Progress of Russian fisheries in the North Atlantic and Central Eastern Atlantic in January-October 2021. PART 1

November 11, 2021 17:20

During October, the catch of the Russian fishing fleet amounted to 96.2 thousand metric tons in the Atlantic Ocean and the South Pacific to display an increase of 19.7 thousand tons compared to September, reports

In the southeast Barents Sea, the pelagic fleet targeting small herrings grew to 18 trawlers coming from Kaliningrad-based West Fisheries Basin. The fishery conditions were unstable and sometimes complicated by rough weather. Through the month under analysis the Russian fishermen harvested 1,200 metric tons of fish (+1,100 tonnes), including 54% of Baltic herring and 46% of sprat.

In the same area bottom trawler fleet (unlike pelagic trawlers) targeting cod and European flounder decreased from 20 to 14 vessels. The fishery situation was unsteady. The fleet’s total catch through the month amounted to 500 tonnes (-200 tonnes), including 34% of cod and 66% of flounder.

On October 4 one trawler coming from Saint Petersburg resumed the Baltic herring fishery in the Gulf of Finland (32nd ICES subzone), and by the end of the month six vessels coming from Kaliningrad joined it on the grounds. The fishery conditions were unstable. Through the month they harvested ca.500 tonnes of fish, including 71% of Baltic herring and 21% of sprat.

From the beginning of the year in the southeast part of the Baltic Sea and in the Gulf of Finland the Russian vessels harvested 54,400 tonnes of small herrings, including 36,000 tonnes of sprat and 18,400 tonnes of herring. As per late October 2020 the total catch in the area amounted to 59,000 tonnes, including 40,100 tonnes of sprat and 18,900 tonnes of herring.

In the Barents Sea the bottom trawl fishery for cod and haddock was conducted by up to 67 middle and 30 small vessels coming from Murmansk-led North Fisheries, as well as 3 trawlers from Kaliningrad. In the course of the month the trawlers were operating mostly in the Russian EEZ (contributing 83% of the monthly catch in this fishery), and at a lesser extent in Spitsbergen (Svalbard) area with a contribution of 47%.

• the harvest in Russian EEZ in October amounted to 21.1 thousand tons of fish (+4,5 kt), of which cod contributed 7.4 thousand tons, haddock – 11.8 thousand tons, catfish – 0,3 kt, flounder – 1.3 thousand tons, saithe – 0.2 kt, fish of other species stood at 0.1 kt;

• in Svalbard zone the fishermen caught 4.5 thousand tons of fish (-2.9 thousand tons), including 3.6 thousand tons of cod, 0,3 kt of haddock, 0.3 thousand tons of catfish, 0.2 thousand tons of redfish and 0.1kt of other bottom fish.


Specialized flounder fishing in the inshore part of Russian Barents Sea zone was conducted by up to 13 small trawlers and 8 medium-tonnage trawlers from Murmansk. In total, 755 tons of fish were caught during October (+195 tons), the share of flounder was 70%.


The redfish operations in Barents Sea were carried out by up to 6 vessels from Murmansk. In October, 300 tonnes were harvested (-1.3 thousand tons), including 72% of redfish. Since the beginning of the year, 15,667 tons of ocean perch have been caught, including 11,808 tons caught in a dedicated fishery. Russia's redfish quota in 2021 amounts to 13,908 tons. An additional 2,200 tonnes can be harvested as by-catch when fishing other species.


The halibut fishery in the same area was conducted by 6 trawlers from Murmansk. In general the fishery situation was unstable, but mostly favourable. Through the month the fishermen harvested 3,700 tonnes (+300 tonnes) of halibut (99%). The total halibut catch from January amounted to 9,876 tonnes, of which 7,586 tonnes were contributed by dedicated fishery. The Russian halibut quota 2021 totaled 12,879 tonnes, including 2,200 tonnes harvested as bycatch in other fisheries and 750 tonnes for research purposes.

Longline fishery

Bottom species longline fishery in Barents Sea was conducted by 10 vessels coming from Murmansk and 1 vessel from St. Petersburg. The longliners worked mainly in Russian zone (91% of the catch during October for this type of fishing), with the remaining 9% contributed one Saint-Petersburg-based longliner operating in Svalbard area. The longline catch in October amounted to 2.3 thousand tons of fish (+0.4 thousand tons), including cod with 69%, catfish with 21%, haddock with 7%, other fish with 3%.

