Given its geographic position, Primorye had come to be related to the wealth
of Japan Sea and its proximity to major fishery resources of other Far
Eastern seas. One way or other, its history has been involved in the development
of Russia’s fishery and fish-processing industries to determine for a long
time its orientation and scale. Besides, amateur and partly sporting angling
in Primorye are developed as nowhere else in Russia and characterized by
numerous local features due to the highly diversified fishing objects and
conditions. Primorye borders on a sea with the most abundant fish species
and convenient lagoons and inlets, with the huge Lake Hanka, the
basin of River Ussuri, which flows into Amur River, a major waterway of
Northeast Asia, and with its numerous other small mountain rivers.
coast, washed by Japan Sea, extends from south to the northeast for more
than 1,350 km. The overall length of the sea shoreline itself is 7.6 thousand
kilometers, almost 3,000 of which belong to Russia. The Sea of Japan is
essentially a deep-water reservoir fenced off from the Pacific and neighboring
seas by shallow barriers. In the north and northeast it contacts with the
Okhotsk Sea, which is rich in resources, through the straits of Nevelskoy
and Mamiya, and in the east links with the ocean via Tsugaru Strait and
in the south with the East China sea via Korea Strait. All this creates
a foundation for penetration into the sea of migrants from various zoogeographic
the mighty waters of the Pacific rush into the Sea of Japan to spread to
the north and northeast as the Tsushima Current, divided into the northern
and southern branches. The western twig of the northern branch of Tsushima
current passes from Korea Bay to the north along the western coast of Japan
and Sakhalin to reach Tatar Strait, where its waters transform to start
the cold Primorye Current, which flows to the south along the shores of
Primorye. In some years, the little branch of Tsushima Current that passes
along the coast of Korea penetrates into Peter the Great Bay to bring with
it heat-loving fish species.
due to decreased inflow of Pacific waters, Tsushima Current is much less
pronounced, and the cold Primorye Current becomes increasingly intense.
at the abutment of the temperate and subtropical zones, the fish fauna
of Primorye is characterized by high specific diversity to include over
360 fish species. In addition to cold-water species, such as the cod, navaga,
mintai, Far Eastern salmon, gobies, flatfish, etc., in summertime numerous
representatives of heat-loving species may also occur off the coast of
Primorye. They primarily include the iwashi sardine, the mackerel, the
anchovy, the herring, the garfish, the saira, etc. The listed fish species
are quite numerous and visit the shores of Primorye virtually every year.
Meanwhile, rather exotic migrants from the south may also occur in the
area, e.g. the swordfish, the seam, and the sablefish, the moonfish and
even flying fishes. The incoming hammer shark and wolf herring, and porcupine
fish add a tropical tinge to the local fish fauna.
You can also find quite
a few exotic-looking fish among the permanent inhabitants of Primorye waters.
Sea needles and skates decorated Centronotus gusellus and noodle-fish,
gobies and seacocks scurry in a business-like way among thickets of coastal
sea grass and algae. At great depths, you can also encounter brightly-colored
Raia clavata among pebbly detritus and sand, and inside underwater grottos
and in-between cliffs majestically gliding three-striped golden ruffs.
In Primorye waters you can come across twelve shark species. In the open
sea, far from the shore, fishermen catch species very dangerous to humans
and characteristic of southern latitudes. In particularly warm years, they
can also occur near the coastline. However, cases involving attacks by
sharks and injuries to humans in Primorye waters have not been recorded.
The prickly Acanthias shark is the most frequently occurring species in
the area. It is quite small, presenting danger only to fish schools. The
diverse hydrological conditions and productive zones of both plankton organisms
and floor inhabitants against a background of strongly pronounced fluctuation
of their biomass due to seasonal events have caused mass spawning and fattening
migrations of numerous economically important fish species. The specific
composition of the basic commercial fish species in Japan Sea is not constant
at all. From year to year, the catches involved either salmon or
herring, flatfish or the Far Eastern iwashi sardine and mintai. The reserves
of cod, navaga, anchovy, capelin and rock trout are used only slightly.
It is considered that the economic bioresources of Japan Sea, both on the
shelf and in open waters basically include traditional commercial species,
whose reserves have been sufficiently well used for a long time. On the
average, one million tons of fish and so-called non-fishery objects, e.g.
invertebrate animals, marine mammals and algae, are landed annually. Of
this amount, pelagic fish comprised 73 percent, whereas bottom fishes only
7 percent. In recent years, hopes have been pinned on coastal fishery,
undeservedly forgotten when big ocean-going fleets were mostly. It
is common knowledge that in recent decades prior to the disintegration
of the Soviet Union commercial operations by Russia’s Far Eastern fishery
fleet in open sea was unmatched worldwide. Again, the products were chiefly
marketed inside the country. Today, the disintegration of the one-time
powerful sector is coming to an end, and there is no certainty that moving
the ocean fishery facilities to coastal areas inhabited by new targets
of commercial fishery would threaten this habitat as well. Development
of natural resources in the coastal zone would call for both thorough biological
studies and an absolutely novel investment policy in fishery, as well as
for new methods and laws for controlling access to new resources and new
technological and legal trade norms to incorporate Russia’s fishery sector
into the world market.
as in 1991 Primorye was a runner-up after Murmansk Region in Russia’s
per capita fish consumption, 46 kg. According to statistics, already in
1996 this figure was 18 percent to place Primorye only fourth after Astrakhan,
Magadan and Kamchatka Regions. Meanwhile, 65 percent of the nation/s catch,
including such valuable species as salmon, crabs and squids, is landed
in the Far Eastern basin. And even though the main credit goes to Okhotsk
Sea, the significance of Japan Sea should rise as new resources are landed,
particularly in assimilating coastal regions.
below is information on certain representatives of Primorye’s fish fauna.