Last updated on 10 August 2016

SUMMARY

SUMMARY

IDENTIFICATION

SCIENTIFIC NAME(s)

Chionoecetes opilio

SPECIES NAME(s)

Queen crab, snow crab

Korean and Russian populations (Bering Sea) of queen (snow) crab are clearly differentiated, as defended by Kang et al. (2013). Although the stock structure is not truly understood along the Russian coast, assessment units are identified (MARF, 2014): Northern Sea of Okhotsk, Karaginsky and W Bering Sea.


ANALYSIS

Strengths
  • The stock appears to be in a healthy state.
  • Laws and management rules are not precautionary, but are considered appropriate. They are under-enforced.
Weaknesses
  • Monitoring and enforcement are considered poor.
  • Stock abundance and removals are not well documented.
  • Bycatch controls lack teeth and rates of bycatch of depleted red king crab are worrisome.
  • IUU fishing occurs on a large scale but it is not clear if the stock is being overexploited.

FISHSOURCE SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

≥ 6

Managers Compliance:

NOT YET SCORED

Fishers Compliance:

< 6

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

≥ 6

Future Health:

NOT YET SCORED


RECOMMENDATIONS

RETAILERS & SUPPLY CHAIN
  • Ensure that regulators and the CCA regularly undertake and publish official estimates of IUU crab fishing (catch and effort) and trade levels (volumes and value), and evaluate the performance of bilateral agreements between Russia and its trade partners on the eradication of IUU crab fishing and trade.
  • Press the government to implement standardized crab stock assessment methodologies and investigate implementation of a precautionary approach to crab fisheries management based on Biological Reference Points (BRPs) and Harvest Control Rules (HCRs).
  • Work to enhance public availability of crab stock assessments, and fisheries management data and decisions.
  • Ensure that the current FIP continues to make progress, expand to include additional species and management areas, and maximize the scope of planned MSC full assessment.

FIPS

  • Russian Far East Crab:

    Stage 5, Progress Rating B

CERTIFICATIONS

No related MSC fisheries

Fisheries

Within FishSource, the term "fishery" is used to indicate each unique combination of a flag country with a fishing gear, operating within a particular management unit, upon a resource. That resource may have a known biological stock structure and/or may be assessed at another level for practical or jurisdictional reasons. A fishery is the finest scale of resolution captured in FishSource profiles, as it is generally the scale at which sustainability can most fairly and practically be evaluated.

ASSESSMENT UNIT MANAGEMENT UNIT FLAG COUNTRY FISHING GEAR
Northern Sea of Okhotsk Russia Northern Sea of Okhotsk Russian Federation Pots

Analysis

OVERVIEW

Last updated on 29 August 2013

Strengths
  • The stock appears to be in a healthy state.
  • Laws and management rules are not precautionary, but are considered appropriate. They are under-enforced.
Weaknesses
  • Monitoring and enforcement are considered poor.
  • Stock abundance and removals are not well documented.
  • Bycatch controls lack teeth and rates of bycatch of depleted red king crab are worrisome.
  • IUU fishing occurs on a large scale but it is not clear if the stock is being overexploited.
RECOMMENDATIONS

Last updated on 26 June 2018

Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain
  • Ensure that regulators and the CCA regularly undertake and publish official estimates of IUU crab fishing (catch and effort) and trade levels (volumes and value), and evaluate the performance of bilateral agreements between Russia and its trade partners on the eradication of IUU crab fishing and trade.
  • Press the government to implement standardized crab stock assessment methodologies and investigate implementation of a precautionary approach to crab fisheries management based on Biological Reference Points (BRPs) and Harvest Control Rules (HCRs).
  • Work to enhance public availability of crab stock assessments, and fisheries management data and decisions.
  • Ensure that the current FIP continues to make progress, expand to include additional species and management areas, and maximize the scope of planned MSC full assessment.

1.STOCK STATUS

STOCK ASSESSMENT

Last updated on 17 July 2012

No formal stock assessment is known. Monitoring and forecasts are conducted by MagNIRO. Estimates of abundance and removals are likely to be unreliable.

SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

Last updated on 29 June 2012

With no stock assessment and no reliable estimates of abundance or removals, scientists have little ability to offer precautionary advice on harvest limits. However, relatively recent research has recommended fractioning the quota over three subareas to homogenize exposure rates and has suggested official yields could be doubled if poaching is curbed, as the stock could safely support a gradual TAC increase from the current 10% of the estimated population to 20%. Accompanying measures such as a minimum size of 100mm would also be required. At current illegal fishing levels this TAC increase is not advised (Karasev, 2009).

