TACs and supply outlook for the RFE in 2007

December 14, 2006 15:57

In the year 2006, as never before, shipowners of the Russian Far East Basin have got the opportunity to plan next year operations of their fleets without any haste and turmoil as the nation's Ministry of Agriculture has approved the TACs for the next year by the corresponding order signed as early as on 2 November 2006. One month later the officials broke the TACs into quotas for different types of fishery (e.g. offshore, inshore) and approved allocations of particular quota users.

In general, the TACs 2007 have been set at a higher level as compared to the TACs 2006. More specifically, the TACs in the West Bering Sea zone have been considerably increased by 185,000 tonnes, while in the Sea of Okhotsk the TACs have been reduced by 50,000 tonnes. As for the species, the TACs rises have been approved for Alaska pollock, flounder, capelin, saury, sculpins, crabs, shrimps and squid.

Alaska pollock TACs broken down between areas

Year

Bering Sea

East Kamchatka

North Kuriles

South Kuriles

Sea of Okhotsk

Sea of Japan

TOTAL

2007, ‘000 metric tons

619.4

132.1

28.5

10.0

511.0

9.6

1310.6

2006, ‘000 metric tons

467.0

51.25

26.2

10.0

530.0*

12.5

1096.95

2007 versus 2006, +/- ‘000 metric tons

+152.4

+80.85

+2.3

0

-19.0

-2.9

+213.65

* including a TAC increase by 36,000 tonnes

The drop of the Alaska pollock TAC in the Sea of Okhotsk is compensated by larger Alaska pollock TAC in the Bering Sea and in the waters of East Kamchatka.

The decrease of the East Kamchatka APO stock abundance observed in late 1990s has ceased and in the recent years, based on the surveys, the scientists have been reporting growing abundance of the stock in the waters of the North Kuriles and East Kamchatka. Besides, the officials have lifted a ban for commercial APO fishery in the Karaginsk subarea with the new TAC 2007 in the area set at 70,000 tonnes.

The APO fishery in the Primorye subarea has been very weak due to the stock's poor abundance and in the recent years the abundance has been decreasing even further. The low level of the APO stock in the Primorye subarea has been reflected in the corresponding TAC.

In the following year 2007 the fleets of the Russian Far East Basin can increase their catches thanks to higher flounder TACs in the Bering Sea and in the Sea of Japan. According to the scientific forecasts, the total flounder stock of the Bering Sea reaches more than 60,000 tonnes and the share of its allowable catches has been set at 20% approximately equal to the level of its natural mortality. At present, the area's flounder stock has been practically untapped with the species harvested as bycatch in Alaska pollock and cod fisheries. Growth of flounder stocks in the waters of the North Primorye has triggered a rise of the TAC by 16,000 tonnes.

Flounder TACs broken down between areas

Year

Bering Sea

East Kamchatka

North Kuriles

South Kuriles

Sea of Okhotsk

Sea of Japan

TOTAL

2007, ‘000 metric tons

30.0

12.1

2.6

0.84

58.102

30.42

134.062

2006, ‘000 metric tons

12.6

17.3

2.6

0.84

49.598

14.417

97.355

2007 versus 2006, +/- ‘000 metric tons

+17.4

-5.2

0

0

+8.504

+18.903

+36.707

In the Russian Far East Basin sculpins are not the species for a dedicated fishery as they are harvested as bycatch on the grounds of other more valuable species such as flounder, cod, halibut, etc. Therefore, the sculpin TAC has been defined by means of calculation of possible share of its bycatch in catches of each particular statistic area. Thus, the sculpin TAC in the Bering Sea has been raised by 19,800 metric tons.

