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Last updated on 29 August 2018

SUMMARY

Summary

IDENTIFICATION

SCIENTIFIC NAME(s)

Gadus chalcogrammus

SPECIES NAME(s)

Alaska pollock, Walleye pollock, pollock, Минтай.

Alaska pollock in the Sea of Okhotsk, Russia, is regarded as one single population with complex organization to the north of 50ºN, frequently referred to as northern Sea of Okhotsk (e.g., Zverkova, 1981; Zverkova et al., 2003; Shuntov et al. 2007), spanning three management sub-areas: North Okhotsk (sub-area 4), West Kamchatka (sub-area 5) and Kamchatka-Kuril (sub-area 6). Click here for a map with Russian Far East pollock management areas.


ANALYSIS

Strengths
  • Stock assessment is conducted annually and the assessment has been peer-reviewed.
  • The stock is above its target reference point and has been since 2009.
  • Fishing mortality is below the target.
  • A harvest control rule is used in TAC setting.
  • Only pelagic trawl and coastal seine may be used so benthic impacts are expected to be limited.
Weaknesses
  • Until recently, it was reported that real catches had been substantially larger than reported catches mainly because of high levels of pollock roe production and unreported discards of undersized pollock. Contradicting reports suggest the situation has improved in recent years and that compliance by fishers is high, but scientific observer coverage remains below desirable levels.
  • Some uncertainty remains as to the environmental impacts of the fishery, requiring improved reporting.
  • Public access to the stock assessment summary reports had been improving in recent years, but further improvements are still required, including publication of the full assessment reports. 

FISHSOURCE SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

9.6

Managers Compliance:

10

Fishers Compliance:

≥ 6

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

8.7

Future Health:

8.3


RECOMMENDATIONS

RETAILERS & SUPPLY CHAIN
  • Press the Pollock Catchers Association to amend the Pollock Sustainability website (www.russianpollock.com) to include pages specifically related to the Sea of Okhotsk pollock fishery and implementation of the action plan on closing Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification conditions.
  • Press the Pollock Catchers Association to add further scientific information to the Pollock Sustainability website, including stock assessment summaries for previous years and summaries of data collected by scientific observers on all types of by-catches and discards.

FIPS

No related FIPs

CERTIFICATIONS

  • Russia Sea of Okhotsk pollock:

    MSC Certified

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
Sea of Okhotsk Russia N Okhotsk, W Kamchatka, Kamchatka-Kuril Russian Federation Danish seines
Midwater trawls

Analysis

OVERVIEW

Last updated on 1 August 2018

Strengths
  • Stock assessment is conducted annually and the assessment has been peer-reviewed.
  • The stock is above its target reference point and has been since 2009.
  • Fishing mortality is below the target.
  • A harvest control rule is used in TAC setting.
  • Only pelagic trawl and coastal seine may be used so benthic impacts are expected to be limited.
Weaknesses
  • Until recently, it was reported that real catches had been substantially larger than reported catches mainly because of high levels of pollock roe production and unreported discards of undersized pollock. Contradicting reports suggest the situation has improved in recent years and that compliance by fishers is high, but scientific observer coverage remains below desirable levels.
  • Some uncertainty remains as to the environmental impacts of the fishery, requiring improved reporting.
  • Public access to the stock assessment summary reports had been improving in recent years, but further improvements are still required, including publication of the full assessment reports. 
RECOMMENDATIONS

Last updated on 11 July 2017

Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain
  • Press the Pollock Catchers Association to amend the Pollock Sustainability website (www.russianpollock.com) to include pages specifically related to the Sea of Okhotsk pollock fishery and implementation of the action plan on closing Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification conditions.
  • Press the Pollock Catchers Association to add further scientific information to the Pollock Sustainability website, including stock assessment summaries for previous years and summaries of data collected by scientific observers on all types of by-catches and discards.

1.STOCK STATUS

STOCK ASSESSMENT

Last updated on 1 August 2018

Stock assessment is conducted annually, and covers the North Okhotsk Sea, West Kamchatka and Kamchatka-Kuril areas. Assessments are conducted by KamchatNIRO, the Kamchatka fisheries research institute. The Russian Pacific Fisheries Research Centre (TINRO) conducts annual surveys for estimating abundance of pollock eggs, spawning and total stock, age composition, biomass of plankton and oceanographic conditions in spawning areas. The estimates of abundance and exploitable biomass are based, respectively, on data collected from the ichthyoplankton and mid-water trawl surveys and from assumptions related to natural mortality, fishery selectivity, weight-at-age, catches and also data from surveys. Both scientific observers on commercial vessels and fishing by scientific vessels provide sampling data (O’Boyle et al., 2013). Catch per unit effort (CPUE) indices from the commercial fleet are also used as input data (Payne et al. 2018). The availability of information is considered to be strong enough to support the assessment and forecasts and the TAC advice (KamchatNIRO, 2015) and the assessment model is adequate and credible (Payne, A., G. Hønneland and D. Japp 2016).

In the Northern Sea of Okhotsk, the previously used ‘biostatistical’ stock assessment method estimated biomass from icthyoplankton and mid-water trawl survey data. From 2010, the results of a ‘Synthesis’ statistical catch-at-age model have been used as the basis for TAC-setting. The model has been found to perform relatively well, with most uncertainty linked to historical catch-at-age data and to the relationships between data collected from the fishery and the variables of interest. Estimates of unreported discards of juveniles are included in the model. There had been suggestions that the sources of uncertainty should be better accounted for (O’Boyle et al., 2013) but a recent review concluded that major uncertainties are appropriately considered (Payne, A., G. Hønneland and D. Japp 2016). The coastal seine fishery reportedly no longer presents data availability problems (O’Boyle et al., 2013).

The assessment is peer-reviewed both within TINRO and externally and advised TACs may be reduced as a consequence of the process (O’Boyle et al., 2013). Only summaries of the stock assessment reports have been made public and have been done so irregularly.

