Vladivostok scientists discussing prospects for pollock fishery, crab TACs and potential freshwater fish harvest in 2011
According to the scientists, the total biomass of pollock in the north part of the Sea of Okhotsk amounts to 15.5 million metric tons, practically on a par with the last year. The spawning stock in the east part of the sea has increased from 3.1 million tonnes to 7 million tonnes thanks to rich classes of 2004-2005. In the East Sakhalin subarea after approval of the amendment by the SakhNIRO research institute the TAC can be raised to 82,000 tonnes and in the north of the Sea of Okhotsk it will amount to 1.002 million tonnes. The TACs amount to 335,000 tonnes in the North Okhotsk subarea, 257,000 tonnes in the Kamchatka Kurile subarea and 328,000 tonnes in the West Kamchatka subarea. Low abundance of classes starting from 2006 may lead to a decline of commercial resources by 2013. Another negative aspect has been practically minimum roe yield this year.
The research surveys have made it possible to change the allowable carapace width of red tanner crab from 100mm to 90mm. The TACs 2011 have been recommended at 7011 metric tons.
The current year surveys in the south of the Primorye subarea (Sea of Japan) have also defined the abundance of the most crab popular species in the area, snow crab opilio, at ca.12.57 million crabs. The fishery ban valid as of 2002 in the above mentioned area has encouraged recovery of the stock to sustain the recommended catch of 1545 tonnes.
As for snow crab bairdi, the scientists recommend to decrease the commercial crab size from 130mm to 120mm which reflects both biological peculiarities of the species and the fishermen's interests as well.
At the meeting the scientists have also listened to a substantiation report on introducing changes into potential skate catches in the West Kamchatka and Kamchatka Kurile subareas in 2011. With the information of the stock's structure and natural mortality of skates being fairly scanty their potential harvest has always been very low. However, the research surveys in the area in 2011 show that 95% of the total skate biomass is beyond the West Kamchatka shelf, therefore the scientists recommend the potential harvest at 260 tonnes in the West Kamchatka subarea and at 760 tonnes in the Kamchatka Kurile subarea.
The current year research surveys in the Amur River and its estuary (north part of the Tatar Strait) have revealed that the commercial biomass of smelt in the river amounts to 31,100 tonnes, inclusing 9000 tonnes in the estuary. Taking into account the stock's underexploitation in Primorye subarea (to the north of the Zolotoy Cape) the potential harvest is recommended at no more than 10% of its total abundance (namely at 900 tonnes).
The Arctic char population has been found in depression and there are no conditions for an increase of the allowable catch in the Primorye subarea. Experts estimate the size of commercial stock of Salmo alpinus malma amounts to 13.8 tonnes, with the fish being targeted both industrial and recreational fishermen. Therefore the potential harvest is estimated at about 2.7 tonnes. The commercial stock of other Arctic char species of Salvelinus leucomaenis as per 2011 does not exceed 15 tonnes with no more than 20% to be recommended for commercial fishery. The recommended catch should be divided by quarters, 1.5 tonnes in the Q2 and 1.5 tonnes in Q3-Q4.