The fishery for Ivasi sardine in Russia’s Far East has started earlier than usual this year, and by the beginning of June the fleet had already landed 13,000 tonnes. Last year the fishery had not even begun at the end of May.
The catch guidelines for this year are for 515,000 tonnes of Ivasi sardine and 260,000 tonnes of mackerel in Far Eastern waters and while Ivasi catches have been as much as 500 tonnes per day for some vessels, the best mackerel catches have only been around seven tonnes per day.
As surface waters become warmer, fishing has been shifting northwest towards the Lesser Kuril Ridge.
Surveys carried out last summer showed a wide abundance of both species, with the Ivasi sardine stock estimated at 3.8 million tonnes and the mackerel stock at 1.2 million tonnes.
There had been a strong fishery for Ivasi sardine during the Soviet era, but the fish disappeared for some years, making a reappearance some years ago in Russian waters. Ivasi sardine is seen as a highly nutritious species, high in Omega-3 and complex vitamins.
During the Soviet era, this fish was give the trade name ‘herring iwashi’ due to its resemblance to herring and its Japanese name ‘ma-iwasi,’ meaning sardine.