Fishes         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 Russias 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.
   The Primorye 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 zones.
   In summer, 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.
    In winter, due to decreased inflow of Pacific waters, Tsushima Current is much less pronounced, and the cold Primorye Current becomes increasingly intense.
    Living 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 Russias 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 Russias fishery sector into the world market.
    As recently as in 1991 Primorye was a runner-up after Murmansk Region in Russias  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.
    Cited below is information on certain representatives of Primoryes fish fauna.

Pacific salmon shark, Lamna ditropis
Pacific herring, Clupea harengus
Iwashi, Far Eastern sardine, Sardinops sagax melanosticta
Cherry salmon, Oncorhynchus masou
Dog salmon, Oncorhynchus keta
Pink salmon, Oncorchynchus gorbuscha
Char, Salvelinus leucomaenis
Asiatic or Rainbow smelt, Osmerus mordax dentex
Shishamo smelt, Hypomesus japonicus
Fresh-water smelt, Hypomesus olidus
Far Eastern Tribolodon brandti
Sablefish, hair-tails Trichiurus lepturus
Hyporhamphus sajori
Strongylura anastomella
Eastern sea perch, Sebastes taczanowski
Yellow or three-striped perch, Sebastes trivittatus
Dark perch, Sebastes schlegeli
Soutern one-fin rock trout, Pleurogrammos azonus
Brown rock trout, Hexagrammos octogrammus
Myoxocephalus brandii
Sea crow, Hemitripterus villosus
Far Eastern navaga, Eleginus gracilis
Mintai, Theragra chalcogramma
Japanese mackerel, Scomber japonicus
Yellow-fin flatfish, Limanda aspera
Striped mullet, Mugil cephalus
Agonomalus (Hypsagonus) proboscidalis

A. SOKOLOVSKY, Cand. Sci. (Biology), Institute of Marine Biology, F.E. Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences.

Yu. YAKOVLEV, Cand. Sci. (Biology), Institute of Marine Biology, F.E. Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences.