Scientists outline TACs 2008 to indicate next year supply trends in the Russian Far East. Full story.

February 26, 2007 16:03

On 16 February 2007 the Fisheries Forecasting Council of the Russian Far East held a meeting in Khabarovsk.

In the year 2008 the basin's fishery scientists recommend to harvest 3 million metric tons or 93,400 tonnes up on the TACs 2007 approved by Russia's Ministry of Agriculture (orders No.409 dated 14 December 2006 and No.439 dated 27 November 2006).

The TACs of finfish species are recommended at 2.3 million tones, shellfish at 69,500 tonnes, mollusks at 394,000 tonnes, echinoderms (sea urchins, etc.) at 20,300 tonnes, seaweed at 199,300 tonnes and mammals at 12,500 tonnes.

As compared to 2007, the TACs of finfish have been increased by 105,000 tonnes, echinoderms - by 7400 tonnes (mainly sea urchins of the South Kuriles), seaweed - by 37,000 tonnes and mammals - by 4000 tonnes.

Shellfish TACs have been decreased nearly by 23,000 tonnes, while mollusks TACs (mainly squids) have been reduced by 37,000 tonnes.

Categories

TACs, ‘000 metric tons

2005

2006

2007

2008

TOTAL (salmons exclusive)

2907.565

2802.078

2908.482

3001.845

Finfish (salmons exclusive)

2186.58

2084.366

2201.008

2306.045

Shellfish

74.749

77.569

92.292

69.49

Molluscs

434.744

422.692

431.258

393.991

Echinoderms

9.565

10.86

12.971

20.337

Seaweed

190.48

195.18

162.125

199.275

Mammals

10.346

10.502

8.667

12.548

While in the current year 2007 the TACs in the West Bering Sea zone have been increased by 185,000 tonnes versus a 50,000-tonne decrease of TACs in the Sea of Okhotsk, in the year coming the TACs in the Sea of Okhotsk is recommended to grow by 135,000 tonnes with the TACs in the Bering Sea to be reduced by more than 200,000 tonnes.

TACs broken down between areas, ‘000 metric tons

Year

Bering Sea

East Kamchatka

North Kuriles

South Kuriles

Sea of Okhotsk

Sea of Japan

Total

2008, ‘000 metric tons

581.55

232.325

186.286

567.928

1090.312

333.536

3001.846

2007, ‘000 metric tons

790.986

253.09

156.084

439.378

955.216

303.511

2908.482

2008 к 2007, +/-‘000 metric tons

-209.436

-20.765

+30.202

+128.55

+135.096

+30.025

+93.364

As for particular fish species, increases are recommended for the TACs of cod, wachna cod, halibuts, saury, sculpins, smelt, anchovies, sea urchins and laminaria.

The preliminary forecast of TINRO research institute says that the Alaska Pollock TAC should be decreased by 52,000 tonnes from 1,310,000 tonnes in 2007 to 1,258,00 tonnes in the year 2008. In the coming two or three years the scientists forecast a cooling period, which normally results into distribution of the APO stock to the northwest part of the Bering Sea. Besides, the biomass of the West Bering Sea population of Alaska Pollock and the abundance of the annual recruitment have remained at low level so far. Strong classes in the APO population have not been observed in the recent years. The abundance has also been decreasing in the East Bering Sea population from 6.9 to 4-4.5 million tons in 2006. As a result, the Alaska Pollock TAC 2008 in the West Bering Sea zone and in the Karaginsk subarea is recommended to be cut by 240,000 tonnes as compared to current year. However, the scientists of Moscow-based VNIRO research institute have not yet agreed with the proposed TAC.

Recovery of the fishing stock as compared to 2004-2005 in the waters of the North Kuriles and East Kamchatka has let the scientists recommend increasing of the APO TAC in the areas by 35,000 tonnes.

Growth of the APO fishing stock in the West Kamchatka subarea has been confirmed by the research surveys and the stock is now estimated at 1.6 million tons. In the year 2008 the scientists recommend to harvest 308,000 tonnes of Alaska pollock in the area and nearly 140,000 tonnes more than in the current year 2007.

Poor overall abundance of Alaska pollock and low level of its fishing stock in the Primorye subarea have affected the area's TACs which are recommended to be cut by 4200 tonnes.

Alaska pollock TACs broken down between fishing zones, ‘000 metric tons

Year

Bering Sea

East Kamchatka

North Kuriles

South Kuriles

Sea of Okhotsk

Sea of Japan

TOTAL

2008, ‘000 metric tons

415.3

101.0

56.6

12.1

668.0

5.2

1258.2

2007, ‘000 metric tons

619.4

132.1

28.5

10.0

511.0

9.6

1310.6

2008 к 2007, +/-‘000 metric tons

-204.1

-31.1

+28.1

+2.1

+157.0

-4.4

-52.4

In the year 2008 the RFE fishermen will be able to harvest more wachna cod thanks to TAC increases in the Bering Sea (+3000 tonnes), the Karaginsk subarea (+4400 tonnes) and the Primorye subarea (+1800 tonnes), while in the recent years the scientists used to be cautious when recommending the wachna cod TACs.

