Russian tuna fishery recovering
Kaliningrad-based OOO Maritime Star is the only in Russia fishing company running a tuna fleet. In the end of 2006 two tuna vessels went to the grounds for the first time in the recent years. The total harvest through the year 2006 amounted to ca.400 metric tons.
In the first month of the current year 2007 the company's Strombus and Turbinella have been operating in the Equatorial subarea within the Guinean Gulf. The catch rates of the purse seiners have been fairly good at more than 40 tonnes through the third week of January. The catch range includes spotted skipjack and yellowfin tuna. In 2007 two more tuna harvesters are expected to join the above two on the grounds.
At present, Russia which has contributed a lot into tuna stock research has the right to harvest the species with a fleet of up to nine ships and Maritime Star is willing to use to opportunity 100% filling the group only with its own vessels.
The company's tuna ships K-1962 Strombus and K-1933 Turbinella (SST seiner/trawlers, design No.1348) were built in Kiev in 1985-1986. Their length and beam are more than 55 meters and ca.11 meters correspondingly.
In the year 2006 the company harvested 107,000 tonnes of fish and produced 88,000 tonnes of frozen fish items (16,000 tonnes and 9000 tonnes up on the corresponding results 2005). The vessels' fishing trip schedule has not been realized in full volume. The main reason behind that is non-observance of terms and quality of ship repair at Kaliningrad yards. The total delay of vessel trips has amounted to 274 days all together. In 2007 fishing vessel repair in Kaliningrad is not planned. The bulk of ship repair will be made abroad.
Main fishing grounds for Maritime Star's fleet are located in the waters of the Northeast Atlantic. The situation with Russia's access to the area's fish stocks has been aggravating in the recent months. As of 2007 the blue whiting fishery is quota-regulated while in the previous years the species has made the largest contribution to the nation's harvest in the international waters of the Northeast Atlantic. The shortage of fish stocks in the Northeast Atlantic is compensated by the operations in the Central Eastern Atlantic. A group of the largest RTMKS trawlers of the Moonsund series has been harvesting horse mackerel, sardinella and mackerel in the Moroccan waters. As per early February, the firm's K-1777 Porechje and K-2147 Lira were operating on the area's pelagic grounds with the catch rates reported at up to 80 tonnes per day.
In January 2007 the blue whiting fishery in the Faeroese fishing zone was conducted by the company's two factory trawlers BATM K-1531 Marshal Vassilevsky and K-1652 Kapitan Sukhondyayevsky reporting catch rates of up to 70 tonnes per boat per day.
Maritime Star believes that construction of new modern trawlers for distant fisheries is impossible without a state support. Therefore, the company plans to raise its fleet's efficiency only via its refurbishment. Some of the trawlers have already switched to heavy oil fuel which is cheaper and their onboard fish factories have been modernized. As a result, the output of frozen seafood has been growing from 90-120 to 200 tonnes per boat per day.