Progress and outlook for fisheries in the Russian Far East in December 2009
In December 2008 the pollock fishery will be based on the East Bering Sea population in the Navarin Canyon. The pollock fishery on the slopes of the Koryak coast is expected to be a success. Catches of large trawlers are forecasted by the scientists at 40-45 tonnes, fishery sources in Vladivostok told http://www.fishnet-russia.com/ (https://www.fishnet.ru/).
However the volumes of pollock catches will depend on the number of vessels participating in the fishery as well as on the weather conditions.
In December ice is forecasted to form quicker, though the ice coverage will be somewhat behind the average figure for a number of years. In the waters of Navarin the number of stormy days may amount to 15 and ca.20 days may be lost for storms in the eastern coast of Kamchatka.
Seasonal migration of cod from the shallow waters to the external end of the shelf to the depths of up to 350 meters at the eastern coast of Kamchatka will somewhat improve the fishery results as compared to the catch rates in November.
A lot of stormy days will make the longline fishery difficult. By the start of December 2008 the longline fishery of cod in these areas will be conducted by 15 vessels, however forecasted weather conditions will evidently decrease the catch rates of the longliners. The daily rates are expected at 7-9 tonnes and 8-11 tonnes per ship depending on the area. Halibut will either be absent in the harvest or account for a slight percentage.
In the trawl/Danish seine fishery, depending on the main fishery type, the daily cod catches will amount to 3-4 tonnes per ship in the Karaginsk subarea and 2-6 tonnes per ship in the southeast Kamchatka up to the Lopatka Cape. The bulk of the harvest will be contributed by pollock and Atka mackerel.
The halibut fishery in December is possible in the Sea of Okhotsk. In this period the halibut stock is normally finishing spawning and starting moving to the feeding grounds. The fishery is possible beyond the territorial waters with any fishing gear: longline, trawl and bottom net. However, the fishery situation will be non-stable. In the North Okhotsk and West Kamchatka subareas for the longliner the daily harvest per ship will amount to 3-4 tonnes with the share of halibuts reaching 70-85%. In the trawl fishery the daily catches are expected from 2 to 3 tonnes, though halibut will not exceed 70% of the total harvest. In the longline and trawl fishery the bycatch will contain mostly skates, grenadier and lycodes. At the smaller depths the fishermen will bycatch cod. In the net fishery the share of halibuts will reach 90% with the bycatch to be represented mostly by skates.
Having spawned in the above mentioned subareas halibut will return to the Kamchatka-Kurile subarea forming strong concentrations. The daily catches per ship will be higher at 4-6 tonnes depending on the fishery type. The share of halibuts in the harvest will be lower amounting to 50-70%.
At the western coast of Kamchatka the fleets will conduct trawl fishery of flounders forming wintering concentrations in the lower part of the shelf and at the depths break. The fishery results will depend on the location of the concentrations. The average harvest in December is forecasted from 9 to 20 tonnes per ship daily. The bycatch of other bottom species will amount to 20-40%.
A fleet of 14 large and 3 middle trawlers continue harvesting the remaining quota of Okhotsk herring. In the recent years the herring harvest in December has remained the largest. In December 2008 the scientists recommend conducting trawl fishery of herring by large and middle trawlers. The catch rates are forecasted at 25.5 tonnes per tow for STR middle trawlers and ca.32 tonnes per ship for large trawlers.
The fishing expedition on the saury grounds will be gradually fading. In early December 2008 there were 18 fishing vessels operating on the grounds. The raw fish was received by 4 processing vessels.
The fishery situation on the squid grounds in the waters of the North Kuriles in December will be extremely volatile. According to the scientific forecasts, the average catch rates per tow will amount to 3.5-5 tonnes and 15-20 tonnes per ship daily. Depending on the time of the day the bycatch will amount to 5-7% and 10-15% of the total harvest. Decreased efficiency of the fishery is expected on 5-10 December 2008 and in the end of the month.
In the West Bering Sea zone the fishermen will continue harvesting blue king crab and snow crab opilio.
As per early December 2008 in the North Okhotsk subarea 12 vessels are harvesting commercial quota of snow crab opilio, 3 crabbers are targeting red king crab and 3 ships are harvesting golden king crab. In the West Kamchatka subarea 23 fishing vessels are harvesting blue king crab. For the research purposes four ships are targeting red king crabs and two vessels are harvesting golden king crab. In the south of the western coast of Kamchatka 3 crabbers are hunting for snow crab bairdi. Whelks are harvested in the North Okhotsk subarea and in the Sea of Japan.
In the Sea of Okhotsk the fleets started dedicated pollock fishery with the catch rates as per early December 2008 reported at 20 tonnes per tow. The bulk of the harvest, 74% namely, was made by pollock 35-40 cm.