At present, the list of fish species that may occur in Peter the Great Bay is still to be finalized. And yet, in accord with preliminary evidence, we can assert that the largest number of species represents its central and southwestern parts. Of 277 fish species recorded in Peter the Great Bay, in our view virtually all may inhabit this area either permanently or temporarily. Catches of subtropical and tropical species in the southwestern part are noted more often than elsewhere in the Bay. In some years, only local catches were noted to include the Japanese hairtooth, and the white-abdomen and two-color flatfish. Given that only adult species were noted in catches of these species, the natural conclusion would be that they enter Peter the Great Bay to fatten from the southern areas of Japan Sea, where they occur more commonly. Of the less known species, we should note the mirror fish, which in summertime occurred in catches from time to time. In August 1994, its numerous shoals grouped near floating objects in the south of the central part and in the southwestern part of the Bay. Other southern fauna representatives enter the Bay occasionally (tunas, swordfishes, tiger sharks, hammer sharks, etc.).
The fish fauna of Peter the Great Bay is essentially based on bottom and near-bottom fishes of northern origin. The most mass species among them were the southern single-blade rock trout, the mintai, the Japanese flatfish, and the filiform helmet-bearer.
Of УmigrantsФ, the Far Eastern iwashi sardine, whose biomass in the Bay amounted to as much as 1 million tons in some years, deserve special mention.
For many fish species, particularly for migrants from the south who perform lengthy migrations, the southwestern part of the Bay is only a transit zone. One of the most well known УmigrantsФ is the aforementioned Far Eastern iwashi sardine. Mass entries of this species into the southwestern part of the Bay were observed from 1976 to 1992. At present, iwashi occurs occasionally in all areas of the Bay, since it stops migrating to the northern part of Japan Sea. Among southern fish, many species are familiar not only to ichthyologists and fishermen, but to local residents as well, for example the mackerel, the saira, the anchovy, the garfish and the spotted herring. Many of these species have commercial significance.
In the 1950s-1980s, the mintai topped the list of landed benthic and demersal species; in some years, mintai spawning in fall was highly impressive, especially in the southwestern part of Peter the Great Bay. The basic spawning accumulations concentrated around Furugelm Island and Cape Gamov.
To sum up the above-said, it may be stated that the fish fauna in the southwestern part of the Bay is composed of representatives of various biocoenoses. Some species belong directly to the fish communities of the region (striped flatfish), and others are characteristic of the entire Japan Sea area (the sardine); again, the populations of most species live preferentially in Primorye and North Korean waters. Undoubtedly, the Marine Sanctuary plays a positive role in reproduction of numerous fish species, but its scale is limited due to its small area.
Issues regarding river protection, environment pollution and artificial fish reproduction were raised time and again for good reason. Relevant measures are evidently insufficient, though some success has been attained. For instance, good results were obtained in reproducing the keta and Far Eastern Sardinius erhythrophthalmus at the Ryazanov Fish Breeding Plant. Parent stock shoals of these species have been created in Ryazanovka River, where they have virtually ceased to spawn naturally. Experimental work has begun to reproduce the Asian smelt, and similar work is planned for the mullet. Projects to ameliorate rivers and coastal areas of Peter the Great Bay are also being considered. In this respect, slightly polluted rivers that flow into Sanctuary waters appear promising. Poachers inflict the greatest harm to passing and half-passing species that spawn and winter there. In our view, it would be advisable to include those rivers in the Sanctuary.
A. TIURIN, Cand. Sci (Biology).