Overview of fisheries in the seas of the Russian Far East in March 2008
In March 2008 the total harvest in the seas of the Russian Far East Basin exceeded the corresponding result of the same month of 2007 by 55,800 tonnes thanks to larger catches of Alaska pollock (plus 56,700 tonnes on March 2007), fishery sources in Vladivostok told http://www.fishnet-russia.com/ (https://www.fishnet.ru/).
The average daily harvest of aquatic bioresources in the Basin amounted to 9800 tonnes up from 5700 tonnes in March 2007. The majority of vessels were targeting Alaska pollock. The fishery situation on the herring grounds was favourable and the dedicated fishery of the species was conducted by 4 middle vessels in the course of the month. The fishing efforts on the herring grounds were smaller in number, thus resulting into a gap of catches of the species.
Provisional catch figures for the Russian Far East Basin in March 2008 and in January-March 2007-2008
Catches in March, ‘000 metric tons
Catches in January-March, ‘000 metric tons
Of which finfish species
Longfin codling Laemonema
In March 2008 at the shores of East Kamchatka and in the Sea of Okhotsk longliners were harvesting cod and halibuts. The fishing efforts at the western coast of Kamchatka were 3 vessels up on the average, as a result of which the average daily harvest of longliners in the area on some days was twice larger than the daily harvest of longliners at the shores of East Kamchatka. At the same time, in the waters of East Kamchatka the Russian fishermen harvested 149 kilos of fish per 1km line versus 133 kilos on the average in the Sea of Okhotsk. There the halibut fishery was more successful with the average daily catches reported at 16.6 metric tons, of which the share of halibut reached 15.9% versus 4.2% in the waters of East Kamchatka where the average daily harvest amounted to 4.1 tonnes only. The total longline harvest through the month amounted to 3600 tonnes in the waters of West Kamchatka and 1900 tonnes in the waters of East Kamchatka.
In the Sea of Okhotsk the halibut fishery was conducted not only by longliners. The species was harvested with bottom trawl gear with the trawler fleet numbering up to 10 vessels in all the three subareas of the Sea of Okhotsk. Starting from the middle of the month a bottomnet vessel owned by Kamchatka-based Kamchatimpex began harvesting halibuts in the south of the eastern coast of Kamchatka. The total trawl harvest of halibuts through the month amounted to 287 metric tons with the share of halibuts reaching 84%. The bottomnet harvest of halibuts was reported at 150 tonnes. The fishery with bottom net gear was impeded by killer whales in the Sea of Okhotsk which used to eat the daily catch and the net was lifted empty.
In March 2008 the dedicated trawl fishery of the Okhotsk herring was conducted by 4 middle trawlers daily catching from 40 to 300 tonnes. The group's catch rates per tow amounted to ca.35 metric tons. The total herring harvest through the month amounted to 2800 tonnes, including the bycatch of Alaska pollock, groundfish and pelagic species.
Trawl and Danish seine vessels were targeting bottomfish species along the both coasts of Kamchatka. The bulk of catches in the Sea of Okhotsk was represented by Alaska pollock the share of which fluctuated from 70% to 90% of the daily harvest rising by the end of the month. The fishing efforts on the grounds amounted to 15 ships on the average. The bycatch included flounder, wachna cod, Pacific cod and halibut.
At the eastern shores of Kamchatka six vessels were harvesting mixed concentrations of Alaska pollock, cod, Atka mackerel and flounder. The shares of the species in daily catches were not stable with Alaska pollock dominating now and Atka mackerel then. In the Petropavlovsk Komandor subarea two Kamchatka-based vessels conducted dedicated fishery of Atka mackerel with their catches used to contain 100% of the species.
The fishery operations were more efficient at the eastern shores of Kamchatka where the expedition's average catch per one fishing operation were reported at 18.5 tonnes versus 13.4 tonnes in the Sea of Okhotsk. The total harvest of bottofish and pelagic species with trawl and Danish seine gear amounted to 15,700 tonnes in the Sea of Okhotsk and at ca.5500 tonnes at the shores of East Kamchatka.
In March 2007 in the waters of the North Kuriles the vessels owned by 11 companies who sent them to harvest squid reported low catches as the lifted trawls contained only Atka mackerel. In March 2008 the scientists did not forecast fishable concentrations of squid either, therefore the number of vessels operating in the area hardly reached 5. Two Vladivostok-based companies and one Magadan-based vessel were targeting Atka mackerel in the Kurile waters with the total harvest of the species through the month under analysis amounting to 1400 tonnes. Kamchatka-based vessel was targeting grenadier with a result of ca.175 tonnes through the month.
Besides, the Basin's fishermen were actively harvesting crabs, shrimps and sea urchins.
In the Sea of Okhotsk on the shelf of the West Kamchatka subarea the blue king crab fishery was conducted by three vessels handling ca.1550 traps daily all together. The total catch of blue king crab amounted to 230 tonnes.
In the Kamchatka Kurile subarea 10-16 crabbers harvested 567 metric tons of snow crab bairdi. The average harvest per trap was reported at 5.5 kilos of blue crab abd 4.63 kilos of snow crab bairdi.
In the North Okhotsk subarea the fishermen were harvesting golden king crab. There three vessels harvested more than 200 metric tons of crabs through the month with the average daily catch per vessel fluctuating from 2.5 to 4 tonnes of the crab species.