Maximum sustainable yield (MSY) reference points are used in the stock analysis and projections since 2012 (KamchatNIRO, 2013). The limit biomass reference point was redefined in 2015, and decreased from 3,416 thousand tonnes, previously defined as 10% of the confidence interval for the estimate of B25% (KamchatNIRO, 2014) to 2,583 thousand tonnes, a new Bloss estimate (KamchatNIRO, 2015). A 2017 review of the reference points concluded that no adjustments were required (Payne et al. 2018).

Btrp = 5,089 thousand tonnes (=BMSY)
Blim = 2,583 thousand tonnes (=Bloss)
Ftrp = 0.235 (=FMSY)
F0 = F adopted under the HCR at SSB<Blim = 10% of Btrp = 0.024
Flim = 0.305 (=F35%)

SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

Last updated on 1 August 2018

Scientific advice for this stock is generated by KamchatNIRO in the form of annual TAC forecasts, based on the results of the stock assessment and the harvest control rule. These are reviewed and agreed upon at TINRO by the “Council on Pollock”, and passed to the Scientific Council of the Russian Federal Research Institute of Fishery and Oceanography (VNIRO). A stakeholder discussion follows, before a review by the independent Ministry of Natural Resources, and finally approval by the Federal Fishery Agency under the Ministry of Agriculture. VNIRO’s role is one of oversight and ensuring scientific rigor and overall legality of the decision process (O’Boyle et al., 2013; Payne et al. 2018).

Two-year forecasts are conducted by scientists, and these are used as part of the TAC-setting decision. A ten-year projection is now also evaluated (Payne et al. 2018). For the Sea of Okhotsk, as the stock has been above its target reference point, fishing at the target fishing mortality level of 0.235 was advised for 2016, corresponding to a TAC of 966.7 thousand tonnes, with a less than 10% risk of overfishing (KamchatNIRO, 2015). For 2017, the same fishing mortality of 0.235 would have resulted from applying the harvest control rule, corresponding to a TAC of 1,084,100 tonnes but scientists and managers agreed to maintain the TAC at 2016 levels (Payne, A., G. Hønneland and D. Japp 2016). Again in 2018, applying the target fishing mortality would have resulted in catches of 1,078 thousand tonnes, but the TAC was maintained at 2016 and 2017 levels (Payne et al. 2018; Ministry of Agriculture 2017).

Projections run in 2017 indicated a negligible risk of the stock declining below its limit reference point by 2019 and of fishing mortality exceeding its limit reference point (Flim=0.31) (Payne et al. 2018).

CURRENT STATUS

Last updated on 1 August 2018

Results of the 2017 assessment, relating to the state of the stock in 2016, estimate the northern Sea of Okhotsk spawning biomass at 5,981 thousand tonnes, above the target reference point of 5,089 thousand tonnes and a slight increase on 2015, continuing on the increase noted in 2015. Since 2009 spawning biomass has been above Btrp. Recruitment declined during the 1990s but is now at higher, albeit variable, levels. The 2011 and 2013 year classes were strong and helped to stabilize the stock, but the 2012 class was weak and the 2014 and 2015 of moderate strength. The recent increases in biomass can be attributed to the 2011 year class, which was previously underestimated ​(Payne et al. 2018).

Fishing mortality in 2016 was 0.22, below the target (Ftr=0.235), where it has been since 2014 (Payne et al. 2018).

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

MANAGEMENT

Last updated on 1 August 2018

The most recent and substantive reform of the fisheries legislation took place in 2009. The revised Federal Act on Fisheries and Aquatic Biological Resources Conservation (Fisheries Act) was signed on 9 December 2009. The Act required adoption of a number of normative acts defining procedures for the implementation of its provisions. The work on the normative acts required was accomplished by the end of 2010.

Major improvements to the Act, in particular, include (1) mandatory delivery of catches taken in the EEZ and adjacent shelf areas to Customs territories for export and domestic trade processing, (2) separate management of fisheries in inshore (coastal) sea areas, (3) introduction of limits on by-catches to be incorporated in fisheries regulations and (4) new provisions on cancelling the right to fish. The current fisheries legislation in Russia provides the required foundation for a modern system of fisheries governance and management of aquatic biological resources.

The Federal Fisheries Agency (FFA), under the Ministry of Agriculture, coordinates fishery management. Since 2009, the government allocates quota shares to fishing enterprises for each target species with a TAC defined, for a period of 10 or 15 years. Factual quotas are calculated pro-rata to TACs which are defined annually. The pollock fisheries are subject to this regulation. For a full and up-to-date reference list of fisheries legislation acts of direct importance to the Russia Far East pollock fisheries (in English) see the Overview of the Russian Fishery Management System published in June 2012 on the Russian Pollock Catchers Association (PCA) website.

Besides issuing fishing permits, allocating quota shares, defining TACs, allocating parcels of fishing areas for harvesting anadromous fish species and providing fishing rights for harvesting aquatic resources for which TACs are not defined, all categories of fisheries are regulated by so-called Fishery Regulations (“Pravila rybolovstva”). The Regulations are set separately for several major fishing areas including the Far East Basin. All Regulations specify closed areas, seasonal closures, prohibited fishing gear and limitations of particular gear, minimum mesh sizes, minimum allowable size of fish to be harvested, limits on bycatch of undersized target species, list of prohibited bycatch species and limits of by-catch of non-target species, including a rule to move to another fishing location once a limit is reached. The Regulations also define requirements for VMS monitoring of fishing vessels and daily vessel reports on fishing and fish processing operations. Only pelagic trawl and coastal seines may be used to fish pollock. A cod end minimum mesh size is in place, square panels must be used, and a minimum size is enforced. Fisheries are closed during spawning season and closed areas due to juveniles are in use. The formerly prevalent practice of stripping of roe and subsequent discarding is banned (O’Boyle et al., 2013).

The harvest control rule (HCR) uses results from the stock assessment process and reduces the fishing mortality to be applied as biomass falls below the target. Below the biomass limit reference point, F0 is applied. The application rules are laid out in the following three scenarios as applicable, where Fi and Bi are the fishing mortality and biomass for year i (Payne et al. 2018):

I: Fi = F0 at Bi < Blim 

II: Fi = (Ftrp – F0) (Bi – Blim) / (Btrp – Blim) + F0 at Blim < Bi < Btrp

III: Fi = Ftrp at Bi > Btrp

The pollock official TAC for 2018 was set at 966 thousand tonnes, close to the 2017 and 2016 TACs of 966,700 tonnes (Ministry of Agriculture 2017Ministry of Agriculture 2016).

The subzone allocations of the TAC are as follows:

North-Okhotsk: 348,000 tonnes
West Kamchatka: 348,000 tonnes
Kamchatka-Kuril: 270,000 tonnes.

As in 2016 and 2017, the TAC was aligned with scientific advised levels. Set TACs had also reportedly been aligned with scientific advised TACs since 2000, but in 2014 and 2015 exceeded recommended levels.

COMPLIANCE

Last updated on 1 August 2018

The extent to which pollock fishermen in the Sea of Okhotsk stay within the authorized TACs is difficult to document with absolute certainty. Official statistics are based on Daily Vessel Reports (DVRs) and report that generally landings stay in line with TACs. However, some estimates show that in 2005-2009, due to discards of undersized pollock, factual annual catches were on average 23.9% above TACs (KamchatNIRO, 2010). From some reports, Sea of Okhotsk catches in 2010 slightly exceeded the TAC (117% TAC fulfillment) but were 19.9% higher than official catch data due to discarding of undersized pollock, inaccurate raw-to-processed fish conversion coefficients and selective processing of catches [during pollock roe production] (KamchatNIRO, 2011a), although there were conflicting reports of a reduction in discarding of juveniles during the same period (Fishgov.ru, 2011; O’Boyle et al., 2013) due to market factors and monitoring efforts. In 2011 the official TAC attainment was 98%, with a quota surpass in the Okhotsk Sea sub-area compensated by shortfalls in other areas, and a similar estimated 23% higher actual catch than official statistics (KamchatNIRO, 2012b). Official 2012 quota attainment was also 98% (KamchatNIRO, 2013) and in 2013 it was a record 99% (KamchatNIRO, 2014). Catch statistics for 2015 place it at 98% (PCA 2016), for 2016 also at 98% and for 2017 at 89% (Payne et al. 2018). However, in view of the above, it should also be taken into account that according to fisheries regulations in force (FA Order N671, 2011) permitted by-catch of undersized pollock should stay within a limit of 20% of total catch by numbers. When by-catch is above the limit it must be retained and recorded and the vessel should relocate the position of the next trawl to a distance of 5 n. miles from its previous position. Reports state that juvenile discarding rates are currently low (O’Boyle et al., 2013) and that undersized pollock constitutes 17.2% of catch by numbers (Payne et al. 2018).

In general, the current system for the fisheries management, monitoring and control meets the requirements of a modern system. In particular, it comprises DVR catch reporting, VMS vessel position monitoring and vessel inspection at-sea and in ports. The system is described on the Fisheries Agency official site. A document Overview of the Russian Fishery Management System was published in June 2012 on the PCA website (in English). The Federal Security Services (FSB) government marine inspectors conduct on-board and port inspections, which include verification of compliance with juvenile bycatch rules, interactions with mammals and benthic species, verification of logbooks and monitoring of VMS data, and FFA inspectors also analyze VMS and DVR data. Data from government on-board vessel inspections have indicated a decreasing rate of violations, from 3.4% in 2008 to 1.7% in 2010 (O’Boyle et al., 2013). Scientific observers record catch and discard composition and conduct biological sampling but are not required by law. Observer coverage has been increasing in recent years (Payne et al. 2018) but is still low in the Danish seine fleet. An Observer Working Group has been set up as part of the MSC certification process and observer coverage rates in the pelagic trawl fishery are now considered to be statistically sufficient, but still did not meet EU Data Collection sampling standard rates in 2017 (Payne et al. 2018).

The mandatory delivery to Russia Customs territories of all marine fisheries catches taken in the Russia EEZ is in place since Jan 2009, the same year the FAO Port State Agreement to Prevent IUU Fishing was signed. The measure is expected to have reduced IUU fishing activities, and indirect estimates from NGOs and independent experts appear to confirm this. A lower level of IUU fishing activities seems to persist, mostly by fishing vessels under Flags of Convenience, although there are still no official annual estimates of IUU fishing levels made by any regulatory authorities. The reports of pollock fisheries violations published on the site of RFE Border Control Division (Federal Security Service) include cases of not recording catches, taking fish above quotas and misreporting catch areas. The MSC certification process raised a condition which included a requirement to ensure the monitoring of fishery removals was sufficiently well and regularly conducted and records of landings were accurate and consistent (O’Boyle et al., 2013). As of the 2017 fourth surveillance audit, that condition was considered to have been met and was closed (Payne, A., G. Hønneland and D. Japp 2016).

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

BYCATCH
ETP Species

Last updated on 1 August 2018

Endangered, threatened and protected (ETP) species found in the fishery area include Steller sea lion, whales, harbor and Dall's porpoises, Risso's dolphin, otters, short-tailed albatross, sleeper sharks and chum and Chinook salmon (O’Boyle et al, 2013; Payne et al. 2018). 