Cod and haddock totals

Since the beginning of the year, 298.8 thousand tons of cod have been harvested in the Barents Sea (the quota balance is 25.2%) and 82.2 thousand tons of haddock (the quota balance is 37.7%). Last year, as per the date, 278.3 thousand tons of cod and 71.0 thousand tons of haddock were caught.


According to reports from the grounds, in the first week of October one trawler from Murmansk and one from St. Petersburg took part in the shrimp fishery in Russia’s Barents Sea zone. On October 7 the fishery was closed. The total catch for the seven days of the fishery amounted to 33 tonnes of shrimp. Since beginning of the season, Russian fleet has caught 12,400 tons of shrimp against the possible catch of 39,800 tonnes. In 2020, during the same period, 21,100 tons of this species were caught.

Red king crab

Trap fishing for red king crab in the Russian waters of the Barents Sea was carried out by 17 Russian trawlers (12 from Murmansk, one from Saint Petersburg and three from the Russian Far East). In October, 4756 tonnes of this species of crab were caught (-1543 tonnes). Since the beginning of the fishery, the catch has amounted to 11,389 tonnes versus the TAC of 10,940 tonnes. In 2020, to October 31, the fishermen caught 9,880 tonnes.

Snow crab opilio

One crabber coming from Murmansk resumed the snow crab fishery in the Barents Sea on October 22. Through the closing days of the month the vessel harvested 57 tonnes of crabs. From the fishery start the catch amounted to 13,117 tonnes against the TAC of 13,250 tonnes. In 2020, to October 31, the fishermen caught 11,070 tons.


The herring fishery in the Norwegian Sea in October turned the key fishery and by the end of the month under analysis it was conducted by 6 trawlers from Kaliningrad and 9 trawlers from Murmansk. The vessels were mostly operating in the north of the Norwegian EEZ, but in the end of the month several Kaliningrad-based vessels were operating in the south of the open part of the sea at the borderline with the Icelandic EEZ and in the fishing zone of the Faroese Islands. The fishery conditions in the Norwegian EEZ were fairly good. The total catch in October amounted to 36,900 tonnes of mostly herring (99%) with a 1% bycatch of blue whiting. The catch from the beginning of the year totaled 37,900 tonnes versus the Russian quota of 84,100 tonnes. The respective result of last year amounted to 42,800 tonnes.

Mackerel and blue whiting

In the open part of the Norwegian Sea the mackerel fishery was closed on October 15, until that day it was conducted by up to three trawlers from Murmansk. During the reviewed period, the Russian catch amounted to 196 tonnes, including mackerel with 99% (42.3 thousand tons), blue whiting bycatch with 1%. Since the beginning of fishing, 120.7 thousand tons of mackerel have been caught in this area (the Russian quota of 122.4 thousand tons). Last year, in October, the corresponding mackerel catch amounted to 117.0 thousand tons.

In the south of the open part of the Norwegian Sea, three Russian trawlers (2 from Kaliningrad and one from Murmansk) were fishing blue whiting. They used to move to the Faroese fishing zone and back. The fishery situation was weak. Through the month, the vessels caught 1,700 tonnes of fish in the NEAFC waters (-100 tonnes), of which blue whiting accounted for 96% and herring bycatch – 2%. Since the beginning of the year, 64.9 thousand tonnes of blue whiting have been harvested in the NEAFC area versus the quota of 78.3 thousand tons. To October 31, 2020, the catch of blue whiting in this area amounted to 75.7 thousand tons.

In Faroe Islands fishing zone, the blue whiting fishery was conducted by the same trawlers who operated in the open part of the sea. The situation was weak. They caught 1.7 thousand tons (+600 tonnes), of which 98% was blue whiting. The bycatch of herring accounted for 2%. Russia's blue whiting catch in the Faroese fishing zone since the beginning of the year totalled 93,100 tonnes versus the quota of 82,000 tonnes. In 2020, as per the end of October, 97.4 thousand tons of blue whiting were harvested in the fishing zone of the Faroe Islands.

(to be continued)

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