Last updated on 11 July 2016

SUMMARY

SUMMARY

IDENTIFICATION

SCIENTIFIC NAME(s)

Gadus macrocephalus

SPECIES NAME(s)

Pacific cod

Inumerous studies have been conducted to identify the stock structure of Pacific cod along its distribution. Significant differences have been shown among southern Kuril Islands and Bering Sea, Sea of Okhotsk, and the coastal waters of Canada (Stroganov et al. 2009). Other similarities and differences are found in the region (Orlov et al. 2008; Stroganov and Orlov 2012). Identification of populations is thus not yet totally clear within Russian waters, justifying the existence of recent studies and discussions about the matter (e.g. Orlov et al. 2014) that considers that the boundaries currently used are based on administrative and geographical principles rather than on biological assumptions. Therefore the following units are considered for assessment and management purposes: W Bering Sea (including Chukotka), Karaginsky and Petropavlovsk-Komandor.

Pacific cod in the West Bering Sea zone is represented by one population. In Karaginsky subzone there is a separate population. Some scientists have a view that its area of distribution partially extents into the adjacent Petropavlovsk-Komandor subzone. However, for fishery management purposes stock assessments and management evaluations are conducted for each of these subzones separately: W Bering Sea (including Chukotka), Karaginsky and Petropavlovsk-Komandor.


ANALYSIS

Strengths
  • TACs are generally set based on scientific recommendations.
  • Biomass in some areas appears to be increasing.
Weaknesses
  • Assessment results and details of management measures are not publicly available.
  • There is no one standard methodology applied to stock assessment across all stocks and fishing areas. On its best, stock assessment is based on periodical census surveys and resource management is not subject to BRP or HCR.
  • Details of environmental impacts of the fishery are scarce. There is still uncertainty surrounding the stock structure.
  • Available information indicates high biomass in Karaginsky and West Bering Sea while it appears the Sea of Okhotsk population is still at a low level.
  • NGOs have reported serious concerns about bycatch issues and impacts on seafloor habitats and ecosystems.

FISHSOURCE SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

NOT YET SCORED

Managers Compliance:

10

Fishers Compliance:

10

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

≥ 6

Future Health:

NOT YET SCORED


RECOMMENDATIONS

RETAILERS & SUPPLY CHAIN
  • Ask fishery managers to publish stock assessment summaries and fisheries statistics by stock and gear type for Pacific cod and Pacific halibut in the Russian Far East (RFE) in a timely manner.
  • Work with scientists to conduct further research into the population structure of Pacific cod in this and adjacent areas.
  • Ensure that the government publishes results of all scientific observations and monitoring of bycatch composition in all fisheries and the performance of paired streamer (tori) lines to reduce the incidental capture of seabirds in the longline fishery.

FIPS

No related FIPs

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
W Bering Sea Russia W Bering Sea Russian Federation Bottom trawls
Longlines

Analysis

OVERVIEW

Last updated on 22 August 2013

Strengths
  • TACs are generally set based on scientific recommendations.
  • Biomass in some areas appears to be increasing.
Weaknesses
  • Assessment results and details of management measures are not publicly available.
  • There is no one standard methodology applied to stock assessment across all stocks and fishing areas. On its best, stock assessment is based on periodical census surveys and resource management is not subject to BRP or HCR.
  • Details of environmental impacts of the fishery are scarce. There is still uncertainty surrounding the stock structure.
  • Available information indicates high biomass in Karaginsky and West Bering Sea while it appears the Sea of Okhotsk population is still at a low level.
  • NGOs have reported serious concerns about bycatch issues and impacts on seafloor habitats and ecosystems.
RECOMMENDATIONS

Last updated on 26 June 2018

Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain
  • Ask fishery managers to publish stock assessment summaries and fisheries statistics by stock and gear type for Pacific cod and Pacific halibut in the Russian Far East (RFE) in a timely manner.
  • Work with scientists to conduct further research into the population structure of Pacific cod in this and adjacent areas.
  • Ensure that the government publishes results of all scientific observations and monitoring of bycatch composition in all fisheries and the performance of paired streamer (tori) lines to reduce the incidental capture of seabirds in the longline fishery.

