Russian fishermen boosting fishing efforts in the Irminger Sea
As per late April 2007 the total Russian harvest of ocean perch Sebastes mentella in the Irminger Sea since the beginning of the season did not exceed 1000 tonnes with the share of Kaliningrad-based fishermen amounting to ca.65% according to the number of fishing efforts on the grounds.
At the 25th NEAFC session the sides have agreed that the TAC of ocean perch in the area will amount to 46,000 tonnes, of which 2875 tonnes can be harvested in the NAFO zone. No more than 29,900 tonnes (65% of the TAC) can be covered in the northeast of the Irminger Sea until 15 June 2007. The sides however did not make a final decision on the principles of the TAC distribution into national quotas. According to the order of the Russian Ministry of Agriculture No.477 dated 22 December 2006, Russia's national quota 2007 in the open part of the Northeast Atlantic under the NEAFC jurisdiction has been one-sidedly set at 29,480 tonnes of ocean perch of the Irminger Sea.
In order to get ready for the fishery Kaliningrad trawlers started to move to the grounds of ocean perch Sebastes mentella in the Irminger Sea already in the first five days of April. Kaliningrad-based OOO Maritime Star (ltd) was the first to send its vessels to the area. The group forming on the grounds included Kazan, Tsefey, Kolomenskoye and Karacharovo trawlers. By the end of the first ten days of the month three vessels coming from Murmansk-led North Fisheries Basin also joined them - Pyotr Petrov and M-0056 Ozernitsa owned by OAO Murmansk Trawl Fleet (plc) and C-0162 Olenino owned by SPK RK Kuzema. The fishermen started spotting in search for the most promising grounds for future fishery operations in between the 61-62 degrees North 21-31 degrees East. During the second ten days of April the fishery conditions were not much stable with the average rates not exceeding 5 tonnes per day. Therefore other shipowners did not hurry to send their fleets to the area and the group kept searching for better grounds with the same membership.
By the beginning of the closing ten days of April the most promising area was defined. That was a traditional area along the borderline of the 200-mile zone of Iceland at 6130 degree North and 28 degree East on the average. Evidently, the captains informed their shipowners about beginning stabilization of ocean perch catches in the area, therefore the group started actively growing in number. By the middle of the last ten days of April the fishing efforts on the grounds numbered at least 15 Russian vessels, 12 of which came from Kaliningrad. Along with trawlers owned by the above mentioned Maritime Star, the group included 4 trawlers (Orlik, Olshana, Ozherelje and Ostankino) owned by OOO Zapmorflot (ltd), two ships (Omar and Tulen) owned by JSC ZAO RPK Rybflot-FOR and one vessel (Kapitan Edemsky) of OOO Atlantrybflot (ltd). According to the shipowners, the fishery conditions were still too unstable, but some vessels with well-tuned trawl systems used to report catches of more than 10 tonnes per day. The best catch rates of 15 tonnes were reported by foreign-built Tulen. By late April - early May the situation was expected to begin improving. More vessels based in the Russian North Basin were expected to start moving to the area.