Overview of fishery results 2006 and fleet operations in December 2006 in the Russian Far East

January 11, 2007 12:56
In November 2006 the fleets of the Russian Far East reported lower results as compared to the same month in 2005, while their fishery operations in December 2006 exceeded the reports of December 2005.

The Basin's daily catches through the month fluctuated from 3500 to 4800 tonnes. The Okhotsk herring and the Bering Sea Alaska pollock remained the most important species in December. Some 300 fishing vessels were targeting herring in the Sea of Okhotsk, bottomfish and pelagic species by trawl and longline gear and crabs by traps. As a result, the Sea of Okhotsk contributed 47.6% of the fleet's harvest through the month. The second largest contributor was the Bering Sea with the share of 40.1% in the Basin's total harvest through the month.

Catches in the waters of the North Kuriles and in the South Kuriles were on a par with the results of 2005 and amounted to a little more than 14,000 tonnes or 10.8% of the fleet's total operations.

At the same time, contribution of the Sea of Japan in the Basin's total catch amounted to only 1.5%.

As for the provinces, the leading harvester was Primorsky Krai (capital Vladivostok) the share of which accounted for 37% of the Basin's total catch.

The below table shows catches of main commercial species in 2005-2006 (provisional figures).

Species

December

January-December

2006, ‘000 metric tons

2005, ‘000 metric tons

2006 versus 2005, +/- ‘000 metric tons

2006, ‘000 metric tons

2005, ‘000 metric tons

2006 versus 2005, +/- ‘000 metric tons

Total harvest

137.6

107.6

+ 30.0

2003.1

1996.2

+ 6.9

of which

Finfish species

Sculpins

1.2

1.8

- 0.6

12.2

21.8

- 9.6

Flounder

6.6

7.4

- 0.8

65.9

88.6

- 22.7

Longfin codling Laemonema

0.3

0.3

0

27.6

27.3

+ 0.3

Salmons

283.2

280.5

+ 2.7

Grenadier

0.9

1.9

- 1.0

17.1

23.0

- 5.9

Alaska pollock

55.2

35.0

+ 20.2

1019.7

968.6

+ 51.1

Wachna cod

0.4

0.3

+ 0.1

20.2

15.6

+ 4.6

Ocean perch

0.35

0.2

+ 0.15

1.2

1.2

0

Halibut

0.8

1.3

- 0.5

15.9

16.7

- 0.8

Saury

5.2

2.6

+ 2.6

76.8

87.6

- 10.8

Herring

48.7

37.4

+ 11.3

224.0

219.9

+ 4.1

Skates

0.2

0.2

0

1.6

2.3

- 0.7

Atka mackerel

4.9

4.5

+ 0.4

45.7

46.4

- 0.7

Cod

6.0

4.8

+ 1.2

48.0

56.3

- 8.3

Other than finfish species

Crabs

4.1

3.1

+ 1.0

29.2

29.2

0

Shrimps

1.0

0.98

+ 0.02

7.5

8.3

- 0.8

Squid

0.7

4.6

- 3.9

83.6

76.7

+ 6.9

Sea scallops

0.01

0.4

- 0.39

1.8

2.8

-1.0

Whelks

0.4

0.2

+ 0.2

5.8

5.4

+ 0.4

Sea urchin

0.3

0.3

0

2.2

1.7

+ 0.5

Sea cucumber

0.15

0.09

+ 0.06

1.1

1.2

- 0.1

According to provisional figures, as compared to the previous year result the Basin's harvest in December 2006 increased by 30,000 tonnes thanks to satisfactory weather conditions on the Basin's grounds nearly through the whole month and larger number of fishing efforts targeting some particular species. As a result, the Basin's catches of Alaska pollock grew by 20,200 metric tons, herring - by 11,300 tonnes, Atka mackerel - 400 tonnes, cod - 1200 tonnes, saury - 2600 tonnes, crabs - 1000 tonnes and whelks by 200 tonnes. A drop of 3900 tonnes of squid was caused by earlier exhaustion of quotas of such successful harvesters as OAO NBAMR (plc) and JSC ZAO Akros.

According to provisional figures, the Basin's total harvest through the year 2006 exceeded 2 million tons and the previous year result and the four preceding years of the current millennium. The Alaska pollock TAC was covered at 93%, the flounder TAC - at 81.9%, herring - 88.8%, cod -75.2% and the squid TAC on the traditional grounds in the North Kuriles and in the Petropavlovsk-Komandor subarea was covered at 90%.

The Alaska pollock fishery was conducted in two areas of the West Bering Sea Zone: at the depths in between the 170th and the 176th degrees East, where the APO catch amounted to 22,000 metric tons with the daily rates per ship reported at 66.5 tonnes in keeping with 66.1 tonnes in the previous year. In the second area on the shelf to the northeast of the Navarin canyon a group of 9 ships was targeting Alaska pollock. The group consisted of Vladivostok-based trawlers owned by OAO NBAMR (plc) and one Khabarovsk-based ship owned by OOO Vostokrybprom (ltd). The average daily catch rates per ship amounted to 67.3 tonnes or 5 tonnes down on the level 2005. Nevertheless, due to larger fishing efforts on the APO grounds, the harvest of the species in the West Bering Sea zone exceeded the result of 2005 by 16,400 tonnes. The TACs in the zone were covered at 93% and take-up of the provinces' commercial quotas accounted for 97.5%. The expedition's largest catch of 2046.5 tonnes of Alaska pollock was reported by Primorye-based Mikhail Kvasnikov owned by OOO Sofko (ltd). The ship's daily catches amounted to 113.7 tonnes on the average.