1.STOCK STATUS

STOCK ASSESSMENT

Last updated on 23 January 2012

The majority of the thirteen proposed stock units within Russian jurisdiction are believed to be assessed by bottom trawling surveys. Analytical assessments (VPA) are conducted for at least the Karaginsky subzone (PCA, 2010a). Survey frequency varies by area, but has been annual in Karaginsky. Survey and assessment results are generally consistent (PCA, 2010a).

SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

Last updated on 23 January 2012

Stock assessments in the Russian part of the Bering Sea are conducted by scientists from the regional scientific/research institutes of the State Fisheries Committee. In the Russian Far East these institutes include: the Pacific Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography (TINRO); the Sakhalin Scientific Institute of Fishing Industry (SakhNIRO); and the Kamchatka Scientific Institute of Fishing Industry (KamchatNIRO). The responsibilities of these institutes, as well as the Moscow-based VNIRO, include: (1) the assessment and monitoring of fisheries resources; (2) the development of allowable harvest levels; and (3) the development of means to restore and improve aquatic habitats.

However, comprehensive information on stocks is not available to the general public because it is regarded as confidential and/or commercially sensitive and the biological criteria by which catch quotas are set are unclear. Following stock assessment by the regional research institutes, recommendations for the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) are submitted at the request of the State Fisheries Committee to VNIRO in Moscow, for compilation of the Proposed Total Allowable Catch (PTAC) for approval.

Reference Points

Last updated on 23 Jan 2012

Reference points are believed to be in place but values could not be obtained.

CURRENT STATUS

Last updated on 23 January 2012

In the absence of publicly available biological reference points and stock assessments, quantitative evaluations of the stock status cannot be provided.

Overall, the cod stock is considered to be at a stable level and slowly growing, and is not thought to be either over or underfished. Survey and/or assessment data appears to support this view, with strong biomass increases in the West Bering Sea and Karaginsky, and above average biomass in the Petropavlovsk sub-zone, three of the most important fishing areas in recent years (PCA, 2010a). Sea of Okhotsk cod status is not clear, but it appears its biomass is still low, following a decline in the 1990s, but is expected to increase (PCA, 2010c; Vinnikov, 2008).

Several of the smaller units do not have enough data to allow their status to be determined.

A relatively short life cycle and variable year-class abundance means cod stocks are unstable and vulnerable to environmental factors and to changes in fishing patterns (PCA, 2010a).

Trends

Last updated on 23 Jan 2012

The Pacific cod fishery in the West Bering Sea, one of the most important fishing areas, began in the late 1960s, increasing rapidly to peak in 1971 with catches of 91,600 tons, and leading to the depletion of the fishery and no targeted catches in the latter half of the 1970s. From the 1980s the stock condition improved and catches climbed to a stable level around 40-60,000 tons by the early 1990s. Natural environmental processes are thought to have led to decreases in abundance in the following years, and catches remained mostly stable at a lower level between 18,000 and 29,000 tons even as the stock has increased in size (PCA, 2010a).

The largest catches are presently recorded in the Karaginsky subzone, but the maximum catches in this area were of just 34,000 tons in 1984. From the early 1990s the stock experienced a decline and catches have since varied between 7,000 and 27,000 tons. In recent years, a rapid stock growth has been observed in surveys and analytical assessments (PCA, 2010a).

In the other major fishing area, the Sea of Okhotsk, cod also declined during the 1990s due to factors unrelated to overfishing (PCA, 2010a).

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

MANAGEMENT

Last updated on 23 January 2012

Following approval, the PTAC is sent for State Environmental Review under the Ministry of Natural Resources. If agreed by the review commission, a general quota (TAC) is established, which will then be submitted for division into quotas for each of the nine to 13 management areas. TACs are usually set at scientifically advised levels, but are frequently changed during the fishing season. Any further changes in the TAC should also be subjected to an environmental review. The general quota is divided into 4 categories, namely, (1) industrial quota; (2) scientific quota; (3) quota for payment; (4) quota under international agreements.

