Russian Alaskan Pollock resource overview
Mr Kristján Hjaltason

Mr Kristján Hjaltason, VP Marketing and Sales, Norebo Europe

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Figure 1. Norebo a short overview
Figure 2: Annual catch

The Russian exclusive economic zone in the Pacific Ocean. The list shows the main species, Alaska Pollock as the largest one, other stocks are Pacific herring, Pacific Cod, Squid, Greenland Halibut and wild Salmon. The EEZ is split up into fishing zones, shown on the map, with reference numbers and names on the list. Where TAC is allocated, it is split down to individual fishing zones.

Figure 3: Sea of Okhotsk

The Sea of Okhotsk has the largest stock of Alaska pollock in Russia and thus of the greatest interest to us. 3 of 4 zones in the Sea of Okhotsk are MSC certified since 2013, the recertification was in 2018 without any conditions. The stock is strong, stock biomass over 11 million tons, and fishable biomass 6-7 million tons. The harvesting rule is to take 20% of the fishable biomass. Year classes 2011 and 2013 were strong and 2014 good. Forecast for 2020 for the larger biomass and the spawning stock, the enabling scientists recommends is to allow 100 thousand tons more in 2020 than 2019. The year classes for after 2014 are not strong. It could lead to a slower reduction in TAC after 2021.

Figure 4: West Bering Sea

The West Bering Sea is the second largest fishing area for Alaska Pollock. Catch with the TAC, just under 400 thousand tons in 2019 with China and Korea included. The graph shows the TAC, Russian catch for the last 10 years. An agreement signed by The Pollock Catchers Association (PCA) is to start a fishery improvement plan (FIP) for the area east of 174° E (the line shown of the map) where the majority of the volume is caught. The aim of the program is to be able to apply for MSI certification in the coming years.

Figure 5: Petropavlovsk Komandorsk and Kuril Isl.

There is one stock in the Petropavlovsk Komandorsk stock and north Kuril areas. The stock is healthy and even though the volume of the biomass has been going down, there has been good year classes that keep it at a good level. Another stock is in the south Kuril areas, which is also above the target biomass level but the catch has been going down in recent years. Scientists recommend a slight increase of catch in the Petropavlovsk Komandorsk and north Kuril areas but decreasing in the south Kuril area.

Figure 6: East Sakhalin

The intention of the Russian industry is to MSI certify the whole Russian fishery. It will take time. The east Sakhalin area will be the next area after the West Bering Sea fishing area, to enter a FIP program. This area has an annual catch of just over 100,000 tons.

Figure 7: Russian Alaska Pollock

These are the relevant fishing areas to the supply of Alaska Pollock for export. The graph shows the TAC and catch from 2005 in all areas of Russia. The catch this year has been well above the last year and we expect to be allowed to catch 1,7 million tons in 2020.

Figure 8: Main Products

The largest product is the H&G with 600-700 thousand tons a year. Last year the production was 614 thousand tons, ca. 15 thousand less than in 2017. In 2019 there will be an increase again, probably above the 2017 level. Last year the whole round production was 50 thousand tons less than in 2017. This year there is a further drop in WR production due to strong markets for H&G and good fishing in the West Bearing Sea. Last year was a record year for Fillet production. There has been a reduction this year, partly because of small fish in the A season and the strong H&G market.

Figure 9: Modernisation

The Russian fishing industry is going through major changes, mainly brought out by new regulations that allow the government to reduce the TAC of individual species. For the Pacific side of Russia, there is a plan to build 18 trawlers and 14 fishing factories. For some of the super trawlers, the plan is to install factories onboard for surimi production at sea. The dots on the maps show where the factories will be built by the shore.

Figure 10: Promoting Alaska pollock

The Alaska Pollock is the largest white fish stock in the world and hardly known in Europe. Mainly used for breaded fish fingers or crab imitation from Surimi. Harvesters and marketers need to change this viewpoint in Europe in order to bring it closer to the consumer and build up awareness and a market for this fantastic fish.