Russian blue whiting fishery moved to the international waters

February 12, 2007 16:04

Up through 25th January the blue whiting fishery in the northeast Atlantic was conducted by the Russians only within the Faeroese fishing zone. On the grounds in its southern part to the north of the 60th degree North blue whiting was harvested by a small group of 6-7 trawlers from the country's West and North Fisheries Basins. The fishing efforts were insufficient, though the conditions were reported as satisfactory. Kaliningrad-led West Fisheries Basin was represented by two trawlers owned by OOO Maritime Star (ltd) and two ships owned by JSC ZAO Westrybflot.

Murmansk-led North Basin was represented by one large vessel of OAO Murmansk Trawl Fleet (plc), one of OAO Arkhangelsk Trawl Fleet (plc) and one of SPK RK Kuzema (fishing co-op).

Subject to favourable weather conditions, the catch rates at the depths of 300-500 meters amounted to 50-80 tonnes per day (mostly thanks to catches in the daytime). In the closing five days of January concentrations grew less strong mainly due to the stock's southwards migration to the spawning grounds. Catches grew less stable and the fishery efficiency was dwindling. Some captains decided to switch to larger pre-spawning blue whiting in the international waters of Rockall-Porcupine to the west of the British Isles. Murmansk-based RTMKS Vassily Lozovsky and Admiral Starikov owned by OAO Murmansk Trawl Fleet (plc) were the first to appear on the grounds at the 56th degree North in late January. The catch rates in the first days at sea were reported at 50-60 tonnes. In the days to follow the catches were larger and already by 29-30 January 2007 the ships' rates grew to 200-280 tonnes per day. Thanks to newly coming vessels owned by OOO Robinzon (ltd), OAO Arkhangelsk Trawl Fleet (plc), SPK RK Kuzema, OOO Kemskie Promysly (ltd) from the Russian North Basin and Kaliningrad-based JSC ZAO Rybflot-For, OOO Maritime Star (ltd) the efforts on the grounds grew to 10 in number.

By the start of February more than 10 Russian vessels were targeting blue whiting already in the international waters with the catch rates of 40-80 tonnes. The stablest catch rates were recorded for the fleet owned by OAO Murmansk Trawl Fleet (plc): each of its three RTMKS supertrawlers processed 200 and more tones of blue whiting per day. The stock spread at the depths of 350-500 meters.

As a result, the harvest of blue whiting in the waters of the Faeroese fishing zone amounted to ca.2800 tonnes through the third ten days of January, while the result in the international waters was reported at ca.2000 tonnes.

In the first five days of February 2007 the group's total harvest in the international waters off Porcupine fluctuated within 700-1000 tonnes per day.

According to Murmansk Fish Resources, in the first ten days of February the province's wholesale operators offered blue whiting at prices as follows:

Product

Size

Price, RUR per kilo

Notes

Blue whiting

13.00

Blue whiting

20+

22.50

Blue whiting

25+

23.50

Blue whiting headed

30.00

Blue whiting w/r

23.00

Blue whiting w/r

23.00

Saint Petersburg

Herring head-on

200-

19.50

November-December

Herring head-on

200+

22.00

August

Herring head-on

200-300

22.00

August-September

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