Recovery Plans

Last updated on 23 Jan 2012

No specific recovery plans were found for this fishery but access to scientific assessment and management measures was limited.

COMPLIANCE

Last updated on 23 January 2012

Official catch statistics indicate the TAC is not fully harvested. Poaching has been reported as a problem in Russian Far Eastern fisheries and a national plan to reduce illegal, unreported and unregulated IUU) fishing was to be implemented in 2010 (PCA, 2010b) but cod is not considered a valuable catch species (PCA, 2010c).

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

BYCATCH
ETP Species

Last updated on 23 January 2012

Harvesting of rare and endangered species listed in the Russian Red Book is prohibited (PCA, 2010d). Humpback whales, narwhals, ribbon seals, Northern fur seal and orcas feed on cod, albeit not exclusively (PCA, 2010a,c), and among these, fur seal is classified by IUCN as Vulnerable (Gelatt & Lowry, 2008).

Russia W Bering Sea
Russian Federation
Bottom trawls

Last updated on 23 January 2012

Further assessment is needed regarding impacts of the trawl fishing gears most frequently used in the Pacific cod fishery in the area.

Other Species

Last updated on 23 January 2012

Past reports indicated significant quantities of bycatch in the Okhotsk Sea fisheries but there was a lack of information to substantiate this claim (Shuntov, 2001). Cod itself is thought to be largely taken as bycatch in other fisheries.

HABITAT

Last updated on 23 January 2012

The Western Bering Sea is a more active ecosystem on the lower trophic levels with higher primary and secondary production compared to the Eastern Bering Sea, the former having higher production per unit area, the reasons for this differences probably being related to the narrower Western shelf having a larger percentage of its area associated with the high production area along the shelf break (Aydin & Livingston, 2003).

The Global International Waters Assessment, carried out in 2006 for the Oyashio current (Kuril Islands), considered the impacts of destructive fishing practices to be slight (Alekseev et al., 2006).

Russia W Bering Sea
Russian Federation
Bottom trawls

Last updated on 23 January 2012

In situ studies of fishing impacts on benthic communities are not known but in general bottom trawling has adverse impacts on hard bottomed habitats but longline and Danish seine, if used off the seafloor, have low impacts (Bjordal, 2002).

Further assessment is needed regarding impacts of the trawl fishing gears most frequently used in the Pacific cod fishery in the area.

Marine Reserves

Spatial closures to trawling are declared in the Okhotsk Sea to protect king crab (Lithodes ferox) and no fishing is permitted around rookeries of otters, Steller sea-lions and seals (PCA, 2010b). Trawling is generally not permitted at depths of less than 20 m (PCA, 2010c).

FishSource Scores

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

As calculated for 2010 data.

The score is 10.0.

This measures the Set TAC as a percentage of the Advised TAC.

The Set TAC is 100 ('000 t). The Advised TAC is 102 ('000 t) .

The underlying Set TAC/Advised TAC for this index is 98.1%.

As calculated for 2010 data.

The score is 10.0.

This measures the Catch as a percentage of the Set TAC.

The Catch is 73.5 ('000 t). The Set TAC is 100 ('000 t) .

The underlying Catch/Set TAC for this index is 73.3%.

STOCK HEALTH:

As calculated for 2011 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

Available information indicates high biomass in Karaginsky and West Bering Sea but it appears the Sea of Okhotsk population is still at a low level.

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

Notes: Data from the fishery is limited in availability so scores #1, 4 and 5 cannot be determined quantitatively. Score #4 was determined qualitatively based on available information but data on fishing mortality or management measures could not be obtained so #1 and 5 have not been scored.

