Protected speciesETP Species of Seabirds and Sea Mammals in Areas of Walleye Pollock Fishery in the Russian Far Eastern Fisheries Region
Pollock is harvested all over the Far Eastern fisheries basin inhabiting by some endangered, threatened or protected (ETP) species – marine mammals, seabirds and fishes. All of ETP species have special environmental status and are protected both by international and Russian laws.
To protect ETP species, Russia actively participates in various conventions and organizations at the international, regional and inter-country level and fulfills its obligations.
One of the most important international organizations is the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, 2016. It brings together 82 states including the Russian Federation.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has been in place since 1973. As the Soviet Union’s successor, Russia is in compliance with the Convention’s requirements since 1976.
At the federal level, rare and endangered animal species are carefully listed in the Red Book of the Russian Federation and protected in accordance with Federal Laws No. 52 “On Fauna”.
Russian Far East seas are important areas of feeding, seasonal concentrations and breeding aggregations for 19 rare species of marine mammals (15 cetacean species, 2 pinnipeds and 2 apex predators).
Over 60 species of seabirds from 9 families occur in the Far East Seas including albatrosses (Diomedeidae), shearwaters (Procellariidae), storm petrels (Hydrobatidae), auks (Alcidae), skuas (Stercorariidae), terns (Sternidae), gulls (Laridae), cormorants (Phalacrocoracidae) and others.
ETP sea mammals (19 species) and seabirds (22 species) are protected by international and Russian federal environmental laws.
Specialized surveys and expeditions are organized to monitor interaction of pollock fishery and its potential impact on ETP species. For example, in the Western part of the Bering Sea, observations of interaction and potential accidental by-catch of birds were performed in October – December 2011 on board of two large-tonnage vessels fishing for pollock and herring by mid-water and bottom trawls. In December 2014 – April 2015, scientific surveys on monitoring of marine mammal and seabird presence, interaction and accidental by-catch during the mid-water pollock fishery in the Sea of Okhotsk were performed on board of three large trawlers.