Reference Points

Last updated on 29 Jun 2012

No reference points are known for biomass or removals.

CURRENT STATUS

Last updated on 17 July 2012

Status is uncertain. A 2009 study noted no “negative trends in the fishery”, stable density and no alterations to size composition, and suggested an increase in yields could be obtained through changes to management and enforcement (Karasev, 2009). A 2011 report indicated the Western Sakhalin stock was in poor condition (Perveeva, 2011).

In the absence of reliable production data, some indication of volumes can be derived from trade statistics. Infofish.org, an FAO-founded information service for Asia-Pacific fisheries, reports that Japan imported 14,779 tons of frozen snow crab from Russia in 2006, up from 13,095 tons in 2005 and 13,363 t in 2004. U.S. imports of the frozen snow crab from Russia amounted to 3,354 t in 2006, down from 5,530 t in 2005 and 5,829 t in 2004, the service reported. (http://www.infofish.org/marketreports/crab0607.html)

Trends

Last updated on 17 Jul 2012

Snow crab landings are reported to be declining in the Sea of Okhotsk, despite increasing global market demand for the product. Practically all catches of this species are exported (Karasev, 2009). U.S. imports of Russian crab declined during the late 1990s and there have been reports of declining size of individual crabs, which can signify overfishing. Discarding of damaged crabs is believed to be widespread, and survival is low, potentially undercutting reproduction.

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

MANAGEMENT

Last updated on 17 July 2012

Recovery Plans

Last updated on 17 Jul 2012

None in place.

Russia Northern Sea of Okhotsk

Total allowable landing quotas are set at 10% of estimated stock size, and they are considered to be more conservative than in the past as the government has reduced domestic fleet quotas and curtailed access by foreign fleets in recent years. However, lack of enforcement, catch monitoring, and stock data leaves the fishery vulnerable to potential overexploitation. Precautionary principles are not built into applicable laws.

COMPLIANCE

Last updated on 19 December 2007

Monitoring of removals has been reported to be weak and evidence of over-quota harvests has been noted for years. Some observers believe this may be changing.

The Krai, an online magazine based in Vladivostok, reported that the 2005 opilio crab quota was 15,000 tons, but “actual exports to Japan constituted over 39,000 tons.” (http://www.thekrai.com/articles/June%2006/Seafood.htm)

Signs of tougher enforcement have been noted recently. In May 2007, the Russian government banned exports of live crab from Russian waters (http://www.infofish.org/marketreports/crab0607.html), apparently targeting trade bound for Japan. In September 2007, Russian police arrested the owner of U.S. based company Global Fishing, for allegedly exporting 15,000 tons of illegally caught king crab from Russia (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2004010535_russiancrab13m.html). In November 2007, Peter Redmayne reported in Seafood Business that Russia’s Border Guard “has also been cracking down in an operation dubbed ‘Crab 2007.’” Redmayne noted that President Putin recently “reasserted federal power over fisheries by bringing back the Soviet-era State Fisheries Committee and giving it responsibility for fisheries management.”
(http://www.seafoodbusiness.com/index.asp?ItemID=3550&rcid=201&pcid=200&cid=201)

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

BYCATCH
ETP Species

Last updated on 12 November 2012

Closed areas are the only known measure to protect vulnerable species. Status of ETP stocks and effectiveness of protective measures are unknown.

Other Species

Last updated on 17 July 2012

Actual bycatch rates are unknown because of poor reporting and compliance. However, bycatch restrictions apply both to crab fisheries and to other fisheries that take crab as bycatch. In the crab fleet, regulations limit bycatch of other species to 8% of total catch per day, with the take of immature and female crab limited to 0.2% per day. Regulations limit bycatch of crabs in trawl and other fleets to 2% of total harvests. Trawl vessels caught with illegal bycatch are required to move five miles from their present position. Trawling is prohibited within crab fishing grounds. Vessels operating in the Sea of Okhotsk are required to provide catch and effort data electronically, and their position is tracked by GPS. Even so, fraudulent reporting and illegal fishing are common, and vessel bycatch limits are believed to be exceeded frequently. As noted earlier, monitoring and enforcement is weak.
Bycatch of more valuable red king crab, whose fishery is closed due to low abundance, appears to be deliberately sought through the positioning of the fishing vessels and then underreported. Bycatch rates of this species were estimated as 45% of catches (FAfF, 2012).

HABITAT

Last updated on 29 June 2012

Regulations prohibit trawl gear on crab grounds, and closed zones have been instituted for habitat protection. Bycatch limits, quotas and other restrictions also exist. However, enforcement is poor.