Among Russian Red Book and IUCN-endangered species known to occur in Russian Far East, Steller sea lions were reported to have shown population growth since the 1960s in northern Sea of Okhotsk and Sakhalin Island areas but to have declined sharply in the areas of western Bering Sea, Commander Island and Eastern Kamchatka (Gelatt & Lowry, 2012). Its status in the Sea of Okhotsk is more recently reported to be decreasing in abundance (Kuzin, 2016 in (Payne et al. 2018)).

Marine protected areas are also in place focusing on protecting large cetaceans and, in the Kuril and Magadan reserves, on Steller sea lion rookeries and haul outs (O’Boyle et al., 2013). 

Russian Federation
Midwater trawls

Last updated on 1 August 2018

In the mid-water trawl fishery encounters of fishing gear with endangered, threatened or protected (ETP) species are to be recorded by observers and government inspectors monitor mammal interactions (O’Boyle et al, 2013).

Steller sea lion interactions with the fishery are rare but occasional mortality has been reported (Payne et al. 2018).

Although its aggregating behavior could place the IUCN-vulnerable short-tailed albatross at risk of interaction with the fishery, none were reported by observers. As part of a condition for MSC certification, further data on Steller sea lion feeding and seabird interactions with trawls were collected during 2015 at-sea surveys and found seabird interactions to occur, although none with short-tailed albatross, albeit with a small sample size (Acoura, 2015; Payne, A., G. Hønneland and D. Japp 2016).

No other ETP species is known to have interactions with the fishery (Payne et al. 2018).

Danish seines

Last updated on 12 June 2017

No reference to ETP interactions in the coastal Danish seine fishery could be located.

Other Species

Last updated on 1 August 2018

Monitoring and observer coverage is focused mainly on the larger pelagic trawl fishery, than the coastal Danish seine fishery.

Russian Federation
Midwater trawls

Last updated on 22 August 2018

Retained bycatch species are recorded in vessel logbooks and observed by coastguard inspectors at any time, and always during transshipments and landings, covering around 20% of large vessel hauls (O’Boyle et al., 2013). Scientific observers record both retained and discarded bycatch species. Measures to reduce bycatch in this fishery include the use of species bycatch limits, square mesh panels and minimum mesh sizes, spatial closures and “move-on” rules, among others. Retained bycatch rates are around 5%, and consist mainly of Pacific herring, with lower rates (<2%) of sculpins, soles, Pacific cod, Greenland halibut, skates and Pacific halibut, and insignificant catches of flounder, lumpsucker and Kommander squid (Payne et al. 2018). Discarded bycatch of other species appears to be very low, and the main species include lumpfish, armhook squid, and snailfish. Bycatch levels in the fishery are determined with high probability to be low enough to not negatively impact the viability of any of the discard species, although most are not assessed by IUCN (Payne et al. 2018).

Observer coverage has increased as a result of MSC certification conditions, with the number of observed hauls increasing 27% between 2016 and 2017, and is now at levels (at 5.6 to 8% of tows) determined to be adequate in the pelagic trawl fleet to monitor adult pollock catches, but still below the levels needed to monitor catches of juvenile pollock and non-target species (Payne et al. 2018). An electronic logbook system is under development (FCI, 2014) but still not fully implemented (Payne et al. 2018)

Danish seines

Last updated on 1 August 2018

Inshore Danish seine fisheries may have higher bycatch rates than the pelagic trawl fishery (O’Boyle et al., 2013). Around 2% of hauls officially observed in 2017 were Danish seine hauls, and the fishery catches 5.5% of the 2016 TAC (Payne et al. 2018).

HABITAT

Last updated on 1 August 2018

According to TINRO (the Pacific Fisheries Research Centre) in terms of the impact of the fishery on the benthic habitat, the general pattern is apparently quite favorable. The fishery is almost exclusively pelagic after bottom trawling was discontinued in the 1990s. In addition, trawling may not be conducted less than 30 miles off shore and 5-12 miles from islands (O’Boyle et al., 2013). TINRO also reports that bottom contact fishing methods are limited to the use of Danish Seine only and that spatial restrictions apply (coastal zone only). On-board inspections detecting benthic species result in fines (O’Boyle et al., 2013). Reports from the midwater trawl fishery indicate that interactions of the gear with the sea-bed are actively avoided by fishers, at least partially driven by the economic reasons (Acoura, 2015). 

Ongoing monitoring of the benthos in the bottom trawl survey program suggests stable biodiversity and productivity in the system, and this is probably strongly linked to the absence of any major bottom trawling in the area. Studies of the benthic habitat are ongoing, including of the distribution of rare species used as indicators of vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs) (Payne et al. 2018).

Russian Federation
Midwater trawls

Last updated on 1 August 2018

The likelihood of contact of pelagic trawls with the seabed is thought to be low, due to the offshore location of fishing and the risk of damage to the gear (Payne et al. 2018).

ECOSYSTEM

Last updated on 1 August 2018

Surveys by TINRO and local institutes cover most of the Sea of Okhotsk, collecting data on fish speacies, plankton, and stomach contents. Pollock has been determined to be the dominant top pelagic predator in the ecosystem, with Pacific herring and sardine constituting the other two "strategic" species. Pollock is also a food source for predators including other pollock, other fish and marine mammals (Payne et al. 2018). The Sea of Okhotsk ecosystem is primarily driven by climate, with intensive fishing as a secondary driving force (Heileman and Belikin 2010 in Payne et al. 2018). Impacts of the fishery on marine mammals due to trophic effects are thought to be unlikely.

FishSource Scores

Last updated on 17 August 2018

SELECT SCORES

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

As calculated for 2016 data.

The score is 9.6.

This measures the F at low biomass as a percentage of the F management target.

The F at low biomass is 0.0235 (from management plan). The F management target is 0.235 .

The underlying F at low biomass/F management target for this index is 10.0%.

As calculated for 2018 data.

The score is 10.0.

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

The Set TAC is 966 ('000 t). The Advised TAC is 1080 ('000 t) .