The crab TACs 2007 cover 13 species and they have been set at ca.62,000 tonnes or 5000 tonnes larger than in the current year 2006. The TACs' largest increase of 1900 tonnes has been approved for the West Bering Sea zone and in the Primorye subarea. In the both subareas the increase has been made at the expense of snow crab opilio - up by 1600 tonnes and 700 tonnes correspondingly - and red tanner crab in the Primorye subarea - from 11,600 tonnes to 12,600 tonnes namely. A noticeable decrease of the TAC has been approved for snow crab bairdi in the Kamchatka Kurile subarea: the TAC of the species for the current year 2006 has been increased to 4800 tonnes and the new TAC 2007 has been reduced to 3200 tonnes. The largest crab TACs have been set for the Sea of Okhotsk and it accounts for 66.5% of the total crab TACs. The crab TACs in the Sea of Japan and in the Bering Sea amount to 23.5% and 6.5% correspondingly.

Since 2000 the shrimp TACs in the Russian Far East Basin have been tending to increase. However, the TACs 2005-2006 have been slightly reduced due to lower TACs of the following shrimp species dominating in the Basin: pink shrimp Pandalus borealis in the West Bering Sea zone and shrimp Pandalus goniurus in the West Kamchatka subarea. The shares of the above shrimps in the new TACs 2007 amount to 44.5% for pink shrimp and 50.9% for goniurus shrimp. The total TACs 2007 of shrimps have been increased by 10,000 on the current year 2006.

According to the scientific forecast, the abundance and condition of squid stocks in the Russian Far East Basin remain low. The recommended annual catch of 400,000 tonnes have been not covered. The squid TAC 2007 in the South Kurile zone has been increased by 20,000 tonnes, where the population of the squid Berryteuthis magister has been strong and the stock of red flying squid Ommastrephes bartrami has been staying at a high level.

The TACs 2007 of such species as herring, cod, wachna cod, halibut and Atka mackerel have been reduced as compared to last year.

Reduced TACs 2007

Species

Bering Sea

East Kamchatka

North Kuriles

South Kuriles

Sea of Okhotsk

Sea of Japan

Herring

2007, ‘000 metric tons

6.635

1.375

203.037

1.825

2006, ‘000 metric tons

6.635

1.765

241.882

1.825

2007 versus 2006, +/- ‘000 metric tons

0

-0.39

- 38.845

0

Cod

2007, ‘000 metric tons

17.1

16.786

3.7

3.2

15.494

3.21

2006, ‘000 metric tons

18.5

12.8

5.2

3.76

17.664

5.9

2007 versus 2006, +/- ‘000 metric tons

- 1.4

+ 3.986

- 1.5

- 0.56

-2.17

-2.69

Wachna cod

2007, ‘000 metric tons

6.84

4.49

2.1

22.633

3.917

2006, ‘000 metric tons

18.6

9.26

2.1

16.015

5.649

2007 versus 2006, +/- ‘000 metric tons

-11.76

- 4.77

0

+ 6.618

- 1.732

Halibut

2007, ‘000 metric tons

4.7

1.405

0.445

0.99

13.97

2006, ‘000 metric tons

5.13

1.46

0.445

0.99

15.109

2007 versus 2006, +/- ‘000 metric tons

-0.43

- 0.055

0

0

- 1.139

Atka mackerel

2007, ‘000 metric tons

16.05

26.9

2.0

30.9

2006, ‘000 metric tons

13.55

28.0

3.5

34.6

2007 versus 2006, +/- ‘000 metric tons

+ 2.5

- 1.1

- 1.5

- 3.7

Dwindling stocks of Okhotsk herring have caused a 39,000-tonne decrease of the herring TAC which has dropped from 252,100 tonnes in 2006 to 212,900 tonnes in 2007.

Since 2002 the total TACs of cod have remained at comparably low level from 64,000 to 104,000 tonnes. The cod stocks have been stably dwindling all over the Russian Far East Basin. The total reduction of the cod TACs 2007 by 4300 tonnes has been compensated by increases in the subareas of East Kamchatka.

Reduction of the wachna cod TAC has been caused by incorrect setting the wachna cod TAC 2006 in the West Bering Sea zone and in the Karaginsk subarea where the stocks have remained at a fairly low level.

Decreases of the halibut and Atka mackerel TACs 2007 have been caused by dwindling condition of the white halibut stock in the North Okhotsk and West Kamchatka subarea and of the Atka mackerel stock in the Primorye subarea.

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