The cod quotas have been covered at 87% which has encouraged the scientists recommend a 13,000-tonne increase of the cod TAC 2008.

Cod TACs broken down between fishing zones, ‘000 metric tons

Year

Bering Sea

East Kamchatka

North Kuriles

South Kuriles

Sea of Okhotsk

Sea of Japan

TOTAL

2008, ‘000 metric tons

19.3

22.7

5.01

4.2

18.473

2.7

72.383

2007, ‘000 metric tons

17.1

16.786

3.7

3.2

15.494

3.21

59.49

2008 к 2007, +/-‘000 metric tons

+2.2

+5.914

+1.31

+1.0

+2.979

-0.51

+12.893

As for underexploited species, the scientists recommend the TACs at 100,000 tonnes of anchovies, 248,000 tonnes of saury, 376,000 tonnes of squid and 199,000 tonnes of seaweed for 2008 fisheries.

At the same time, the TACs of such species as Alaska Pollock, herring, flounder and Atka mackerel have been decreased.

Recommended TAC decreases in 2008, ‘000 metric tons

Species

Bering Sea

East Kamchatka

North Kuriles

South Kuriles

Sea of Okhotsk

Sea of Japan

Herring

2008, ‘000 metric tons

11.135

1.375

180.552

1.515

2007, ‘000 metric tons

6.635

1.375

203.037

1.825

2008 к 2007, +/-‘000 metric tons

+ 4.5

0

- 22.485

- 0.31

Flounder

2008, ‘000 metric tons

30.01

14.2

2.6

0.84

49.474

20.88

2007, ‘000 metric tons

30.0

12.1

2.6

0.84

58.102

30.42

2008 к 2007, +/-‘000 metric tons

0

+ 2.1

0

0

- 8.628

- 9.54

Atka mackerel

2008, ‘000 metric tons

7.15

28.0

2.4

23.9

2007, ‘000 metric tons

16.05

26.9

2.0

30.9

2008 к 2007, +/-‘000 metric tons

- 8.9

+ 1.1

+ 0.4

- 7.0

Decrease of the herring TAC in the Sea of Okhotsk can be attributed mainly to falling abundance of the population, high mortality rates in 2001 (caused by heavy ice conditions) and poor recruitment of the stock.

Along with the above, because of poor recruitment of the Atka mackerel stock the TAC of the species in the waters of Kamchatka is recommended to be cut by 8900 tonnes.

The Basin's flounder harvest normally includes 70-80% of yellowfin sole. At present, the scientists have been observing decrease of its abundance which has made them forecast the TAC cut by 16,000 tonnes for all the flatfish species.

The crab TACs 2008 just like 2007 embraces 13 crab species, but the total volumes are recommended to be reduced by 8700 tonnes. The TAC decreases will touch mostly snow crab opilio in the North Okhotsk subarea (-1800 tonnes) and red snow crab in the Sea of Japan (-3500 tonnes). The TAC of blue king crab has been cut by nearly 1000 tonnes. However, Russian scientists have not yet agreed as to the stocks' evaluation.

While earlier the Russian Far East Basin has been showing a trend towards an increase of the shrimp TACs, in the year 2008 the TACs are recommended to fall by 14,000 tonnes. More specifically, the fishing stock of pink shrimp Pandalus borealis in the Kamchatka-Kurile subarea decreased 1.5-fold thus giving the scientists grounds to forecast an 800-tonne drop of the TAC. At the same time, the fishing stock of P.goniurus shrimp in the Bering Sea has been overestimated without any grounds as a result the TAC of the species is recommended to be cut by 11,000 tonnes.

According to the scientific forecast, the abundance and condition of the squid stocks in the Russian Far East Basin have remained at a fairly high level. The recommended TACs have remained underexploited from year to year. In 2007 the squid TAC in the waters of the South Kuriles has been increased by 20,000 tonnes and in 2008 the scientists recommend the fishermen to harvest the area's squids in an amount smaller than that of 2006 due to absence of sufficient grounds to increase the TAC.

All the above mentioned TACs for the year 2008 are given on a preliminary basis. In April 2007 the forecast with all the amendments will be forwarded to the Council on Fisheries Forecasting in Moscow and then, after a through examination, it will be forwarded for final approval by Russia's Ministry of Agriculture.

The final version of the TACs 2008 is expected in the fourth quarter of 2007.

Session

The issues of stock abundance and forecasts were discussed from 12 to 16 February 2007 in Khabarovsk at the reporting session of the divisons of TINRO Fishery Research Association. The sides discussed core results of implementation of the basin's complex programs of stock surveys for the period of 2002-2006. The participants listened to reports on the dynamics of the abundance and condition of the Alaska Pollock stocks in the seas of the Russian Far East, herring stocks of the Bering Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk. Besides, the scientists gave recommendations on the stocks' sustainable exploitation.

The sides also evaluated condition of the pink salmon stock and the invertebrates. The scientific reports touched upon the most important results of surveys made in the inshore waters of the Kamchatka peninsula, Magadan Oblast and Sakhalin-Kurile area. Along with the above, the scientists paid attention to underexploited species and suggested directions of their complex processing.

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