The underlying Set TAC/Advised TAC for this index is 89.6%.

As calculated for 2017 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

Observer coverage has increased and is found to be more than sufficient to monitor removals of adult pollock by the pelagic trawl fishery, but does not yet meet the necessary coverage level for juvenile pollock (Payne et al, 2018).

STOCK HEALTH:

As calculated for 2016 data.

The score is 8.7.

This measures the SSB as a percentage of the SSBtrp.

The SSB is 5980 ('000 t). The SSBtrp is 5090 ('000 t) .

The underlying SSB/SSBtrp for this index is 118%.

As calculated for 2016 data.

The score is 8.3.

This measures the F as a percentage of the F management target.

The F is 0.220 (age-averaged). The F management target is 0.235 .

The underlying F/F management target for this index is 93.6%.

ECOSYSTEM IMPACTS

Click on the score to see subscore

Click on the score to see subscore

Click on the score to see subscore

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Bycatch Subscores

Bycatch monitoring is conducted by scientific observers and coastguard inspectors, and is also reported by vessels through daily catch logs. Observer coverage may not yet meet the necessary coverage level but efforts are underway in the pelagic trawl fleet to address this (Payne et al. 2018). There remains some uncertainty around status of bycatch species, namely the Gizhiga-Kamchatka herring stock.

The distribution of ETP species does not greatly overlap with the fishery, but closed seasons and areas and permitted gears also reduce potential impacts. Occasional mortality of endangered Steller sea lion occurs but is not thought to be significant enough to impact on populations of the species. Impacts on the endangered short-tailed albatross were not observed, but its abundance is low. No other ETP species are thought to be impacted by the fishery (Payne et al. 2018).

Pacific herring is considered to be a main bycatch species under the MSC recertification due to its economic importance and role as a low trophic level species, although catches are under 5% of the total fishery catch. Bycatch is composed of herring from two stocks: North Okhotsk and Gizhiga-Kamchatka, with separate TACs. The former stock is at a healthy biomass level and total catches (by all fisheries) are reportedly within the TAC. Catches of the latter in the midwater pollock fishery are well under the TAC (Payne et al. 2018) and the TAC has been increased in recent years, a substantial portion of which is allocated to bycatch by the pollock fishery (KamchatNIRO, 2015) but the status of this stock in relation to respective reference points could not be located.

TACs or possible catch (PC) limits are in place for some of the bycatch species in the fishery, and permits are required for these species to be retained. Other bycatch measures such as bycatch limits of total catch, move-on rules and cod-end mesh sizes and excluder devices are in place. Measures to mitigate impacts on ETP species include closed seasons, prohibition of bottom trawling, and area closures to trawling off the coast and off islands (Payne et al. 2018). Catch limits and reference points are not in place for every bycatch species however. Compliance is monitored and reported to be excellent and enforcement not to be an issue (Payne et al. 2018).

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Habitat Subscores

No targeted studies of impacts have been carried out in this fishery, as impacts on bottom habitats due to pelagic trawl are expected to be low to absent. Research surveys of benthic habitats are conducted but are not testing for impacts of the fishery, and are either inconclusive or not broadly indicative of any major habitat changes (Payne et al. 2018).

Habitat types throughout the Sea of Okhotsk are known and documented, although research has focused on areas shallower than 200 m, and information on substrates is dated. Potential vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs) and associated species have been identified although not fully mapped yet  (Payne et al. 2018).

It's thought to be highly unlikely that pelagic trawlers are reducing habitat structure or function (Payne et al. 2018).

Management measures to reduce impacts on habitats include a switch to pelagic gear. Other measures may indirectly mitigate impacts, but specific studies or monitoring of impacts is lacking, so it cannot be said that a strategy is in place. Compliance, monitoring and enforcement are not issues (Payne et al. 2018).

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Ecosystem Subscores

Impacts of the fishery on the ecosystem have regularly been described through trophic modeling, using a wealth of available information, and models continue to be refined (Payne et al. 2018).

The ecosystem has been well characterized, with surveys starting in the 1980s, although as this followed a period of intense fishing, they do not necessarily describe an unimpacted state. Surveys continue to be conducted and incorporate all levels of the ecosystem, and current studies expected to further enhance understanding of the ecosystem (Payne et al. 2018).

No ecosystem changes are noted to have taken place in the Sea of Okhotsk, and it's thought to be highly unlikely that the fishery would affect ecosystem structure and processes (Payne et al. 2018).

Measures such as use of pelagic gear, bycatch mitigation measures, and ecosystem monitoring represent a partial strategy of management of ecosystem impacts (Payne et al. 2018).

HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE RISK

High Medium Low

This indicates the potential risk of human rights abuses for all fisheries operating within this stock or assessment unit. If there are more than on risk level noted, individual fisheries have different levels. Click on the "Select Scores" drop-down list for your fisheries of interest.

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DATA NOTES
  1. Fishing mortality and spawning stock biomass time series and reference points are from the Northern Sea of Okhotsk assessment.The original stock assessment documents are not made public; the F7-10 and SSB estimates were collected from Payne et al. 2018.
  2. Set TAC and catches sum West Kamchakta, Kamchakta-Kuril and Northern Sea of Okhotsk management areas. They do not include East Sakhalin.
  3. Fat low biomass is 10% of Ftrp =FMSY = 0.24 as a result of the Harvest Control Rule in place since 2010.
  4. The score for fishers' compliance has been determined qualitatively, based on available information.

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Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs)

No related FIPs

Certifications

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

SELECT MSC

NAME

Russia Sea of Okhotsk pollock

STATUS

MSC Certified on 24 September 2013

SCORES

Principle Level Scores:

Principle Score
Principle 1 – Target Species 80.8
Principle 2 - Ecosystem 81.0
Principle 3 – Management System 85.6

Principles scores were revised at the 3rd surveillance audit.

