Progress and outlook for fisheries in the Russian Far East in January 2009
The results of fishery operations in the Russian Far East in January 2009 will depend both on managerial aspects and weather conditions. Forecasters say that the atmospheric processes over the Basin's seas will be cold and moderately cold with domination of north and northeast winds, fishery sources in Vladivostok told http://www.fishnet-russia.com/ (https://www.fishnet.ru/).
In the northwest of the Sea of Okhotsk, at the eastern coast of Sakhalin and Small Kurile Ridge ca.10 stormy days are forecasted. In the Bering Sea, at the shores of Kamchatka and in the waters of the North Kuriles the number of stormy days will grow to a little more than half a month.
In January 2009 the bulk of the fleet will concentrate in the Sea of Okhotsk where the pollock expedition of the year will take off. By the way, the allowed pollock catches for the year 2009 have been increased nearly by 25%. More specifically, the pollock TACs in the fishing areas have been approved as follows: 289,600 tonnes in the North Okhotsk subarea, 311,400 tonnes in the West Kamchatka subarea, 220,000 tonnes in the Kamchatka Kurile subarea and 48,400 tonnes in the East Sakhalin subarea. In 2009 for the sake of sustainable exploitation and conservation of pollock resources the fishermen have been recommended to harvest ca.70% (a little more than 600,000 tonnes) in the stock's prespawning period, while the remaining part should be covered in the feeding period in autumn-winter. According to the scientific recommendations, active progressing of the quotas should take off not from the first days of January, but rather from the end of the month - early February when the fishery will be more efficient.
On the area free from ice in the North Okhotsk subarea already in January 2009 the fleet may start harvesting pollock on the Lebed Hill and in the Priutaisk area, where the catch rates per effort may be higher reaching 70-80 tonnes per ship daily. The same catch rates are forecasted in the West Kamchatka subarea on the Shelikhov depth, where catches will be dominated by pollock in its first spawning cycle. The catch rates are expected to be stable at the shores of West Kamchatka in the area of the Ozernov depths break and Lebed Bank of the Kamchatka Kurile subarea, though their efficiency will be somewhat lower at 40-60 tonnes for large trawlers and 20-30 tonnes for middle trawlers. However, the harvest will be dominated by large fish with the most mature roes as compared to other suabreas. The total harvest of pollock in January 2009 is not expected to exceed 10% of the recommended catch in winter-autumn.
Less successful pollock fishery is expected in the Bering Sea in the Navarin area and at the depth break of the Koryak coast. The average catch of longliners will amount to 35-40 tonnes per ship daily and the fishermen will harvest cod and flounder as bycatch. The fishery efficiency will depend on the weather conditions in the area and the number of the fishing efforts.
Concentrations of feeding herring will be harvested by large and middle fleet in the North Okhotsk subarea.
The winter period is not the most favourable for grenadier fishery in the Bering Sea, however in the course of time the fleet will be able to harvest grenadiers in the West Bering Sea zone and in the Karaginsk subarea. Bottom trawl catches on the grenadier grounds may reach 20-40 tonnes per ship daily. The results of the longliners may be within 4-8 metric tons. If the dedicated fishery is conducted by 1-3 large trawlers or 3-5 longliners, the total grenadier harvest in January 2009 may reach 1000 tonnes in the above fishing areas. The bycatch will contain halibuts, cod, pollock, flounder, ocean perch, skates, sculpins, lycodes and black cod. In the dedicated fishery the bulk of the harvest will be contributed by giant grenadier Albatrossia pectoralis.
In January 2009 the shipowners are expecting successful longline, trawl and net fishery on the white halibut grounds at the west coast of Kamchatka and in the North Okhotsk subarea. Longliners' harvest is forecasted to contain from 60% to 90% of halibut depending on the fishing area. For middle trawlers the catch rates in the Kamchatka Kurile subarea are expected at 3-4 tonnes with the share of halibut to amount to 70-80%.
About 2000 tonnes of cod may be harvested in the dedicated fishery in the waters of the west coast of Kamchatka. Cod's wintering migrations to comparably large depths will enable longliners to harvest up to 5-8 tonnes per vessel per day, while trawlers are forecasted to catch 4-7 tonnes per vessel per day in the both subareas.
In January 2009 flounder will be harvested only as bycatch in the pollock fishery, because it is not economic to conduct the dedicated flounder fishery.
In general the fishery conditions on the trawl ways of squid are expected to be unfavourable in the North and Central Kuriles. At the same time, autumn-winter squid concentrations are finishing feeding migrations and the stock is moving to the depths of more than 500 meters, where squid is not harvested due to difficult bottom conditions.
Catch falls are also expected for longfin codling Laemonema in the Japanese zone where the fish will continue moving for spawning. The scientists recommend the fishermen to harvest longfin codling at the northeast coast of Honshu where the catch rates are forecasted at ca.40-50 tonnes per ship daily.