Selective grids in blue whiting fishery to tell on Russian catch rates
As of 1 June 2007 selective grids are mandatory for use by the Russian trawlers in order to reduce catches of young blue whiting. The selective grids are produced in the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Russia. In particular, such grids have been designed, manufactured and trial fished by Murmansk-based Sevrybtekhproject. Some specialists think that the catch rates with the use of grids on the blue whiting grounds will drop by at least 20%.
Fairly much time has been given to study the opportunities for the blue whiting fishery with pelagic trawls equipped with grids starting from 1 June 2007. Towards that end, the fishermen should have conducted at least short trials in the Faroese fishing zone: they should have compared the fishery efficiency with grids and without them on the same grounds and under the same conditions in a comparably short period of time. However, none of the above has been done as per mid-June 2007. The fishermen actually realize the need to conduct those trials, but they would rather save fishing time and wait for someone to do the job.
Some of the shipowners from the Russian North Fisheries Basin have purchased the grids from Murmansk-based Sevrybtekhproject evidently due to its low prices and without a serious analysis of price and catch rates balance for grids of other producers. The comparable analysis of the grids on the grounds will be made most probably in June 2007 in the southern part of the international waters of the Norwegian Sea. Therefore possible changes of the fishery efficiency have remained vague as per mid-June.
If the catch rates still fall, the innovation can result into a certain drop of the harvest or into the need to increase the fishing efforts.