Certification Type: Gold

Sources

Credits

Avdeev G.V., Smirnov А.V., Fronek S.L., 2001. Basic features of dynamics of Pollock population in the northern part of the Sea of Okhotsk in 90s // Izvestiya TINRO. – 2001. – v.128 – pp. 207-221.

Avdeev G.V., Ovsyannikov Е.Е., 2006. Results of Pollock stock assessment in the northern part of the Sea of Okhotsk according to ichteoplankton survey in 2005 // Izvestiya TINRO. – 2006. – v. 145. – pp. 120-145.

Avdeev G.V., Ovsyannikova S.L., Ovsyannikov Е.Е., 2004. Results of Pollock stock assessment in the northern part of the Sea of Okhotsk according to ichteoplankton survey in 2004 // Voprosy Rybolovstva. –2005. – v.6, #2 (22). – pp. 298-325.

Avdeev G.V., Ovsyannikova S.L., Ovsyannikov Е.Е., 2008. Current Pollock status and Pollock fishery perspectives in the northern part of the Sea of Okhotsk. // Current status of aquatic bio resources: materials of scientific conference dedicated to 70th anniversary of S.M. Konovalov. Vladivostok: TINRO-Center, 2008. – pp.9-13.

Babayan V.K., Vasilyev D.A., Varkentin A.I., Sergeeva N.P., 2006. Methodic peculiarities of pollock TAC assessment in uncertainly Fish species of the Far Eastern Seas: techniques of research. VNIRO Proceeding.-v.146.-Moscow:VNIRO Publishing, 2006.- P.13-37).

Bulatov, O.A., B.N. Kotenev, G.S. Moiseenko, and V.M. Borisov, 2007. The GIS method application for the stock assessment of walleye pollock and the Northeast Arctic cod, presentation at PICES XVI, Victoria, B.C., Canada

Burkanov, V., A. Altukhov, R. Andrews, D. Calkins, E. Gurarie, P. Permyakov, S. Sergeev, and J. Waite, 2006. Northern fur seal (Callorhinus ursinus) pup production in the Kuril Islands, 2005-2006,” (poster), AFSC, NOAA and Alaska Sea Life Center, 2006.

Burkanov, V., R. Andrews, D. Calkins, A. Altukhov, V. Vertyankin, and J. Waite, 2007. Update on Steller sea lion (Eumatopias jubatus) surveys in Russia, 2006-2008, (poster), AFSC, NOAA and Alaska Sea Life Center 2007.

Butterworth, D.S. and Punt, A., 1999. Experiences in the evaluation and implementation of management procedures. ICES Journal of Marine Science 56: 985-998.

Darkin, S.M. (Governor of Primorsky Krai), 2008. Responsible Mission of the International Fishery Congress: Provide Long-term & Efficient Use of Water (Aquatic) Bioresources, presentation delivered at 2008 International Fisheries Congress, September 2008, Vladivostok, Russia.

Dulepova, E., and E. Ovyannikov, 2008. Productivity of walleye pollock (theragra chalcogramma) in the eastern Okhotsk Sea in 2006-2008, poster FIS­_P-502, presented at PICES 17 annual meeting, 2008.

Dulepova E., Radchenko, V., 2004. Okhotsk Sea. _In_Marine Ecosystems of the North Pacific. PICES Special Pub. 1.

Fadeev N.S., 1999. Methodology for Pollock stock estimates based on quantity of eggs and size and age structure. Biology of the sea-1999, v.25, #3, pp.246- 249.

Fadeev N.S., Vespestad V., 2001. Review of Pollock Fishery. Izvestiya TINRO. – 2001. – v.128. – pp.75-91.

Fadeev N.S., Smirnov А.V., 1987. Estimate of Pollock egg quantity and population of estimate in the northern part of the Sea of Okhotsk. // Biologiya moray – 1987 – #4 -, pp. 19-25

Glotov, D.B., A.Y. Blinov, T.T.V. Tkachenko, and V.A. Skusarev, 2006. Evaluation of Loss caused by Illegal Catching Living Marine Resources in the Far East Fishing Industrial Basin: economic Masrues to Fight Poaching,” Association of Primorye Fish Industry Companies, online at http://arpp.pk.ru/eng/news/show/?id=355

Iliashenko, V.Yu. and E.I. Iliashenko. 2000. Krasnaya kniga Rossii: pravovye akty [Red Data Book of Russia: legislative acts]. State committee of the Russian Federation for Environmental Protection. Moscow. 143 pp. In Russian.

Januz, J., and K. Trella, 2005. Some biological information on walleye pollock (Theragra chalcogramma) form the Sea of Okhotsk (1997-2000) based on Polish commercial catches, in Bulletin of the Sea Fisheries Institute, No. 3 (166) 2005, Gdynia, Poland.

Kashiwai, M. (workshop summary), 2009. 4th PICES Workshop on “The Okhotsk Sea and Adjacent Areas,” in PICES Press, Vol. 17, No. 1, Jan 2009.

Kotenev, B, and O. Bulatov, 2008. Stock Dynamics of Walleye Pollock in the Sea of Okhotsk, Russian Federal Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography, Moscow, 2008, abstract only.

Lysova, N.A., 2008. Current situation and strategic ways of the development of the fishery in Russia, presented at 3rd International Fishery Congress, Vladivostok, Russia, September 2008.

Melnikov I.; Smirnov A., Stepanenko M., 2009 (personal communication). International Stock Science Seminar: Pollock Stock Assessments. Sustainable Fisheries Partnership;RFE Pollock: Fishery Improvement Partnership (FIP). Hawaii, February 2009.

MSC 2009. Marine Stewardship Council, 2009, press release on pre-assessment of Russian Sea of Okhotsk Pollock.

Radchenko, V.I., 2007a. Ecosystem-based principles in contemporary fisheries management on the Russian Far East, presentation delivered at PICES 16, October 2007.