Download Source Data

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Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs)

No related FIPs

Certifications

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

No related MSC certifications

Sources

Credits
  1. Alekseev, A.V., Khrapchenkov, F.F., Baklanov, P.J., Blinov, Y.G., Kachur, A.N., Medvedeva, I.A., Minakir, P.A. and G.D. Titova, 2006. Oyashio Current, GIWA Regional assessment 31. University of Kalmar, Kalmar, Sweden.http://www.unep.org/dewa/giwa/areas/reports/r31/giwa_regional_assessment_31.pdf
  2. Aydin K., and P. Livingston, 2003. Food Web Comparisons in the Eastern and Western Bering Sea. ASFC Quarterly report.http://www.afsc.noaa.gov/Quarterly/amj2003/amj03feat.pdf
  3. BirdLife International 2010. Rissa brevirostris. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. [Accessed on 20 January 2012].http://www.iucnredlist.org
  4. Bjordal, Å., 2002. The use of technical measures in responsible fisheries: regulation of fishing gear. In: Cochrane, K.L. (ed.), 2002. A fishery manager’s guidebook. Management measures and their application. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper no. 424. Rome, FAO.ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/004/y3427e/y3427e00.pdf
  5. Cunningham, K.M., 2007. Population Genetics of Pacific Cod (Gadus macrocephalus): Evidence for Large and Small Scale Population Structure. Master of Science thesis, University of Washington.http://www.fish.washington.edu/research/publications/ms_phd/Cunningham_K_MS_Su07.pdf
  6. FAO, 2010. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, Statistics and Information Service. FishStatJ: Universal software for fishery statistical time series. Copyright 2011.http://www.fao.org/fishery/statistics/software/fishstatj/en
  7. Fisheries Agency of Japan and Fisheries Research Agency, 2011. Resource Assessment 2010 (Digest). Pacific cod – Hokkaido.http://abchan.job.affrc.go.jp/digests22/html/2230.html
  8. Fisheries Agency of Japan and Fisheries Research Agency, 2011. Resource Assessment 2010 (Digest). Pacific cod – Sea of Japan.http://abchan.job.affrc.go.jp/digests22/html/2232.html
  9. Gelatt, T. & L. Lowry, 2008. Callorhinus ursinus. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. [Accessed on 20 January 2012].http://www.iucnredlist.org
  10. Russian Pollock Catchers Association (PCA), 2010a. Russian Pollock Catchers Association Information Submission for MSC Certification Assessment of West Bering Sea. Principle 2 – Maintenance of Ecosystem Integrity.http://www.msc.org/track-a-fishery/in-assessment/pacific/russia-bering-sea-pollock/assessment-downloads-1/Principle-2-WBS-PCA-Submission-200610.pdf
  11. Russian Pollock Catchers Association (PCA), 2010b. Russian Pollock Catchers Association Information Submission for MSC Certification Assessment of West Bering Sea. Principle 3 – Management Institutions.http://www.msc.org/track-a-fishery/in-assessment/pacific/russia-bering-sea-pollock/assessment-downloads-1/Principle-3-PCA-submission-17-Sept-2010.pdf
  12. Russian Pollock Catchers Association (PCA), 2010c. Russian Pollock Catchers Association Information Submission for MSC Certification Assessment of Sea of Okhotsk. Principle 2 – Maintenance of Ecosystem Integrity.http://www.msc.org/track-a-fishery/in-assessment/pacific/russia-sea-of-okhotsk-pollock/assessment-downloads-1/Principle-2-SOO-PCA-Submission-080610.pdf
  13. Russian Pollock Catchers Association (PCA), 2010d. Russian Pollock Catchers Association Information Submission for MSC Certification Assessment of West Bering Sea. Principle 1 – Conservation of Target Stocks.http://www.msc.org/track-a-fishery/in-assessment/pacific/russia-bering-sea-pollock/assessment-downloads-1/Principle-1-WBS-PCA-Submission-200610.pdf
  14. Shuntov, 2001, in Alekseev et al., 2006. Global International Waters Assessments; Regional Assessment 30 – Sea of Okhotsk.http://projects.csg.uwaterloo.ca/inweh/display.php?ID=899
  15. Theise, T.C., 2009. Imported Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus): Western North Pacific Region (Russian Federation and Japan). Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Seafood Report.http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/cr_seafoodwatch/content/media/MBA_SeafoodWatch_ImportedPacificCodReport.pdf
  16. Vinnikov, A.V., 2008. Pacific cod western Kamchatka: biology, population dynamics, fisheries. PhD thesis, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy [via Google translate].http://www.imb.dvo.ru/files/Autoreferat_Vinnikov.pdf

Appended content

      References

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