Russian fisheries in North Atlantic and Central Eastern Atlantic as per 1st week of March 2010
The total harvest of Russian vessels in the North Atlantic and Central Eastern Atlantic from 1 to 8 March 2010 grew to ca.27,600 tonnes, thus displaying an increase of 3600 tonnes on the result of the fourth week of February 2010, fishery sources in Murmansk told http://www.megafishnet.com/ (https://www.fishnet.ru/), with reference to provisional figures of National Centre for Fisheries Monitoring and Communication.
Share of fish harvested by vessels coming from Kaliningrad-led West Fisheries Basin amounted to 18%. The fishing operations in the North Atlantic were characterized by unexpected decrease of capelin catches in the Barents Sea (-2700 tonnes), a rise of bottomfish catches, especially saithe (+1200 tonnes) and blue whiting in the international waters to the west of the British Isles (+2900 tonnes). The first two places in catch volumes were retained by the Barents Sea capelin which harvest amounted to 9300 tonnes or 34% of the total catch through the week and cod - 5900 tonnes or 21%. The third place, instead of haddock, was taken by blue whiting with the result of 3700 tonnes (13%).
In the Barents Sea the capelin harvest through the week under analysis dwindled to 9300 tonnes (-2700 tonnes), the contribution of Kaliningrad-based vessels amounting to 24%. The fishery was conducted in the Norwegian waters along the coastline and to the east of the 30th degree East (mostly in the Fish Bank). The conditions were generally normal, but the capelin fishery would be often suspended because of rough weather especially in the middle of the week. Due to the second wave runs of less mature and smaller capelin, the size of fish in catches fluctuated greatly, namely from 40 to 48 fish per kilo. The roe content was also different ranging from 16% to 20%. Contribution of the Norwegian EEZ amounted to 30% with the remaining 70% contributed by the Russian EEZ. The Russian capelin harvest from the beginning of fishery amounted to more than 50,000 tonnes out of the quota of 110,000 tonnes. In the same period of 2009 capelin catches were nearly twice down, but according to some operators, by the end of the season the total harvest may fail to reach the last year level of ca.75,000 tonnes due to a number of reasons. More specifically, Sever-2 control point was not commissioned yet (the check point to control vessels crossing the western border of the Russian EEZ). Its absence resulted into a loss of more than 4000 tonnes of capelin when the fleet was moving from the Russian zone to the Grey Zone. Another deterrent was that the federal authorities did not solve the issue of seafood landings in lee-ports at Murman coast (in order to land fish the vessels still had to call at Murmansk via the Kola Bay or go to the sea's northwest to the area of cargo operations at the Bear Island). In the recent weeks seafood sales turned problematic as some shipowners had to discontinue fishing because prices offered by wholesalers did not cover the production costs. Besides, there were no state orders. The fishermen complained that on the federal and local level problems associated with seafood sales and a number of other questions remained pending solution.
In the end of the first week of March 2010 all the coldstorage capacities in Murmansk Marine Fish Port were loaded and there was nowhere to land new catches. The reason behind that lied in weak sales. According to a spokesman of the province's Ministry of Economic Development, Murmansk shipowners hoped for support of the local administration while realization of catches should lay on themselves.
In the first week of March 2010 Russia's Federal Service for Surveillance in Consumer Rights Protection and Human Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor for short from Russian) started pressing for gaining control of each product lot with reference to multiple complaints of end consumers about seafood contamination. The fishermen however feared that such checks would require extra pay and time which is of great importance when dealing with chilled fish with its limited storage and processing life. In neighboring Norway the fleets were fishing alongside of the Russian trawlers and no complaints about capelin quality were reported.
In Murmansk chilled capelin was sold mostly by the only supplier Murmansk Fish Combine which commanded both its prices and trade operators. As a result, only the city's municipal shops received capelin at RUR13.00 per kilo, the remaining outlets were offered other prices. In the high fishing season it is normally a challenge to buy capelin in Murmansk. Even those traders participating in the social program of Affordable Fish (uniting a chain of cheap fish shops all over Russia) purchased capelin from Murmansk Fish Combine at higher prices and sold it at RUR20.00-40.00 per kilo (the price including transport costs) even to pensioners and veterans. Such prices evidently failed to maintain the price and quality balance. Needed volumes of capelin reached neither consumers in other Russian regions nor even residents of Murmansk province. At the same time, there were practically no coldstore capacities available in Murmansk, in the end of the first week of March 2010 only one coldstorage capacity of ca.1000 tonnes was available, the situation with coldstores owned by private companies was similar. Actually the market conditions in 2010 resembled those of last year when the fishermen could not find buyers for their products and wanted to land catches only to coldstores.
Main bottomfish operations were continued in the Norwegian EEZ along Lofoten and on more northern grounds. The conditions depended mostly on the weather. The cod harvest through the week grew to 5900 tonnes (+1700 tonnes), haddock - to 2900 tonnes (+580 tonnes), saithe - to 1800 tonnes (+1200 tonnes). In the Norwegian Sea pelagic fishery was not conducted. The blue whiting fishery was conducted in the international waters to the west of the British Isles. Thanks to larger fishing efforts and comparably favourable weather conditions in the waters of Porcupine the blue whiting harvest increased to 3700 tonnes (+2900 tonnes), of which 33% were contributed by Kaliningrad-based vessels. The average weight per fish was 190-195 grams.
In the Central Eastern Atlantic the Russian fishermen were operating in the waters of Mauritania where they harvested 2700 tonnes (+200 tonnes) through the week. The product range included 39% of horse mackerel. The second place was taken by sardinella (26%), the third place was taken by sardine (16%) instead of anchovy. The share of mackerel amounted to 11%. The bycatch contained small volumes of anchovy, bonito, sea bream and hake. One Murmansk-based trawler continued catching krill in the waters of the South Orkney Islands. The catch through the week amounted to 911 tonnes (-230 tonnes), the total harvest from the beginning of the year amounted to 5400 tonnes.
As compared to the first week of March 2009 the catch results of the same period in 2010 differed mostly by more active blue whiting fishery in Porcupine (last year the blue whiting harvest in the international waters amounted to 2000 tonnes).
Provisional catch figures for North Atlantic and Central Eastern Atlantic as per 1st week of March 2010
1-8 March 2010, metric tons
21-28 February 2010, metric tons
Kaliningrad-led West Fisheries Basin
Murmansk-led North Fisheries Basin
+ / - metric tons
Anchovy (Central Eastern Atlantic)
Black halibut (Barents Sea)
Blue whiting (Porcupine)
Bonito (Central Eastern Atlantic)
Capelin (Barents Sea)
Cod (Barents Sea)
Cusk (Barents Sea)
Haddock (Barents Sea)
Hake (Central Eastern Atlantic)
Horse mackerel (Central Eastern Atlantic)
Krill (Antarctic Part of Atlantic Ocean)
Ling (Норв. море)
Mackerel (Central Eastern Atlantic)
Mullet (Central Eastern Atlantic)
Ocean perch (Barents Sea)
Ocean perch Sebastes mentella (Barents Sea)
Other marine species
Plaice (Barents Sea)
Rough dab (Barents Sea)
Saithe (Barents Sea)
Sardine (Central Eastern Atlantic)
Sardinella (Central Eastern Atlantic)
Sea bream (Central Eastern Atlantic)
Sea cats (Barents Sea)