Since 2014, the Pollock Catchers Association in cooperation with Pacific Research Fisheries Center (TINRO-Center) and with the participation of other scientific institutions of the Far Eastern Fishery Basin has been engaged in implementation of the program for improvement of pollock fishery monitoring in the Sea of Okhotsk. This work is carried out as a part of the Working group which in addition to specialists of scientific institutions is composed of the representatives of the Pollock Catchers Association (PCA) and environmental experts from the Russian office of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
In 2014, a pilot group of 14 observers was trained for the work in the pollock trawl fishing. In 2015-2016 PCA was providing assistance in assignment of scientific observers to the fishing vessels of the PCA member companies and financed the increase in their number.
In 2017, 18 scientific observers from TINRO-Center, Kamchatka Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography (KamchatNIRO) and Magadan Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography (MagadanNIRO) worked in the pollock fishery in the Sea of Okhotsk. The observers were collecting biological data on status of catches which are important for robust assessment and forecasting of pollock stocks and monitoring the fishery’s impact on the ecosystem of the Sea of Okhotsk.
In total, scientific observers spent at sea almost 900 vessel days and observed over 1,000 fishing operations. Monitoring activities covered 81% of the water area of the Sea of Okhotsk where the fishery was conducted. The observers made over 150,000 measurements and biological tests, performed 1,440 observations to detect cases of accidental by-catch of sea birds and mammals.
On October 06, 2017, at the General meeting of Pollock Catchers Association the results of implementation of pollock fishery monitoring program in 2017 and plan for 2018 were discussed. Deputy Head of Federal Fishery Agency Mikhail Ivanik and Interim Director General of TINRO-Center Alexey Baitalyuk participated in the discussion.
In 2018, PCA plans to continue increasing the number of observers to further expand the scope of fishery monitoring and collection of biological data. For the period of 2018 Sea of Okhotsk Pollock Expedition it is planned to assign up to 22 scientific observers to work in the specialized fishery, covering over 20% of fishing fleet of the Association members.
The detailed scheduled plan of assignment of scientific observers to the vessels of the PCA members will be developed and approved in the near future. Some observers are planned to start their work in the fisheries as early as at the end of this year.
Source: Russian Pollock Catchers Association (PCA)