Just like in March 2007, in the Sea of Japan Vladivostok and Sakhalin-based vessels were harvesting red snow crab. There were 7 vessels operating on the grounds where the dedicated vessels owned by ZAO R/K Vostok-1 (closed JSC) harvested 3.5-4 tonnes per day each. The vessels converted for deepsea crab fishery reported the daily rates from 0.8 to 3.3 tonnes.
In the beginning of the month four shrimpers were targeting pink shrimp Pandalus borealis in the North Okhotsk and Kamchatka Kurile subareas. The catch rates on the grounds of pink shrimp on the shelf of the West Kamchatka were twice lower as the catch rates per tow amounted to no more than 500 kilos just like in March 2007. The vessels started moving to the North Okhotsk subarea, while one Vladivostok-based vessel Stella-Karina switched to the pink shrimp fishery in the East Sakhalin subarea. With the fishery conditions in the North Okhotsk subarea being fairly favourable the shrimp fishery was impeded by ice fields. By the middle of the month ice fields started to form once again and the vessels had to work in ice, therefore catches per tow and daily rates per ship decreased. The daily catches of shrimpers fell to 23 tonnes with the daily catch rates from 40 metriс tons in the beginning of the month. The total harvest in all the subareas of the Sea of Okhotsk amounted to 744 tonnes contributed by the North Okhotsk subarea and 120 tonnes in the Kamchatka Kurile subarea.
The shrimp fishery was also conducted in the Sea of Japan by the vessels based in Vladivostok-led Primorsky Krai Territory, Khabarovsk Territory and Sakhalin. The daily catches per dedicated trawler were never lower than 1 tonne. However, already on 27 March 2008 the Primorye subarea was closed for pink shrimp fishery due to exhaustion of commercial quotas.
The sea urchin fishery was successfully conducted along the Small Kurile Ridge and off Shikotan by companies based in the Kuriles and in Sakhalin. The group's total harvest of sea urchins exceeded 300 metric tons through the month.
In March 2008 one of the main fishing expeditions of the year, the Alaska pollock season in the Sea of Okhotsk, was finished.
The Alaska pollock TAC 2008 in the Sea of Okhotsk has been set at 697,500 metric tons, 186,500 tonnes up on the TAC 2007. The Alaska pollock fishery was started already from the first days of January according to the new Fishery Regulations. This year the APO season started under the scenario of the previous years. In January the fishery was opened from the southwest slopes of the Kashevarov Bank of the North Okhotsk subarea and in the south part of the Kamchatka Kurile subarea. The average daily catches of large and middle trawlers were somewhat higher at the Kashevarov Bank, namely 90.8 and 28.4 tonnes versus 86.1 and 16.7 tonnes in the south of the West Kamchatka coast. Already by the middle of January 2008 the bulk of the vessels concentrated in the Kamchatka-Kurile subarea with the average catch rates per day amounting to 70 and 32 tonnes depending on the vessel type. In the remaining subareas the vessels operated occasionally. Some of the vessels were spotting in the West Kamchatka subarea up until the entrance into the Shelikhov Bay. As a result, in the beginning of February 2008 already more than one half of the fishing vessels moved to the West Kamchatka subarea where they harvested Alaska pollock mostly in the south part of the subarea at the depths of 230-300 meters and in the TINRO Deep at the depths of 450-500 meters. The average daily catches amounted to 76 tonnes for large trawlers and 34 tonnes for STR and SRTM middle trawlers.
In March 2008 the bulk of the vessels continued the APO fishery in the West Kamchatka subarea, as the subarea's APO TAC was 139,000 tonnes larger than last year and by the start of the closing ten days of the month many companies were about to exhaust their quotas in the Kamchatka Kurile subarea.
The quota take-up in the Kamchatka subareas of the Sea of Okhotsk was very high and already by the closing ten days of the month the total harvest of the APO trawlers increased by 2000 tonnes. The harvest of APO per one-hour tow was reported at 15 tonnes, the average size of the fish amounted to 40 cm, the weight to 480 grams and the roe yield to 4.5%. The quota take-up by the end of the month amounted to 98.3% in the West Kamchatka subarea and 96.1% in the Kamchatka Kurile subarea. Last year the commercial APO quotas were covered at 97% and 96.9% correspondingly.
Beginning from the second ten days of March 2008 the fleet operating in the North Okhotsk subarea grew in number. The fishery situation in the area was somewhat worse than last year, but the roe yield amounted to less than 5%.
In general, the average daily rates of the Okhotsk APO catches amounted to 74.2 tonnes per large trawler and 30.6 tonnes per middle trawler, while the rates per tow were reported at 32.1 tonnes and 15.1 tonnes correspondingly. On 20-25 March 2008 the daily harvest of Alaska pollock in the Sea of Okhotsk was never lower than 10,000 tonnes. The total harvest of Alaska pollock in the Sea of Okhotsk amounted to 254,000 tonnes.
Take-up of commercial Alaska pollock quotas in the Sea of Okhotsk by provinces
North Okhotsk subarea
West Kamchatka subarea
Kamchatka Kuriles subarea
Primorsky Krai (capital Vladivostok
The remaining APO quotas will be covered as bycatch in bottomfish operations, herring fishery, longline cod fishery, halibut fishery.