Along with Alaska pollock, trawlers were targeting bottomfish species in the Bering Sea, while four longliners were hunting for halibut, cod and grenadier reporting catches of 6-8 tonnes daily. Six Kamchatka-based vessels were targeting snow crab opilio and snow crab bairdi as well as blue king crab. Their total catch amounted to ca.400 tonnes.

Up to 76 large and middle vessels were harvesting Atka mackerel, Alaska pollock and mixed bottomfish species for human consumption along the eastern coast of Kamchatka. Two Kamchatka-based ships were harvesting squid with the average catch rates per ship reported at 15.6 tonnes daily. Along with trawlers, cod was targeted by seven longliners catching 415 tonnes with the average daily catch per day amounting to 8.8 tonnes. Anastasia ship owned by OOO Uluul (ltd) was one of the leading cod harvesters in the area. Her catch in 15 days amounted to 147 tonnes of cod.

Already in the middle of the month the fishery situation on the squid grounds in the North Kuriles grew worse and catches were dominated by Atka mackerel. The area's total harvest of Atka mackerel through December 2006 amounted to 2970 tonnes. In the meantime, catches of squid in the area totaled ca.250 tonnes. Cod longline fishery in the waters of the North Kuriles was conducted by one Primorye-based ship harvesting 66 tonnes of the species through the month.

Just like in December 2005, Primorye-based vessels were finishing the saury fishery in the waters of the South Kuriles following the stock's fishable concentrations beyond the nation's EEZ to the southeast. The monthly catch of saury amounted to 5000 tonnes. Already in the middle of the month Dalmoreproduct-owned fleet started to switch to herring fishery in the Sea of Okhotsk. PBTF-owned vessels kept on operating on the grounds until 20 December 2006.

Sakhalin-based Pilenga-2 owned by the company with the same name continued harvesting longfin codling Laemonema. A number of vessels went down from the North Kuriles to join squid harvesters on the grounds. The daily catch per ship reached 10 tonnes of squid. Two vessels owned Khabarovsk-based OOO Polluks (ltd) were harvesting cod by longline gear reporting a total catch of 260 tonnes of cod through the month with the average daily rates amounting to 4.2-4.7 tonnes. Two ships were conducting dedicated fishery of grenadier and their total catch through the month was recorded at 420 tonnes. Apart from trawl fisheries in the South Kuriles, a large group of vessels was hunting for sea urchins, octopus, sea scallops, spisula and sea cucumber.

In the Sea of Okhotsk twenty large ships and 17 middle vessels on the average were catching herring in the course of the month. The herring harvest in the area exceeded the previous year catch by 14,000 tonnes with the fishing efforts on the grounds remaining in keeping with those in December 2005. The daily rates were higher than in 2005 and the average catch per ship increased from 56.7 tonnes to 59 tonnes per day. Just like in November 2006, in the closing month of the year 2006 the fishery situation on the herring grounds was stable and the fishermen harvested as much fish as they could process. The bulk of catches was contributed by herring 27-29 cm weighing 250-300 grams with the fat content of 15-16%. The highest average daily harvest of 104.5 tonnes was reported by Magadan-based Mayronis which was also the largest harvester with the result of 2500 tonnes through the month.

The most abundant expedition in the Sea of Okhotsk was targeting crabs in all the four subareas of the sea with the fishing efforts totaling 100 ships in number. In the North Okhotsk subarea the fishermen were harvesting snow crab opilio, blue king crab, golden king crab and red king crab. The total crab harvest in the subarea amounted to 683 tonnes, including 81.5% of snow crab opilio with the fleet engaged in the fishery consisting of 26 crabbers.

More than 60 vessels were catching crab to the north of the 54th degree North at the western coast of Kamchatka. The bulk of catches was contributed by blue and red king crabs. Blue king crab was targeted by ca.50 ships altogether harvesting 947 tonnes. The red king crab fishery in the area was more efficient with the fishing efforts being smaller at 23 in number and the harvest being larger at 957 tonnes. On the same grounds 10 ships were targeting golden king crab with the total catch of the species reported at 80 tonnes through the month. The area's total contribution to the Basin's crab harvest exceeded 2000 tonnes.

On the grounds to the south of the 54th degree North a group of 22 vessels was hunting mainly for red king crab, blue king crab and snow crab opilio. The crab harvest in the Kamchatka Kurile subarea amounted to a little more than 400 tonnes of which red king crab accounted for 47% and snow crab bairdi - 50.2%.

Apart from crabs, the vessels also harvested whelks and shrimps. Nine longliners were targeting cod and a group of trawlers was also harvesting cod and other bottomfish species. The Sea of Okhotsk was the most efficient fishing area in December 2006.

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