted within several days. A potential increase of the subarea's TAC was discussed.

Recreational fishermen launched licensed salmon fishery in Magadan.

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