Radchenko, V.I, 2007b. Problems of TAC forecast development for multi-species fisheries in the Sakhalin-Kuriles region, presentation delivered at PICES 16, October 2007.

Rossiyskaya Gazeta 1999-2007 (retrieved 2009).

Smirnov, A.V.. 2006. Parents-progeny relationships in the Okhotsk Sea walleye pollock, presentation at PICES 15, 2006.

Smith, A.D., Fulton, E.J., Hobday, A.J., Smith, D.C., and Shoulder, P., 2007. Scientific tools to support the practical implementation of ecosystem-based fisheries management. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 64: 633–639.

Smith, M.E. and S. Kovascsics, 2008. Russian Federation Fishery Products Update 2008, GAIN Report No. RS8079, USDA FAS.

TINRO, 2009a. Information of TINRO-Center. Status of fishing resources. Prognosis of TAC for Pacific basin (short version). TINRO. 1999-2008.

TINRO, 2009b. Reference points provided by TINRO; personal communication (meeting on 7th July 2009).

  1. Acoura, 2015. MSC Sustainable Fisheries Certification; On-site Surveillance Visit: Report for Russian Sea of Okhotsk Midwater Trawl Walleye Pollock Fishery; 2nd Annual Surveillance, October 2015.https://www.msc.org/track-a-fishery/fisheries-in-the-program/certified/pacific/russia-sea-of-okhotsk-pollock/assessment-downloads-1/20151215_SR_POL102.pdf
  2. Dalryba Open Society (Russia), 2009. “Approving allowable catches of aquatic biological resources in 2009”. приказ № 382 от 05.12.2008. Order № 382 of 05.12.2008. Росрыболовство Rosrybolovstva.http://www.dalryba.ru/docs/
  3. Fisheries Agency Order N671 of 6 Jul 2011 "Fisheries regulations for the Far East Fishery Basin".http://www.rg.ru/printable/2011/08/08/ryba-dok.html
  4. Fishgov.ru, 2011. Промысел минтая в России – успехи и проблемы.http://fish.gov.ru/presscentre/news/Pages/%D0%BD%D0%BE%D0%B2%D0%BE%D1%81%D1%82%D1%8C007570.aspx
  5. FishNews, 2011. Начиная с 1980-х гг. прошлого века и по настоящее время минтай является самым массовым и наиболее значимым для Дальневосточного бассейна промысловым объектом.http://www.fishnews.ru/rubric/krupnyim-planom/3653
  6. FishNews, 2013. Наука не обещает сюрпризов по минтаю. http://fishnews.ru/news/22379
  7. Food Certification International (FCI) Ltd, 2014. MSC Sustainable Fisheries Certification. On-Site Surveillance Visit – Report for the Russian Sea of Okhotsk Midwater Trawl Fishery for Walleye Pollock. 1st Annual Surveillance, September 2014.http://www.msc.org/track-a-fishery/fisheries-in-the-program/certified/pacific/russia-sea-of-okhotsk-pollock/assessment-downloads-1/20141111_SR_POL102.pdf
  8. Gelatt, T. & Lowry, L. 2012. Eumetopias jubatus. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. [Downloaded on 26 November 2012.]http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/8239/0
  9. Gordeev, 2005, Ministry of Agriculture Order #209, 14 Dec 2005, setting TACs for aquatic biological resources for 2006.http://www.lawsector.ru/data/doc26/txa26882.htm
  10. Janusz, J., and J. Horbowy, 1997. The state of the walleye pollock in the northern part of the Okhotsk Sea, North Pacific, in Fisheries Research, vol 30, Issues 1-2, May 1997, pp 87-102.http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?ob=ArticleURL&udi=B6T6N-3RH0C88-N&user=10&rdoc=1&fmt=&_orig=search&sort=d&view=c&acct=C000050221&version=1&urlVersion=0&userid=10&md5=bd178dc70595fd5105e2e02bf1f87fe1
  11. KamchatNIRO, 2010. Работа флота на промысле минтая в ОМЭ по состоянию на 15января 2010 г.http://old.fishkamchatka.ru/?cont=long&id=20873&year=2010&today=20&month=01&PHPSESSID=cdc5910453411e1f77b229fe63b34a04
  12. KamchatNIRO, 2011a. Итоги ОМЭ по состоянию на 15.01.2011 г.http://www.kamniro.ru/kniro32/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=133:-15012011-&catid=5:2009-06-26-07-47-16&Itemid=17
  13. KamchatNIRO, 2011b. Охотоморская минтаевая путина пройдет по стандартному сценарию.http://www.kamniro.ru/index.php?view=article&catid=51:2011-05-12-06-55-14&id=234:2011-12-13-22-25-53&tmpl=component&print=1&layout=default&page=
  14. KamchatNIRO, 2012a. Обзор промысла в прикамчатских водах в декабре 2011 года.http://www.kamniro.ru/index.php?view=article&catid=19:promisel&id=240:-2011-&tmpl=component&print=1&layout=default&page=
  15. KamchatNIRO, 2012b. TAC-2013 Public Hearings documents (13 March 2012).http://old.fishkamchatka.ru/?cont=long&id=35086&year=2
  16. KamchatNIRO, 2013. TAC-2014 Public Hearings documents (14 February 2013).http://old.fishkamchatka.ru/?cont=long&id=41828&year=2013&today=14&month=02
  17. KamchatNIRO, 2014. TAC-2015 Public Hearings documents (12 March 2014).http://old.fishkamchatka.ru/?cont=long&id=48431&year=2014&today=12&month=03
  18. KamchatNIRO, 2015. TAC-2016 Public Hearings documents (21 April 2015).http://old.fishkamchatka.ru/?cont=long&id=53426&year=2015&today=21&month=04
  19. Kozlov, A.P., 2007. Ministry of Agriculture Order #409, 2 November 2006, setting TACs for aquatic biological resources for 2007.http://www.bestpravo.ru/upd2007/data62/tex62407.htm
  20. Krainy, A. A., 2007. Committee on Fisheries Order Number 27, 28 November 2007, setting TACs for aquatic biological resources for 2008.http://primorsky.ru/files/6185.doc