Marine Reserves

Last updated on 29 Jun 2012

No data available.

FishSource Scores

Last updated on 22 January 2017

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

As calculated for 2012 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

No management plan is known to be in place but TACs are believed to be set based on 10% of the estimated stock size.

As calculated for 2009 data.

The score is < 6.

Illegal fishing is known to occur and catches were estimated to exceed TACs by 50% (Karasev, 2009).

STOCK HEALTH:

As calculated for 2012 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

A 2009 study indicated no apparent problems with the stock (Karasev, 2009). No more recent information could be located though.

No data available for biomass
No data available for biomass
To see data for catch and tac, please view this site on a desktop.
No data available for fishing mortality
No data available for fishing mortality
No data available for recruitment
No data available for recruitment
To see data for management quality, please view this site on a desktop.
To see data for stock status, please view this site on a desktop.
DATA NOTES
Public information on the fishery is sparse, so scores #2 and 5 could not be determined. Scores #1 and 4 have been attributed qualitatively, based on available information. A qualitative score was also attributed to score #3, for fishers’ compliance, based on reports of illegal fishing exceeding TACs.

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Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs)

SELECT FIP

Access FIP Public Report

Progress Rating: B
Evaluation Start Date: 1 Jun 2012
Type: Basic

Comments:

Progress rating remains B. Last stage 3 and 4 achievements within the last 12 months 

1.
FIP Development
Dec 15
2.
FIP Launch
Mar 12
Apr 14
3.
FIP Implementation
Jan 18
4.
Improvements in Fishing Practices and Fishery Management
Jan 18
5.
Improvements on the Water
Jan 17
6.
MSC certification (optional)
MSC certificate made public

Certifications

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

No related MSC certifications

Sources

Credits

B-port, 2008. Interview with Yuri Lepesevich, Deputy Director for Science PINRO (Polar Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography). http://www.b-port.com/news/archive/2008-08-20-1/

Federal Agency for Fisheries (FAfF), 2012. Press centre 04/10/2012: King crab: recipe for survival from science [via Google Translate]. http://fish.gov.ru/presscentre/smi_review/Pages/010519.aspx

Fishnews, 2006. On approval of total allowable catches of aquatic biological resources in 2007. http://www.fishnews.ru/news/848

Isupov VV, undated. Stock state of snow crab Chionoecetes opilio in Anadyr-Navarin area of Bering Sea in 1991-2000. Chukchi Branch of the Pacific Research Center of Fisheries and Oceanography, Anadyr. http://www.klie.ru/conference/conf-2/4/4_3.htm

Ivanov B, undated. Problems of fishery of the tanner crabs Chionoecetes spp. in the Russian Far Eastern Seas in the Russian Far Eastern Seas. Federal Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography, Moscow. http://www.klie.ru/conference/conf-2/4/4_2.htm

Karasev, A.N., 2004. Problems of Chionoecetes opilio stock forecast on the basis of trap survey data. http://www.terrakamchatka.org/conf/conf-5/4/4_5.htm

MagNIRO, 2011. Analysis of the commercial environment in the extraction of commercial invertebrates from 19 to 25 December 2011. http://www.magniro.ru/promobzori/107-analiz-promyslovoy-obstanovki-na-dobyche-promyslovyh-bespozvonochnyh-s-19-po-25-dekabrya-2011-g.html

Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation (MARF), 2014. Confirming TACs for coastal waters, territorial seas, the continental shelf, the EEZ, and the Caspian and Azov Seas of the Russian Federation for 2015. Regulation No. 339. October 21, 2014. 9pp. https://fishnews-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/docs/783/prikaz_ob_utverzhdenii_odu_na_2015_g.pdf

Ocean Atlas Fact Sheet http://www.oceansatlas.org

Pautzke, C.G. 1997. Russian Far East Fisheries Management. Produced by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council – NOAA Coop. Agreement #97-NA77FC006, 30 September. http://www.fao.org/fi/fcp/en/RUS/profile.htm

Perveeva, E. R., 2011. Status of Fishery Resources And Prospects of Snow Crab Chionoecetes Opilio in Waters West of Sakhalin. Problems of Fisheries № 3 (47), 2011. http://www.vniro.ru/pages/about/voprosrybolov/n3n47y2011.doc

Seafoodwatch Fact Sheets http://www.mbayaq.org/cr/SeafoodWatch/web/sfw_factsheet.aspx?gid=8

Traffic Fact Sheet http://www.traffic.org/

WWF Russia Fact Sheet http://www.wwf.ru/eng/

References

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