  21. Krainy, A. A., 2008. Federal Fisheries Agency Order #382, 5 December 2008, setting TACs for aquatic biological resources for 2009.http://www.primorksy.ru/content/?s=305
  22. Magfishcom.ru, 2011. ТИНРО-Центр о запасах минтая, сельди и мойвы в Охотском море.http://www.magfishcom.ru/index.php?newsid=1324
  23. Megafish, 2010a. "Russian Far East fishermen to profit from EU buyer focus on Pollock" 16.03.09.http://www.megafishnet.com/news/news-15944.html
  24. Megafish, 2010b. "Russian Far East (RFE) Pollock fishery responding to market needs for sustainable Pollock products" 13.03.10"http://www.megafishnet.com/news/news-15912.html
  25. Ministry of Agriculture, 2012. Order of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation on October 31, 2012 N 571 "On approval of the total allowable catch of marine biological resources in the inland waters of the Russian Federation as well as in the territorial sea of the Russian Federation, on the continental shelf of the Russian Federation and in the exclusive economic zone of the Russian Federation, in the Azov and the Caspian Sea in 2013".http://m.garant.ru/hotlaw/federal/431885/
  26. Ministry of Agriculture, 2013. Order N 403 of 11 Nov 2013. On approval of TACs of aquatic biological resources for 2014.http://fishnews.ru/rubric/ofitsialno/7497
  27. Ministry of Agriculture, 2014. Order of Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation of 21.10.2014 N 399 (ed. By 26.12.2014) "On approval of the total allowable catch of aquatic biological resources in the inland waters of the Russian Federation, the territorial sea of the Russian Federation, on the continental shelf of the Russian Federation and in the exclusive economic zone of the Russian Federation in the Sea of Azov and the Caspian Sea in 2015. "http://www.consultant.ru/document/cons_doc_LAW_173757/
  28. Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation. Order on October 7, 2015; N 465. Approval of the total allowable catch; aquatic biological resources in inland sea waters of the Russian Federation and the Russian territorial sea, on the Russian continental shelf and the exclusive economic zone of the Russian Federation, in the Azov and Caspian Sea for 2016 (in Russian; accessed online December 25, 2015).http://base.consultant.ru/cons/cgi/online.cgi?req=doc;base=LAW;n=187365;fld=134;dst=1000000001,0;rnd=0.009773221798241138
  29. O’Boyle, R., Japp, D., Payne, A., Devitt, S. 2013. Russian Sea of Okhotsk Mid-water Trawl Walleye Pollock (Theragra chalcogramma) Public Certification Report, 24 September 2013. Intertek Moody Marine, 309 pp.http://www.msc.org/track-a-fishery/fisheries-in-the-program/certified/pacific/russia-sea-of-okhotsk-pollock/assessment-downloads-1/20130924_PCR_POL102.pdf
  30. Russian Pollock Catchers Association, 2010. Home page and news items.http://pollock.ru/eng
  31. Russian Pollock Catchers Association (PCA), 2010a. Information Submission for MSC Certification Assessment of Sea of Okhotsk – Principle 1 – Conservation of Target Stocks.http://www.msc.org/track-a-fishery/in-assessment/pacific/russia-sea-of-okhotsk-pollock/assessment-downloads-1/Principle-1-SOO-PCA-Submission-080610.pdf
  32. Russian Pollock Catchers Association (PCA), 2010b. 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
  33. Russian Pollock Catchers Association (PCA), 2010c. Information Submission for MSC Certification Assessment of Sea of Okhotsk – Principle 3 – Management Institutions.http://www.msc.org/track-a-fishery/in-assessment/pacific/russia-sea-of-okhotsk-pollock/assessment-downloads-1/Principle-3-PCA-submission-17-Sept-2010.pdf
  34. Russian Pollock Catchers Association (PCA), 2012. Results of pollock fishery in the 2012 season.http://pollock.ru/assets/files/promisel/otchet_2012.pdf
  35. Semenov, S., 2011. ТИНРО-Центр: Минтай и сельдь в Охотском море обещают хорошую рыбалку. - Интернет-издание "ДВ-РОСС".http://trud-ost.ru/?p=114643&print=1
  36. Statistical Bulletin, 2010. Catches of fish and other biological aquatic resources, and products made from them in 2009. [via Google Translate].http://fish.gov.ru/activities/Documents/%D0%A1%D1%82%D0%B0%D1%82.pdf
  37. Statistical Bulletin, 2011. Catches of fish and other biological aquatic resources, and products made from them in 2010. [via Google Translate].http://fish.gov.ru/activities/Documents/f407-0_4%D0%BA%D0%B2_2010.pdf
  38. Statistical Bulletin, 2012. Catches of fish and other biological aquatic resources, and products made from them in 2011. [via Google Translate].http://fish.gov.ru/activities/Documents/f407-0%20%D1%8F%D0%BD%D0%B2%D0%B0%D1%80%D1%8C%20%D0%B4%D0%B5%D0%BA%D0%B0%D0%B1%D1%80%D1%8C.pdf
  39. Statistical Bulletin, 2014. Catches of fish and other biological aquatic resources, and products made from them in 2013. [via Google Translate].http://fish.gov.ru/activities/Documents/f407-0.pdf
  40. TINRO, 2010. Assessment methods of Alaska pollock stock in the Sea of Okhotsk and West-Bering Sea. Annual stock surveys and substantiation of TAC. Translated by Pollock Catchers Association.http://pollock.ru/files/insertfiles/pollock_.pdf
References

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